Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

2012 Remembrance Day Address

by V. Rudrakumaran, Esq., May 18, 2012

We must remind the world that the killing of 5,000 Bosnians in Srebenica was held to be an act of genocide by the Yugoslavia Tribunal. Five days ago, the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda held that the killing of 2,000 Hutu civilians constitutes an act of genocide. When the judicial tribunals hold that the killings of 5000 and 2000 people constitute an act of genocide, we believe a proper judicial forum will establish that the killing of the unaccounted for 146,679 Tamils is an act of genocide.

Taped speech in English on youtube

Taped speech in Tamil on youtube

My fellow members of the Tamil Diaspora, our brethren from Tamil Nadu and friends of the Tamil people,

We have gathered here today to mark the 3rd anniversary of the genocide of the Tamil people in Mullivaikal.We have gathered here today to commemorate the lives of those perished at the end of the war in 2009 in Mullivaikal. We have gathered here to pay homage to the strength of those who have endured in Mullivaikal. We have gathered here today to bear witness to the mass atrocities that occurred in Mullivaikal. We have gathered here today to ensure that there is “never again” a Mullivaikal.

The term Mullivaikal has an indelible mark in the national psyche of our people. Just as the word ‘holocaust’ holds a very special place in the collective memory of the Jewish people, the term Mullivaikal holds a similar place in the collective memory not only of Eelam Tamils, but of Tamils around the world.

It is a special word that bears witness to the mass killing that was unleashed on the Tamil people on account of their Tamil nationality. It is there in Mullivaikal that the people of Tamil Eelam in vast numbers were hunted down and killed. They were killed while they were walking, while they were lying down, they were killed while they were eating, while praying, they were killed while in the house, while on the streets, they were killed while they were sick, wounded and in hospitals. No place was safe if you were a Tamil. No activity was safe if you were a Tamil.

However, the memorial services organized transnationally this week; the rallies held this week around the world; the humanitarian activities performed this week clearly send a clarion call that - while our hearts are broken - our spirit is not; while we are sad, we are determined. We are resolved to continue our struggle for an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam. With a renewed vigor and with a renewed purpose. We are determined to avenge the killing of our people by realizing their dream. The horror visited upon our people in Mullivaikal mobilized Tamils around the world. The stakeholders of the freedom struggle are no longer Eelam Tamils alone, but Tamils everywhere.

UK EVENT VIDEO

Mullivaikal has transformed the mode of our struggle. Changing the mode of a struggle doesn’t mean status anti quo. Changing the mode of struggle doesn’t mean a return to appeasement politics. Changing the mode of struggle doesn’t revert to acquiescence politics. It is true that hard power has been replaced by soft power. However, the components of our present soft power are different from the soft power that we had earlier in the 50’s and 60’s. Our narrative, our grief, the outrage of international civil society, our togetherness, the togetherness not only of Eelam Tamils, but of Tamils around the world is different from makes us stronger than before. The battleground of the new democratic and diplomatic struggle undertaken today is different from the arena of the nonviolent struggle that took placebefore the war.

The struggle undertaken in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka is different from the struggle to be waged in the Northeastern part of Sri Lanka in conjunction with the Tamils in Tamil Nadu and the Diaspora along with international civil society. In other words, the future struggles in the globalized world are different from the internal struggle undertaken in the 50’s and the 60’s.

While appreciating the new context of our struggle, we are also mindful of the world order in which we have to advance our cause. In the present world order, there is an inherent resistance to a formation of new states. The present world order is characterized primarily by intercourse between and among states. At the same time, we are also aware that the foreign policy of states is no longer determined only by the center or by foreign policy elites. The Indian government’s vote in favor of the HRC resolution on Sri Lanka in March and the Malaysian government’s abstention from the vote in the HRC are illustrations of the growing influence of the domestic polity – the people themselves - in foreign policy-making. Thus, we have to mobilize the people and the domestic political apparatus especially in nations where Tamils have an effective say.

In order to mobilize the domestic polity, it is essential that we establish that the Tamils’ very physical survival is not guaranteed in the island of Sri Lanka; in order to mobilize international public opinion, it is important to establish that what happened in Mullivaikal is not a personal excess of a few soldiers acting by themselves, but is premeditated, policy-oriented, institutionalized violence against the Tamil people; in order to mobilize international civil society, it is vital to establish that what happened in Mullivaikal, was not just war crimes and crimes against humanity, but was an act of genocide. Thus, it is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity to establish that what happened in Mullivaikal is an act of genocide.

We must remind the world that the killing of 5,000 Bosnians in Srebenica was held to be an act of genocide by the Yugoslavia Tribunal. Five days ago, the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda held that the killing of 2,000 Hutu civilians constitutes an act of genocide. When the judicial tribunals hold that the killings of 5000 and 2000 people constitute an act of genocide, we believe a proper judicial forum will establish that the killing of the unaccounted for 146,679 Tamils is an act of genocide.

However, some well-meaning activists believe that establishing the intent of the crime of genocide is a difficult task. Like in any criminal prosecution, intent can be inferred from the context. The employment of disproportionate use of force in Mullivaikal clearly demonstrates that the intent of the Sri Lankan politico-military leadership is to kill the Tamils on account of their Tamil nationality. Thus, the TGTE is planning to hold People’s Tribunals, to resort to domestic judicial forums, and to convene academic panels in order to establish the truth about the mass killings of our friends, neighbors and relatives purely for being Tamil.

Through our coordinated and creative action, we can make a difference. Let’s resolve to realize the Tamils’ right to self-determination in its fullest form. Let’s resolve to establish an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam. 
The Thirst of the Tamils is the Establishment of Tamil Eelam.

V. Rudrakumaran, Esq. is the Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam.