This article is based on a speech given by Jay Nathan, a young Tamil activist, at a rally protesting the Sri Lankan genocide against the people of Tamil Eelam, in Sydney on March 28.
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Living in Australia, I have enjoyed luxuries such as freedom of speech, education, food, water and medical care. I enjoy a life without fear of persecution, abduction or death because of who I am. I see media that operates freely without government or army intervention.
But then I look at Sri Lanka and sadly I see something is missing. The media is suppressed by a government and armed forces, which place patriotism and a bloody war ahead of free media. A map used by Sri Lankan Army spokesperson Udaya Nanayakkara to brief journalists visiting Sri Lanka has the following message pinned to it:
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who gives us the freedom of the press.
"It is the soldier, not the poet, who gives us the freedom of speech.
"It is the soldier, not the politician, that ensures our right to Life, Freedom, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
I see my fellow Tamils living in Sri Lanka and I am overcome with sorrow to see that they are denied the luxuries that I enjoy here in Australia. They live their lives in fear of persecution, abduction and death because of who they are.
For more than 60 years, the Sri Lankan government has carried out sadistic and systematic anti-Tamil pogroms.
Since January 2009, the world has witnessed the culmination of this. The deliberate targeting of government-sanctioned "safe zones" by state military forces has led to nearly 3000 being killed, more than 7000 injured and a quarter of a million people being forced into a shrinking space, surrounded by a military onslaught, without food or medical aid, as the government continues to block the delivery of essential aid to civilians in the conflict zone.
This problem has been further exacerbated by a systematic attempt by government forces to shatter the infrastructure required to provide adequate care to regional populations, including deliberate bombing of medical facilities.
As this happens, the government of Sri Lanka continues to spout the usual lies and cover-ups, with secretary of defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa claiming there were no casualties.
There have been repeated calls from the World Food Program to deliver essential food, medical supplies and other goods, which continue to be denied by government officials.
It is beyond evident that the sole agenda of the government of Sri Lanka is to wipe out the Tamil population!
If this was happening somewhere else, the government officials would be dragged before a war crimes tribunal! Saddam Hussein was hanged for such crimes!
To the world powers, I implore you to end your tacit approval of this genocide and make a genuine demand for a ceasefire. I also call on you acknowledge an independent Tamil homeland is the only viable solution for safeguarding equality and justice, the cornerstones of the universal ambitions of the United Nations.
To the International Monetary Fund, I ask you to not grant Sri Lanka the US$1.9 billion loan it has requested, because it will all be blood money!
To my fellow Australians, I implore to you to break your silence and speak out and make the cries of the voiceless heard. To send a clear message to the oppressors that they will never break our people!
To our Tamil brothers and sisters who are suffering back in Sri Lanka: the Tamil diaspora will never give up on you! We will not stop until there is peace. Peace with justice and freedom!
Our time is now!