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Opinion: Canada is our Home, too — Photos & Reactions from the Recent Protests (Part I)

April 23, 2009

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You can view Part II hereottawa-22

Reactions from One Protester:

By Anand Sri

Photos by Freelancer RJ.

Today, as many as 30,000 Tamil Canadians gathered at Parliament Hill in solidarity. They were speaking out against atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan government and calling for a permanent ceasefire in the teardrop isle (Sri Lanka). Prior to this, a fourteen day non-stop protest was ignored by the Canadian government. The government rationalizes this by claiming they will not speak to individuals carrying the national flag of Tamil Eelam although waving this flag is not against the law and is simply a demonstration of the right to freedom of expression.

Tamil Canadians put away their flags today in order to appease their government. Despite this gesture of loyalty to the government, Stephen Harper, as well as every other Parliamentarian (excluding NDP leader Jack Layton), still continued to ignore the pleas of Tamil Canadian citizens. The crowd continued to stand in unity and literally begged for someone to step out of Parliament Hill and offer at least some semblance of hope for peace in Sri Lanka; that moment never came. What did come about was the recognition that the entire Tamil Diaspora had been cheated by the Canadian government. Chants of “Canada, Help us!” turned into “Stephen Harper, Where are you?!”. Some even began to fly the national flag of Tamil Eelam after realizing that they had been lied to. People left the protest feeling betrayed, shamed, and embarrassed by their own government.

The Canadian government preaches peace, yet they sit back in silence as thousands are slaughtered in Sri Lanka.
Do they expect us to give up and go home just because they lied to us and continue to ignore the truth??

We protested peacefully in Toronto, Washington, New York, and Ottawa only to be ignored. Does the Canadian government really think that lying on top of ignorance is going to change anything?

Is the Canadian government trying to tell us that peaceful protests are NOT the way to go? Because that’s the message I got today in Ottawa… we’ve tried EVERYTHING, what else is there left for us to do???

Today’s actions by parliamentarians in Ottawa served only to add fuel to the flame already burning in the hearts of Tamils. We will NOT give up, no matter how hard you try to stifle our cries. They will only get louder and louder until basic human rights are met in Sri Lanka.

CANADA, BREAK THE SILENCE!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sie.Kathieravealu permalink
    April 26, 2009 5:44 am

    “Is the Canadian government trying to tell us that peaceful protests are NOT the way to go? Because that’s the message I got today in Ottawa… we’ve tried EVERYTHING, what else is there left for us to do???”

    You will have to learn from the Muslims as to the way protests have to be carried IF they have to be noticed by the authorities concerned.

    When Israel “invaded” Gaza recently, Muslims all over he world protested in such a way that all the countries took immediate action to stop the war in Gaza. Now these countries get alarmed and take immediate action on any issue even though it might be unjustifiable, if and when the Muslims say that they are going to protest.

    Tamils are always law abiding citizens and that is their weakness and strength. It will take some time – might be a generation – to call the world to attention but ultimately the world will bow down with shame when their conscious starts to prick them on knowing and FEELING the TRUTH

    Lives lost, Time lost but Patience wins with credit.

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