As many as 10,000 Tamil Canadians gathered in downtown Toronto on Friday to raise awareness about the genocide occurring in Sri Lanka. The protestors of colour were against the Sri Lankan government killing innocent Tamil civilians, and formed a massive human chain, creating a traffic gridlock around Union Station.
Unfortunately, CBC News incorrectly reported that they were protesting the Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the Tamil Tigers.
Here are some comments by the protestors on the misleading CBC News article:
Jago_Combo writes (emphasis mine):
This protest is not about the Tamil Tigers. This is about the Tamil Civilians in Sri Lanka who are being killed in alarming numbers everyday by the Sri Lankan government – we are talkign about ordinary civilians.
We need the support of Canada to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to adopt a ceasfire and bring humanitarian aid to the Tamil civilians which the Sri Lankan government has restricted. If we sit idly and not do anything, we are ignoring a genocide in progress that is being perpetrated by the singalese government.
If your ancestors were being innocently killed and driven out of their native country, wouldn’t you do something?? This issue is more important than the slumping economy – it is about savings lives and protecting human rights.
Please Canada, take a lead on this issue and call for a ceasefire!
peacefulworld writes (emphasis mine):
Thank you CBC for reporting on the protest by Tamil Torontonians for peace. It is about time that Canada took notice of what is happening, the war, the devestation and the loss of life. As pointed out before, the human chain has NO ASSOCIATION nor does it support the “Tamil Tigers”. This demonstration is to raise awareness of the need for PEACE in Sri Lanka and the violence against Tamil CIVILIANS.
Please cover this on your news programs such as The National. And when doing so, correct the “Tamil Tigers” reference. The protest is not for them. The protest is for the Tamil population in Sri Lanka who are suffering. Coverage of this demonstration on Television during mainstream news like Peter Mansbridge and the National will do justice as it will reach a BIG audience. This is an issue important to a significant number of Canadians.
On behalf of the Tamil Community, I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation for coverage on this issue. CBC has always covered issues briliantly.Please continue to support the efforts for peace.
Shreya writes (emphasis mine):
Thank you for reporting about the protest underway. However, the information is inaccurate. My intention is not to ask you to take any sides, but rather to simply report the truth.
The protest today is to inform the Canadian public of the mass torture and killings conducted by the Sri Lankan government. The government is on a mission to eradicate the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and have been for decades. With the assistance of several foreign countries, both financially and militarily, they have accelerated the numerous human rights violations.
Our only hope is for the UN to intervene in order to stop the massacre of the Tamil people. We are not protesting the push to defeat the Tamil Tigers, but rather protesting the lack of initiative and resolve by the international community to pressure the Sri Lankan government to stop its genocidal notions.
Please help us by researching and reporting the truth, and question the official statements by the Sri Lankan government, as they are false, as expected by a regime intended to commit genocide.
We_Want_Justice2009 writes (emphasis mine):
Thank You Shreya for mentioning the inaccuracy of this CBC article. It is highly important that the Canadian people understand that this ongoing protest today is NOT to demonstrate the Tamil-Canadian population’s view on
the Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the Tamil Tigers. This protest is NOT pro-government or pro-Tamil Tigers. Rather this protest is for the INNOCENT TAMIL CIVILIAN who are regularly being killed due to the tactics of the Sri Lankan state government. It is to protest the government’s use of food and medicine as weapons of war. It is to protest the government’s shelling of supposed ‘Safe Zones’ where displaced Tamil civilians are sheltered. It is to protest the government’s bombing of schools and temples where Tamil refugees hide out thinking it is safe. It is to protest the government’s denial of NGO’s and journalists into the North and North-East. It is to protest the government’s abductions and killings of Tamil youths. This protest is for the TAMIL PEOPLE who are suffering. We must remember the saying ‘I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper’. We must speak out for those people whose pleas are not heard. If we don’t speak out for humanity and eventually WE OURSELVES are suffering, who will speak out for us?
Lankan writes (emphasis mine):
Sinhala dominated Sri Lankan government is waging Genocide war on Tamils, and already eliminated more than 40% of the Tamils since 1948.
Eelam Tamils democratically decided to free from Sri Lankan State terrorist in 1977. However, Sri Lankan government continue its war on Tamils and killing at least 3000 Tamils per year or 7 Tamils in daily basis. More than 3000 Tamils have been abducted and killed by the Sri Lankan government and paramilitary in the last 3 years. Several schools, Churches, Hospitals, and civilian settlements including Tsunami rehabilitation centers were bombed by the Sri Lankan Government.
Justin007 writes (emphasis mine):
Thanks for reporting this story. But, the actual purpose of the human chain protest has not been mentioned clearly in your news. There are 250 000 Tamil civilians cornered into a 250 square km land in the North Eatern corner of Sri Lanka by the SL army. Telling the world that they are trying to capture the rebel-held towns, the SL army is raining artillery shells on civilian safety zones, that were declared by itself a week ago. On Monday, 01-26-09 morning, a 5-hour artillery barrage on this safety zone killed 300 civilians, leaving another 1000 injured. Another 500 succumbed to their injuries within next 48 hours, because the government refused medical aid to the injured. The government argues that the rebels are keeping the civilians for their safety. But I have a dozen relatives in the rebel-held town, who does not want to cross over into SL Army controlled areas, because they are afraid of getting tortured and killed by SL army interrogators. More than two thousand civilians who came into SL army controlled areas are currently in a high security detention camp and there are confirmed reports of detainess being tortured, raped, killed and their bodies dumped in barren lands. The media restrictions by SL government does not allow any of these facts reaching the international media. The sole purpose of this human chain protest is to bring the sufferings of the innocent Tamils of SL to the attention of Canadian people and leaders. I kindly request that you serve a humanitarian mission by giving this protest a balanced, unbiased coverage. Thanks.
- 2009 Canadian Tamil anti-genocide strike at Wikipedia