Thursday, May 21, 2009


My last post, just yesterday, talks a lot about Toronto and about all that we have to learn from each other here.  There's also a quick mention of the Tamil grocery stores along Parliament Street.  But these days the word Tamil means suffering.  This week we have all been reminded of the pain and suffering of Tamils in Sri Lanka.  You may think the Tamil Tigers are too extreme or you may agree with them completely, but either way it's unarguable that many non-militant people have been caught in the cross-fire and have suffered, and continue to suffer because of the war in Sri Lanka.  

Here in Toronto the Tamil community, along with others who support them, was out in force for demonstrations calling on the Canadian government and the US governmment to broker a peace, so that the killing could stop.  I saw a man swearing at to a middle-aged Tamil woman who was carrying a "instead of one country at war, why not two countries at peace?" sandwich board.  The man was angry because he'd been inconvenienced by the protests, as had many others.  I intervened, told him to stop speaking so roughly and rudely to her.  And I said "she has a right to protest; her rights are your rights"  But the guy said, "It is on the other side of the world.  It has nothing to do with me.  They should just all go back to Sri Lanka."  So then I repeated "Her rights are your rights."  

But the day the Singhalese Army declared victory, every Tamil I saw (so many people from the community work in restaurants like those down the street from us) looked sombre.  All that death and suffering, all that effort, and in the end the hope is steam-rollered by the Singhalese military.  Heartbreak.

PostScript:  There's a comment just in on this post, asking why we always seem to sympathise with those who want to separate but oppose separatists in Quebec.  I don't necessarily agree that the Tamils should have a separate country, I don't know enough, but I do agree that there has been murderous bloodshed and there have been horrible acts committed by both the Singhalese army and the Tamil Tigers.  The result is that many civilians have suffered.  And that's what the post is about, the harshness of the siffering.  The same goes for my post a long while back that mentions the murderous situation in Gaza.  War is always hardship and murder and devastation, especially for the civilians caught in the cross-fire.



Good morning! Just a thought - why do we tend to be behind those who want to separate, like Tamils and Georgians, but refuse to let Quebec go? Even we in West Carleton want Ottawa to let us go back to being in a rural country, rather than swallowed up in suburban Ottawa. Trin

a said...

I think we tend towards sympathizing with separatists because we can all relate to wanting to be independent. Quebec is a special case for Canadians because the issue has always been present but rarely as real as, say, prop 8 for Californians.

I liked this blog Nom, although I was shocked my part wasn't mentioned :D