Response to "UTM Tamil Students' Association Protests Conflict in Sri Lanka"

Dear Editor,

I am very disappointed with The Mediums coverage of the Sri Lankan conflict in the February 2 issue. The article, written by Andrew Hamilton-Smith, did not represent the reality of the situation and contained many false allegations.

The article claimed that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are Tamil fighters. The LTTE have been proscribed as a terrorist organization by 32 countries, which includes Canada. They are not the sole representatives of the Tamil people and hence it is inappropriate to call them Tamil fighters . In fact, the LTTE are notorious for committing atrocities against all Sri Lankans (Tamil, Sinhalese, Moor, and Burgher), assassinating several Tamil and other political leaders, carrying out suicide missions and recruiting child soldiers. The fear for safety and the sense of uncertainty similar to that experienced by North Americans post 9/11 is experienced by Sri Lankans on a daily basis.

I am disappointed that the TSA chose to speak about the issue in a one-sided manner, instead of a truthful and unbiased alternative. There was no mention of the LTTEs entrapment of the Tamil civilians by using them as human shields or of the LTTEs murder of Tamil civilians as they attempted to flee. Rather all fingers were pointed at the Sri Lankan government who are currently providing the escaped civilians with food, water, housing, medical attention and most of all protection from the LTTE. The LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabahakaran, is hiding behind the same men, women and children whom he promised to protect!

TSA also forgot to mention the reasons behind the closure of the A9 highway. The A9 highway, a link between the south of Sri Lanka and the Tamil dominated Jaffna peninsula, was closed after the war between the government and the LTTE escalated to heavy fighting in 2006. Extortion of money from civilians by the LTTE also played a role in the closure of the highway. After 23 years of power shifting between the LTTE and the government, the government regained total control over the entire highway in January 2009. On March 2 2009, after repairs and demining, the highway was reopened.

As for the claim that Tamils are being massacred in Colombo, I must point out that Colombo is the racially diverse administrative capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans live as one in Colombo with no ethnic tension. Please provide a credible source for your claim that minority ethnic Tamils living in Colombo have been massacred in recent years.

All Sri Lankans live, work and learn together and even face terrorist attacks together. The recent claims of genocide are untrue. The UN Security Council has acknowledged that there is no genocide but rather a humanitarian crisis due to restricted movement of civilians by the LTTE. I am by no means claiming that the government has not committed any crimes. However, the LTTE has committed far greater and heinous crimes against humanity.

Recently, the Sri Lankan national flag was burnt at both York University and the University of Toronto at Scarborough. As a proud Sri Lankan I was utterly disgusted to see my national flag treated with such disrespect. I fear that other universities will resort to this kind of immoral conduct due to similar onesided views as expressed by the TSA.

Everyday a new propaganda video is released and protests are held, misleading those who are not fully informed about the situation. In the past, the Sri Lankan Students Association has not involved itself in politics. However, we have made an exception here because this biased report by The Medium presents Sri Lanka is a very negative sense.

I am deeply disappointed by the lack of research with the February 2 article and kindly request that this type of biased reporting be attended to and corrected by senior Medium staff. I truly hope that neither I, nor any other Sri Lankan at UTM would have to witness this situation again.


Sachindri Wijekoon

President of the Sri Lankan Students Association

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