Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Namma Chennai Theme Song

CHENNAI CELEBRATES 375TH ANNIVERSARY The city of Chennai, previously known as Madras, is celebrating its 375th anniversary. Known as "Madras Day", the celebrations, which started on August 17 will last until August 24. The city of Chennai came about after the British East India Company acquired a small patch of land from a Vijayanagara king in 1639 to build Fort St George around which the city of Madras grew over the years. With a population of nearly five-million, Madras is today lovingly known as "Namma Chennai". In order to celebrate the 375th anniversary, this song: Namma Chennai, was compiled by the city's famous musicians, including A R Rahman.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


PLIGHT OF TAMILS IN SRI LANKA SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED At a time when the world's TV stations rightly focus attention on the genocides taking place in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and Iraq, let's not forget the human rights violations of Tamils in Sri Lanka. We are trying to focus attention every day on the sufferings of the Tamil people in the north and east of the island country, but yet our own national cricket team, Proteas, undertook a tour to Sri Lanka recently without condemning the violation of the Tamil people's human rights. While the South Africans were playing cricket, the Tamil people's land in the north and east have been invaded and colonised by the Sri Lankan military and the ruling Singalese people; harrassment and detention of Tamil leaders and activists have taken place; Tamil women have been molested and rapes; Tamil Muslims were attacked, driven out of their business and robbed in Colombi, the capital of Sri Lanka -
in fact the violation of human rights have been endless. In order to highlight all these repression, Mr Edward Mortimer, a former Director of Communications for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and now chairperson of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, has written the following article, depicting what is really taking place.
(Edward Mortimer - Former UN Official) Hidden from view, Sri Lanka is trampling over the rights of its Tamil population The government has been trying its best to silence the country's remaining Tamils without drawing the world's attention BY EDWARD MORTIMER Edward Mortimer is a former Director of Communications for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, now chairs the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice With all the horrors taking place in Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria, Sri Lanka has understandably fallen off the international radar. However, what you must know is that this suits Sri Lanka’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, just fine. Yet the brutal methods he has used to defeat the Tamil Tigers — which ignore the cost of civilian casualties and frequently trample on human rights — are very similar to the ones used by those currently fighting in the spotlight. They are even being admired from afar: within the last two months army and police officers in Nigeria and Pakistan have expressed interest in learning from Sri Lanka’s example. When the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was held in Sri Lanka last November, it brought much unwelcome publicity, and led to an international investigation of war crimes being set up by the UN Human Rights Council. That decision was obviously a victory for the government’s critics. Yet the government behaved almost as if that was what it wanted, making a series of overt and heavy-handed attempts to silence dissent at home even while the Council was in session in Geneva.
READ MORE: The UK needs to stop selling arms to Israel and open its eyes to the suffering caused by inaction In particular, at least 60 Tamils, mainly women, were arrested in and around the northern town of Kilinochchi, which had been the Tigers’ de facto capital during the war. Two well-known Catholic activists, Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan, went to investigate these arrests, and were themselves arrested as part of a massive security clampdown. This led to a significant but brief international outcry: brief because Fernando and Mahesan were released unharmed after two days, followed by many (but not all) of the other detainees. Two days later, however, both were banned from leaving the country or speaking to the media. They were also forced to hand over their mobile phones and personal computers, and Fernando was roughly confronted by armed police in a Colombo street. This time there was no international outcry, indeed no publicity at all, because friends of the pair were afraid any public move might put them in greater danger. Nor has there been any sustained campaign on behalf of the other Tamil detainees. World News in Pictures One of these detainees is Mrs Jeyakumari Balendran. She gained prominence after demanding information about her son — one of many Tamils who have “disappeared” since the end of the war. He is presumed to be in government custody, or dead. Eyewitnesses say Balendran was slapped and beaten during her arrest, while her 13-year-old daughter was taken away and placed in an orphanage. Balendran and at least 20 other women are still held in Boosa detention centre, a place notorious for torture. (Under the terms of Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism act, suspects can be detained without evidence for up to 18 months.) Yet the world has been given the impression that things are not as bad as was feared, and has turned its attention to more dramatic crises elsewhere.
The government claimed all these arrests were in response to an attempt to revive the Tigers and re-start the war, led by a man known as “Gobi”, whom Balendran was allegedly sheltering in her house, and who was later tracked down and killed. But it has yet to produce any evidence for this, and it has put out so many different versions of the story that some observers question whether “Gobi” even existed. In a paper released on Saturday Fred Carver, Director of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, argues that these actions cannot have been separate initiatives, but together form a strategy aimed at intimidating anyone who might give evidence to the international investigation. Just last week a gathering of family members of the disappeared in Colombo was disrupted by a mob of government supporters. The police seemed unwilling to prevent the mob, led by Buddhist monks, from dispersing the meeting, even though several American and European embassy staff were present. It may have gone unnoticed by the rest of the world, but within Sri Lanka the message has been received clearly and chillingly: while a fuss may be made about a well-connected Sinhalese activist, the government can do what it likes to the Tamil population in the north and no one will lift a finger. Edward Mortimer is a former Director of Communications for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, now chairs the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice

Monday, August 4, 2014


The violation of the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka was highlighted once again on Monday, August 4 when people were invited to make representations about their missing family members. The commission, which sat in the capital city of Colombo, was disrupted by a group of thugs who were dressed in clothing normally worn by Buddhist monks. The thugs attacked the Tamil families and accused them of being traitors. The incident took place in the presence of diplomats from the United States, England, the EU and Switzerland. Mr Visvanathan Sivam, a Tamil activist, who reports incidents of violations of human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka to the outside world, said: "These are regular happenings in Sri Lanka and would have been passed off as one of those many incidence, but for the presence of US, UK. EU and Swiss diplomats. In the presence of these diplomats the Buddhist thugs dared to attack the Tamils, who risked their lives to make representations to the commission. "What would have amazed the diplomats was the fraternal relationship enjoyed by the Buddhist thugs and the police, as you will see in some of the pictures below. Some Buddhist monks even dared to call the bereaved Tamil parents, traitors. "The police told the parents to go to the police station. For what? To give them a torturous lesson on good behaviour."
The latest incident of human rights violations of Tamils (a daily occurence in the North and East of the island country that are the traditional homelands of Tamils) has occurred at a time when the UN Human Rights Commission is conducting an investigation into the genocide committed against Tamils in the final stages of the civil war between the Sri Lankan soldiers and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). Between 70 000 and 100 000 Tamils were massacred by the Sri Lankan soldiers. This genocide follows similar genocides against the Tamils over the past 60 years ever since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948. Despite these genocides against the Tamils, the South African cricket team, Proteas, continues to maintain sporting links with Sri Lanka and only a few weeks ago had completed another tour to that country. During our struggles against apartheid, we camapigned for the total isolation of apartheid South Africa and had promoted the policy of "no normal sport in an abnormal copuntry".
(Tamils and others watch the thugs and police in shock and disbelief)
(Diplomats shocked at the attacks by the thugs and police) It was because of this struggle that the Proteas today enjoy international sport. But yet they fail to take a stance against Sri Lanka which is an "abnormal country" where the rights of the Tamil people are violated on a daily basis. Even after they returned from the tour they have failed to issue a statement against the suffering of the Tamil people. What a bunch of opportunists? What a show of respect to Hassan Howa, Krish Mackerdhuj, Morgan Naidoo, R K Naidoo, Yunus Mahomed and other anti-apartheid sports administrators who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Friday, August 1, 2014


OPPRESSION OF TAMILS IN SRI LANKA CONTINUES UNABATED While the world places its spotlight on the suffering and oppression of Palestinians in Gaza, the continuing oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka appears not to attract the same attention. Since the end of the civil war between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers in 2009, the oppression of Tamils has continued unabated. In the final stages of the civil war, the Sri Lankan military carried out a vicious campaign and slaughtered between 70 000 to 100 000 Tamil civilians. Following this gencoide, the military has continued to colonise and occupy the traditional Tamil homelands of the North and East and daily carries out a vicious campaign of attacks, rapes and colonisation of the land of the people in order to drive out Tamils from their traditional homelands. The continuing attacks are the latest acts of oppression that the Sri Lankan Government had carried out against the Tamils over the past 60 years since independence from Britain. In the latest attacks, a group of Tamil journalists travelling to the capital city of Colombo from their capital of Jaffna were harrassed and had drugs planted into their cars. This was a vicious campaign to show that the Tamil journalists are involved in drug running. The continuing harrassment, intimidation, arrests and jailings are a reminder of the oppression that the people suffered during the apartheid era in South Africa. The UN Human Rights Commission has instituted a commission of inquiry into the "war crimes" against the Tamil people but it seems the Sri Lankan Government is not prepared to allow the commissioners to carry out their work without any obstruction and hindrance. Please read the following article by Tamil Net to get a clear picture of what the Sri Lankan Government and its soldiers are up to. (The pictures are by Tamil Net as well).
Media groups protest against SL military’s shadow war on Eezham Tamil journalists [TamilNet, Thursday, 31 July 2014, 14:14 GMT] Following the SL military sabotage against Tamil journalists, who were on their way to attend a workshop held in Colombo on Friday, 25 July, and against the continued threat and harassment of the involved Eezham Tamil journalists, Tamil journalists in the five districts of Northern Province came together at a protest organised by the Jaffna Press Club in Jaffna city on Thursday. Media organisations based in South also took part in the protest in Jaffna expressing their solidarity with the Eezham Tamil journalists, who are being threatened and harassed by the occupying military of the genocidal Sri Lankan State. An alleged SL military intelligence operative in military uniform had planted a cigarette box with narcotics in the vehicle of Tamil journalists when they were on their way to attend a workshop in Colombo last Friday. Sri Lankan military intelligence operatives on Tuesday issued death threats to Tamil journalists who were returning after witnessing at the courts on what had happened to them last Friday. On Tuesday, SL military intelligence operatives entered into the vehicles of the journalists in Vavuniyaa and threatened them not to confront or blame the SL military. The SL intelligence operatives also photographed the journalists. During the Court proceedings in Vavuniyaa, the SL police had no clue on how a Sri Lankan military intelligence operative in uniform accessed the vehicle. The police officer in charge of the duty at the station, has also confirmed that the planting of narcotics was possibly the work of a person in SL military uniform.
The Tamil journalists have told the courts that they could identify the SL soldier. The police officials have also admitted that there was a new person in SL military uniform at their checkpoint during that time. Both, the SL military and the SL police, are present at Oamanthai checkpoint in Vavuniyaa. The SL police officials were also telling the courts that the Judge should obtain further clarity from the SL military officer who was in charge at the checkpoint on Friday, legal sources in Vavuniyaa told TamilNet. The SL military Establishment has recently launched a shadow war against Tamil journalists receiving training by Non Governmental Organisations based in Colombo. The journalists attending media workshops have also been harassed by the SL military staging bogus protests against Tamil journalists.
The SL military Establishment has also threatened media watchdog personalities, including the convener of Free Media Movement, Sunil Jeyasekara, for extending solidarity to Tamil journalists. Thursday’s protest was the first of its kind as Tamil journalist groups from all the five districts in the North were present at the protest organized by the Jaffna Press Club (JPC) together with media groups in South. Colombo-based media groups, the Free Media Movement (FMM), South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) and Ilangkai Tamil Media Association were present at the protest expressing solidarity with the Tamil journalists.
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran and S. Sritharan, Northern Provincial Council members Ananthy Sasitharan, Vinthan Kanagarathinam, Kajatheepan Balachandran, Sugirthan Chandralingam, Sivayogan Velupillai, Deputy Chairman of Valikaamam North Piratheasa Chapai (PS) Sageevan Sanmugalingam and Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) General Secretary Selvarajah Kajendren took part at the protest expressing their support to Tamil journalists. JPC Chairman Vinojith Tharmapala, SAFMA representative from Colombo Lakshman Gunasekara, FMM Convener Sunil Jeyasekara and Ilangkai Tamil Journalists Association representative ANS Thiruchelvam addressed the participants at the protest in Jaffna reading the statements issued by their organisations.