Asia tribune has written an article about latest developments in Sri Lanka where the Sri Lankan Diaspora abroad have held talks in Colombo with officials - with resultant positive outcomes at this early stage (see below). I have supplied the link below, as well as the entire transcript at the end of the email. There is a call upon all who are willing to help to do so, with many suggestions of how included.
Also the link to the website called "The Sri Lankan Diaspora - dialogue for peace"
Below i have also included excerpt from an interview with a Leader of the Tamil Diaspora - with a very insightful interview into one perspective of a Tamil Diaspora group
This interview and perspective illustrates that journey to peace is not going to be easy - but I believe with open communication and effort on both sides (as I believe is already starting to happen) it will be possible.
Please forward this email to spread these important articles which offer real hope of how peace and understanding can be spread with regards to Sri Lanka - as I believe these articles aim to do.
Peace in Sri Lanka
and Peace on Earth
ps sorry to bombard you with emails in the last few days - I will not be sending more group emails for some time! (I just felt that this was an important one - if you are interested in the development in Sri Lanka the asia tribune article is important to read, and the sri lankan diaspora website is worth checking out!)
“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected”
(quotes by Mahatma Gandhi)
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that"
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Asia Tribune article - 11-4-09
Thousands of lives would have been saved if Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora were invited long time ago
Sat, 2009-04-11 05:11
By Henry Sathananthan from Australia
Twenty one of us went to Colombo to get help for our refugees (IDPs) in the North by invitation of the foreign minister, the Hon. Mr. Bogalagama. This was the first time a foreign minister invited the Tamil Diaspora for direct talks in a 2 day conference organized in Colombo, for which we are very thankful. The Government listened to us, one to one, each with diverse opinions and we initiated a constructive dialogue.
This should have been done a long time ago and would have saved thousands of lives. We opened the door for further negotiation for anyone who wants to go and we will facilitate this to the best of our ability.
The talks were cordial and various matters were discussed including the rehabilitation of the IDPs, devolution, discrimination of Tamils by successive governments, safety of the people in the war zone, resettlement, medical aid etc., focussing on the immediate future of the Tamils.
We also met four other ministers and their secretaries, including the Basil Rajapakse, who elaborated at length about the rehabilitation of the East, which was impressive. Dr.Tissa Vithana spoke to us about devolution which was most encouraging. We also met some Tamil politicians but not the TNA who were conspicuously absent, and asked them to help the people in the North. We believe that the TNA must go to their electorates and help the IDPs, which is their responsibility.
When I met the foreign minister in October 2008 in Melbourne with Dr.Nadesan, I requested him to open up the roads and allow our IDPs to go anywhere they like to settle, which he agreed to in Colombo among other concessions, which will be elaborated in our website in due course by other members of our team.
We represented ourselves as individuals members of the Diaspora and seek nothing in return. I represented my forefathers and my father, the late C.Arunachalam. We hardly knew each other before we met in Colombo.
Since our mission was primarily to help the IDPs, I undertook urgent medical needs for the IDPs and met the Secretary Health Ministry on 30th March 2009, in keeping with my expertise, which was agreed to at the conference. We will do our best to help these people who have nothing left, except maybe there homes or land.
The government has given them shelter, food and some medical aid and now it is our turn to help, irrespective of our political affiliations. The government cannot do this alone, since they have to look after, the soldiers, as well. The news this week has not been good. We have lost more innocent lives and a generation of youth on both sides in this conflict, our own children - a tragedy indeed! We may be able to stop this by further negotiation, if the Tamil Diaspora all over the world are willing to do so now.
Here are the stats:-
* 60,000 IDPs in government welfare camps – more coming day by day- many injured or maimed
* 60,000 or more trapped in 20 sq Km in the “safety zone” under LTTE control (Peace Council)
* 14 IDP camps in Vavuniya (see table attached) – one was visited by some of us
* 1 camp in Ambepussa – 39 youth who surrendered – we saw it and were impressed
Urgent needs from Health Ministry:-
* Orthopaedics surgeons
* Physiotherapists & Occupational therapists
* Drugs and bandages (drugs approved by Ministry – are cheaper in SL)
* Cheddikullam hospital – equipment and doctors – instruments cheaper in SL
* Upgrade Mannar and Vavuniya hospitals
* Nurses and Counsellors
* Tents for refugees and doctors in camps
Sri Lankan, Indian and French doctors are already there plus 14 NGOs - local and international
Doctors need to work at least 1 month – security, transport in SL and house? will be provided.
So I appeal to all doctors and paramedics in the Diaspora – Tamil, Sinhalese, Burgher, Muslim and also Australians. We have to work closely with the Health Ministry and Sri Lankan doctors
Other needs for IDPs. These will be addressed by other members of our group eventually
* Food and nutrition
* Beds and sheets
* Schools, teachers, books
* Computers and CDs, DVDs, PPTs
Yes we can :-
* Sponsor a student or orphan in a school
* Sponsor a family for rehabilitation
* Rehab a whole village – build homes
* Ask your relatives in SL to give a home to a family – anywhere in Sri Lanka
* Contribute funds to ICRC or camps, churches, temples or open your bank account in SL
I urge the Tamil Diaspora and all Sri Lankans to come forward in the darkest hour of our tormented history. Don’t take a back seat now, politics apart. The IDPs of all communities need your support, now or never. They have suffered long enough. They are our own people – not so fortunate as we all are. They have to be resettled and cannot live in camps for the rest of their lives. This is their hour of greatest need. Please visit http://srilankan-diaspora.org/ for images of refugees and other information
We lived as one not so long ago, remember our school and university days and the free education we had? Lets work together to help our motherland and our peoples.
Arunachalam Henry Sathananthan Professor, Monash Immunolgy & Stem Cell Laboratories, Monash University
- ASian Tribune -
(excerpts from ) "The Sri Lankan Diaspora - dialogue for peace"
Bridge the trust deficit, a Tamil diaspora leader tells President Rajapaksa
mathiandvathanan1img_assist_customCopenhagen, 06 April, (Asiantribune.com):
‘My eldest brother must pave the way for the Tamils living abroad to come back and work for Sri Lanka’, Mathi Kumaraturai (38), a leader of the Tamil Diaspora from Denmark, told the Asian Tribune, saying ‘For me Sri Lanka President is my eldest brother. He must remove the trust deficit that is responsible for the ethnic divide in the country’.....
Even in the conference in Colombo, Government leaders avoided the existence of an ethnic issue in the country. They very tactfully gave prominence to fight against terrorism and once the battle to defeat the terrorists is over then they will endeavor to bring about solutions to issues confronting the Tamil community. They just simply lectured to us.......
But I wish to point it out to the President of Sri Lanka and the people of Sri Lanka that the Government without bringing a reasonable and acceptable solution to the issues affecting the Tamils, it will never get either my support or the support of the entire Tamil Community who are in Sri Lanka as well as from those like me living in foreign countries.......
No one should think that I am saying this with some ulterior motives. I just expressed, as a Tamil, the views of Tamils.....
We consider the President as an honest person. We observed that he wanted to solve the issues and win the hearts and minds of the people. Unfortunately he hasn’t got one right thinking Tamil man as his advisor to advice on the Tamils’ mentality......
It is unfortunate. All those surrounding him wanted to make him an uncrowned leader of Sinhalese, but they failed to advise him to be a Sri Lankan statesman. We are thankful to the President for making some portion of his address also in Tamil language in the last UN General Assembly......
I would not have addressed him as “Excellency”. Because as a President, I consider him as my “Elder Brother”. Therefore it is his bounden duty to treat the Tamils as his own brothers and sisters and win their minds and hearts.
He should understand that outside Sri Lanka there are thousands and thousands of Tamil who are professionals who can help him in building the country and also invest in the infrastructure of the country. These Tamil professionals are itching to come to Sri Lanka and build it with all the others. But it is the moral duty of the President, Government and the people of Sri Lanka to make these Tamils living abroad to feel that Sri Lank as their home."