First of all, I would like to thank everyone for responding to my post. By reading all the replies, it seems that some here do not understand the painful political struggle the Tamil people had to endure and believe that Tamils just picked up the weapons and went straight to the battle field against the Sri Lankan state. The reason the Canadian community has a lack of knowledge of the Tamil struggle is because the Tamil community has been always within its own circle and is also due to the lack of information that the Tamil community has passed on to the Canadian community. I have learned that it is important for us to work with the Canadian community to help bring awareness about the Tamil side's story.
Therefore, I would like to help you understand the Tamil struggle by directing everyone to the to the political struggle before the creation of the LTTE and the mandate on which LTTE functions and represents the Tamil people of the island of Ceylon (the people of Tamil Eelam):
Vaddukodai Resolution, 14 May 1976 (The document that spells out the creation of "Tamil Eelam")
Tamil United Liberation Front General Election Manifesto, July 1977
There are 24 in electorates in the Tamil homeland (Tamil Eelam) and TULF put this resolution as their election mandate and contested 22 electorates in the Tamil homeland. Out of that 22 they won 18 of them; all 14 in the Northern Province and 4 out of 8 in the Eastern Province. Out of the 24 electorates they did not contest 2 electorates (Amparai and Seruwila in the Eastern Province) because it was once a district with overwhelming majority of Tamils but that changed because of the state sponsored colonization, brutality of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, Sinhalese mobs success in chasing the Tamils out to create Sinhalese villages.
Also there were Independent candidates and other Tamil political organization that ran on a mandate of "A Separate Tamil State" and collected votes.
In all the Tamil people overwhelmingly voted for Tamil Eelam; a political aspiration that the Tamils expected to be recognized by Sri Lankan and the rest of the world. That was brushed under the carpet and violent acts on Tamil dramatically increased and they continued their peaceful protests and the Tamil youths were getting tired. The Tamil politicians started to crumble and were trying to compromise the Tamil people's democratic aspirations which would ignite the Tamil youths to do things that their parents couldn't have even imagined. Tamil youths started picking up arms and forming around 30 Tamil armed organizations, to which the Tamil people started to nurture and gave support in various forms. Sri Lanka using the Tamil armed groups as a pretext unleashed even greater violence on the Tamil people.
Here is a quote from one of the leaders of the armed group who was captured and given what I would consider an unfair trial:
"When the British government entrusted the fate of the Tamils to a group of Sinhala politicians, the Tamil people did not clamour for freedom for themselves. They did not suspect that they would in course of time be made second class citizens of this country. But some Tamil leaders did perceptively ask for bigger representation for the Tamils in the legislature. This was justified by later events when the plantation Tamils were deprived of their franchise. What the next 25 years saw was not only the erosion of Tamil rights but also the erosion of the Tamil homeland. For 25 years, the Tamil leaders expressed their protest in Parliament and outside, adopting the principles of ahimsa and satyagraha. But what happened?
In 1956 the Tamil leaders sat down to a peaceful protest on Galle Face Green. Sinhala thugs were unleashed on them. Later, in 1961, when the Tamil leaders and the Tamil people sat in peaceful satyagraha in front of the Jaffna Kacheri, the Sri Lanka army did not fail to react with inhumane violence.
In which chapter of your long history of democracy are you going to incorporate these events? Not one, not two, but there have been a continuing series of thuggery and violence inflicted on the Tamil people over a period of 25 years. How many chapters will you need to record this 25 year villainy? How many Tamils have been robbed of both their lives and their material wealth? There have been Tamil women whose chastity has been offended in the very presence of their family members.
Tamil cultural wealth preserved for generations has been put to flames. What a mockery to think that these could be compensated by a few lakhs of rupees! Have all these acts of hurt and humiliation made the Tamil people lose their determination? Have they gone back on their ideals? These acts of hurt and humiliation have only strengthened their resolve. We have never missed an opportunity to make the Sri Lanka government conscious of our mind. Twice in two elections the Tamil people have recently re stated their aspirations......"
"...Allegations are made that we are asking for separation, that we are trying to divide the country. When were we undivided after all? Our traditional land captured by the European invaders has never been restored to us. We have not even mortgaged our land at any time to anyone in the name of one country. Our land has changed hands off and on under various regimes, and that is what has happened. We have yet to reach a stage when we can have our land for ourselves.
What we ask for is not division but freedom. Why we ask this is not because of narrow thinking. What we hope to achieve is not only the emancipation of the Tamil people but the greater good of the Sinhalese people themselves. Why? Because, thereafter, the so-called Tamil problem will cease to be a livelihood for opportunist Sinhalese politicians. That will provide a chance for the Sinhalese people to free themselves from the political, social and economic shackles that bind them today and realize where their true slavery lies...."
"...To those noble souls who keep on prating "terrorism, terrorism" we have something to say. Did you not get frightened of terrorism when hundreds of Tamils were massacred in cold blood, when racist hate spread like fire in this country of yours? Did terrorism mean nothing to you when Tamil women were raped? When cultural treasures were set on fire? When hundreds and hundreds of Tamil homes were looted? Why in 1977 alone 400 Tamils lost their lives reddening the sky above with their splattered blood - did you not see any terrorism then? Did your thoughts and feelings become deadened when it concerned Tamil lives and Tamil property or are your minds unable to conceive the very idea of Tamil suffering?.."
- Nadarajah Thangathurai's Statement from the Dock, 1 March 1983
What happened to him?
Him and other accused were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on 24 February 1983. In July 1983, whilst their appeal to the Supreme Court was pending, Nadarajah Thangathurai, Selvarajah Yogachandran, Devan, Sivapatham, and Nadesudasan were murdered in a high security prison in Welikade whilst in the custody of the Sri Lankan government. They will always be remembered as national heroes by the people of Tamil Eelam.
This is what the president of Sri Lanka had to say during the pogrom of Black July 1983:
"I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy."
- President J.R.Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph, July 1983 (http://www.blackjuly.info/quotestext.html)
Violence continued on the Tamil people, the support for the youths and their numbers increased. Eventually LTTE would emerge to dominate because they proven themselves and were not willing to compromise the democratic aspiration of the Tamil people (that is why when they took out other Tamil armed groups and Tamil politicians, Tamil people turned around covering their eyes because they realized that they need one voice and political drama with Sinhalese politicians will eventually end up killing everyone).
The major problem that the international community has with the LTTE is the adopting of suicide bombing to target specific military targets and economic targets. Yes, I and other Tamils do see that as a problem but it was a necessary evil in order to challenge the might of the Sri Lankan state violence but the international community should realize that it was their fault in pushing the LTTE to such tactics. They would have not adopted it if someone else came and told Sri Lanka to respect the Tamil people and to find a solution, but no one did and LTTE were left to deal with the Sri Lankan state. Even now they would disarm their suicide unit if international community got together and manned the borders of Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka.
Right now, more violence and inhumane treatment of the Tamil people still continues and the Tamil people's quest for freedom is unchanged.
This is the reason why I tell my friends not to call me Sri Lankan, just call me Tamil. The Sri Lankan identity is a forced identity upon me that I do not recognize and neither did my parents.