Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Iron Curtains in Toronto

Iron Curtains in Toronto is by Bandula Jayasekara- Sri Lanka’s Consul General for Toronto and it was published in a Sri Lankan daily: 'The Daily Mirror' - 19/02/2009

Why do people take wings to another country? Because they think they could better their lives, integrate with others and live peacefully. They all come in search of a new beginning. But, what happens when those dreams are shattered and they have to some time live like slaves, live with fear and intimidation. What happens when most of them are allowed to integrate with others but, are forced to listen to lies and terrorist propaganda and even their children born here are forced to hate other communities and brainwashed.

That is what has happened to most of our Sri Lankan Tamil brothers and sisters living in Toronto. We all know that they are cultured people and they know the value of education. But, they are not allowed to have their free will and live the way they want to. Most of them are bombarded with Tamil hatred Tiger propaganda with hundreds of newspapers, radio and television channels and websites. They are separated from others. Though we have proudly shared the Sinhala/Tamil New Year for several centuries the Tamil Tigers/supporters are trying to remove the word Sinhala here. Earlier members of the Sri Lankan community had got together annually to have a day of fun at the Wonderland in Toronto. The LTTE terrorists had successfully divided that too using threats and intimidation. It is very sad how they have failed to learn the Canadian values of sharing and Canadian multiculturalism even after 25 years. How could one community be harassed like this by supporters of terrorism in a Western democracy? How come they are forced to close their shops and other work places to ‘celebrate’ the birthday of a terrorist leader who is wanted for the killing of the grandson of Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and thousands of innocent people and wanted by the Interpol? How come they don’t respect Canada the same way and close shops on Canada Day, questioned a Sri Lankan Tamils who face harassment by them.

Reports say that nearly 8000 former LTTE terrorists are here in Canada, mainly Toronto. It is time they stop even small scale threats to others even now because they have left their guns and cyanide capsules behind.

Though the media here identify the LTTE as Tamil Tigers, I do not like to use the word Tamil to describe this terrorist organization though I have no choice at times. It is because by using the word Tamil, it brings disgrace to innocent, respected and peace loving Tamils living in Sri Lanka and all over the world. It is time we look for a new word to describe them.


When the Sri Lankan cricket team was in Toronto, a so called community newspaper described by many as supportive/sympathetic to the terrorists had its photo caption “Tamils protest against Sri Lankan cricket team” It hurt the sentiments of innocent Sri Lankan Tamils living in Toronto because most of them defied the orders of terrorist supporters and cheered for the Sri Lankan team. Cricket is a religion in Sri Lanka and a game that bonds. Our Sri Lankan Tamils were hurt that terrorist supporters tried to break that bond. My table of twelve at the gala dinner had six Sri Lankan Tamils. They are true Sri Lankans with no malice.

Sinhala, Muslim, Malay, Burgher and our Sri Lankan Tamil brothers and sisters who had defied the LTTE terrorists are saddened that many Sri Lankan Tamils are harassed here and they are forced to part even with the little money they earn here. One person, I met at the Temple told me “We all are working hard to make a living here. But, I am sad that our Tamil brothers and sisters have to give even from that small amount they earn to these terrorists.” Most of them are coming out in the open without fear after the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper banned the LTTE and the WTM as terrorist organizations. However, many of them are still scared to come to the open for fear of threats from the LTTE terrorists.

Dreams do come true

We as Sri Lankans with the help of Canadians are trying hard to bring people together, bring them out of the terror caves of the LTTE terrorists and their supporters here. The task is hard here than back home, because of the damage the terrorist supporters have done and the hatred they have created among young children who were born here. They have never seen Sri Lanka but brainwashed heavily under the winds of democracy in Canada. Do you think there is a worse crime than brainwashing innocent children? That too whilst living in a country which practices multiculturalism.

We believe that terrorists can shed their stripes. Once a terrorist does not always have to remain a terrorist. It is not impossible. Sri Lanka proved to the world by bringing the second in command of the LTTE terrorists, Karuna to the parliament and man others to the democratic path.

Our dream here is to bring all Sri Lankans together. Many dreams do come true

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