Tamils Send SOS to Obama and Clinton, Ask U.S. to Intervene in Sri Lanka's Genocidal Civil War

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A petition signed by over 144,000 people world-wide pleads with Obama and Clinton to intervene in the genocidal Sri Lankan civil war. The government's recent victories are a threat to those Tamils who remain in Sri Lanka, they believe. They also ask the U.S. to reconsider its position regarding the Tamil Tigers.

Tamils all over the world have urged Obama and Clinton to demand an immediate stop to the genocidal war in Sri Lanka. Tamils for Obama, a political action group of Tamil Americans, has distributed a petition pleading for this prompt halt. The petition has been signed by over 144,000 people world-wide, and is still gathering signatures.

Tamils for Obama has notified both the president and secretary of state of the petition, and hopes to be allowed to present it to them in person.

The continuing violence in Sri Lanka and the government's apparent determination to crush both the separatist Tamil Tigers and the Tamil minority cause persistent worry among Tamils.

In the multi-ethnic state of Sri Lanka, the armed forces, which consist exclusively of ethnic Singhalese troopers, treat the rest of the population as enemies in conquered territories.     Well-meaning foreign dignitaries (the UN's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, among others) urged that the hundreds of thousands of civilians who are trapped in areas still controlled by the Tamil Tigers be allowed to gather in safe zones. This ignores the fact that "safe zones" are often bombarded by Sri Lankan armed forces using multi-launch rockets similar to Russian "Katyushas" (supplied by Pakistan and China and financed by Iran) and Russian-made cluster bombs. "Safe zones" are not safe, but prove to be another method for continuing the genocide.

Tamils in Sri Lanka compare their situation to that of Jews in Germany in the 1930s, Tutsis in Rwanda in the 1990s, East Timorians in Indonesia in the 1990s, and the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes in Darfur now. They want an immediate stop to the killings of Tamils.

Tamils note that while the Tamil Tigers were included among the Bush administration's "war on terror" enemies, they believe that the inclusion was a mistake. While the Tigers are admittedly sometimes terrorists--after all, they invented suicide bombing--they only did so after decades of systematic government terror. (Government-inspired nation-wide race riots, disappearances, wide-spread land grabbing and displacement of Tamils, murders by government-trained paramilitaries, make up only a partial list of government provocations.) The Tamil Tigers faced a well organized and well funded, merciless, and (in the eyes of the world) legitimate government. The Tigers used the means and weapons they had at hand to protect the Tamil population.

Tamils for Obama notes that none of the Tigers' actions were ever directed at outsiders, and certainly never at the U.S. Some Indians blamed the Tigers for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi, who was prime minister of India when the Indian army invaded Sri Lanka. Thousands of Tamils died in the fighting that followed this invasion. The Tigers' involvement in Rajiv Gandhi's killing was never proven and the Tigers never claimed they did it.

Tamils for Obama says that they believe that the Tamil Tigers are not and never were an enemy of the United States, and should be recognized as a legitimate resistance movement against a murderous and abusive central government. They also note that the Tigers have no ideology except protection of the Tamils from their own Sri Lankan government, and consequently have no grievances with foreigners.

Tamils world-wide, including Tamils for Obama, are worried by the recent string of victories by government forces in Sri Lanka. They fear that if the Tigers are defeated, there will be nothing holding back the ethnic ambitions of the Singhalese majority government. Tamils for Obama reports that they have already heard of promises to distribute more land once owned by Tamils to ethnic Singhalese, and they fear for the lives of the estimated 250,000 Tamils in lands still held by the Tigers.

Tamils are an ethnic group living mainly in the northeast of Sri Lanka and southern India. They are a minority population in Sri Lanka, and are currently bearing the brunt of a civil war they regard as genocide. One third of the Tamil population has fled the island and formed a substantial diaspora overseas. Tamils for Obama is comprised of Tamils who have settled in the U.S. or who were born in the U.S.

To contact the group, call at (617) 765- 4394 and speak to, or leave a message for, the Communication Director, Tamils for Obama.

Tamils for Obama


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