Michelle Obama Asked to Help Tamil Women in Northeastern Sri Lanka

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The Singhalese-dominated government of Sri Lanka has been engaged in a “structural genocide” of the Tamils ever since the British left in 1948, says Tamils for Obama. The sexual oppression of Tamil women in the northeast is the latest part of this genocide, and Tamils for Obama asks Mrs. Obama to use her influence to take action to stop it.

‘We think that the abuse of Tamil women in northeastern Sri Lanka is not just a tactic of war, but is part of what we consider the structural genocide practiced by Sri Lanka against the Tamil culture.”

“The Sri Lankan government has been running a structural genocide of the Tamils ever since the British left in 1948,” said a press spokesman for Tamils for Obama. “The sexual violence against Tamil women in northeastern Sri Lanka is just the latest form it has taken.

“We sent Mrs. Obama a letter asking her to give the world a push, and see if there is a way to stop this persecution of the Tamils, and especially of the poor and powerless Tamil women in the northeast.”

The request was made in a letter sent to Mrs. Obama last weekend.

“We said ‘Tamil women are suffering in northeastern Sri Lanka. There are over 90,000 Tamil widows (and 50,000 orphans) living in this area,’” the spokesman went on. “These widows have no money to live on. They do not have any food to eat, or any hope of making their lives any better. They are frantic, and to survive and provide for themselves and their children, they will do almost anything.

“The Sri Lankan army knows this,” said the spokesman. “They exploit these desperate Tamil women. The soldiers offer food in exchange for sex, and then they may hold on to the food anyway. It is a way of demeaning and humiliating the Tamils.”

In their letter, Tamils for Obama explained that “This is the latest string of events in a process that began in 1948, when the British empire left Ceylon. The Singhalese majority took over the government, and used their control to oppress their ancient, resented enemies on the island, the Tamils. There were government-inspired and government-led anti-Tamil riots in 1956, 58, 77, 81 and 83. The civil war, probably inevitable by then, followed the 1983 riots.

“We then told Mrs. Obama that ‘The war ended in 2009, when the Singhalese army massacred an unknown number of Tamil civilians (the UN now says 80,000). UK Channel 4 reported that thousands of young Tamil women (nobody knows how many) were captured during and after the fighting or removed from displaced persons camps. According to channel 4, these young women were raped and then murdered.’

“The widows are in a terrible situation,” the spokesman said. “We told Mrs. Obama in our letter that ‘When the Tamil women go to the authority (which means the army) to ask what has happened to their men they place themselves in the role of supplicant, and the soldiers demand payment in sex. The soldiers roam Tamil villages and rape women at will. Staying at home offers the widows no protection, as the soldiers enter and leave the houses whenever they wish. It is no surprise that many of these women are losing their minds.’

“Those Sri Lankan soldiers are animals, or so we think,” said the spokesman. “Here is what we wrote to Mrs. Obama: ‘Along with the subjugation of the powerless and penniless Tamil women of northeastern Sri Lanka, as Tamil MPs reported to UNHCR in March 2012, the Sri Lankan army has snatched many Tamil women and used them as “comfort women” in army brothels.

“The Sri Lankan military makes a habit of this,” the spokesman observed. “We mentioned that the Sri Lankan troops in the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti were accused of multiple sex crimes against children and sent home, according to a UN News Centre report of November 2, 2007.

“Then we quoted Secretary of State Clinton, who said, at the UN , ’We've seen rape used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, Burma and Sri Lanka and elsewhere.’ The Tamils for Obama spokesman added ‘We think that the abuse of Tamil women in northeastern Sri Lanka is not just a tactic of war, but is part of what we consider the structural genocide practiced by Sri Lanka against the Tamil culture.”

The letter ends “We hope you will be as appalled by this as we are, and use your influence to get the US and the world to take action to stop it.”

To see the letter, Click Here.

Tamils for Obama is a politically active group of Tamil Americans. We supported Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama in the Democratic primary and US general election in 2008. We believe that over 70,000 Tamil civilians were massacred during the last weeks of the Sri Lankan civil war. We have watched the behavior of the Sri Lankan Singhalese victors after the war, and we strongly conclude that Tamils in Sri Lanka will only be safe when this unfortunate island is divided into two states.

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

Email: info(at)TamilsforObama(dot)com

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