This long Financial Times essay on the Tamil Diaspora in the UK heralds a new generation determined to continue the struggle for an independent Tamil homeland or at least meaningful autonomy. Many similar groups exist across the world, including Australia:
Bala Muhunthan has that high-class hip-hop look: Dolce & Gabbana jeans, tight polo shirt, chunky silver ID tags worn as pendants and an ever-present, ever-beeping BlackBerry. Privately educated in Denmark and the UK, the 22-year-old lives in London and attends a leading business school. Muhunthan spends his weekend nights at members’ bars or parties in Mayfair. Saturday afternoons, he plays golf or football with his friends. “I love London. I love the fast life,” he says.
But at the start of April, Muhunthan took a step outside the fast life: alongside thousands of fellow Sri Lankan Tamils, he stood in front of the Houses of Parliament, demanding a ceasefire in Buddhist Sri Lanka’s bloody offensive against Hindu Tamil separatists, which was reaching a violent climax after 25 years of on-off fighting. To Londoners accepting pamphlets from the protesters – whose actions were replicated over the following weeks in Paris and New York – it may have seemed a clear-cut case of might versus right. But the Tamil struggle for an independent state in Sri Lanka has been spearheaded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – deemed by the west to be one of the world’s most sophisticated terrorist groups.