The Tamil youth creating a new future

The crisis in Sri Lanka and the government’s role in causing mass carnage against the Tamils is now well known. Australia is not immune from the crisis.

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.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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