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Apr-20-2013 14:50printcomments

Ragged Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees Spend Weeks in Boat Before Reaching Australia

They were fleeing a oppressive occupation that carries out terrible acts against Hindu and Christian Tamils with no fear of reprisal.

Tamil boat refugees
Courtesy: Colombo Gazette

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Sri Lankan President Majinda Rajapakse frequently discusses the success of his nation in the post war time. However those successes, if they truly exist, have little to do with the minority Tamil Hindus and Christians who were slaughtered en mass by their government in the closing months of the country's civil war.

Proof of the Tamil's suffering made a showing in recent days in Australia, as revealed by G Pramod Kumar in the Eelam News article, Mr. Rajapaksa, If All's Well in Your Country, Why are the Tamils Fleeing?

    Last week Australian authorities were shocked to see that a boat with 66 ragged Sri Lankan Tamils, many of them women and children, sailed into Geraldton port in Western Australia without being noticed by border patrols or intelligence agencies.

They were fleeing an oppressive occupation that subjects Tamils to Human Rights violations with no fear of reprisal. Tamils are one of the oldest cultures on earth. The Indian state of Tamil Nadu and northern Sri Lanka are believed to have once been connected together by a land bridge. I discussed this idea at length at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Maryland last July, and the various Tamil political figures, journalists, activists and authors share the belief that the land bridge once allowed people to easily walk from India to Sri Lanka. Regardless, a boat journey is required to reach India today and even the shorter distance trip poses many hazards.

Prof. V. Suryanarayan, former director of the Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Madras, addressed this subject in the 18th April 2013 Eurasia Review article, Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees: Travails Of Asylum Seeking:

    When the Sri Lankan Tamils were coming to India as refugees on a large scale, they had to trek long distances, pay huge amounts to boat operators in order to reach Rameshwaram. The suffering of the refugees became evident when a boat carrying them capsized in the Palk Strait and 165 Tamils were drowned in February 1997. The refugees were willing to take all risks because their life was in danger in Sri Lanka and they were sure that they could lead a life of safety in Tamil Nadu.


The fact that the refugees were fleeing to Australia rather than nearby India, underscores the tedious relationship between the two countries. While many students and activists are calling for a thorough, independent investigation of Sri Lanka's war crimes, other Indians, Tamils among them, are less sympathetic. India needs to take note.

The Tamils were putting distance between themselves and their bloody homeland, where a conflict raged for almost 30 years, between Tamil separatists and the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). It all came to a grueling close in May of 2009 when the GoSL began exterminating civilians with no distinction.

Tamil civilians were deceived by the Sri Lankan army, and ordered into so-called 'no fire zones' where they were then attacked with artillery, with impunity. Casualty estimates include up to 147,000+ killed, that data comes from the Catholic Church in Manaar, Sri Lanka, where clergy members lead a perilous existence.

The UN and others place the number around 40k but they are working with the GoSL in arriving at that figure. Tamils who survived the bloody months leading up to the summer of 2009, see those figures as a sick and twisted joke.

Kumar cites that the Australians’ astonishment was limited to the breach of border-security. What authorities didn't focus on, was the desperation of the refugees in the rickety boat who were willing to risk their lives and travel several weeks at sea to escape their homeland. That is a big statement about any nation.

Prof. V. Suryanarayan writes that the notion of Sri Lankan refugees fleeing to Australia is nothing new. He says middle-men will paint a rosy picture of Australia, they tell desperate Tamils that asylum is easy, and job opportunities are good for qualified people. They're also told they can become Australian citizens within two years. Suryanarayan describes these cock and bull stories, those taking advantage know the refugees want to settle down in a developed country. They liquidate their precious family savings; heirloom gold ornaments... and hand it over to the agents.

    The educated among them have few job opportunities in Tamil Nadu and the living conditions in the camps are not satisfactory. So they easily fall prey to touts, who paint a bright future for them if they reach the shores of Australia.

Why Tamils Flee Sri Lanka

World leaders should not be too quick to believe the GoSL's propaganda about working with Tamils. Most of the former breakaway state of Tamil Eelam is heavily occupied with military forces.

Rape, sex abuse, enforced disappearances, murder... these are the trademark of Sinhalese Buddhist oppression of Tamils, and the sex crimes, which we have written about extensively, continue to be daily realities of Sri Lankan Tamils. Those who served in the Tamil Tigers or LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) were dealt with harshly, so badly in fact that the tactics of Sri Lanka take fear and horror to all new levels.

Author Roma Tearne, who contributes articles to Salem-News.com, is a native Sri Lankan living in the UK who uniquely, is half Tamil and half Sinhalese. She wrote the article, Rani's Story on 1st March 2013 for Salem-News.com. Roma's article will make your heart tremble, it is about the acts of revenge unleashed against one young woman who dared to be part of an established military resistance.


This is an excerpt:

    Rani’s story is medieval in its savage retribution. It is a story of innocence, idealism, and betrayal in a time of civil war. One that is repeated again and again in Sri Lanka. To its shame the country has collectively mastered the art of camouflaging its horrendous crimes, bussing in western tourists to its golden beaches and fronting a campaign of faux-peace.

The camouflage protection is wearing thin. Sri Lanka has been under increasing scrutiny; the national leaders did not anticipate the amount of evidence that would be accrued and distributed from their massive ethnic cleansing program. I am including links to my past articles about Sri Lanka's war crimes against the Tamils, much of it is gut wrenching, the images are unimaginable, but very important.

One can only imagine the circumstances these Tamil boat people were trying to escape. In his article, G Pramod Kumar suggests that these 66 Tamils must be more desperate than the north African refugees who are often washed ashore in Malta and Italy. The Buddhist GoSL by all accounts is a government guilty of countless war crimes that lacks the ability to govern itself within the boundaries of international law. The world is coming to understand the Tamil tragedy, and increasingly comprehending the vast savagery that a single Asian country can inflict upon its own citizens.

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View Tim's articles published on Salem-News.com chronologically

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Tim King's previous Salem-News.com reports on Sri Lanka:

Mar-06-2013 SRI LANKA: Still Drenched With the Blood of Ethnic Cleansing and War Crimes.

Mar-03-2013: Black Flag Day in Tamil Nadu Expresses Solidarity with Eelam Tamils

Feb-23-2013: The War Crime Sri Lanka Can't Hide

Jan-22-2013: Sri Lanka's Continued Attempt to Murder a Minority Culture

Jan-17-2013: Special Feature: A Spark of Unity for Sri Lanka?

Jan-15-2013: Frederica Jansz Interview Reveals Shocking Danger Facing Sri Lankan Journalists

Nov-21-2012: Why Did Sri Lanka Kill So Many Children?

Sep-29-2012: Tamil Militants in Prison in Sri Lanka - Are They Still Alive?

Aug-26-2012: Shining Light on Sri Lanka's Dirty Secret: the Disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda

Jul-30-2012: Blindness Sweeps Large Parts of Sri Lanka

Jul-20-2012: Why Are Buddhists Committing Genocide Again?

Jul-17-2012: Tamil Voices Growing Louder Over Sri Lanka War Crimes and Nepotism

Jul-11-2012: US Media's Role in the Silent Death of Sri Lanka's Tamils - Political Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com

Jul-09-2012: Significant Honor With Tamils from Around the Globe for Sri Lanka War Crime Reports

Jul-01-2012: Did a Ghost Crawl Inside My Laptop?

Jun-24-2012: Sri Lanka Can't Deny This... Disturbing Video Proves Sri Lanka Army Committed War Crimes

Jun-21-2012: New War Crime Videos Surface from Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide

Jun-10-2012: UN Targets Reporter Who Criticized Sri Lanka War Crime Suspect

Jun-08-2012: Captive, Handcuffed and Dying... 'Brutal' and 'Shocking' Describe Newly Released Sri Lanka War Crime Images

May-07-2012: Sri Lankan Buddhist Mobs Call for Mosque Demolition

Apr-27-2012: Big Trouble for Sri Lanka: UN Has Cluster Bomb Evidence from Northern Province

Apr-12-2012: Carpetbaggers in Sri Lanka: Traitors Terrorize Northern Tamils

Apr-10-2012: Sri Lanka: Genocide and Poor Toilet Training

Mar-23-2012 UN Warns Sri Lanka Against Retaliating Toward Humanitarian Activists

Mar-22-2012: White Flags, White Vans and White Lies? A Closer Look at the Death of Colonel Ramesh

Mar-18-2012: Is Google Earth Hiding Sri Lanka's Ghosts?

Mar-15-2012: Channel-4 Documentary Proves Sri Lanka Committed War Crimes

Mar-11-2012: War Crime Court and its Conflicting Interests

Mar-02-2012: A Very Uncivil War - Ghastly Images- Gross Detail and Denial of Sri Lanka's Genocide

Mar-01-2012: RSF Appeals to UNHRC to Denounce Sri Lanka Over Curbing Media Freedom

Feb-28-2012: Americans Praise Sri Lankan Politicians who Orchestrated Genocide

Feb-28-2012: Tweets from Tamil Eelam

Feb-24-2012: Two of Sri Lanka's Foulest War Crimes

Feb-19-2012: Will Another Documentary on Sri Lanka's Genocide Impact the Geneva Human Rights Session?

Feb-08-2012: The Questionable Effectiveness of Lighting Yourself on Fire

Feb-03-2012: Sri Lanka's Independence Day- a Black Day for Tamil Eelam

Jan-11-2012: While UN Claims Zero Tolerance, No Discipline of Sri Lankan Abusers in Haiti

Dec-28-2011: Why Was a Red Cross Manager on Vacation from Gaza Murdered in Sri Lanka?

Nov-24-2011: Fear, Genocide and Torture in Sri Lanka

Nov-21-2011: London Calling: Time for Sri Lanka's Release of Post-Conflict Report

Nov-11-2011: Ode to a Humble Hero of Sri Lanka: Dr Brian Senewiratne

Oct-15-2011: Genocide 101: World and Media Apathy

Oct-08-2011: Sri Lanka Joins Israel in Naval Attacks on Unarmed Fishermen

Oct-05-2011: War and its Aftermath... a Real Killer for Tourism

Oct-01-2011: Sri Lanka in the Crosshairs of Canadian Parliament

Sep-13-2011: Sri Lanka Recalls Diplomat Accused of War Crimes

Aug-31-2011: 'No Song and Dance' Over Sri Lanka War Crime Admissions

Jul-25-2011: Former Sri Lanka President's Children 'Reacted With Anguish' to Tamil Genocide Program

Jul-22-2011: M.I.A. - A Beautiful Reflection of the Besieged Tamils of Sri Lanka

Jul-17-2011: 44 Prisoners Join Hunger Strike at Vavuniya Prison in Sri Lanka

Jul-14-2011: The Bush Administration's Role in Sri Lanka's Tamil Genocide

Jul-13-2011: Fields Should be for Sports, not Genocide... Sri Lanka

Jun-29-2011: Sri Lanka Continues Genocide, Thumbing Nose at UN and World

Jun-20-2011: Sri Lanka's Violence Toward Tamil Minority Continues

Jun-18-2011: 'International Day in Support of Victims of Torture'Remember the Tamil Genocide

Jun-17-2011: European Tourists Waylaid in Sri Lanka, Resurgence of 'White Van' Crime

Jun-15-2011: Tamil Genocide Explored in Sri Lanka's Killing Fields

Jun-02-2011: UN Experts: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide Video is Real

May-31-2011: New Song 'Depression' - Graphic Truth of Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide

May-31-2011: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide: Killing the Messenger

May-03-2011: Confronting the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka

Apr-27-2011: Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka Emerges Into Public View

Apr-22-2011: World Ignores Genocide of Sri Lanka's Tamil Population

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Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com.

Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)

With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.

Tim King reporting from the war in Iraq

Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu

In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.

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