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Nov-27-2013 15:00printcommentsVideo

Tamil Tigers Honored on Maaverar Naal Heroes Day in Tamil Eelam

It became a tradition in the LTTE to pay tribute to all the cadre's contributions to the movement on this day.

Tamil Heroes Day
Courtesy: tamilnewsnetwork.com

(SACRAMENTO) - The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers, were defeated in May 2009 but their spirit is honored each year on 27th November 2009, Heroes Day in Tamil Eelam.

Heroes Day (Tamil: Maaverar Naal) in the Sri Lankan breakaway state of Tamil Eelam recalls the incredible sacrifice of the Tamil Tigers, a military group formed to defend the Tamil people in the north and east of this island nation from a government set on establishing a Sinhala Buddhist nation. The LTTE staved off the establishment of "Sinhalazation" of the Tamil areas which is taking place in the wake of the war, one that ended as a Genocide.

After achieving independence from Great Britain, Sri Lankan Tamils spent 30 years relying on democratically elected Tamil leaders who protested against oppression through non-violent, democratic and peaceful means. The Tamil people wanted freedom and equal rights, and they did not want the government to erode or eliminate their language and culture. The demands of Tamil people were met with military repression and state terrorism. Sri Lanka made promises that it failed to keep.

Eventually the Tamils had no choice but to fight fire with fire. This manifested in the form of a bloody and tragic revolutionary struggle. Tamil Eelam emerged and demanded secession at the 1977, Parliamentary elections. The Tamils easily passed a mandate creating the state of Tamil Eelam.

Yet Sri Lankan only continued its repression, increasingly employing state terrorism and flagrant violations of human rights. The prominent Tamil media group TamilNet wrote, "It is this brutalisation that led the Tamils to take up arms to defend themselves." 1

The first Tamil Tiger killed in combat was Lt Sathiyanathan, alias Shankar, who was also known as Suresh. He was killed 27 November 1982.

It became a tradition in the LTTE to pay tribute to all the cadre's contributions to the movement on this day.

Sri Lanka Outlaws Hero Day for Tamil Tigers

Many victors respect those they defeated in war. American Vietnam Vets are particularly quick sometimes in complimenting the fighting skills of the Viet Cong, or "VC" as they were known during the Vietnam War.

But rather than allowing people to express their pride and memories regarding LTTE, the police in Colombo announced Monday that it was illegal to gather, protest or demonstrate for the Tamil Tigers’ Heroes Day, Khaleej Times reports today. They quote Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran saying, "We strongly oppose moves to prevent families in the North (of Sri Lanka) from commemorating Heroes’ Day on Wednesday."

The TNA argues that there is no existing law in Sri Lanka banning the public from commemorating their dead relatives, children and parents. "The armed forces do not have the authority to implement such laws," Premachandran said2.

Black July

A song about the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka...
'Depression' by Agron Belica from the Salem-News.com Newsic Revolution album

If Sri Lanka had allowed the political process for Tamils to work, there never would have been an LTTE. It is true that their actions at times were hazardous to Sri Lankan civilians, but Sinhalese mobs murdered Tamils by the thousand. Take for example, the event known as "Black July".

On 27 July 1983, people were burned alive in their cars, stripped naked. Women were raped. In Colombo and provincial towns, soldiers stood by and even supplied petrol. In two pogroms in the biggest prison, Sinhalese inmates killed 53 of their Tamil counterparts.

This round of Buddhist violence against innocent Tamil civilians began after the Tamil Tigers had a firefight with the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and killed less than twenty SLA soldiers. Buddhist mobs stormed homes and businesses of Sri Lankan Tamils; destroying and killing everything they laid their hands on. More than 3000 human beings had their lives stolen. They were raped, burned, and treated with absolute disregard to their humanity.

In 2004, the previous President Chandrika Kumaratunga gave a public apology to Tamils for Black July, likening it to Nazism.

Terrorism and Child Soldiers

It is true that Tamil Tigers were the first to use a suicide bomb. This was a dark act of desperation against a better funded government army. The Sri Lankan Army would later trap Tamil Tigers and civilians in so-called "No-Fire Zones" and bomb them indiscriminately, killing far more than the LTTE ever did.

The group also used child soldiers, a decision that never sat well with the international community. However through studies and interviews, it has been explained to me that until the very end, it was a great honor for a youth to be selected as part of the LTTE. The child soldier is part of the legacy of the Tigers.

In the end it is a lesson in world militarism and politics. The Tamils needed to have their voices heard at certain critical times and the world did not hear their pleas for equality and mercy. The Tamil Tigers, right or wrong, under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran (Tamil: வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன்) were the only answer for defending this desperate group of people, one of the oldest cultures on this planet, the Tamils. Their martyrs died selflessly defending a population that only accounts for about 18% of Sri Lanka. They believed in their cause and it was a cause for freedom.

Finally, for clarification, Sri Lankan and Indian media tend to cite that Heroes Day is celebrated on the birthday of LTTE leader Prabhakaran, and his Heroes Day speech is his birthday speech. This is not correct, the confusion is based in the fact that Prabhakaran's birthday is on 26 November.

1 Sri Lanka's Independence Day- a Black Day for Tamil Eelam

2 Khaleej Times - Tamil party protests against ban on celebrating ‘War Heroes’ day

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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:

Nov-03-2013: New Video of Sexually Assaulted and Murdered Captive Tamil Reporter is Bad News for Sri Lanka

May-19-2013: California Residents Observe Sri Lankan Tamil Genocide

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 115 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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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.