peacestrike | 17.06.2009 22:00 | Repression
simon hughes mp listens to tamils in the square this evening
a last gathering after an 11 week protest
Let's March To Save our People!
Saturday, 20 June 2009
in Central London
Starts at 1pm from Hyde Park Corner - Park Lane
(Nearest Stations: Hyde Park Corner / Marble Arch)
Ends at Temple - Embankment
We feel very strongly about the on-going Tamil protest, now entering its 11th week of occupation at Parliament Square.
It is the most extraordinary campaign we have ever witnessed, and the protesters have behaved in a truly exemplary manner. Against all the odds, they have become a powerful movement. Of all the groups to enter the square and challenge the Government directly, these people would have been very easy to dismiss as too quiet, too nice and therefore ineffective. How wrong that would have been! All who have been involved in their campaign can only marvel at these truly amazing people.
They originally came last summer as a small unnoticeable group, who wanted to highlight the impending genocide. They wanted support from our Government and to raise awareness. They got very little if no attention.
Just before the Genocide they exploded into this huge movement of 200,000 plus! On the 11th of April 2009, they marched through central London in a peaceful manner with no arrests. There was very little mainstream media coverage. They flew their national flag without incident.
On the 6th April they filled up the whole of Parliament Square to bursting point, over-spilled, and blocked the road overnight, sealing off Westminster Bridge. This was the start of their remarkable 24hr on-going occupation of Parliament Square that was to break the mould in modern day protesting.
"We want ceasefire!
We want ceasefire!
When do we want it...NOW!”
The volume was deafening to the ear, they were so passionate and distressed.
The weather was very cold! Parliament was away on Easter Holiday. No Ministers were available to hear their pleas. Civil servants did hear, but could do nothing.
They had to wait patiently for two weeks for Parliament to return. Emails were sent out to all concerned so that urgent meetings could be set up.
Two Tamil Students were on 'Hunger Strike Till Death'. A political crisis was building up, but no Ministers came.
On Monday April 20th the Government returned. By now events in Sri Lanka were unfolding into a humanitarian crisis. The Tamils in desperation, over-spilled the square and blocked the road outside Parliament, and then closed Westminster Bridge from 08.45 till midnight!
The grass area of the square was then fenced off in a desperate bid to get rid of the Tamils, however it backfired because of the sheer volume of protesters who had no where to go. We contacted the Genocide All Party Group in the Houses of Parliament in order to get help and setup an urgent meeting...we were told on the phone that they "weren't interested"
The war has now come to an end and the Sri Lankan Government has declared victory over the Tamil Tigers Of Tamil Eelam. Surprisingly, the Sri Lankan Government only officially classified the Tamil Tigers as 'Terrorists' last June 2008, just before their planned genocide.
The Tamil Protesters were now expected to leave the Square and return to their normal lives, this is what was hoped..... However, they are refusing to leave the square until the Government, the United Nations and the International Relief Agencies give firm reassurances that food and medicine is going into war torn Sri Lanka to help the Tamil victims of genocide.
Nearly all the Tamil protesters have lost family in the conflict. Many have lost over 20 relatives and more.
The number of Tamils slaughtered in the Genocide could eventually be near 100,000. The problem now is that the Genocide continues......up to 300,000 civilians, young and old, are languishing right now in what’s been described as Nazi-style 'Concentration Camps'. They have become prisoners and are not seen as victims of war. At least 30,000 have lost limbs. There are no painkillers or anaesthetics to easy the pain of the dying and wounded. No bandages, medical equipment or medicines are available. Children, girls and boys are raped and disappeared every night. There are deliberately no administrative records kept on the people in the camps.
It has been reported that there is a daily 3 hour queue for water, and a 5 hour queue for very poor food. One camp has 1 toilet for 800 people with sanitation overflowing. No water to bathe, filthy clothes to live in. Extreme heat is fast spreading disease such as chicken pox and hepatitis. Life on the camps is a living hell.
Against international law, soldiers are free to roam unhindered inside the camps with the civilians. The 'prisoners' are guarded every 10 yards by a soldier with a machine gun. There are military bunkers 'inside' the camps. Truly shocking.
The International Community is 'unable to help'.
A 'mercy mission' emergency medical supply ship, which was due to dock in a Sri Lanka harbour, has been turned away. The United Nations Security Council seems unable to act in its 'responsibility to protect' – this is due to political pressure and the ability by permanent members to block votes by using their 'veto'. Hence we have a repeat of Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur.
Political intervention by political will only works if they want it to.
Due to relocation of our textile industries to Asia and the Far East, we now have the same old story of power and money being, yet again, more important than people.
Sadly, the victims on these camps are waiting everyday for help to arrive...waiting, hoping, praying, crying. Little do they know that help is not on the way. Potentially, all the people on the camps are at risk of death unless help is sent soon as a matter of urgency. What is going on is simply unacceptable to any ordinary right-minded human being.
Genocide is Genocide, no matter to whom, where or when.
We therefore urge you to come together as concerned people to support the Tamils in their on-going struggle at Parliament Square. It is essential that they maintain their presence. They are effective, which the peace movement must be if it is to make a difference. There were missed opportunities over Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza, because people were not encouraged to keep the pressure up and instead were encouraged to 'go home'.
We will never prevent genocide from happening unless we join together. If we work as separate groups and deal with genocides as separate issues then we will always have the same age old re-occurring problems......
Let’s not waste our time and energy.......
We say we don't want to make history, we want to CHANGE history
What else can you do to be heard?
Write to your MP. Keep a record or copy of your letter to follow up with later on, on further issues.
Boycott one of the retail giants 'Marks and Spencer' who shamefully operate in Sri Lanka to exploit cheap material and slave labour, for vast profit.
Join the march this Saturday June 20th in London, Hyde Park, nearest Marble Arch 1pm.
Peace Strike (www.peacestrike.org)
Make Wars History (www.makewarshistory.org.uk)
International Committee Against Disappearances (www.icad-committee.com)