Ship-bound Tamil refugees need help…?
Posted on March 15th, 2010

Nihal Perera Toronto, Canada

Attention: Mr. Joe Fiorito–
The Toronto Star
One Young Street
Toronto, ON
M5E 1E6

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Dear Mr. Fiorito,

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I am amazed at the degree of gullibility and naivety you have shown in the following article….. As a Toronto Star Columnist, you seem to have been taken for a ride by the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) supporters in Canada, to publish a well-orchestrated story in order to garner sympathy for the bogus Tamil refugees, whose entry has been denied by many Asian countries – rightly so.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ First, almost all these so-called Tamil refugees are not real refugees – they are economic refugees trying to migrate to other countries, especially to the Western countries for economic reasons. The countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia are not allowing any of these economic refugees into their countries, knowing fully well that they have paid thousands of dollars to the human smugglers – operated exclusively by the Tamil Tiger’s global network – just like the seventy six ex-LTTE terrorists who landed in Vancouver last year, in a ship owned by the LTTE.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mr. Fiorito, when was the last time you heard about a group of refugees stranded in a boat in Asia, or anywhere else for that matter, had the luxury of owning laptop computers and access to Skype and the Internet..? Do they sound like some desperate and genuine refugees fleeing a war..? Hardly. This is a well-orchestrated plan to publicize their situation, and seek help from the international agencies such as UNCHR. Besides, if they are genuine refugees, why don’t they flee to Tamil Nadu, in India – the Homeland of the Tamils – where the majority of Tamil victims who have been fleeing the LTTE atrocities, were given refuge in the past…?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In spite of relentless propaganda by the pro-LTTE organizations in Canada, such as “Canadian Tamil Congress” (CTC), and the “Humanitarian Appeal for the Relief of Tamils” (HART), the Tamils in Sri Lanka are finally free of LTTE brutalities and atrocities, which they had suffered for the last 25 years, especially in the Northern and the Eastern parts of Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ What you have described as “impromptu meetings” are anything but impromptu. They are well-planned, and well-executed events organized by the pro-LTTE associations such as CTC and HART, cleverly using Tamil university students, such as Ms. Jessica Chandrashekar with a PhD, to add credibility and publicity to above stories. These are not spontaneous events by any means but well-thought out, and strategically arranged media events to get the attention of the Canadian media. Your article is a prime example of how they manipulate the media and the naive journalists, who seem either clueless or ignorant of the ground realities in Sri Lanka, other than the one-sided propaganda fed by the pro-LTTE forces in Canada.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is strange indeed that Canadian media, especially the Toronto Star, has been totally silent or ignorant of the horrible situations in places like Iraq, Afghanistan where there are millions of refugees, thanks to devastating attacks by the NATO forces which include Canada. Ironically, none of the journalists in the mainstream media seem concerned or bothered by the horrible damages done to these refugees, or the deplorable and inhuman conditions they are in.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Perhaps the media, especially the Toronto Star, probably would have paid much more attention to those genuine refugees if they had money to pay the smugglers to come to Canada, or owned laptops with access to Skype and the Internet, like the bogus Tamil refugees stuck in a boat…. It is a shame those poor refugees in Iraq and Afghanistan lack the media support, or the backing of a global criminal network like the LTTE, which had been involved in smuggling Tamils to countries like Canada, with the help of the liberal politicians, and bleeding-heart newspaper columnists – who are gullible and naive to believe fabricated Tamil refugee stories.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As a Sri Lankan-Canadian, who goes to Sri Lanka frequently, and having seeing the ground realities for the past 25 years, I can safely say that today – after elimination of the brutal Tamil terrorism – people, especially the Tamils in the north and the east, are finally feel free and liberated. Unfortunately the genuine refugees who have been affected by the LTTE terrorism, do not have thirty to forty thousand dollars to pay the LTTE smugglers – to come to Canada as bogus refugees. They are happy to be alive and grateful that Sri Lanka has finally wiped out the Tamil Tiger terrorists who have destroyed a generation of innocent Tamils.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Therefore, my suggestion to you Mr. Fiorito is: before you get carried away with these hard-luck stories of bogus Tamil refugees, please be aware that these incidents are not “impromptu meetings”, but well-orchestrated media events, backed by the pro-LTTE organizations such as HART, to get the maximum exposure and attention in Canada in order to promote the LTTE propaganda. Thank you.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sincerely

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Nihal Perera
Toronto, ON

Humanitarian Appeal for the Relief of Tamils

Fiorito: Ship-bound Tamil refugees need help

March 12, 2010
By Joe Fiorito City Columnist

What happens there happens here: a small wooden boat is sitting at anchor off the coast of Indonesia. It has been there for five months. On board are some 240 people who cannot come ashore for fear of arrest and deportation.

They are Tamils.

Five months on a boat meant for 50. You can imagine. No, you canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t.

Some of them are from camps in Malaysia. All of them fled the recent war. The Indonesian government is doing nothing to help.

Why should that matter to us?

Nearly half of the people on that ship have relatives in Canada. HereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s another reason.

A woman from Toronto went to see the boat recently. Jessica Chandrashekar is a PhD student at York University. She is 26 years old, and she is a member of a small non-governmental organization, Canadian HART. The acronym is short for the Humanitarian Appeal for the Relief of Tamils.

Jessica told her story at a small, almost impromptu meeting recently. She said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t get to see the boat for very long. We were there for five minutes. The police detained us. They interrogated us for 11 hours the first day. They took our passports. The second day they interrogated us for seven hours. They asked us who we were, and who sent us, and they asked if we have family on the boat.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

I could have told them who she is.

She is a student at York.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The third day, they took us to the airport and deported us.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ Was she afraid? ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-I was concerned. We could have been arrested. After hearing the stories of the people on the boat …ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Wait a minute.

If she was detained, and if the men and women on the boat canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t come ashore, how was she able to hear their stories?

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-They have a laptop and a camera, and they have Skype. They send pictures.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ I love the Internet.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-There are 31 children on board. The youngest is 1 year old, and learned to walk on the ship.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

That child was born in a bunker in Sri Lanka, during the shelling; somehow, the mother made her way with her infant to a camp in Malaysia.

There is another woman on board who was due to give birth last week. What would we do if that ship were anchored off WardƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Island?

Yes, I know ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ the boat is not here. But it is, in a way, here by proxy: if your nephew was about to be born on board, and so on.

Jessica said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-WeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re afraid of what might happen if they try to come off the boat. They will be beaten, detained ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ Indonesia hasnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t signed on to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

What now?

Jessica said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-WeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re trying to negotiate guarantees … for freedom of movement, for medical care.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

What about those who say the people on board are terrorists? Jessica said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-There are UNHCR procedures … these people are refugees, they are fleeing persecution … we have to honour their evidence.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Present at the meeting were representatives of a couple of groups that help refugees; there was information passed around for the benefit of those who might have family on board, and further information about refugee sponsorship.

I asked Jessica again if she hadnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t been afraid. She said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-When I look back, maybe IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ll think, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Oh, my God.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ But really, I was only at risk of being deported back to Canada, where I live comfortably, I eat well, I go to school; if the people on board were deported, it would be different.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

If there were more like her, it would be different, and better.

One Response to “Ship-bound Tamil refugees need help…?”

  1. M.S.MUdali Says:

    The last BOAT PEOPLE of Tamils did not originated from Sri Lanka but from Thailand or Malaysia. All of them are LTTE operatives and their families.

    But Canada always accept people under their Immigration policies.

    I never heard the organization HART among Tamils. But I feel she is from a NEW LTTE Front like Arani Muru who was also the spokesperson when the LTTE jumped and blockaded Gardiner Expressway. She too is from the same YORK University!

    Those people in the boat are fleeing from prosecution for their LTTE activities and not from persecution.

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