Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Violence in Sri Lanka shakes British Tamils

Violence in Sri Lanka shakes British Tamils

They have fled a quarter-century of horrifying civil war in Sri Lanka for safe haven abroad, but the more than 250,000 Tamils living in Britain have not managed to put the conflict behind them.
Thousands plan to gather Stoday for the funeral of a young man who burned himself to death to dramatize the situation in Sri Lanka, where starving Tamil civilians have been caught between advancing government troops and the once-feared Tamil Tigers, whose long, bloody quest for an independent homeland has been nearly crushed.
There are strong fears that others may follow the young man to an early death in a frenzied bid to focus attention on the plight of the Tamils, an ethnic minority in Sri Lanka. Already, a small wave of self-immolations has spread from South Asia to Western Europe.
"We understand why people are so desperate, but we don't want anyone to do something so drastic as to take their own life," said Sen Kandiah, a successful businessman and political director of the British Tamils Forum who has met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss the crisis in Sri Lanka.
Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka are being bombarded as the government moves to crush the retreating Tigers. British Tamils say their loved ones are running out of food, water and medicine and have no safe place to go in Sri Lanka.
Many Tamils feel their plight is being ignored - and some have turned to dramatic suicides as a way to get noticed as the global economic downturn dominates international news.
The actions of Murugathasan Varnakulasingham, just 26 when he set himself alight in front of a United Nations building in Geneva in February, reminded many of the Buddhist monks who burned themselves to death in Vietnam to protest government repression.