After the MV Sun Sea was boarded and escorted into Canadian waters on August 12, speculation has been rampant about whether there are members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) on board, and whether this is an instance of human smuggling.
Columnists and news anchors have been wondering how these refugees who were "languishing in camps" managed to escape and find a boat to take them across the Pacific. This is the wrong question. The refugees who arrived on the MV Sun Sea and the Ocean Lady, which landed in Canada last October, probably escaped the Sri Lankan Civil War months beforehand.
The camera pans across a host of hands thrust through a gate and focuses on a young girl. The deep sadness etched in her face shows the despair felt by thousands of Tamil civilians caught up in the tail end of the 30-year war fought between the government of Sri Lanka armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Filmed by United Nations staffer, Benjamin Dix, it showcases the anguish of civilians who congregated outside the UN compound in Northern Sri Lanka as UN officers left the area following a communiqué stating the Sri Lankan government could not guarantee their safety as its forces advanced into LTTE-held land.
Part 9: Sri Lankan Conflict Thread
Ironically Sri Lankan voters are now divided not between the majority Sinhala community and the minority Tamils who fought for a separate state. The top contenders to the post of executive president, from nearly 20 candidates, are the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapakse and his one-time army commander and Chief of Defence Staff, General Sarath Fonseka both Sinhalese.
A massive protest against the Sri Lankan army for its assault on the Tamil minority took place in Toronto, shutting down the Queen Elizabeth Way highway, a major traffic artery for the city.
Protesters said they were marching in opposition to the "1200 plus Tamils killed Saturday night and Sunday morning by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces."
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