Speaking at Youth Maaveerar Naal hosted by Imperial College London on Monday, students representing Kings College London spoke in remembrance of those that had lost their lives fighting against the genocide of the Eelam Tamil nation.
The full speech is reproduced below:
Everywhere around us, we see people search to find their one hero. We, the Tamil nation, have thousands of heroes; heroes who have struggled, ultimately for our freedom.
Tonight is special. It is the night that we as students are given the opportunity to come together and appreciate our very own heroes. Maaveerar Naal serves not only as a reminder for us to call for the end of oppression of Eelam Tamils, but for us as a Tamil nation, to stand strong and united as we commemorate those who have sacrificed their lives, their youth and their ambitions for our homeland.
To cause the premature death of an innocent person is murder. To cause the premature deaths of large numbers of innocent people on racial and ethnic grounds, to destroy the very fabric of a nation, that is genocide. Faced with this genocide, this massive onslaught against our nation, these men and women displayed a bravery that has been unmatched.
As students, we are the future of our nation, and in the face of genocide, we are honoured to be able to say that we stand united. This strong bond that we have formed is something that we hope we can maintain and build upon for many years to come.
Our brothers and sisters have demonstrated bravery that is incomparable. We, away from the Sri Lankan government, live secure in our warm houses, return in the evening to find hot food and familiar faces waiting for us. We are blessed by those who have laboured in the mud, who have known no peace and fought for just a crust of bread.
Their struggle, suffering and strength, is the reason we are here today. When faced with a choice that we would never be able to make, they did not shy away. They sacrificed their today, for our tomorrow; and their present for our future.
They were not some distant people in an unknown island. The same blood that stained the soil of our homeland, runs through each and every one of us. These young men and women were just like us. They were me and you.
They too had hopes, dreams and ambitions. They were the students, the youth. They could have been doctors or lawyers or engineers, but the Sri Lankan state cruelly snatched this opportunity from them. Left facing a horrific genocide, they made credible selfless decisions. They made the decision to sacrifice themselves for their people, for our homeland and for our identity.
That is something that we as young British Tamils, have not and will not ever forget. Whilst some of us may have been born and raised in the UK, and may not have even been back to our native country, we have an inextricable link with our homeland that will never be eradicated.
No matter what the Sri Lankan state does, our identity is something they can never take away from us. No matter how many bombs are dropped, no matter how many temples are replaced, and no matter how many people they ruthlessly slaughter, we will never conform to a racist ideology. We will never forget who we are and, most importantly, we will never forget where we came from.