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Thousands of British Tamils remember the nation's Maaveerar

Updated 22:10 GMT


Raising of the Tamil Eelam national flag by Mr Thanam from TCC UK

Lighting of the flame of sacrifice by parents of Maaveerar Captain Raj.

Tens of thousands of Tamils poured into the Excel centre today, to mark the Maaveerar Naal - the Eelam's national day of remembrance - and honour those who died for in the struggle for freedom.

Decorated in the nation's colours of red and yellow, the venue had a replica Thuyilum Illam in front of the stage, with a wall of photographs of Maaveerar along either side. A trio of life size tombstones with a flame flying in the centre, was ceremoniously draped with the national flag. At the back, a huge revolving column mosaiced with the faces of the nation's Maaveerar was suspended above the entrance.

The event commenced with the hoisting of the British flag by Gowsi Ananthasigamany of the Tamil Youth Organisation UK (TYO UK), followed by Tamil Eelam's national flag, hoisted by Mr Thanam of the Tamil Coordination Committee UK (TCC UK) as the nation's flag song played.

Standing up for a moment of silence, all those present stood and remembered the nation's fallen and their sacrifice.

The flame of sacrifice was lit by the parents of the Maaveerar Captain Raj, after which tens of thousands of little candles were lit as the Thuyilum Illam song played and images of the now destroyed resting homes of the Maaveerar in the North-East played. It was a moving scene, that reduced several to tears as they held their candle in remembrance.

One by one, the row by row, Tamils lined up along the either side in order to lay a kaathikai poo by the photographs of the Maaveerar. In identical frames, the faces of the Maaveerar, some dressed in their uniform looked down. Whilst the term Maaveerar was initially reserved for those that died whilst within the LTTE, this year's collection of photographs included several such as the student Sivakumaran and the political theoritician, Anton Balasingham amongst them.

Amongst the songs, dances and poetry that captured the nation's sorrow, inspiration and memories of the Maaveerar, representatives of key organisations addressed those present.

Speaking on behalf of the TCC, Kandiah Rajamanoharan, reiterated that the Sinhala Buddhist state has shown it will never stray from its chauvinism, and the Tamil nation must continue to struggle against it. Updating those present on news from the North-East, Rajamanoharan said that the military were currently infiltrating Jaffna university, in an attempted to stop them from carrying out acts of remembrance, but the students - young men and women alike - were resisting it. Tamils in the UK, cheered and applauded on hearing this defiance.

Speaking on behalf of the Tamil Youth Organisation UK, Sanju Ganeshan and Mario Arulthas, speaking in Tamil and English respectively, reiterated that the fundamentals of the struggle were the Tamil nation, the Tamil homeland and the nation's right to self-determination, and that these were not up for compromise.

"This is not up for negotiation," stressed Arulthas, adding, "This is who we are. This is their [Maaveerar] legacy - what our nation is founded upon. And this is what guides us. Cold rage, focus and determination."


The Tamil Nadu activist, Viduthalai Rajendran urged the audience to continue fighting for justice and the freedom of the Tamil nation.

Speeches by the poet Kasi Ananthan and the Tamil Nadu politican Vaiko were broadcast as videos.

Several British political figures including the Labour MP for Mitcham and Mordem, Siobhan Mc Donagh, and the Conservative MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, Lee Scott, also addressed the audience, calling upon the international community to ensure the Tamils see justice.

The event ended with all those present vowing to hold the Maaveerar in their hearts, and go forth and work towards the emancipation of the nation.