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Sunday, 11 March 2012





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The plea of an ex- Tiger in a Canadian prison:

Don’t take to violence, choose a free life...

He suffers... he recalls... he regrets knowing that it’s too late for him to overcome the agony but he is confident that he is not too late to change those blindly embraced and clogged unrealizable dreams, being a mere illusion and to walk in the correct path.

Sathajhan is seen holding a machine gun at an LTTE camp in the North...

In the prime of his youth, in a jail in New York, Sathajhan Sarachandran is cursing the ‘agents’ of Tamil Tiger Terrorists for misleading and motivating thousands of youth to fight for Vellupillai Prabakaran’s elusive dream - a separate State in Sri Lanka.

Being once a vibrant ‘resource’ of the now defunct outfit - LTTE- Sathajhan, who was accused of brokering a $1-million arms deal for the LTTE five years ago, requests the Tamils not to be caught in extremist ideologies.

”The LTTE is no more. We must accept the fact and move on with reality. I urge all you brothers and sisters to refrain from LTTE ideology and I beg you not to get trapped in their extremist ideologies. As Tamils we must reject violence and embrace peace”, Sathajhan, the ex- President of the Toronto branch of the Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) from 2003 to 2005, wrote in an open letter.

He, visited Sri Lanka twice and was photographed at an LTTE camp wielding a machine gun, in his open letter to Tamil youth around the world urged not to repeat the mistakes stated : “I only ask that you be vigilant of these people. I ask that none of you choose a path where violence is encouraged. Please don’t be a catalyst for promoting any form of violence or hate,”

Writing a two-page letter he accused the leaders of the Tamil community for misleading him, fuelling anger and hatred, promoting violence and silencing advocates of non-violence. “ I ask that you take part in helping the affected people. I ask that you be a true guide to them, and not to isolate them. Please don’t let the so-called well-wishers guide you to further destruction, instead let your own vision guide you towards your next achievement. Our people need you, use your vision as your guide and help our people. I must admit to the hate that injected into me during my time as a president of TYO. As Tamils we must reject violence and embrace peace”, he stated.

The 31-year-old software engineer was arrested in Long Island, New York in 2006 while he and two other Canadians were trying to buy shoulder-launch missiles and AK-47 assault rifles for the Tigers.

Pleading guilty to terrorism and conspiracy, Sathajhan is now languishing in prison serving a 26-year-jail term. “ I am writing this letter to all my fellow youth brothers and sisters whom are following the same path as I had that had eventually landed me in a prison in New York. I am suffering today. My family is suffering. My friends are suffering. I am suffering, which has resulted in everyone around me suffering. I am suffering physically, mentally, financially, medically and morally.; I can write pages and pages outlining the hardship I am going through. I don’t want to put too much burden on my readers. But I must outline the suffering I am facing as a result of my actions in the past. Beyond all this, I feel obliged to share some words with you fellow brothers and sisters. I must share my experience with you all so that you can make wise decisions in your activities”, he wrote.

Bloodstained past

Can the TYO sweep their bloodstained past under the carpet, while youth like Sathajhan are openly unearthing the links of the TYO with the LTTE, which inflicted separatism ideologies in the minds of youth abroad and used them as channels to raise funds.” I was a highly motivated and emotionally active youth during my term as President of the TYO, Canada which operated as part of the LTTE. During these times, I was misled by many so-called community ‘well-wishers’.

There was never a common understanding between these so-called local leaders, to find a real solution to our cause. I had been to many meetings with these well-wishers where our true vision and our feelings as youth, were never given any consideration when executing our action.

I had attended many meetings with many members of our community, where a durable solution was never accepted by these well-wishers. I look back, there were so many controversial meetings that were aimed at triggering our anger and hate towards fellow citizens of Sri Lanka. I am sure and fully aware that all of you would be going through the same procedures and attending similar meetings and seminars hosted by these so-called ‘well-wishers’. 1 am only sharing my personal experiences with you. Yes,there were few individuals who did try to preach a non-violent approach to the national question. But those voices would be silenced some how by ‘well-wishers’ under the pretext that liberation was round the corner:

Sathajhan requests Tamils living abroad and here to be vigilant of pro-LTTE voices like the TYO or Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) not to choose paths where violence is encouraged.” Please don’t be a catalyst for promoting any form of violence or hate. The LTTE is no more. We must accept the fact and move on with reality. I urge all you brothers and sisters to refrain from LITE ideology.

If each of you just sit down and think about how much hate you have within you and try to admit to the amount of hate you have with you, you will be liberated, you will feel the power within you to help people who need you at this moment. Make yourself free”.

Not seen parents

He wrote in his letter that his family had been banned from visiting him under certain sections of the Law and had not seen his parents for the past three-years or any members of his family.”I write to you to explain my suffering for the path I had chosen. I regret many of my past activities. Meetings after meetings, campaign after campaign, all injecting hate into me and other fellow students. With my whole heart, I ask one and only one thing from you all. Just for you to think freely and help our people come out of the suffering. Our people have gone through enough suffering. This type of suffering and loss should not be experienced by anyone in this world. Suffering after suffering, our people has had enough. Let our people live with dignity and freedom.

I ask you to think freely and take part in rebuilding the lives of the people whom had gone through tremendous suffering”. He stated that he was confident youth around the world would come forward to contribute towards peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

This is the story of Sahilal Sabaratnam who is also detained in the New York federal detention center, serving his fifth year of a 25-year sentence imposed on terrorism related charges for participating in a pro-LTTE campaign.

Making an open apology through a letter he (accused) himself for letting down his people and requested them to stop propagating hate through diaspora Tamil organisations.

“ If you don’t like the situation in Sri Lanka or if you solely believe that the Tamils in Sri Lanka are being mistreated by the Government, then my gutsy challenge to you is for you to visit the island and make such statements on your fact finding missions. Don’t believe in propaganda being carried out by middle-persons. Don’t carry forward such campaigns for them and make our people suffer further”, Sahilal pleaded.

He earlier actively took part in pro-LTTE campaigns had written that he contributed vast amounts for their community-based organisations such as the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC).

Regretting his past, he said he now has enough time to flash back on his past and the actions which has made him to do certain things which imprisoned him. “ I had the backing of the World Tamil Movement (WTM) Leaders for many of my contributions towards our people.I must accept the fact that the organisation was under the guidance of WTM leaders in Canada , the so-called ‘well-wishers’ of our community”.

No violence

“Let me explain to you why I chose to write such a letter to my beloved Tamil people. The armed conflict is over in Sri Lanka. The LTTE is no more. There were times, where many of the Diaspora had wanted an armed solution for the national question.Let me share something with you that I have learned in my past years. Please I beg you, to open up your heart and sense my feelings. Violence doesn’t bring a solution to anything.

The bullet does not make a judgmental call of who the victim is. Blood is not the answer to anything. We must all come to a common understanding that violence is not an answer to anything. We must learn to use alternative methods to violence if you choose to pursue any political agenda.

I solely believe and know for a fact that the so-called ‘well-wishers’ who had always stood behind the CTC are believers of a violent solution.

This is very wrong”, Sahilal who served as the Communication Director of the Toronto Branch of the CTC and was responsible for press releases of the CTC, said.

While the CTC was denying that Sahilal was its former Communication Chief, Sahilal said he was an active member and a valuable contributor to the CTC and many past members would recognise his involvement and the present board was appointed after his arrest in the US. Confident that the so-called pro-LTTE groups have the same stance to solve the national issue, he requested such organisations to allow Tamils to think freely, and respect the law and let them live freely in Sri Lanka.

“We are living in western countries. Our day-to-day suffering is only if we try to make our living luxurious. We struggle to get a better education, better car, better house, better TV, better shoes, and the best of everything. That is our struggle in a western country. But our people in Sri Lanka still struggle to live and I ask all organisations to seek alternative paths to help our beloved families and friends in our homeland Sri Lanka. Give them a fishing rod they will fish and find their own food. First bring them on their feet. Give them the basic things they need. You and I know how much we value education. Don’t take that away from them. Step-in. Take action. Give them what they want. Don’t hold them hostage for your campaign. Hereinafter, if they choose to participate in a solution seeking mission, let them choose.

Let them choose how they want to live”, he requested. Sashilal urged Tamils to break through the barriers and think freely and question such indirect or hidden agendas being carried out by LTTE-related organisations such as the WTM and the CTC.

“We are all experienced and highly motivated people, we can work in any environment to bring upon happiness for our people. I ask you not to be a catalyst for someone to propagate hate crimes using organisations like WTM and CTC. Our mandate is to help our people in our homeland not to hold them hostage for someone’s political survival. Let our people decide what they want to do with their lives. Give them a chance, give them hope, and give them whatever they need to live as human beings”, he wrote in his letter.


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