Written by: Mathushiya Pirabaharan and Sambavi Vethananthan
18th May in Norway
In Norway, the day is commemorated by Tamils all over the country. In Oslo, it is common to have a Memorial procession from Jernbanetorget towards the Storting. Memorial Day includes speeches from politicians, songs and dance. The day is seen as a day to remember the civilians who died in the final stages of the civil war, but also a day to use their voice to promote issues that are not possible for the Tamils on the Tamil Eelam.
Memorial Day for the Mullivaikkal genocide
The Mullivaikkal memorial day is a day to commemorate those who died in the final stages of the Sri Lankan War. This day is commemorated on May 18 every year by Eelam Tamils and the world’s Tamils. On this day in 2009, the civil war ended in the village of Mullivaikkal on the northeast coast of Tamil Eelam. The local census indicates that 146,679 people died in the final phase of the war, while the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) with sources from the UN and the World Bank have said that the highest estimated number can be as large as 169,796. Here the majority were killed in “No Fire Zone”. This is thus regarded by Tamils as the genocide of Tamils on the Tamil Eelam. Genocide is considered by most to be the most serious crime against humanity. It is defined as a mass extinction of a specific group of people.
The Sri Lankan government has declared May 18 as Victory Day and the day is celebrated with military parades. The day is also seen as a day of remembrance for military personnel who died during the war. On the other hand, the government has virtually banned Tamils from remembering their loved ones. Until May 18, it is common to tighten security in the Tamil-dominated northern and eastern provinces, and schools and universities are closed to prevent a public memorial. The government and its security forces consider every day of remembrance for Tamils to be a memorial to the LTTE, not the civilians. Thus, locals have not been allowed to remember their deceased.
War monument for Tamil civilians killed in Mullivaikal
The student community erected a monument at Jaffna University on the 10th Mullivaikal Remembrance in 2019. It was a monument in memory of Eelam Tamils, who were killed in the 2009 Tamil genocide in Vanni, Tamil Eelam. On 08th January 2021, the monument was bulldozed. After the hunger strike and demonstration by the Jaffna University students, the monument was replaced on 23rd April 2021. The new monument excluded the heavy artillery bombardment by Sri Lanka, which killed tens of thousands of Tamils at the end of the armed conflict.
இக்கட்டுரை Lokalhistoriewiki.no இல் உள்ள “பன்முகத்தன்மையான வரலாற்றுக் கதைகள் – நோர்வே-தமிழர்களின் வரலாறு” எனும் செயல்திட்டத்தின் ஒரு பகுதியாகாக 11.08.2021 அன்று உருவாக்கப்பட்டதின் தழுவல்.
The article is an adaptation of the article posted at Lokalhistoriewiki.no on 11.08.2021, as a part of the project «A diversity of stories – the history of the Norwegian-Tamils».
Tamil Guardian. (2021). 12 years today – A massacre in Mullivaikkal. Retrieved from https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/12-years-today-massacre-mullivaikkal.
BBC News. (2022). How do you define genocide?. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-11108059.
Ontario. (2022). Ontario Helping Tamil Students Succeed. Retrieved from https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001501/ontario-helping-tamil-students-succeed.
Tamil Guardian. (2022). Ontario Government announces $50,000 of funding to tackle mental health and intergenerational trauma caused by the Tamil Genocide. Retrieved from https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/ontario-government-announces-50000-funding-tackle-mental-health-and-intergenerational-trauma.
TamilNet. (2021). Colombo destroys Mu’l’livaaykkaal memorial monument at Jaffna University. Retrieved from https://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=39965.
Tamil Guardian. (2021). Replacement Mullivaikkal memorial unveiled at Jaffna University. Retrieved from https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/replacement-mullivaikkal-memorial-unveiled-jaffna-university