Friday, April 17, 2009

National Post editorial board: Sympathy for Tamils, but not Tigers

Tamils who fly the flag the of the LTTE, a terrorist insurgency that once controlled much of Sri Lanka. What’s worse, the protesters have flown the LTTE flag alongside the Canadian flag — an insult to our own country.

The ongoing Parliament Hill protests and hunger strikes by Tamil Canadians are meant to stir our lawmakers into action against Sri Lanka, whose government is waging a successful military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tigers. If anything, however, the protests have had the opposite effect: Just as radical Canadian Muslims attract disgust when they raise the flags of Hezbollah or Hamas, so too do Tamils who fly the flag the of the LTTE, a terrorist insurgency that once controlled much of Sri Lanka. What’s worse, the protesters have flown the LTTE flag alongside the Canadian flag — an insult to our own country.

As we have written several times before, we are not without sympathy for the cause of the Tamil people, many of whom have been treated as second-class citizens by the Sinhalese-dominated government in Colombo. Indeed, the Tamils would have had a rightful claim to the world’s sympathy — if the LTTE, which fights for an independent Tamil homeland, hadn’t itself adopted such inhumane tactics since its formation in the 1980s. The Tigers perfected the tactic of suicide bombing, deploying explosive-wrapped killers by the dozens even before the practice had caught on in the Arab world.

The LTTE has also press-ganged children as young as 10 into military service and, following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, they cleared out orphanages for foot soldiers and interdicted relief supplies to feed their adult insurgents and fund terror campaign against the Sri Lankan government. The sight of this group’s flags flying in Canada is nothing short of revolting.

Canada is home to the largest expatriate Tamil community in the world. Despite the Conservative government’s decision to declare the LTTE a terrorist organization in 2006, many of the most prominent Tamil groups in Canada remain fronts for the Tigers. Much of the money for the LTTE’s terror campaign has been extorted from Tamil Canadians, who have faced harassment if they show insufficient enthusiasm for the Tigers. Family members back home in Sri Lanka have even been held hostage until Tamils here pay hefty donations.

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