Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oprah Winfrey Says No

LTTE publicity stunt ‘Walk to Oprah Show’ fizzles

By Hassina Leelarathna

(April 20, Los Angeles, California, Sri Lanka Guardian) The much-publicized ‘Walk to the Oprah Winfrey Show’ by a group of Sri Lankan Tamils from Canada has gone down as a ‘walk to nowhere.’

A spokesperson for the Oprah Show confirmed there were no plans to feature the walkers on the show. The announcement comes in the wake of an online petition opposing the walk reaching a count of over 16,000.

The Oprah Show became an unwitting Eelam battleground after the group’s six men, claiming to be ‘students,’ declared they had started trudging from Toronto to Chicago, Illinois, a distance of 840 kilometers (520 miles), with the stated purpose of appearing on the Oprah Show ‘to publicize human suffering.’ The first day of the walk was March 4.

While carefully avoiding any reference to the war in the Wanni and the Tigers, the event carries the hallmarks of a well-organized LTTE stunt, with advance media publicity and a website exclusively launched to record the walk. Titled ‘Oprah, Give us a Voice’ and bearing Oprah’s photo in the header, the web site includes a public poll titled ‘Should Oprah Give Us a Voice’ and a comments section, both blatantly manipulated to show an overwhelming number want Oprah to feature the walkers on her show.

In response, the Los Angeles-based activist group, Sri Lankan Patriots (SLP), salvoed an online petition titled ‘Oprah, Say no to LTTE Terrorists,’ warning Ms. Winfrey the walkers were sympathizers of a brutal terrorist outfit and calling on her not to feature them on her show.

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