Professor Eliezer, a Mamanithar, should be remembered and respected ever
as a martyr of Tamil rights and an icon of Tamil voice. He should be
remembered for his indelible imprint on voice for the plights of Tamil people.
He believed in “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
On I January 1998, Professor Eliezer picked my family and me from the
Tallamarine Airport, Melbourne. On the way to Melbourne, our
conversation was about the Tamils, Tamil’s freedom fight and Tamil unity.
As I noted in my diary, Prof. Eliezer was talking about the problems facing
the Tamil freedom fight, ways of solving it, and what will happen in the
Professor said ‘ I am mindful that our freedom fight is answered with
violence by the Sri Lankan government and even death. I am mindful that
the Tamil people are brutalised and murdered. We must have our freedom
now. We must have our rights back. We must have protection. I could never
adjust to discrimination and violence because discrimination is always
unequal and it did something to my sense of dignity and self-respect.
Discrimination not only harms one mentally but also injures one spiritually.
It scars the soul. It is a system that forever stares the Tamils in the face,
saying ‘You are less than …’ ‘You are not equal.’
Professor continued, “We must believe in law and order. We should not
advocate violence. We want to win the hearts and minds of the Sinhalese
people. If I am stopped, our work should not stop, for what we are doing is
right. People power - That is the kind of power we need. Equality means
dignity. And dignity demands freedom and right.”
"We have broken loose from the discriminations and we have moved
through the wilderness of legal discriminations after discriminations. Now
we stand on the border of the “ethnic cleansing. Hate begets hate; violence
begets violence; toughness begets a great toughness. We must meet the
forces of hate with the power of love …Our aims must never be to defeat or
humiliate the Sinhalese people, but to win their friendships, understanding
and support to our freedom fight. We must continue to resist the system of
discrimination …We must work constructively to fight for the rights of our
people. This is a critical time for the Tamils. The challenge is here. We must
work together,” Professor maintained.
Professor Eliezer has a dream for a united fight for the rights of the Tamil
people. His were the word that gave the lobbying logical voice. His was the
diplomacy that gave legitimate voice to the lobbying for the rights of the
Tamil people. Implicit in Professor’s dream weaving beyond the dream itself-
was the sublime notion that it is all possible. That Tamil can do it. That a
dream, it may have been, but not fantasy.
No one replicate Professor’s charisma or inherit his disciples. He
emphasised responsibility and empowerment among expatriate Tamils. It
never hurts to re-emphasise as we mourn his loss.
Professor Eliezer is a life-long advocate of non-violent means to speak-out
for the rights of the Tamil people anytime and everywhere. He asserted that
our dream is disturbed, time and time again, and never finished. We must
carry his dream and work together to achieve his dreams.
Dr. K. K. Navaratnam,
Courtesy : TamilCanadian.com