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The Tamil Tigers of Toronto

At the end of March, I wrote about the how the Tamil Togers burst onto the political scene in Toronto, which is home to the largest diaspora of Tamils in the world:

TORONTO — Canadians are not flag wavers. If someone is draped in the red maple leaf, chances are he or she is a victorious Olympian or a dead soldier. Anyone else suggests a level of nationalism that makes many Canadians uncomfortable.

And yet, for the past two months, the streets of downtown Toronto have been regularly clogged by protesters waving Canadian flags alongside a strikingly different one: a yellow tiger jumping through a hoop of bullets crossed by two rifles atop a red backdrop — the symbol of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Also known as the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan guerrilla group has been fighting since 1983 for an independent state for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, long marginalized by the Sinhalese-dominated government. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the civil war.

The death toll has escalated in recent weeks. Sri Lankan government soldiers have surrounded the last rebel stronghold in the north of the South Asian island, trapping civilians in the crossfire. International agencies have accused both government and rebel forces of likely breaking humanitarian laws.

Nowhere have demonstrations to denounce the killings been bigger than in Toronto, home to the largest diaspora of Sri Lankan Tamils in the world. Some estimates say up to half of Toronto’s more than 200,000 Tamils took part in the most recent protest two weeks ago. ...

To read the rest of the column click here.