As a people who stand proudly amongst the immense diversity of cultures that makes Toronto a dream destination for many, we need to look back and recognize what we had to go through to be where we are today.
Many Tamil Canadians tend to ignore the blood, sweat and tears that gave us the freedom we enjoy today. Some are misled, while others are taught not to remember due to the scars that remain infected in the darkest corners of our history. Scars that tell a story of war, massacre and genocide. Scars that inflict such pain that even many among our older generations choose not to remember.
However, like the concept of muscle, scars are what add to the strength. Every time a muscle is worked, it tears. The scars that form are what create new muscle and add definition to its characteristics. These scars we try to hide are in fact our greatest strengths, and not what we should choose to ignore, forget or feel ashamed about. Rather, as it is these characteristics that define who we are as a diaspora and where we came from, we should choose to wear these scars with pride.
As we have settled into the comforts of our new liberty, embraced our newfound freedoms and adapted to our new lives, we have all too often failed to look back at those scars that define our presence. We have failed to recognize our brethren, and the captivity in which they are being held hostage as we live so freely. Today, as we live in the free world, many of our brethren are where our fathers once were before ever setting foot on Canadian soil.
If it is the journey that makes the man, then it is the journey in itself that should be praised, and not the man. Some men will be recognized for the journeys they overcame, while some won’t and remain unnoticed. Some journeys are hidden in secret, like treasures waiting to be told, while others are celebrated as its pages unfold. Some men who find the courage to embark on these journeys filled with sacrifice, loneliness and pain know the journey is never done, as the pursuit to happiness has no end.
For the next few months, TamilCulture has exclusive access into one of these journeys as it unfolds. It is the recreation of a life whose story is destined to be told, to help us remember where we came from and how we got here.
This is the true story of a man named Alex. At birth he was given another name, Sanjeev Kuhendrarajah, but it is the persona of Alex which he took upon that carried him through his own personal journey. A journey filled with neglect, rejection, banishment, loneliness, trial and error, bad choices and unimaginable pain.
It is a journey that many people will not be able to swallow, a journey that many may not be able to handle all at once. However, it is the various segments of his journey that we all can relate to. At any given moment of his life, Alex has gone through what we are going through if not more.
Many know Alex personally, while others know him through the media, where he has reluctantly been spotlighted as a spokesman for refugees. Some measure him according to his juvenile mistakes and would rather crucify him, while others see through those mistakes to recognize a man in the making, called to a purpose which he had no escape from. A purpose that would take him on a journey through the streets of Toronto where the media labelled him as a “Notorious Gangster”, to the jungles back home where he would find purpose and meaning in helping those in need. We have the freedom today to either see the bad choices he learned from, or the good choices that paved the way to his redemption.
As Alex waits patiently in captivity as a hostage of the system that he was swallowed up by, he shares his story with impeccable depictions that separate justice and injustice with a fine line. He has developed an empathy for every struggle young Tamil Canadians are going through, and it is the foundation of his decision to share his story for that reason alone.
He shares his faith that is the pinnacle of his strength without forcing it upon anyone. He shares his emotions that led to the life changing decisions that he had to make not only for himself, but for the multitude of refugees that stand behind him. The daunting choices he is forced to make every day as he embraces the benefits and consequences of his decisions are choices that can either make a nation of people classified as illegal, or break them.
With his gentleness, love and compassion for our people and the determination to fight for his rightful place on earth, he makes his way through the jungles of politics, the oceans of suffering and pain as he witnesses from afar the making of a diaspora.
This is an in-depth look at the journey that made many of our men. This is His story.