Seeds of Resistance: November 27th and Why It Matters
Why do Tamil people commemorate their own remembrance day - and why should it matter?
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November 11th. 

Ask anyone who’s gone to school in Canada what the date means, and you’re bound to get the same answer.

“The day after Mayu’s birthday.”

“Remembrance Day.”

The day Canadians set aside to pay respects to the soldiers who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we all enjoy today.

If you gave them another date though, there’s a good chance you’re met with a blank stare.

In fact - it’s likely that you, the person reading this - don’t recognize it either.

November 27th.

Confused? You can Google it - I won’t tell anyone.

Wikipedia has it down as Maaveerar Naal - and at this point, you likely have a vague memory of your parents telling you about it when you were a kid. 

But, the question stands - why do Tamil people commemorate their own remembrance day - and why should it matter?

Ask your parents or family why they left Sri Lanka and you’re bound to hear stories of persecution, violence, and rampant anti-Tamil discrimination.

Policies like Standardization forced Tamil students to score higher marks than their Sinhalese peers to gain admission to universities. 

The 1981 burning of the Jaffna Library and the 1983 Black July pogroms, led to the deaths of hundreds, if not - thousands, along with the economic and cultural destruction of Tamils on the island. 

During the Black July pogroms, Tamils were systematically targeted using voter registration lists, being subject to looting and violence by Sinhala mobs. In addition, Tamil shops were destroyed, with countless civilians being killed and subject to sexual violence.

However, the story of our people doesn’t stop there - the identity of Eelam Tamils is not one of genocide, but resistance.

After years of non-violent protests failed to bring our people the justice they sought, many picked up arms in an effort to fight for our freedom.

Sadly, many of these heroes laid their lives down on the path to our independence, becoming the Maaveerar we commemorate today.

Maaveerar Naal, also known as Great Heroes' Day, is a remembrance day observed to honor the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the fight for Tamil Eelam. The day is observed on November 27 each year, as it was the date the first Maaveerar, Lt. Shankar passed away.

Furthermore, the day is a reminder of the challenges and injustices faced by our community during the genocide, renewing our vow to fight for justice, and a lasting resolution to the issues that fueled it.

An entire generation of Tamils were silenced, owning to the ethnic genocide committed against our people.

With each passing year, we run the risk of forgetting about the brave souls who pledged their lives for our freedom - and losing their stories. 

Although it’s a start - remembering our Maaveerar shouldn’t be limited to showing up to Maaveerar Naal and paying our respects once a year.

Simple as it may seem - one of the most revolutionary acts we can do is to live. To live on behalf of our brothers and sisters who didn’t get that chance. To live in defiance of the Sri Lankan state that seeks to destroy the Tamil identity. To live and carry forward Tamil stories of not only oppression, but resistance as well.

We must constantly educate ourselves about the truth of what happened to our people and most importantly - continue to preserve our identity as Eelam Tamils.

Like the sun that dares to show itself after the darkest night

Like our beloved Karthigai Poo that blooms from the dirt

We will rise and we will resist.


1
Mayuran Sabesan
Student
Canada
Just a kid hoping my story will inspire others to turn the pages of their own book.
Just a kid hoping my story will inspire others to turn the pages of their own book.
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