Mayor Patrick Brown of Brampton, Canada has promised to build a monument to commemorate the lives lost in the Sri Lankan civil war after the Mullivaikkal memorial was torn down at Jaffna university, CBC News reported today.
The destruction of the Mullivaikkal memorial at the University of Jaffna two weeks ago a monument that was erected in 2019 to honour the lives of Tamil civilians who died in the war led to public outrage from many Tamil diasporas across the world. In response, CBC said Brown took it upon himself and his city to do good by the community.
On Wednesday, Brampton City Council unanimously voted to build their own memorial to commemorate the Tamil lives lost in the war. “While there might be some people trying to ‘whitewash’ history in Sri Lanka and rewrite history we can’t stand for that,” Brown said.
“Where they tear down a statue and they tear down history in Sri Lanka that we would do the opposite in Canada. That we would build a monument to remember the victims, to remember the genocide,” he said.
With January marking Tamil Heritage Month in Canada and the Greater Toronto Area being home to one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world, Brown says this couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, or a more appropriate place. Brampton Tamil Association president Benat Mariyanayagam says this was a significant step not only for Tamil people in Canada — but abroad.
Mariyanayagam said Jaffna University is a “cultural epicentre” for the Tamil community in its fight for freedom and its desire to honour the deaths from the war.
“What this shows is the Sri Lankan Government is trying to erase the memory of the innocent civilians lost in the war,” said Mariyanayagam. He says the monument will be locally funded by the Tamil community. “People of all walks not just Tamils, but people in Canada — Brampton in particular can look at this piece and remember their own past history, if they’ve been through a similar experience,” Mariyanayagam said.