my identity

Last month, on May 28th, Tamils around the world remembered all the lives lost during the 3 decade long civil war. It is our remembrance day, during the final stretch of the war, hundreds of thousands of Tamil individuals were brutally killed. On this day, several school boards in Ontario, government officials and prominent individuals commemorated the genocide. However, Peel School Board District, retracted this tweet and apologized to the oppressor based on a few complaints from some uneducated individuals in the GTA. Tamils across the GTA have been trying to email the district school boards to tell them now much acknowledging this day means to us. In order to stand together and fight this worthy cause, Tamils have been posting on social media with the caption ” I am தமிழ்/ Tamil and genocide is a part of my identity”.

Here is my post to this movement:

In May of 2018, my family and I took a trip to the so called paradise island that travel blogs promote – Sri Lanka – for a month long stay. We rotated our stay between 2 towns: PointPedro and Mallavi. One place my Appa and Aththai really wanted to visit was the Church in Mullivaikal. My Aththai is a strong and resilient women who became a widow in 2009 due the civil war. This spot is where my Appama and Ammama were last seen. This spot is where my uncle was bombed to death. This is the spot that brings chills and goosebumps to my family. This is the spot that brings tears to my Appa’s, Athai’s, Akka’s, Thambi’s and family’s eyes. Speaking about our history as Tamils is so important. We need to educate those who left us to fend for our selves during the war. To educate the countries that did not stand behind us in 2009. To educate people of all races and nationalities. To stand in solidarity for the hundreds of thousands of individuals raped, sexually assaulted, kidnapped, murdered, killed and disappeared during the decades long civil war

RIP Mahalingam Mama, Rasama Kanapathipillai, Ammama

I am Thamil and genocide is part of my identity.

-XOXO chana

acknowledging my privilege

This was a post that I found on my Facebook timeline and this really resonated with me – so I wanted to share it on my blog as well. Acknowledging your privilege is sooo important especially with the systematic inequalities currently found in the education, health sector, and other notable institutions. If you can please post this on your blog- show young Black individuals that we are with them and that their voices are heard. I know what it’s like to feel like no one was there for you in times of hardship. Especially with the Sri Lankan civil war – no nations stood behind Tamil. Tamils, as people, were left to fend for themselves and this is what created the LTTE. During the war – nations deemed it as a terrorist group but in actuality it was one of the few militant groups that was created to fight for Tamil Eelam – independence and wishes to become a separate entity from the rest of Sri Lanka. Now, 11 years after the end of the civil war, Canada has recognized that LTTE was in fact NOT a terrorist group – instead it was a militant group fighting for the atrocities done by the President at the time and the Sri Lankan army (Singhalese individuals).

Hello! My name is Archana Baleswaran. I have privilege as a Tamil individual because I can do all of these things without thinking twice:

I can go birding (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean & #AtatianaJefferson)
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell & #RenishaMcBride)
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10yr old walking with my grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live (#FreddieGray)
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED (#GeorgeFloyd)

White privilege is real.

Take a minute to consider a Black person’s experience today.

Take another minute to consider the constant and legitimate fear of a Black person’s parents / families / communities / loved ones that their son, brother, sister, daughter, cousin, teacher, student, partner, mentor, mother, father or friend could be murdered any day, for any reason or non-reason, under the egregious auspices of “law enforcement,” while simply trying to live their life in the United States of America.

#BlackLivesMatter

-XOXO chana