An open letter to the tamil people stranded on the boat at Merak
There are 246 Tamil asylum seekers including 30 children suffering in a boat at Merak, Indonesia as they were denied asylum in Australia, their original destination. They are in poor health condition and have no access to medical facilities. One person already died due to lack of proper medical treatment.
Dr Ellyn Shander, a Physician,a US based humanatarian worker who went to Sri Lanka and volunteered services in the North, after December 2004 Tsunami, has writtern an open letter to the people in support during this difficult time. The letter follows:
We want you to know that you are not alone.. There are many people working to get you released to a safe country. There are many people working in different countries with their governments to get you free.
Please do not give up hope and courage.. Your struggle is our struggle
Freedom is worth fighting for no matter where the battlefield is, and the battlefield is now on your boat. You are truly soldiers in our campaign of human rights. Although you feel like victims. You are truly on the front line. You are the symbol of the Tamil people’s struggle for freedom and justice.
The struggle for freedom in Sri Lanka is blocked by the government’s blackout on the horrible conditions for Tamils in Sri Lanka. But the spotlight on your situation brings the Tamil struggle to the forefront of the international community.
You must keep HOPE.. We will have Tamil Eelam! Your children and your children’s children will speak about your struggle in a liberated free Tamil Eelam
You are not the first to be in this horrible situation, where civilized governments have turned their backs on human suffering. Almost exactly 70 years ago a ship called the MS St Louis carrying 936 Jewish people escaping the Nazis went port to port and was denied access. This was a very dark and shameful part of American history. The United States, Cuba and Nova Scotia refused to admit these Jewish people escaping from the Nazis as you are escaping from the GOSL. But they never gave up hope. Although they were turned away and had to return to Europe. The UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands finally took them in. Every person safely got off the boat.
This is a dark and despicable time that history repeats itself. Now Australia and other civilized countries are repeating history and turning their backs on innocents running from evil.
Don’t give up hope.. Stay alive! Visualize the time when every one of you will step off that boat into freedom
As the Jews did not give up .. Hope was not lost
We must force the world consciousness to open and turn towards you. It is only then that the gates will open.
We must protest. We are calling for Tamils the world over to take to the streets peacefully!!. Go to the Australian embassies in your country. Tell them to lift this dark and despicable shadow off their conscious. Tell them NOT to condemn the Tamils on the boat to the Nazi government of Sri Lanka.. Tell Australia.. not to repeat the shame of America in 1939.
We want every one of you to be given political asylum in Australia or any country with a conscious.
The government of Australia needs to understand that we are all human.. There is no difference in our humanity despite the color of our skin or our sex or our religion.
As Mother Theresa said. “There will be no peace on earth until we remember that we belong to each other.”
You are our hope. We are your hope. Believe in freedom and it will happen
We promise to do everything possible to free you from this boat. Your bravery and dignity are a model …… for us all. We will work harder to free you.. We promise
Dr Ellyn Shander MD
V ice President of USTPAC
Feb 1. 2010