See no Tigers


The Ottawa Citizen runs a front-page story about Tamil protesters shutting down downtown Ottawa without mentioning that virtually every protester waved a Tamil Tiger flag or wore a Tiger t-shirt. Several chanted slogans calling the Tigers freedom fighters.

The Tamil Tigers are banned as a terrorist organization in Canada and several other countries. Their decades-long struggle for a Tamil homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka has featured the ethnic cleansing of non-Tamils; the forcible recruitment of child soldiers; more than 150 suicide bombing attacks against both military and civilian targets (including at Colombo’s International Airport in 2001, an attack that killed 16); and multiple massacres of civilians, including, on one occasion, more than 30 Buddhist monks who were shot and hacked to death with swords. 


See no Tigers

  1. Mike, I wasn’t at the protest, but I’ve reviewed the 15 pictures posted on our site. I have to conclude that to say virtually every protester waved a Tiger flag or wore a Tiger shirt is not accurate. References to the Tamil Tigers are in the third and fourth paragraphs in the print edition story. They appear in other places in the various online versions we posted.

    • Hi Drew,

      I was at the protest and stand by my description of it. Indeed, it’s possible to find at least one and usually many Tamil Tiger flags or banners or t-shirts in every one of the 15 photos you posted. Your stories do mention the Tamil Tigers in the context of the war in Sri Lanka but say nothing about support for the Tigers among the protesters. Finally, your photo cutlines refer to the “genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka” as if such an alleged genocide is an established fact. Is this really the Citizen’s position?

      Best wishes,


      • “it’s possible to find at least one and usually many Tamil Tiger flags or banners or t-shirts in every one of the 15 photos” is the equivalent of “virtually every protester waved a Tamil Tiger flag or wore a Tiger t-shirt”?????

      • There were many Tiger flags & shirts, granted. And it’s true, the story did not address the implications of the emblem of a terrorist organization appearing on city streets. The Citizen is a daily newspaper, and we covered this event late in the news cycle as a traffic disruption, which for our readers was the overriding concern.
        Of course, the protesters’ position is not the Citizen’s position. Of course the photos are not staged. We have taken a lot of heat for actually using the word terrorist over the last few years. It’s novel to be denying charges like these.

        • and we covered this event late in the news cycle as a traffic disruption,

          How irresponsible. Don’t you know that the news media’s role is to ratchet up hysteria?

      • Have you even bothered investigating this “alleged genocide” or is the world only going to “cry” over it after the fact.

        Why don’t you guys do some real journalism and look into that claim instead of putting quotes around everything you’re too lazy to investigate further. Or, are you going to argue this is something that doesn’t interest your readers. Protesters clogging traffic is way up on my scale of life’s roadblocks too. I can’t imagine what I would do if confronted with such hardship.


        Why don’t you interview Bruce Fein and get a copy of that 1000 page model 12 count indictment of genocide and see if there’s any truth to the “alleged genocide”.

        And hey even if you conclude there’s no genocide…when will you actually cover the story of thousands of CANADIAN citizens who have relatives caught in a war zone and haven’t heard from them in months and don’t know if they’re dead or alive?

        When will you cover the story of canadian citizens, many of whom are blue collar workers and struggling to make ends meet, who have to send money back home to take care of grandparents and other relatives who have been injured in this conflict and now have no arms or legs.

        Why don’t you investigate extortion by paramilitaries aligned with the Sri Lankan government (there are separate extortion rates depending on whether it’s a male or a female living in the Diaspora)?

        Btw, you do know that the int’l organizations have accused the SL government of abducting children to fight as well? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6144200.stm

        They are citizens right? Or, are they just “Tamils” now?

        Oh wait, I forgot — traffic is more important.

    • Sitting on a 95 bus stuck at Elgin for a while, you tend to notice little things like a distinctive tiger-flanked-by-rifles logo on the flags held by the protestors. Most of the protestors, in fact.

      Screw your carefully-staged photos and your cowardly neutrality. It was a pro-terror rally.

  2. Too bad they weren’t sitting British MPs or we never would’ve allowed these tiger-flag-waving folks into the country in the first place.

  3. Your condemnation of the Tamil Tigers, and by implication, Tamils who wish for an independent Tamil state, is based on what? Because the U.S. declared the Tigers a terrorist organization in 1997 (and Canada followed in 2008) does not recognize the role of some Sinhalese in depriving the Tamils of their rights and engaging in state sponsored terrorism of their own. The Sinhalese, since independence and especially with the passage of the1956 Sinhala Only Official Languages Act, have systematically excluded the Tamils.

    Of course it is correct to speak out against terrorism by the Tigers, yet it is not much of a stretch to understand why some Tamils might embrace them.

    What I’m arguing for here is the need to more fully defend your position by posting links to background so people can decide whether the behaviour of protesters might have had a root cause. A balanced view about causes and perpetrators would help people better understand events and contribute to a resolution. Perpetuating an lopsided view helps to ensure the conflict continues.

  4. God, make Michael Petrou my king

    Outstanding post, Michael, we’ve got your back dude. That was a terrorist rally, not at all peaceful, and the media is covering it up. They used the threat of implied violence against a badly outnumbered police force to shut down traffic. So many terrorist flags and placards of the LTTE leader that it is laughable to call it anything but a Tamil Tiger terrorist rally.

    Drew Gagg: deliberately covering up a terrorist rally and hiding it from Canadian citizens is outright treasonous. Treasonous. Your paper’s coverage, or lack thereof, is a new low. You *will* use the word terrorist henceforth, and you *will* like it, sir. Your paper covered up their last terrorist rally too, the pattern is undeniable. I read that in London and elsewhere the police are seizing LTTE flags and arresting people, why not here in Canada too? Your paper should be leading the charge to have these terrorists arrested, if not the War Measures Act put into force.

  5. The question of whether it violates Canadian law to display pro-Tamil Tiger flags actually came up a few weeks ago after the Sri Lankan High Commissioner complained to the government about the failure of the RCMP to shut down a much larger rally on the Hill:

  6. Lyin’s and tigers and bear markets! Oh, my!

    h/t Toto

  7. I see that Glibs Fail is not one of those right-wingers who values freedom of expression. Or maybe he’s one on of the hypocritical ones, I guess there’s just as many of those.

    • Freedom of expression DOES NOT EQUAL a blockade of downtown streets at rush hour. Care to try again?

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