On Mia’s documentary and more Tamil Stories

I went to see the preview of MIA’s documentary Matangi/MIA/Maya Thursday & I do want many of the people in my life to see it. And I also want y’all to watch No More Tears Sister–a documentary featuring the feminist Rajasingam & Thiranangama Sisters that have mentored & supported me. I also want you to watch Dheepan–which won the Palms d’Or at Cannes and stars brilliant actor and writer Antonythasan Jesuthasan– also know as Shoba Sakthi. No More Tears Sister has been uploaded onto youtube below.

I believe deeply in more stories, perspectives, and discourse within the Tamil Diaspora and our Fam about what a deeper vision of Tamil Liberation looks like. What would it take for all Tamils– regardless of gender, religion, class, or caste– in the North & East as well as throughout the Island –to live with dignity? Realistically, if we are to address the economic as well as ethnic exploitation and subjugation of Tamils on the Island, what skills, solidarity, strategy, vision, and alliances are needed? Can we have true Tamil liberation without decolonization, gender equity, and the eradication of caste?  What is needed to cleanse ourselves of the anti-Blackness, casteist, & colonial mentalities pervasive throughout our communities? Can Tamils model the pluralism we wish for the Island as a whole? What does true Diaspora solidarity with Tamils and other persecuted communities in Ilankai look like? How does our solidarity with caste privileged patriarchs fail our Tamil Fam fighting against the forces of castism, gender violence, economic exploitation, and ethnic bigotry?

While it wasn’t as clear in the film or what we see of her in the media, during the talk back, I saw MIA opening to questions around new visions of liberation and the economic challenges of China.  And that small opening gives me hope that we in the diaspora can allow ourselves to have higher standards of liberation than what was dictated to us. For our Tamil community who are deeply in touch with the limits of Tamil Nationalism– to those who lost loved ones to or were exploited & targeted not only by the Sri Lankan Army and Government but by the Tigers, paramilitary, and or gangs– MIA’s blindspots can feel frustrating to say the least.

At the same time, as a Tamil Creative who has Aunties who raised their children on their own and refugee family I adore who grew up in council estates, there was something really sweet and soul touching about watching a Tamil refugee girl from Jaffna & London raised mostly by her single mum rise to pop stardom. May our stories cease to be ammunition silencing other stories and placing us in opposition to each other. May our stories weave us a path to dignity and liberation for all.

No More Tears Sister:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C803NOvmTqk