Alexandra Palace, London woke up to dense fog and heavy hearts this morning on the occasion of the funeral of, 'Voice of the Nation' Dr. Anton Balasingham. Over 50,000 people of the Sri Lankan Thamil diaspora from all over the world converged on Alexandra Palace queued up to offer their last respects to 'Bala Annai' as he was fondly known. People's man, People's statesman, People's spokesman, People's friend and many more are ways one can describe him. Hence the reason why people came from far and wide to say their goodbyes in person. Braving the bitter cold at the top of Alexandra Palace hill, people stood orderly in long and winding queues patiently awaiting their turn to enter the Palace where, it must be said, the body of the 'Voice of the Nation' lay in State. Paradoxically it was like a state funeral for a statesman of a stateless people.
The organisers, mindful of the long queues and long waits, organised food and hot drink for the thousands of people outside. It is certain that many would have thought of the people in Vaharai who have no such arrangements and the Government of Sri Lanka prevents those who want to take food and drink to such desperate people. Even in his final hours the single mindedness of Bala Annai was evident when he referred to his pain and illness as a mere pebble in comparison to the difficulties of the people of Jaffna and Vaharai, places in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
Bala Annai's voice has been heard in several countries, on several occassions, in front of several microphones, but on one subject and one alone - 'The plight and fight of Thamil people of Sri Lanka'. On the 14th of December 2006, at 13:45hrs, that 'Voice of the Nation' was silenced by the serious illness Bala Annai had suffered over several years. Adele, his near and dear wife is one of the main reasons for his prolonged service to his passionate cause. The people of Thamil Eelam share her grief every bit and want to say that they will vow to achieve Bala Annai's objective, 'the self determination of the Thamil people of Sri Lanka'.
In Thamil, the spoken word is so coloquial that it does not seem proper to use in public speech. But Bala Annai had a unique ability to find a mix between the spoken and written word. Hence his unique public speeches endeared the listener to him while at the same time informed the people of the true and pure substance of it, 'the Thamil people's fight for a just peace and freedom'. Along with the unique speaking ability, he inserts that special stream of humour which really gets people roaring with laughter even in such a serious topic of discussion. Such was the communicating ability of Bala Annai who will be hard to replace.
Many political figures from Thamil Nadu, India and Peace negotiators from Norway attended the Funeral of Dr. Anton Balasingham. The planning & organisation of the event was precise and faultless. Live Television coverage by TTN was excellent. Due to time constraints of external factors the doors to further incoming queues of people had to be closed around 14:30hrs. Bala Annai's wish was to be dressed in the traditional Veshti & Shirt dress. His cortege left for the New Southgate Cemetery as per his wish.
Source: TWG - By: Shri
Date: 20 December 2006