chapter  8
22 Pages

Exile

WithAnoma Pieris

This chapter draws on the fragmented virtual and physical conditions of exile integral to the experience of the Tamil community outside the nation and explores how diasporic cartographies carve up the field of sovereignty. It looks at the spaces of the Tamil diaspora, a transnational population which, while also encompassing emigrants from Tamil Nadu, are consistently differentiated as Lankan or ‘Eelam’ Tamils. While the Lankan Tamil diaspora is transnational and multinodal, its challenges to Sri Lankan sovereignty throughout the civil war, as expressed by hostile partisan groups, were geopolitical – highly territorial, militant and chauvinistic. The culture of Tamil political activism and protest in Canada is characterised by similar adaptations to ‘New World’ spatial practices. Toronto is the site for daily practices of tacit nation-building within Canada’s ‘banal nationalism’, a term that Amarasingam et al. apply to the Canadian multicultural context.