[Marxism] Tamils need support — Green Left editorial
stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Sat Apr 18 03:48:17 MDT 2009
The Tamils need support
18 April 2009
*One of the great crimes of modern times is occurring on the island of Sri
Lanka without a word of protest from governments the world over. The Tamil
people are facing genocide.*
Already this year, the death toll of Tamil civilians exceeds 4000. Often
dozens, and in some cases hundreds, are slaughtered in a single day in Sri
Lankan Army (SLA) bombings of the so-called safe zone, into which as many as
300,000 people are crowded.
Those Tamils who flee this zone are being placed into concentration camps by
This brutal reality is almost entirely unreported, and not simply because
the Sri Lankan government refuses to allow journalists access to the scene
of its crime. Instead, the mainstream media is once again siding with the
When the issue is reported at all, the Sri Lankan government’s propaganda is
repeated — the propaganda of a regime that refuses to allow a free press,
with one of the world’s highest rates of journalists being murdered each
According to Sri Lankan propaganda, the military are merely fighting
“terrorism”. It claims its war is merely against the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an armed group fighting for an independent Tamil
homeland in the island’s east and north.
Yet Sri Lanka’s actions prove its war is against the Tamil people as a
The actions of the LTTE are a response to the decades of discrimination and
violent repression meted out to the Tamil minority by a state dominated by
the majority Sinhalese ethnic group. Support for armed struggle grew among
Tamils in response to the violent anti-Tamil pogroms in 1983 that killed
more than 3000 people.
The solution to ending the decades-long war on the island, and bringing
about desperately needed peace, is to end the oppression of the Tamil
First, and most urgently, there must be a permanent ceasefire declared. The
mass killings must be ended. Food and medical supplies must be allowed into
the “safe-zone”, without which aid agencies are warning of a terrible
The Tamil people must regain their freedom of movement — the concentration
camps must be closed.
Once this occurs, the conditions for a negotiated settlement to the crisis,
which can resolve the issue of self-determination for the Tamil people, will
However, powerful governments, in defense of powerful
interests, are allowing the Tamil people to be sacrificed. In return, the
powerful are manoeuvring for access to lucrative shipping routes and ports.
To avoid upsetting the racist and undemocratic regime in Colombo, that
regime is allowed a free hand to implement a “final solution” to the Tamil
question. Once again, the corporate elite is placing profit over human life.
People around the world who believe in social justice must raise their
voices. The Tamil diaspora is desperately attempting to bring the plight of
its people to the world’s attention. In their hundreds of thousands, they
have marched in cities around the globe.
In India, dozens of Tamils have self-immolated to bring attention to the
situation. In Australia, six young Tamils went on hunger strike for almost a
week. They refused food or water, with a serious risk of death, in an appeal
to the Australian government to press Sri Lanka to call a permanent
We cannot let them stand alone. Those who believe in social justice —
political parties, trade unions, churches, social movements — must speak out
against the atrocities occurring right now.
The powerful have abandoned the Tamil people, it must be ordinary people all
over the world who use their power to force action.
When Israel levelled Gaza, millions marched in opposition. That movement
must continue, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign seeking to
isolate apartheid Israel is beginning to have effect. But that display of
“people power” needs to be repeated on behalf of the Tamils.
International solidarity helped end apartheid in South Africa, despite
Western governments siding with the regime. It helped the East Timorese win
their independence, despite Western governments — including Australia —
siding with Indonesia.
It is placing Israel on the back foot, despite the most powerful nations on
Earth backing the oppressors of the Palestinian people.
Now, international solidarity must be mobilised to save the Tamil people and
stop the genocide.
[Support this very urgent struggle by joining the heroic campaign of the
young Australian Tamils. Visit http://www.tamilsydney.com.]
"The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind of
dummy?" — Jarvis Cocker
"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" — Oscar Wilde
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