Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Behind Maithripala Sirisena's defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa

For more coverage of Sri Lanka, click HERE.

By Chris Slee

January 12, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Maithripala Sirisena has taken office as president of Sri Lanka, after winning the election held on January 8. Sirisena obtained 51.28% of the vote, defeating incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who got 47.58%.

Seventeen other candidates got a total of 1.14% of the votes between them. Duminda Nagamuwa, representing the Frontline Socialist Party, got 0.08%; Siritunga Jayasuriya of the United Socialist Party got 0.07%; and Sundaram Mahendran of the NSSP (New Socialist Party) got 0.03%.

Rajapaksa had been elected president in 2005, and re-elected in 2010. In his first term he presided over the most brutal phase of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE was formed in the 1970s to fight for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. It was created by Tamil youth in response to discrimination against Tamils and the violent repression of peaceful protests. From small beginnings it grew into a powerful armed force.

Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated, Australia urged to push for new way

Sri Lanka’s newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena. Photograph: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images.

For more coverage of Sri Lanka, click HERE.

By the Tamil Refugee Council

Melbourne, January 9, 2015 --The Tamil Refugee Council urges the Australian government to use the change of leadership in Sri Lanka to push for a resolution to the country’s most pressing issue – the long-standing oppression and persecution of Tamils.

Brian Senewiratne: The choice in Sri Lanka's presidential election

Mahinda Rajapaksa (middle) with his brother Gotabaya (left).

By Brian Senewiratne, Brisbane

January 5, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There are two main candidates – Mahinda Rajapaksa and “common opposition candidate” Maithripala Sirisena. The January 8, 2015, election was called by Rajapaksa two years before it was due because of a slide in his popularity as judged from the recent provincial council elections. He has claimed, with some strange reasoning, that even if he loses, he will continue as president for two more years (if he wins, the two years will be added to the six-year term – making it eight years).

With the opposition in disarray and unable to find a credible candidate, Rajapaksa was so sure of victory that he even said that he would be the only candidate. He failed to see that the possible candidate was Maithripala Sirisena, his own health minister and general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Lionel Bopage: ‘Let us take a principled stand for the future of Sri Lanka!’

Prageeth (sitting at the centre) at a discussion with us before the day he was made to disappear.

By Lionel Bopage

January 3, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As we move towards Sri Lanka’s presidential election on January 8, 2015, two years ahead of schedule, we need to carefully consider what we are standing for.

To the credit of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, with the end of the war in 2009 there has been some widespread development of infrastructure. Despite this there are many disturbing aspects. The development of infrastructure has come at the cost of heavy indebtedness. The Colombo City “cleaning up”’ has displaced many long-time residents without adequate compensation. The service industry has grown, but there are serious breakdowns in the provision of basic services, notably health, education and law and order.

Sri Lanka: Tamils, left debates election

Opposition-backed presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena is supported by some Tamils and human rights activists, but others say he represents little different from the current regime.

By Chris Slee

January 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa is being challenged by Maithripala Sirisena, who was until recently one of his ministers, in the January 8 presidential elections. However, many Tamils and leftists see little difference between the two.

Sirisena is being supported by the opposition United National Party, and has promised to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister. There are 16 other candidates.

Sirisena has promised to abolish the system of executive presidency, which concentrates power in the hands of the president, and replace it with a system where the parliament has more power.

This change has long been advocated by many human rights advocates, who think that reducing the arbitrary power of the president would improve the human rights situation. Some human rights advocates are supporting Sirisena for this reason.

However the Tamil Civil Society Forum sees no real difference between Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

'Dialogue' or Tamil self-determination: a response to Michael Cooke

Tamil refugees.

By Chris Slee

October 27, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Michael Cooke's article "Election Monitoring in Lanka"[1] contains a lot of useful information on the history and politics of Sri Lanka, including topics ranging from the burning of the Jaffna library by Sri Lankan police in 1981 to the murder of journalists, the repression of trade unionists and the instigation of anti-Muslim riots under the current government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

However the article has some serious flaws. In particular, Cooke does not deal adequately with the national question in Sri Lanka.

The article is largely based on three visits that Cooke made to Sri Lanka, including two periods as an election monitor (in 2001 and 2005). It is also informed by his extensive knowledge of Sri Lankan history, much of it gained through the research he did for his excellent biography of Lionel Bopage.[2]

Cooke's work as an election monitor gave him a unique vantage point from which to observe Sri Lankan politics. But it was not always easy to find out the truth. Cooke admits that he is not sure who committed some of the acts of violence that he observed.

Tamils: Former LTTE de facto state -- a resident’s view

LTTE fighters.

For more on the Tamil struggle, click HERE.

By Chris Slee, Melbourne

October 16, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ragu, a Tamil man now living in Australia, spent 16 years living in areas under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE was formed in 1972 by young people angry at decades of discrimination and repression against the Tamil people by successive racist Sri Lankan governments. It fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. After small-scale armed clashes in the late 1970s, full-scale war began in 1983. The LTTE was defeated in 2009.

Ragu spoke to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal about his experiences living in LTTE-controlled areas.

* * *

Election monitoring in Lanka

Weapons captured from the LTTE stand on display in front of Sri Lankan sources.

They were a kind of solution.
What does all this sudden uneasiness mean
And this confusion? (How grave their faces have become!)
Why are the streets and squares rapidly emptying,
And why is everyone going back home, so lost in thought?
Because it is night and the barbarians have not come;
And some men have arrived from the frontiers
And they say that the barbarians don’t exist any longer.
And now what will become of us without barbarians?
They were a kind of solution.
They were a kind of solution.
-- Constantine Cavafy[1]

By Michael Cooke

Discussion: Are Russia and China imperialist powers?

"Probably the most important Russian monopoly is Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, which by 2008 had about 400,000 employees. The company is reported to control over 93% of Russia’s natural gas production and about a quarter of the world’s known gas reserves."

By Chris Slee

April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Russia and China both play an important role in world politics. This includes involvement in armed conflicts distant from their borders. Russia for example supplies arms to the Syrian government. Both Russia and China supplied arms to the Sri Lankan government during its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. (The LTTE was defeated in 2009.)

In some cases, Russia and China intervene on the same side as the Western imperialist powers. This was the case in Sri Lanka, where the US, Britain, Israel and other Western powers also aided the Sri Lankan government in its brutal war against the LTTE, which was in fact a war against the Tamil people.

Life under the Tamil Tigers

Review by Chris Slee

A fleeting moment in my country: the last years of the LTTE de-facto state
by N. Malathy; foreword by Radha d’Souza
Clarity Press, Atlanta 2012

May 30, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “Can the readers who did not experience this imagine what it is like to watch the complete destruction of one’s country: the physical destruction, the destruction of the governance structures, the complete dispersal of its people, and massacres on a massive scale? Has there ever been such complete destruction of a country in history? The only reason why it is not seen as such is because my country was only in the minds of its people, but was not recognized by the global system of states.”[1]

India: CPI-ML congress pledges to deepen people's resistance

Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation activists have played a central role in the the campaign against rape culture.

For more on the CPI-ML Liberation, click HERE.

By Sue Bolton, Ranchi

May 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Politicians often describe India as “the world’s biggest democracy”. When I attended the 9th congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation (CPI-ML) on April 2-7, 2013, I found that the reality was somewhat different.

Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka crimes provokes huge protests

 

Student demonstration in Mathurai, Tamil Nadu, March 14, 2013.

By Ron Ridenour

March 21, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The United Nation’s Human Rights Council passed a resolution on March 21, 2013, the third in four years, concerning Sri Lanka’s conduct towards Tamils. The vote was 25 for, 13 against with eight abstentions. Those opposed rejected any criticism of Sri Lanka as “foreign meddling”.[1]

Sri Lanka to be 'tried' for genocide against Tamils

By Ron Ridenour

November 11, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An unprecedented move by internationalists and activists for human rights and justice, one that could inspire controversy among left-oriented governments and peoples´ solidarity committees, will take place next spring.

In April 2013, a panel of international experts will be convened as"Judges of the Permanent People's Tribunal to examine reports submitted by many specialised working groups on the accusation of the crime of genocide against the government of Sri Lanka and on the accusations against various international actors who had supported and prepared the conditions for the Sri Lankan government to implement this alleged crime”, stated the Rome-based Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) on November 3, 2012.[1]

This decision is supported organisationally by the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL), based in Dublin, and the International Human Rights Association (IMRV), based in Bremen.

In mid-January 2010 the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lankan held its sessions in Dublin. There were four findings:

1: That the Sri Lankan government and its military are guilty of war crimes;

2: That the Sri Lankan government and its military are guilty of crimes against humanity;

India: ‘Nuclear energy is not a national issue – it is a global issue’ -- anti-nuclear movement gains momentum

More than 20,000 villagers protest at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant on September 9, 2012. Photos from Countercurrents. More photos below.

Neeraj Jain interviewed by B. Skanthakumar

October 5, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The anti-nuclear peoples’ movement in India has been gathering momentum in recent years. The courageous struggle of women, men and children of Idinthakarai village in South India, who are resisting the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, and are under siege by state security forces – with more than 56,000 of whom have been falsely charged, including 6000 for the offence of “sedition”, and 53 imprisoned – has highlighted the people’s movement against nuclear energy.

Brian Senewiratne: Deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka

September 10, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- A 56-minute presentation by Brian Senewiratne at the Fremantle Town Hall, Western Australia, on September 1, 2012. Senewiratne is a veteran campaigner for the rights of the Ilankai (Sri Lankan) Tamils, and staunch advocate for the right of Tamil self-determination. He is a Socialist Alliance member in Queensland. The forum was organised by a new network called "Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam".

There has been a surge of refugess fleeing repression in Sri Lanka, some attempting to make the entire crossing of the Indian Ocean to Australia without stopping. The genocidal violence of the government of Sri Lanka and the determination of the ruling Labor and opposition Liberal parties in Australia to "turn back the boats" go hand in glove.

The disappeared in Sri Lanka

Vigil to remember the disappeared in Sri Lanka, Melbourne, August 30, 2012. Photos by Tony Iltis.

By Lionel Bopage

A speech made on August 30, 2012, at a vigil to remember the disappeared in Sri Lanka on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, at the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

August 30, 2012 -- Groundviews -- I am honoured to have been asked to speak at this vigil, to remember the disappeared in Sri Lanka on this important occasion of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Sri Lanka is party to diverse declarations and conventions of the United Nations on human rights. Therefore, the main responsibility of protecting peoples’ rights lies with the government of the day.

Sri Lankan socialist expresses solidarity with Tamil people, criticises India's role

August 21, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Leader of the Nawa Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) of Sri Lanka, Dr Vickramabahu "Bahu" Karunaratne (picture above), was invited to address the Tamil Eelam Solidarity Organisation (TESO)  conference in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, on August 12, 2012. The conference was organised by parties in Tamil Nadu sympathetic to rights of the the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. At first Bahu was denied a visa by the Indian government but after widespread protests he was issued a visa.  The NSSP leader's speech is reproduced below.

* * *

I am very thankful to the organisers of the Tamil Eelam Solidarity Organisation (TESO), in particular to Mr. Radhakrishna, for giving this opportunity to participate in this event and to explain the sufferings in my country. They had to under go many difficulties fight hard and over come many obstacles to organise this meeting. I also faced difficulties to come here. Though many Tamil National Alliance MPs were willing to come, they could not cross the barriers.

New book on the history of the Tamil people's struggle for self-determination

Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka
By Ron Ridenour
New Century Book House
Chennai, India
(available from Resistance Books)

Review by Chris Slee

August 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ron Ridenour‘s latest book is a very informative history of the struggle for self-determination by the Tamil people on the island of Sri Lanka. Ridenour explains the reasons why many Tamils took up arms to fight for an independent Tamil state. He shows the history of racism in Sri Lanka and the violent repression carried out by successive governments against peaceful Tamil protests. He denounces the history of mass murder of Tamils, both through government-instigated pogroms and through the bombardment of civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces. He acknowledges that the Tamil independence fighters have also committed atrocities.

Sri Lanka: The politics of the Frontline Socialist Party -- interview with Premakumar Gunaratnam

Premakumar Gunaratnam. Photo by Peter Boyle.

For more coverage of Sri Lanka and the Tamil struggle, click HERE.

August 8, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Premakumar Gunaratnam, an ethnic Tamil from Sri Lanka, who now has Australian citizenship, returned to his home country in September 2011 to help organise the launch of a new left party, the Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP), a major breakaway from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP, People’s Liberation Front). He had been a JVP activist for three decades and a member of its underground political bureau since 1994. In an extensive interview with Peter Boyle for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly, Gunaratnam reported how he was abducted by a group of armed men between 4 am and 5 am on April 7, just two days before the scheduled launch of the new party.

Sri Lanka: Crimes against humanity with the West’s complicity

By Ron Ridenour

May 25, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The US-UK axis is quite adroit at launching aggressive wars against governments and peoples who do not buckle under. Today’s method of domination is often linked with media propaganda about doing the right thing for “human rights”.

In the case of its ally Sri Lanka, it did not need to send troops to win the war against the Tamils’ struggle for liberation. The Western powers have provided Sri Lankan governments and military with weaponry, war intelligence and training to win the long war against Tamil nationhood. But, after the mutual victory, the axis has also criticised the current government for having committed excesses.

While China and Russia also militarily and economically assisted Sri Lankan governments in avoiding federalism for the two peoples: majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils, they did so without the hyperbole of “protecting human rights”. Unfortunately, Cuba and its associates in the eight Latin American ALBA countries (Bolivarian Alliance of the peoples of the Americas) got caught up in the geopolitical game by supporting Sinhalese chauvinism politically but without funds and weapons.

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet