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LTTE

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.

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.

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

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]

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 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: Will the new Frontline Socialist Party revive the left?

By Niel Wijethilaka and K. Govindan (Nava Sama Samaja Party)

April 14, 2012 -- Dbsjeyaraj.com -- More than 5000 people packed Colombo’s Sugathadasa stadium (photo above) for the inaugural conference of the Peratugami Samajawadi Pakshaya (Frontline Socialist Party, FSP) on April 9, 2012. Most were members and sympathisers of this new left party – a breakaway from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (Peoples’ Liberation Front, JVP); but many representatives of other radical left parties, left intellectuals and progressive social activists were also in attendance. The emergence and consolidation of the FSP is an important and hopeful development for the revival of peoples’ movements in Sri Lanka in the post-war era, following decades of retreat of the labour and left movements.

Underlining the internationalism of the new party, and its understanding of the relationship between national and global struggles against capitalism, the convention was dominated by speeches and messages from international guests[1] and representatives of FSP branches in England, France and Italy. Greetings were also delivered by left groups within Sri Lanka, mainly of Trotskyist and Maoist lineage, including Vickramabahu Karunarathne on behalf of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP).

UN will deny Tamils justice

Tamils protest in London, April 2009, during the Sri Lankan government's brutal war to crush the Tamil movement for national rights.

By Ron Ridenour

February 20, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Brace yourselves Tamils in and from Sri Lanka! The United Nations Human Rights Council will not grant you justice at its 19th session, on February 27-March 23, 2012 or, perhaps, in any foreseeable future.

Until the past few weeks it looked as though the “international community” (US, UK-Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan), the east (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran), the Middle East-Libya/Africa and the progressive global South (Cuba-ALBA+, South Africa) were content with ignoring Sri Lanka’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Biography uncovers forgotten lessons of Sri Lanka’s JVP

Review by Ben Courtice

The Lionel Bopage story: Rebellion, repression and the struggle for justice in Sri Lanka
By Michael Colin Cooke
Agahas Publishers, Colombo, 2011
Order at michaelcolincooke@yahoo.com.au

“The truth is the whole” – Hegel, quoted in The Ecological Rift  by John Bellamy Foster, Richard York & Brett Clark, Monthly Review Press, 2011

October 31, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A lot of popular non-fiction literature seems very straightforward, to the point. The kind of writing you might expect from a journalist – easy to read, not too many tangents or complicating factors; usually nothing too far from the comfort zone of the average punter.

A history of oppression: the Tamils of Sri Lanka

By Danielle Sabai

June 2, 2011 -- Asia Left Observer, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In February 2011, the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the island’s independence. In his speech, he stressed the necessity of “protecting the reconstructed nation”, as well as protecting “one of the oldest democracies in Asia”, its unity and its unitary character.

This speech came nearly two years after the end of the war on May 19, 2009, between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The military command of the LTTE was decimated in the last two months of a merciless war that has had led to tens of thousands of deaths since the early 1980s.

Sri Lanka: Will Tamils get justice from the UN?

Tamils are held in miserable conditions in IDP camps.

[For more on the struggle of the Tamil people, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour

May 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Forty-seven governments on the Untied Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will discuss and decide, beginning at its May 30 session, what to do about an unusually truthful report in the world of international politics.

The “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 31 concerning: 1) alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last phases of the 26-year-old civil war, September 2008 to May 19, 2009; 2) consequences for approximately 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, by extension, for 2.7 million Sri Lankan Tamils, 13% of Sri Lanka's 21 million population.

Sri Lanka: La 'Guerra de colonización' contra los tamiles

Por Chris Slee

[English at http://links.org.au/node/2210.]

El sitio de Internet Tamilnet acusó al gobierno de Sri Lanka de declarar la “guerra de colonización” contra los tamiles que viven en la isla de Sri Lanka. El gobierno ha establecido asentamientos singaleses en áreas tradicionalmente ocupadas por los tamiles. Dicho sitio compara esta situación con la política israelí de establecer asentamientos judíos en el “West Bank” e indica lo siguiente: “...Sri Lanka desea crear lo más rápido posible una situación similar al modelo israelí". [1]

Del mismo modo que Israel usa a los asentamientos judíos para separar las áreas habitadas por palestinos en pequeños fragmentos, intentando así imposibilitar un estado palestino, Sri Lanka utiliza los asentamientos singaleses para separar las áreas tamiles del norte y del este de Sri Lanka, con el objeto de imposibilitar un estado tamil independiente.

Los lazos del gobierno srilanqués con Israel exponen su duplicidad

Donald Perera, embajador de Sri Lanka a Israel, en su oficina de Tel Aviv.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/1841.]

Por Chris Slee

Sri Lanka: `This is a struggle for all of us. Not only Tamils but also for Sinhalese who value democracy' -- Bahu

Speech by general secretary of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) Vickramabahu Karunaratne ("Bahu") at the Tamil National Remembrance Day, November 28, 2010, in London.

* * *

I am thankful for the organisation of this event for giving me the opportunity to shed my tears in memory of those who gave their life to the liberation of Tamil homeland.

Tamils have been killed by successive Sinhala-chauvinist governments in Sri lanka, last but not the least by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Not only Tamils, but also thousands of Sinhala youth who were sent for aggression in the Tamil homeland and to attack Tamils. Thousands of these young Sinhalese died in an alien land.

Sri Lankan government's ties with Israel expose its duplicity

Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel, in his Tel Aviv office.

By Chris Slee

August 14, 2010 -- On July 21 the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published an interview with Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel. Perera, the former Sri Lankan Air Force commander and Chief of Defence Staff, thanked Israel profusely for its support in the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), saying: "For years Israel has aided our war on terror through the exchange of information and the sale of military technology and equipment... Our air force fleet includes 17 Kfir warplanes, and we also have Dabur patrol boats. Our pilots were trained in Israel, and we have received billions of dollars in aid over the past few years. This is why I asked to be assigned to Israel -- a country I consider a partner in the war against terror."

Support Tamils not Sri Lanka’s war-criminal government -- Eva Golinger misinterprets solidarity

By Ron Ridenour

June 1, 2010 -- Eva Golinger is known for her analysis in the service of Venezuela’s peaceful revolution against the local oligarchy and the United States empire. She is a noted author (The Chavez Code: Cracking US intervention in Venezuela). A dual citizen of the US and Venezuela, she is an attorney, and a personal friend of President Hugo Chavez. She is a frequent contributor to left-wing media around the world, and is the English-language editor of the Venezuelan newspaper, Correo del Orinoco.

Sri Lanka: Left-Tamil alliance to contest elections

Vickramabahu Karunaratne, the presidential candidate for the NSSP.

By Chris Slee

March 20, 2010 -- The Left Liberation Front (LFF) is contesting 19 seats in the April 8 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka. The LLF, an electoral coalition comprising the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP, New Socialist Party), the Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA) and the Socialist Party, stands for the right of self-determination for the oppressed Tamil people of Sri Lanka, freedom for political prisoners and an end to the state of emergency.

The NSSP and the Socialist Party are Marxist parties based in the predominantly Sinhalese south of the island of Sri Lanka. The TNLA is a Tamil nationalist party based amongst the Tamil people of the north and east of the island.

Socialist Party of Malaysia condemns Sri Lanka's slaughter of Tamils

Tamils demand national self-determination on May 1, 2009. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM)

May 27, 2009 -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared victory over Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as the last LTTE strongpoints crumbled. The victory is for no one but only the chauvinistic nationalist Sinhalese government led by Rajapaksa, which had launched a brutal, merciless and cold-blooded military offensive against the Tamil population for several months, inflicting nothing but death, destruction and misery. The victory proclaimed by Rajapaksa will not put an end to the conflict that has lasted for several decades, but signals a new assault on working people in Sri Lanka -- Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim.

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