Australian socialist calls for support to Tamils’ right to self-determination
“Tamils should have the right to choose whether they wish to be part of a united Sri Lanka, to break away and form an independent Tamil state in their traditional homelands in the north and east of the island, or to have some intermediate form such as federalism or autonomy,” writes Chris Slee, a member of the Melbourne branch of the Socialist Alliance, in an article published on Green Left Weekly, Sunday. Noting that the support given to Sri Lanka by world powers, especially the US, in allowing the May 2009 massacre to happen and criticizing the misunderstanding of the “progressive” Latin American countries of the Tamils’ struggle, the author calls on Australians to “demand that the Australian government support the proposal for a UN-supervised referendum. We should also demand that it end all ties with the Sri Lankan army and the other repressive forces of the Sri Lankan state.”
“Our support for the right of Tamils to break away and form their own state (if they so choose) is similar to VI Lenin’s policy in the Russian Revolution. He supported the right of those nationalities oppressed by the Russian empire to break away and form their own states,” Mr. Slee writes, providing briefly the background of the Leninist idea of the right of nations to self-determination, arguing that the important basis for a just political solution in the island depends on the Tamils having the right to choose their future.
Briefly writing about the history of Sri Lankan state oppression and resistance by the Eezham Tamils from peaceful protests to armed struggle, the author asserts that “The Sri Lankan government was able to win the war doe to support it got from many governments around the world.” “The United States gave many forms of aid, including weapons, equipment and training. But probably the most important form of US aid was satellite surveillance information, which enabled the Sri Lankan navy to sink boats bringing supplies to the LTTE.”
“Israel supplied aircraft that bombed the LTTE-controlled areas, and patrol boats to help sink LTTE boats.”
“Britain, India, China, Russia, Pakistan and other countries all helped the Sri Lankan armed forces in various ways.”
“US bases in Australia played a key role in communicating with the satellites that provided surveillance information to the Sri Lankan armed forces.”
“Even the progressive governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia did not support the Tamil struggle. Although not involved militarily, they expressed political support for the Sri Lankan government. They viewed the LTTE merely as a terrorist organisation, not recognising the national oppression that gave rise to the armed struggle.”
Referring to the military occupation of the homeland of the Tamils, the author notes that “Sinhalese settlements are expanding, in a similar way to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Land is also being given to foreign capitalists” and that owing to this many displaced Tamils are unable to return to their homes and farms.
Suggesting that Tamils need to win allies among the Muslims and progressive Sinhala forces in the South, Mr. Slee adds that “Internationally, Tamils need to continue their efforts to educate people about the situation in Sri Lanka. While continuing to mobilise Tamils for demonstrations, they need to also involve non-Tamils more. Demands that need to be raised include freedom for political prisoners, the dismantling of military bases in the occupied Tamil areas and the right of displaced Tamils to return to their homes and farms.”
The author concludes with a call to Australians that “We should demand that the Australian government support the proposal for a UN-supervised referendum. We should also demand that it end all ties with the Sri Lankan army and the other repressive forces of the Sri Lankan state,” and “We must demand an end to the persecution of Tamil refugees, some of whom are detained in Australia as "security risks", presumably on the basis of misinformation supplied by the racist Sri Lankan government.”