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Views on conflict in Sri Lanka?

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Skips
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Apr 27 2009 10:18
Views on conflict in Sri Lanka?

Pretty awful situation atm...Is there any anarchist groups there? Thanks

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Entdinglichung
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Apr 27 2009 10:42

the overwiev on http://www.broadleft.org/lk.htm (5 years old) mentiones none

Skips
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Apr 28 2009 13:35

thanks for the link

Alderson Warm-Fork
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Apr 30 2009 21:59

In terms of 'views', I imagine that most anarchists would see the Sri Lankan conflict as similar to the Israel-Palestine one. The government is racist and genocidal, the 'resistance' are a bunch of gangsters mainly concerned to preserve themselves and their position by sacrificing Palestinian/Tamil lives. They leaderships are both unworthy of support but at the same time the Tamils as a civilian population are clearly the oppressed group, so in that sense there's no 'neutrality'.

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JoeMaguire
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May 8 2009 22:43

Seriously its an indictment that this thread is the size it is. Apparently 200k have marched on the issue (two thirds of the UK Tamil population), they have done some serious DA around parliament (sit-ins, hunger strikes) and this is raising all kinds of problems because of its association with the banned Tamil Tiger group.

It was nice to see them holding their own outside parliament when the Strangers into Citizens procession passed them on the Monday demo.

IrrationallyAngry
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May 9 2009 00:15

The main English language sources for left wing coverage of Sri Lanka are the Trotskyist currents with groups there. That means Socialist World, the World Socialist Website and International Viewpoint. Trotskyism was historically very strong on the island.

The best coverage is, in my biased view, that on Socialist World. The CWI section there, the United Socialist Party came (a very distant) third in the last Presidential elections in Sri Lanka and it has support in both Tamil and Sinhalese areas. Their basic line isn't a million miles from that outlined by Alderson Warm-Fork above, although anarchists will probably flinch at their support for Tamil self-determination.

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Django
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May 9 2009 07:46

We had a short article on it in May's issue of Resistance, available here.

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miles
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May 9 2009 19:57

There's an article in the current edition of World Revolution, here

Mick Black
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May 10 2009 13:37

What do people think about this article that was published on Anarkismo.net

Quote:
The Struggle for Tamil Eelam
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/12996
Thursday May 07, 2009
by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.

A denunciation of the atrocities perpetrated against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, of the distortions fed by its government to the international media and of the need to step up solidarity with the Tamil people in their struggle for self-determination.

Personally, I found the analysis incredibly one-sided to put it lightly not even mentioning let alone criticizing the LTTE's sectarian attacks on Sinhalese civilians through the use of suicide bombers and car bombs.

True in the bigger picture it's the government offensive that is the real human issue at present and it's right to focus on the government atrocities.

However overall, it seems to an anarchist cover for straight up Tamil-nationalism and implies that anarchists should not only oppose the war in the island of Sri-lanka but also support the political goal of a Tamil state (or "Eelam" which I believe translates roughly as "homeland") on the island.

I would urge people to compare it to this article, which granted is not anarchist in politics either, but I think shows a much better understanding of the issues and forces at play than the above anarkismo article.

Sri Lanka's hollow victory: Why hammering the Tamil Tigers will not bring peace

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Khawaga
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May 10 2009 15:32
Quote:
Personally, I found the analysis incredibly one-sided to put it lightly not even mentioning let alone criticizing the LTTE's sectarian attacks on Sinhalese civilians through the use of suicide bombers and car bombs.

Agree, and no mention of the LTTE's attacks on other Tamil organizations (particularly in the east of the country). LTTE have effectively monopolized Tamil politics by not accepting any other "representatives" of the Tamil people and especially Tamils that do not support Tamil Eelam or radical groups and even peace groups.

Skips
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May 10 2009 16:07
Khawaga wrote:
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Personally, I found the analysis incredibly one-sided to put it lightly not even mentioning let alone criticizing the LTTE's sectarian attacks on Sinhalese civilians through the use of suicide bombers and car bombs.

Agree, and no mention of the LTTE's attacks on other Tamil organizations (particularly in the east of the country). LTTE have effectively monopolized Tamil politics by not accepting any other "representatives" of the Tamil people and especially Tamils that do not support Tamil Eelam or radical groups and even peace groups.

The LTTE are cunts no doubt. But at the moment the Sri Lankan army is committing major war crimes which will no doubt fuel more waves of violence.

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Khawaga
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May 10 2009 16:30
sickdog24 wrote:
The LTTE are cunts no doubt. But at the moment the Sri Lankan army is committing major war crimes which will no doubt fuel more waves of violence.

Point being?

Skips
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May 10 2009 17:34
Khawaga wrote:
sickdog24 wrote:
The LTTE are cunts no doubt. But at the moment the Sri Lankan army is committing major war crimes which will no doubt fuel more waves of violence.

Point being?

The point being that the Sri Lankan army is killing far more innocent people than the LTTE.

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Khawaga
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May 10 2009 17:48
sickdog24 wrote:
The point being that the Sri Lankan army is killing far more innocent people than the LTTE.

And this is supposed to show that the Sinhalese are worse than the Tamils? I seriously doubt that it is only the Sri Lankan army that is fueling more violence, the LTTE have been perfectly able to do that as well.

Of course, it is shocking how many civilians are killed, but not really surprising. Are you proposing that the Tamils, as a "weaker" party to the conflict, should be supported?

Skips
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May 10 2009 17:54
Khawaga wrote:
sickdog24 wrote:
The point being that the Sri Lankan army is killing far more innocent people than the LTTE.

And this is supposed to show that the Sinhalese are worse than the Tamils? I seriously doubt that it is only the Sri Lankan army that is fueling more violence, the LTTE have been perfectly able to do that as well.

Of course, it is shocking how many civilians are killed, but not really surprising. Are you proposing that the Tamils, as a "weaker" party to the conflict, should be supported?

Did I even mention taking sides? Neither political side should be supported just the victims. I am just stating the facts. There should be an immediate ceasefire.

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Khawaga
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May 10 2009 17:58
sickdog24 wrote:
Did I even mention taking sides? Neither should be supported. I am just stating the facts. There should be an immediate ceasefire.

No you didn't mention taking sides, but I was just wondering why you came with the who-kills-more argument in reply to a post about the LTTE. Stating the facts never happen without a context and are rarely ever stated as simply neutral. That is why I was wondering (and for anyone who even casually read the news it's pretty obvious who the majority of the casualties are which is another reason I wondered why you had to state it).

Of course the violence should stop, that's a given. But then what?

Skips
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May 10 2009 20:23

Thats the million dollar question....

Mick Black
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May 11 2009 02:58

Wow, seems there was a protest in Toronto today that's currently shutting down a major highway. Go to the news story link below for photos and video.

Quote:
http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_34453.aspx

Tamil Protest Spills Onto Gardiner Expressway Causing Traffic Gridlock
Sunday May 10, 2009
CityNews.ca Staff

The protests staged by Tamil-Canadians in recent months took an unprecedented turn Sunday evening when hundreds of demonstrators spilled onto the Gardiner Expressway at Spadina Avenue, blocking traffic in both directions.

This latest move was not pre-planned and appears to have been sparked by the community's anger over reports of 378 civilians killed in Sri Lanka Saturday night. In fact, protesters say the numbers are grossly underestimated and claim the total is closer to 3,000.

A massive police contingent including the OPP was called in to contain the crowd and although there are no reports of anyone hurt yet, there is word the crowd is volatile and at least one person is under arrest.

Traffic is backed up for kilometres, with officers diverting traffic as far west as Park Lawn. Police say the Gardiner will likely remain closed throughout the evening and are asking motorists to take alternate routes.

There are reports a second group of Tamil-Canadians have blocked the intersection of College Street and University Avenue not far from the stretch in front of the U.S. Consulate they occupied for several days more than a week ago.

Sunday's protest began earlier in the day at Queen's Park, where Gunabalasuntharam Veerakathipillai is also on his eighth day of a hunger strike.

He and his supporters say they are frustrated by the lack of response from the international community and want government officials in Canada and the U.S. to step in and put an end to the violence thousands of kilometres away.

The conflict is centered in the northern part of the country, where Tamil Tigers are fighting for a separate state. A Sri Lankan health official says in addition to those who died in an artillery barrage Saturday, more than 1,100 people have been injured. But the military has denied the accusations.

Tamil-Canadians and peace activists also staged a demonstration on Saturday with a march that ended at the U.S. Consulate.

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Khawaga
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May 11 2009 03:57

I saw this on the news, it looked pretty big. On Mayday in Toronto the march was dominated by LTTE flags.

Mick Black
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May 11 2009 04:27
Khawaga wrote:
I saw this on the news, it looked pretty big. On Mayday in Toronto the march was dominated by LTTE flags.

The demonstration has been cleared off the highway as of about half an hour ago.

As for the Mayday march in Toronto, if you're talking about the May 2 "May day of action" march organized by No One Is Illegal, then you're really stretching it by saying it was "dominated" by LTTE flags.

I was there and there was a decent sized Tamil contingent (about 300 out of a total of 2000 people) and yes they had a number of LTTE flags, but it was hardly a dominating presence.

Mick Black
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May 11 2009 04:30
Khawaga wrote:
I saw this on the news, it looked pretty big. On Mayday in Toronto the march was dominated by LTTE flags.

The demonstration has been cleared off the highway as of about half an hour ago.

As for the Mayday march in Toronto, if you're talking about the May 2 "May day of action" march organized by No One Is Illegal, then you're really stretching it by saying it was "dominated" by LTTE flags.

I was there and there was a decent sized Tamil contingent (about 300 out of a total of 2000 people) and yes they had a number of LTTE flags, but it was hardly a dominating presence.

There were of course a lot of other red flags at the demonstration from socialist groups as well as the red NOII flags so I can see how it might seem so if you're just glancing at photos. If you were there though, it should have been pretty clear.

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Devrim
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May 11 2009 09:55
Mick Black wrote:
Khawaga wrote:
I saw this on the news, it looked pretty big. On Mayday in Toronto the march was dominated by LTTE flags.

I was there and there was a decent sized Tamil contingent (about 300 out of a total of 2000 people) and yes they had a number of LTTE flags, but it was hardly a dominating presence.

I don't know anything about these particular demonstrations, but there has been a tendency for 'peace demonstrations' to turn into 'war demonstrations', the demonstrations against the last war in Lebanon are a good example of this.

Devrim

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miles
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May 11 2009 15:31

I agree with Devrim, that's been our experience at recent 'anti-war' demos, there's often a very vocal minority which is very pro one faction - usually the one getting pounded. The problem with an 'immediate cessation' is that , well, that's what the UN and other governments are calling for also. It's very difficult in such a situation to put forward an internationalist position, but that is the only perspective for an end to nationalist/religious/racial conflicts...
Against the violence and hypocracy of bourgeois governments we can only put forward the perspective of sharpening class struggle and future conflicts on a class basis.

On a slightly different note, the media is making a fair bit about the current massacres going on in the peninsula where the Tamils have been brutally squeezed into. Yesterday a Channel 4 film crew was expelled from Sri Lanka for reporting on claims of abuse at the camps where the Tamils are being held. This also allows the media to play the old game of 'oh, look at these anti-democratic countries, they don't allow a free press' i.e. it's always better here... democracy is a very subtle weapon.

Skips
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May 11 2009 15:33
miles wrote:
I agree with Devrim, that's been our experience at recent 'anti-war' demos, there's often a very vocal minority which is very pro one faction - usually the one getting pounded. The problem with an 'immediate cessation' is that , well, that's what the UN and other governments are calling for also. It's very difficult in such a situation to put forward an internationalist position, but that is the only perspective for an end to nationalist/religious/racial conflicts...
Against the violence and hypocracy of bourgeois governments we can only put forward the perspective of sharpening class struggle and future conflicts on a class basis.

On a slightly different note, the media is making a fair bit about the current massacres going on in the peninsula where the Tamils have been brutally squeezed into. Yesterday a Channel 4 film crew was expelled from Sri Lanka for reporting on claims of abuse at the camps where the Tamils are being held. This also allows the media to play the old game of 'oh, look at these anti-democratic countries, they don't allow a free press' i.e. it's always better here... democracy is a very subtle weapon.

Thats true. However I would rather live in the United Kingdom than Sri Lanka anyday....

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May 11 2009 15:53

My point wasn't about which place is better to live in (there are other places worse than Sri Lanka...Congo anyone?) rather how events are used to the purposes of the national ruling class. The same people who help instigate war turn round and pose as peacemakers who are 'horrified' and 'appalled' at the events elsewhere.

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Khawaga
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May 11 2009 16:16
Mick Black wrote:
As for the Mayday march in Toronto, if you're talking about the May 2 "May day of action" march organized by No One Is Illegal, then you're really stretching it by saying it was "dominated" by LTTE flags.

I was going by what people told me so they must have stretched it for me. Probably a biased account as my friends were disgusted by internationalists being in the same march with LTTE supporters.

Mick Black
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May 12 2009 02:33
Khawaga wrote:
Mick Black wrote:
As for the Mayday march in Toronto, if you're talking about the May 2 "May day of action" march organized by No One Is Illegal, then you're really stretching it by saying it was "dominated" by LTTE flags.

I was going by what people told me so they must have stretched it for me. Probably a biased account as my friends were disgusted by internationalists being in the same march with LTTE supporters.

What should Internationalists have done instead? Left the march? Started a brawl with the LTTE supporters?

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May 12 2009 14:57

Internationalists could have handed out fliers with an internationalist analysis (like AF did in Gaza protests in the UK) and engaged members of the LTTE and others in discussion. Obviously this requires comrades reading up on the conflict and preparing material, but that's not too hard to overcome.

Other than that, I think that internationalists could keep their distance to the LTTE contingent (not marching under/behind their flags).

Mick Black
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May 13 2009 02:38
Khawaga wrote:
Internationalists could have handed out fliers with an internationalist analysis (like AF did in Gaza protests in the UK) and engaged members of the LTTE and others in discussion. Obviously this requires comrades reading up on the conflict and preparing material, but that's not too hard to overcome.

Other than that, I think that internationalists could keep their distance to the LTTE contingent (not marching under/behind their flags).

Well, keep in mind that it wasn't even a march about the war in Sri Lanka, so it would be a little off to prepare literature aimed specifically at a contingent that I for one didn't even know would be there.

Also, it was not an "LTTE contingent" but rather a Tamil-Canadian contingent with a number of LTTE flags. Not synonymous in my view. They were a pretty distinct group so I don't know what you're talking about in terms of "marching under / behind their flags".

If it means anything, I did hand out copies of Linchpin to people in the Tamil contingent, same as the rest of the march. We didn't have anything on the war in Sri Lanka though being more focused on struggles in Ontario.

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May 14 2009 15:52

Hey, I am not having a go or anything and as I said I am relying on 2nd (and 3rd hand) information... but still I think it is important to discuss how to deal with national liberationists on days that are supposed to be about internationalism.

Mick Black wrote:
Well, keep in mind that it wasn't even a march about the war in Sri Lanka, so it would be a little off to prepare literature aimed specifically at a contingent that I for one didn't even know would be there.

Hmmm, I see that I did not write: "given time and foreknowledge..." in my post above. But I have a question re: Tamils in Canada.

In Norway the majority of Tamils are LTTE and those that aren't are basically marginalized (LTTE has managed to monopolize the diaspora as well). At every Mayday rally I went to in Oslo the LTTE were always out in force, with flags and handing out nationalist pamphlets. Is Canada similar (well, Toronto. As I understand there is one riding where a lot of Tamils live). If the situation is similar (which it probably is not), then one could expect a strong LTTE turnout and potentially could prepare a flier (that's a lot of ifs in there).

Quote:
They were a pretty distinct group so I don't know what you're talking about in terms of "marching under / behind their flags".

I wasn't saying you did. I was saying that that is what internationalists shouldn't do on marches like this (you asked what could be done and I suggested a few things)

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Entdinglichung
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May 15 2009 09:23

another useful resource is http://srilankandiasporablog.wordpress.com/