Rajapaksa’s world school of brutality

Manny Thain, Tamil Solidarity national secretary

The Sri Lankan regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa has responded in a typically arrogant way to the UN report into the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil-speaking people in 2009. Not only does it reject any criticism, it is actually holding an international seminar on fighting insurgency. In fact, it boasts that it is a new model!

Military officials from 54 countries have been invited to attend the seminar on 31 May – among them the US, Britain, other European states and China.

In 2009, hundreds of thousands of Tamil-speaking people demonstrated all over the world at the massacres. Only now, as we approach the second anniversary of that bloodbath, is the truth being more widely acknowledged. As we know, at the very least, 40,000 defenceless civilians were killed in the first few months of 2009 by Sri Lanka’s armed forces in their war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

According to the Financial Times (13 May), 40 governments have confirmed that they will attend, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, India and Pakistan. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, from Sri Lanka’s defence ministry, said: “This will be an opportunity to show the world how we have managed to get rid of one of the worst terrorist organisations in the world and how we are building a new future.”

This massacre summit has been called to justify the brutality of the Sri Lankan regime, and to divert attention away from the growing criticism of its methods.

As for this so-called ‘new future’, Tamil Solidarity has highlighted many times the fact that thousands of Tamil-speaking people remain locked away, without access to any legal process. Hundreds of thousands are suffering the trauma of the war without any help. Areas of the north-east are being carved up with pro-regime settlements – like the West Bank in Israel/Palestine. Big businesses with connections to the corrupt Rajapaksa clique are moving in to exploit the situation.

Meanwhile, of course, the working-class and poor throughout the island are facing an increase in oppression, continual clampdowns on freedom of speech, steep price rises in basic goods, and the relentless privatisation of essential public services – again, all to benefit the rich at the expense of the mass of the population.

Tamil Solidarity stands alongside the Tamil-speaking people, the workers and all those oppressed in Sri Lanka. We stand alongside all those fighting Rajapaksa’s brutal regime.