YRS hosts educational session at SOAS in collaboration with SOAS Palestine Society and SOAS Tamil Society 

YRS hosts educational session at SOAS in collaboration with SOAS Palestine Society and SOAS Tamil Society 

From Eelam to Palestine: united by struggle, bound by solidarity. 

Report by Rithiga (YRS)

On 23 November 2023, Young Revolutionaries in Solidarity (YRS) hosted an educational session at SOAS University of London about the Palestinian Struggle in collaboration with SOAS Palestine Society and SOAS Tamil Society. In 2015, a similar discussion was organised at the university by SOAS Palestine Society and Tamil Society titled ‘Zionism and Sinhala-Buddhist Chauvinism: Israeli and Sri Lankan Ideologies of Racial and Religious Supremacy’. 

The recent event consisted of two speeches given by members of SOAS Palestine Society and YRS, followed by a question and answer session. The event was introduced by the President of SOAS Tamil Society. The discussion was chaired by Roy, who is a core member of YRS and a committee member of SOAS Tamil Society. 

The first speaker was from SOAS Palestine Society. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend in-person and joined the discussion remotely after being suspended by the university following a protest on campus. A number of students were suspended at the time. Students at SOAS University are currently demanding that the suspensions be lifted. The speaker outlined the historical context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He explained the political framework within which the Palestinian struggle should be understood, stating that the struggle is a decolonial struggle, resisting imperial forces for the national liberation of the Palestinian people. The speaker also discussed the development of political Zionism, including the Balfour Declaration of 1917. He also explained the significance behind the Palestinian prisoners movement, explaining its link with the Palestinian national movement and the hope and solidarity this site of resistance represents. Finally, the speaker explained the contemporary context of the Palestinian struggle, putting into context the ongoing ceasefire negotiations at the time. He outlined the future of the struggle and the next steps for comrades in the UK. The speaker called for an immediate end to the violence, the release of all political prisoners, an end to the blockade, an end to the occupation and the liberation of the Palestinian people. 

The second speaker was Rithiga from YRS. She began by providing a brief overview of the history of the Tamil Struggle, introducing the historical background of the 25-year armed conflict in Sri Lanka. She also discussed the various similarities between the Palestinian struggle and the Tamil struggle, particularly highlighting the alarming similarities between the brutal final stages of the war in Sri Lanka (‘Mullivaikakal’) and the ongoing violence in South Gaza. She also drew attention to the historic connections between the Palestinian resistance and the Tamil resistance in the 1970s, explaining that the striking similarities between the two struggles formed the basis upon which international solidarity was built. In light of this, the speaker called for the rebuilding of these connections, for solidarity on the basis of opposing oppression and supporting the right to nation of the Palestinian people and the right to self-determination of the Tamil people.

The meeting at SOAS served as an important step in building international solidarity for a liberation movement amongst the youth. YRS and Tamil Solidarity continue to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.