The video referred to below can be seen at my video site here. Yesterday, Al Jazeera released a video of unknown provenance that showed what appeared to be war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state against Tamil Tiger rebels and Tamil civilians during the routing of the Tigers in Sri Lanka this spring. The Civil War in Sri Lanka is highly controversial. A good neutral overview is here. I have always supported the just struggle of the Sri Lankan Tamils for self-determination in Sri Lanka. That doesn’t necessarily mean support for the Tamil Tigers, whose tactics were often horrible. But do not the natives have a right to resist settler-colonization, ethnic warfare, ethnic cleansing, extreme, Nazi-like fascist racism and genocide? Sure they do. Do we quibble about the just nature of the struggle of the Native Americans, the Black slave revolts, the various anti-colonial wars, the anti-Nazi resistance, the Allies’ war against Nazi Orcs in WW2, the Chechens, Kashmiris, Basques, Acehese, East Timorese, South Sudanese, Darfurians, Polisario Front, PKK in Kurdistan, Tibetans, Uighurs, various self-determination struggles in Burma and India, just because we disagree with their tactics? Of course not. And the Tamil struggle was just as valid as that of the Native Americans or any of the rest of the above. Briefly, after Sri Lanka achieved independence, the Buddhist Sinhalese instituted a ferociously racist project against the minority Hindu Tamils that culminated in repeated pogroms. It was like Christallnact from 1947-1983. The Tamils, after decades of petitioning peacefully for change, took up arms in self-defense in 1983. For some time, they achieved great success to the point of having a near-autonomous area in the North. In the last few years, serious errors on the part of the Tigers, including attacks on all of their Tamil political rivals, combined with huge arms purchases by the Nazi Sri Lankan state, mostly purchased from Tony Blair in the UK, allowed the government to pursue a major offensive against the Tamils. The area controlled by the Tamils shrunk more and more, until gradually they were cornered in a small area. As the state closed in, they unleashed genocide against the Tigers and the civilians who supported them. Surrendering Tigers were bound and tied and executed in huge numbers. Soldiers and plainclothes death squads in white vans roamed the area, picking up Tamil civilians, often young men. Many disappeared and later turned up dead. Fleeing civilians were forced back into the Tamil-held area, and then mass-shelled. Overflowing Tamil hospitals were deliberately attacked over and over. Waves of Tamil refugees moving across the land were deliberately attacked from air, land and sea. The entire Western world and much of the developing imperialist states of the 3rd World such as India stood back and cheered. They could hardly contain their glee at this shocking mass slaughter. By this Spring, the Tigers were defeated. They have not yet resurrected. Tamil refugees were put in concentration camps, beaten, starved and mass-raped. Gradually, many of them were released. The repression is ongoing. Though all resistance has stopped, death squads and the Sri Lankan military continue to arrest young Tamil men. The jails are full of Tamils and Tiger fighters wanted on terrorism charges. Tigers who laid down arms and went back to civilian life are constantly hassled by death squads. The state has moved huge numbers of Sinhalese, Tamil Muslims and other non-Hindu Tamils into the area, where they steal Tamil lands, evict Tamils from their homes, steal their property and usurp their fishing areas. It’s like Palestine with Racer’s Edge additive poured on. It’s absolutely revolting the way the entire West lined up behind this modern-day Sinhalese Nazi regime, but it goes to show that states have no moral principles, only practical ones. But that’s what psychopaths have. Every Western state supported Sri Lanka because most states will support any state, no matter how evil or Nazi, in their fight against separatists. They are all thinking, “There but for the grace of God go I,” and “We may be next.” Good background on the crisis from a Left, pro-Tamil POV (the only moral position to take) is in three articles by Ron Ridenour on Counterpunch. Tamilnet has excellent reporting from the Tamil POV. The Indian Maoists were one of the few large parties in India to support the Tigers. Even the “Marxists” in power in West Bengal supported the Sri Lankan state to the hilt, as did the “Dravidian” parties in the south of India who represent Indian Tamils, among others. Talk about selling out. I’ve met some Indian Tamils. Every one I asked said that they supported the Tigers, and there are 10’s of millions of Tamils in India.
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