Sri Lanka:

Two public lectures against US-NATO bombing of Serbia

By our correspondent
1 June 1999

Two well-attended public lectures against the bombing of Serbia by US-NATO forces were held recently by the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka. The SEP General Secretary Wije Dias delivered the lectures in the capital, Colombo, on May 13 and the central province capital of Kandy on May 22.

Dias said the lectures were part of a series of such events organized by the SEP throughout the island to open up a public forum for the workers, youth and intellectuals to discuss the vital issues involved in the imperialist bombing of Yugoslavia.

“This is of much significance because no voice of protest is raised by any of the usual radical professional protestors of the 1960s and 70s, against the war in the Balkans today. Rather it is those who were the most vociferous protestors, devoid of international working class orientation, over the Vietnam war and other such issues during the yesteryears, who are now transformed into the perpetrators and supporters of the imperialist aggression. It was not long ago that President Chandrika Kumaratunga proudly announced her involvement in student protests in Europe in 1968. Today, however, she not only supports the US-NATO attack on Serbia but also gives advice on how to conduct the war more effectively. Her advice is that it would be better if the UN as a whole was rallied as the aggressor as it was against Iraq.

“Her Peoples Alliance regime's statement issued at the beginning of the bombing of Serbia tried to kill two birds with a single stone. On the one hand, it tried to portray to the world that the PA government's war against the Tamil population in the North and East of the island is not as atrocious as that carried out by the Serbian army against the Kosovar Albanians. In fact this is a grotesque lie. According to official figures, over 60,000 Tamils have been killed and several hundred thousand dispersed throughout the world as refugees by Sri Lankan ruling class' war. Compared to these figures, the numbers killed in Kosovo during the nine-year conflict in Kosovo are only one thirtieth of it.

“On the other hand, the PA regime's statement of support for the US-NATO bombings attempted to strengthen its ties with the imperialist powers. This exposes the subservient nature of the ruling classes of the historically backward countries towards the imperialist masters on whom they depend economically and militarily to exploit and suppress the masses.

“This is why the SEP insists that the working class of both Sinhala and Tamil nationalities in Sri Lanka must be unified on an independent internationalist political program. Neither the Sinhala nor Tamil capitalist classes are capable of severing the umbilical code that links them to the imperialist powers. This is seen in the position of the LTTE as well. It calls for the mediation of the UN and imperialist governments to find a solution to the problems of the Tamils, forgetting entirely the tragic consequences the masses underwent in 1980s due to their support for the Indian mediation backed by the imperialists. What we see in the region of the Balkans today is the direct atrocious form of such mediation, claimed to be on behalf of Kosovar Albanians, and with the blessings of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“While we do not condone the reactionary policies of Milosevic in Serbia we also must state that ethnic cleansing of a vast scale is today carried out by none other than the US-NATO aggressors against the Serbians. In these bombardments on Serbia to destroy hospitals, electricity, water supply, etc., the imperialists treat anyone who is a Serb as a criminal.

“The profit hungry imperialists are driven by the need to re-colonize the world among themselves through barbaric military adventures and war. There exists only one solution to this threat of barbarism, hanging over world humanity, as it was at the beginning of this century. That is the replacement of the imperialist world order by a socialist federation that unites all different nationalities and communities on the basis of democratic equality.”