Protest letters against LTTE threats

11 March 2009

The World Socialist Web Site has received the following letters in response to the March 9 statement "Oppose LTTE campaign of threats and violence against SEP supporters in Europe!". We urge our readers and supporters to send protest letters demanding the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) immediately cease its attempts to suppress political debate within the Tamil community and end all threats against Socialist Equality Party members and supporters.

For the attention of the Comité de Coordination Tamoul-France (CCTF) Paris,

I am a retired teacher and was, for a many years, a member of the Picardy regional committee of the majority French secondary teachers union, the SNES. I always taught my pupils to respect the democratic rights of all people, whatever their ethnic and national origins.

I am writing to you to express my profound opposition to the undemocratic actions of your supporters in physically attacking and intimidating sympathisers of the World Socialist Web Site, and the International Committee of the Fourth International in Paris.

They have also attacked the democratic rights of other people attempting to protest on the streets of Paris against the plight of the Tamils and the brutality of the Sri Lankan military.

Similar actions by your supporters have also taken place in the UK and in Germany.

Your attempt to prevent people campaigning against the war crimes being carried out by the Colombo military against up to 200,000 Tamils trapped in a small area under LTTE control and for a socialist solution to the war, belies any claim you make to represent the interests of the Tamil masses.

Your hostility, not only to the Tamil and Sinhala working class in Sri Lanka, but also to the French and German working class is demonstrated by your supporters parading in the streets of Paris with large placards with portraits of President Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, backers of the Rajapakse regime.

You ignore their governments' profound attacks on the social rights of workers and youth at home and seek to give them credibility as defenders of democratic rights in order to curry favour with these imperialist and militaristic leaders.

I demand that your thugs cease their attacks on the democratic rights of workers in Sri Lanka and in Europe.

Tony Short

Amiens, France

* * *

Dear Sir,

I strongly oppose the anti-democratic attacks carried out by supporters of the LTTE against Socialist Equality Party members in Europe and also other organisations that are critical of the LTTE.

The SEP in Sri Lanka has throughout its existence courageously defended the democratic rights of Tamils. It is the only party in Sri Lanka that has consistently demanded the unconditional withdrawal of all troops from the north and east of Sri Lanka. This has been done throughout the war and in the face of state terror campaigns and the threats of Sinhala chauvinists.

Under such conditions, the attacks of LTTE supporters against the SEP play directly into the hands of the ruling elite and the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Furthermore, these attacks show the complete hostility of the LTTE towards a socialist solution to the problems facing Tamils on the island. The LTTE's position makes clear that it represents, not ordinary Tamil working people, but the Tamil elites who, as is the case with Sinhala bourgeoisie, want to become sub-contractors to the finance capital in exploiting Tamil workers.

The future of Tamils is on the basis of socialism and not communal separatism.

I urge you to immediately call a halt to the attacks on SEP members and allow the free discussion on political programs among Tamils.

Sincerely,

A. Shanthakumar,

SEP candidate for Colombo district

* * *

To the LTTE

Having read on the World Socialist Web Site about the bullying of Socialist Equality Party members and supporters in several European countries, I demand that the LTTE instruct its representatives in Europe to cease their threats and violent attacks.

This campaign of intimidation is a blatant attack on the fundamental democratic rights of all working people, including the Tamil masses, over whom the LTTE anti-democratically claims the right to impose a political monopoly.

The LTTE is resorting to violence because it cannot answer political criticism and fears mounting opposition to its pro-capitalist policies among Tamil exiles abroad, as well among Tamil people within Sri Lanka. This response is of a piece with the efforts of the LTTE to prevent civilians fleeing the Wanni war zone, in order to use them as pawns in appealing for intervention by the Western powers.

The harassment of SEP members and supporters is aimed at blocking discussion of its socialist program. The SEP has a long record of defending the democratic rights of the Tamil people against the Sinhala elite-dominated regime in Colombo.

The intimidation and violence being employed by the LTTE must be unequivocally opposed and condemned by all those who defend democratic rights. These methods have no place whatsoever in the working class, anywhere in the world.

Michael Head

Associate Professor of Law

University of Western Sydney

* * *

For the attention of the Comité de Coordination Tamoul-France (CCTF) Paris I have heard that your thugs attacked sympathisers of the WSWS and the ICFI as they were campaigning for the meeting March 15 calling for "Sri Lankan troops out of the north and east!" and "the socialist program to end the war in Sri Lanka". The thugs said that any organisation which wished to campaign on the issue of the situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka had first to get the permission of the CCTF and gave your address.

I demand, in the name of the fundamental democratic rights of the people of Sri Lanka, France and all other peoples, that you stop immediately all kinds of intimidation, including physical assaults, against WSWS supporters. I call on all people who defend basic democratic rights to join in making this demand.

I also condemn your attempt last Saturday to prevent the demonstration in Paris of Tamil groups and French left groups.

Your supporters make vile racist attacks on the Sinhala people, who also suffer increasing impoverishment and police state repression at the hands of the Rajapakse government. At the same time, you beg support from the imperialist powers which support it and brandish portraits of President Sarkozy on your demonstrations, against whose austerity policies and undemocratic measures millions of French people and immigrants have been striking and demonstrating ever since he was elected.

Your capitalist, nationalist and racist policies go together with your hatred of the WSWS perspectives, which seeks to unite the Sinhala and Tamil working class against the Sinhala bourgeoisie, to overthrow bourgeois rule and establish the United States of Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam as part of a South Asian Federation of Socialist States.

I declare that if anything happens to WSWS supporters or members you will be held responsible for that attack.

Léon,

Paris

* * *

To the LTTE,

It has come to my attention through the World Socialist Web Site that your European agents have initiated attacks against Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members and supporters in Europe. Their actions reflect the undemocratic and repressive attitude your organisation has not only towards Tamils but, also the international working class.

At demonstrations in Berlin, London, Paris and Stuttgart in February, SEP supporters distributing leaflets were told to stop and to leave, and were jostled, threatened with violence, and subjected to anti-Sinhala racist abuse by stewards from various pro-LTTE organisations, including the Comité de coordination tamoul en France (CCT) and the British Tamils Forum.

Also of concern are the bullying tactics against SEP supporters in the La Chapelle neighbourhood of Paris campaigning for a public meeting, to advance a socialist solution to end the 25-year civil war and the oppression of Tamils of Sri Lanka. They had their leaflets seized and destroyed by CCT supporters who declared that only those who have CCT permission can speak about politics with Tamils living in La Chapelle.

This campaign of harassment and intimidation is a flagrant attack on democratic rights. I believe the perpetrators of these coordinated attacks were acting on LTTE instructions. The LTTE's targeting of the SEP is especially outrageous given the party's well-known and unbroken record of championing the democratic rights of the Tamil people.

I am a retired telecommunications technician in Australia and have held various positions in the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU). For most of my adult life, I have been involved in struggles for the democratic rights and freedom of speech for all workers and their organisations—even if I didn't agree with them.

I demand that the LTTE immediately cease its attempts to suppress political debate within the Tamil community and end all threats and harassment of SEP members and supporters.

Sincerely,

Noel Holt

Sydney, Australia