The World Socialist Web Site has received more 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. (Previous correspondence can be viewed here.)
I am an Attorney-At-Law practicing in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I am a Tamil by birth. My mother tongue is Tamil. My entire adult life has been spent under conditions of civil war and the pressure of the growing state forces, which are particularly repressive for the Tamil speaking people. Like all other Tamil speaking people of this country, I have both personally and collectively felt the regular injury, injustice and discrimination constantly intensified under the war.
Precisely because of that I am deeply concerned by the information that LTTE adherents have threatened, and physically coerced, members of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in order to prevent them from presenting the SEP program and perspective against the war and repression to Tamil-speaking persons and other working people in France, Germany and UK or wherever.
I am aware that the SEP has stood for the defence of the democratic rights of the Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka and has for a long time consistently demanded the state to withdraw the occupying Sri Lankan troops from the North and the East of the island. In the course of its campaign for over a quarter century the SEP has been subjected to attacks from the state forces and Sinhala supremacist groups and pro-state paramilitaries as well as the LTTE. The SEP is even today campaigning for this demand.
In the course of the current election campaign for the Western Province Provincial Council, this party is explaining to the Sri Lankan workers and poor that it is impossible for them to rise against the destruction of their democratic rights or their living conditions successfully, unless they stand for the withdrawal of Sri Lankan forces from the North and the East of this country.
The LTTE's claim that it is the sole representative of the Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka is false. At best it is only one current and one that has brought much suffering but little gains for the Tamil-speaking people. Experience has proven that the LTTE scheme of obtaining a separate enclave for themselves with the support of the imperialist powers is a trap for the working people. The big powers have only their self-interest to serve. If one goes after them, one becomes their pawn.
The people that bear the brunt of Sinhala supremacist repression have the right to discuss how to overcome the enemy. No liberty for the people can be gained by keeping people in the dark. There must be the free discussion among the oppressed people to decide the way forward to gain their freedom from national oppression
I respect the SEP's perspective that liberty and equality for the oppressed can be secured only through Socialism, and that Socialism is the only guarantee for genuine fraternity. This is one party that has unwaveringly fought for its principles over decades. What the SEP presents is a long view of struggle. However it is the only feasible way. There is much in what they say that deserves the serious attention of the people. Nobody, least of all the LTTE, has the right to deprive the people of the right to discuss the perspectives of their own struggle.
I condemn the LTTE attacks on the SEP cadres in Europe and earnestly call upon you to stop obstructing the SEP's attempts to bring about a serious discussion of political problems.
G. Senathirajah, Attorney-At-Law
The following motion was passed unanimously by a meeting of the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Australia on March 11.
We strongly condemn the recent acts of thuggery and intimidation carried out in Europe by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and its agents against members and supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
At demonstrations held in February in Berlin, London, and Paris to protest the brutal Sri Lankan military offensive, Socialist Equality Party supporters were told to stop distributing leaflets, threatened with violence, and subjected to anti-Sinhala racist abuse by stewards from various pro-LTTE organisations. Similarly, SEP supporters campaigning for a March 15 public meeting in Paris that is being held to discuss a socialist solution to end the 25-year civil war and the oppression of the Tamils of Sri Lanka had their leaflets seized and destroyed by supporters of a pro-LTTE group, the Comité de coordination tamoul en France (CCT).
These acts constitute a gross violation of democratic rights. They recall the LTTE's decades-long history of employing violence, including assassinations and kidnappings, against its political opponents in Sri Lanka.
The Socialist Equality Party, the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI, has an unblemished record of championing the democratic rights and social aspirations of the oppressed Tamil masses. The SEP has demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Sri Lankan troops from the north and east as a crucial first step in uniting the working class and peasantry, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, to overthrow the reactionary Sinhala elite-dominated capitalist state and establish a United Socialist States of Sri Lanka and Eelam that will ensure the democratic rights and basic social needs of all. The LTTE's violence and intimidation reflects the bankruptcy of its bourgeois nationalist perspective which aims at establishing a capitalist Tamil statelet dependent on the patronage of one or more imperialist powers.
We call on the LTTE and its auxiliary organisations in Europe to immediately cease its attempts to suppress political discussion within the Tamil diaspora and to cease all threats and harassment of SEP members and supporters.
To the British Tamils Forum, the Tamil Confederation—Germany and Comité de coordination tamoul en France:
I write to protest the actions and threats by LTTE supporters against members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party.
Such crude and demoralized politics are just one more expression of the historic bankruptcy of the nationalist perspective of the LTTE.
The SEP opposes the Sri Lankan government's war on Tamils throughout the island. All those truly concerned with the fate of the oppressed Tamil masses in Sri Lanka/Eelam will find a leadership in the SEP, a party which has fought tirelessly for decades against Sinhala chauvinism, risking imprisonment, life and limb in the process.
On the other hand, those who would supplant one form of oppression of the Tamil masses with another—one carried out by the Tamil elite—will surely find themselves in opposition to the program of the SEP.
Such is the perspective of the LTTE, an organization every bit as opposed to the socialist unification of Sri Lanka/Eelam and all of South Asia as the Sinhala bourgeoisie.
The cowardly efforts of the LTTE to prevent socialism from reaching expatriate South Asians in Europe through violent threats will not work. We readers of the World Socialist Web Site and supporters of the SEP will relentlessly expose the LTTE before the South Asian and international working class. Desperate and violent acts will only serve to further discredit the LTTE in the eyes of the workers.
Department of History
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
I, M.G. Kiribanda, president of the Central Bank Employees Union (CBEU), express my grave concern about the threats and attacks by the supporters of the LTTE, upon the members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Europe and call upon the LTTE to instruct its European supporters and members to cease such threats and violent attacks.
We have been informed of several incidents—at demonstrations in Berlin, London, and Paris on February 4, and at a protest meeting in Stuttgart on February 7—where SEP supporters were told to stop distributing leaflets and to leave. The pro-LTTE stewards pushed around, threatened with violence, and used anti-Sinhala racist abuse against the SEP members and supporters who were distributing their leaflets.
On February 6 at a public meeting campaign in Paris's La Chapelle neighbourhood, the SEP supporters had their leaflets seized and destroyed by pro-LTTE agents.
These leaflets, which we have seen, criticised the LTTE because it has no program and perspective to end the 25-year civil war and the oppression of the Tamils of Sri Lanka and win the democratic rights of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, and pointed out that this is possible only through a socialist solution.
A group of 75 or more LTTE supporters attempted to break up a demonstration by some Tamil and left French groups protesting against the Sri Lankan state's oppression of the Tamils.
It is instructive of the arbitrary and anti-democratic character of the LTTE that its operatives warned that only those who have their permission will be allowed to speak about politics with Tamils living in La Chapelle.
The LTTE resorts to violence because it is unable to answer political criticism, and fears mounting opposition to its right-wing policies and resentment of its anti-democratic methods among émigré Tamil workers and youth.
The LTTE's targeting of the SEP is especially outrageous given the SEP's well-known and unbroken record of championing the democratic rights of the Tamil people.
In the face of state attacks and Sinhala chauvinist violence, the SEP has unceasingly opposed and demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Sri Lankan troops from the North and East as a crucial first step in uniting the working class and peasantry—Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim—to overthrow the reactionary Sinhala elite-dominated capitalist state and establish a united Socialist States of Sri Lanka and Eelam that will ensure the democratic rights and basic social needs of all.
The LTTE's politics and violence are totally opposed to the interests of the Tamil masses oppressed by the capitalist state in Sri Lanka. Only through the fullest democratic discussion can the masses work out their way to defend their rights against the ruling class.
We call upon the LTTE to stop the attacks on the Socialist Equality Party and other political organisations that defend the democratic rights of the Tamil people and the working class, which, in fact, prove the LTTE's incompatibility with the genuine democratic and egalitarian aspirations of the Tamil people.
Central Bank Employees Union