Sri Lankan SEP establishes trilingual web site

5 February 2010

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka has converted its presidential election website into a permanent party site http://www.socialequality.lk/ in the country’s three main languages—English, Sinhala and Tamil. Sinhala, Tamil and English speakers will now be able to access articles related to Sri Lanka and South Asia as well as information about the SEP and its campaigns in their own language at the one address. The site will be cross-linked to the Tamil and Sinhala pages of the WSWS.

The election website played an important role during the SEP’s presidential campaign in bringing the party’s statements and commentary to a wider audience in Sri Lanka and internationally. The SEP takes the opportunity to thank the readers, supporters and well-wishers who visited the site, wrote to us and donated toward our campaign.

The trilingual site has a particular political significance. The language question has been a contentious issue in Sri Lanka ever since Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike instituted the policy of “Sinhala only”—that is, Sinhala as the island’s only official language—in 1956. At one stroke, Tamil speakers were reduced to the status of second-class citizens, further inflaming the communal tensions that have plagued the island since independence in 1948.

The SEP is implacably opposed to all forms of communalism and consciously seeks to unite the working class around a socialist program to fight for its common class interests. The SEP’s public meetings are conducted in Sinhala and Tamil, and where necessary also in English. Now its website, as part of the WSWS, will provide simultaneous access to important announcements, documents and articles at one location. It is one of the few Sri Lankan websites to do so.

The new website will be an important vehicle in the upcoming parliamentary elections—due by April. The SEP intends to stand lists of candidates in several districts.

The website uses Unicode technology. Readers can upgrade their browsers to view Sinhala and Tamil by following instructions at the following sites:

Sinhala: http://www.siyabas.lk/sinhala_how_to_install.html

Tamil: http://www.siyabas.lk/tamil_how_to_install_in_english.htm

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