Commonwealth meeting: on the dead bodies of Tamils

The announcement that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is due to go ahead in Sri Lanka in November is a kick in the teeth to every Tamil-speaking person in the world.

The decision of the British government to send prime minister, David Cameron, and of the crown to send prince Charles as their representatives just heaps on more insult to the deep injury.

There could not be a clearer illustration of the policies and priorities of the establishment politicians and the British state.

This meeting will give a global stage to Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. He will use it for his own cynical propaganda, claiming that Sri Lanka is now going forward.

He will claim (with some reason) that the Commonwealth, by meeting in Sri Lanka, has given his regime legitimacy. And, by extension, that he was justified in his genocidal war on the Tamils, and for his increasingly authoritarian rule.

These heads of government, big-businessmen, lobbyists and hangers-on will be trampling on the bones of over 100,000 dead Tamils as they make their way to summit meetings and press conferences.

There are sure to be one or two mentions of civil rights. But they will be arrogantly swept aside. Rajapaksa and his corrupt family clique who rule over Sri Lanka will hide from view all those still detained without charge and without any official declaration of their whereabouts.

They will clamp down on any plans to organise protests in the north – just as they beat up students engaged in peaceful protest in Jaffna earlier this year.

But the stranglehold of repression will not only be felt in the north and east. It will also continue to take a grip on any journalists, Sinhala included, who wish to write the truth.

State security forces – and their shadowy white-van cohorts – will step up their assault of any trade union, political or human rights activist who may be planning to use CHOGM to highlight the regime’s attacks on democratic and workers’ rights, or the economic problems faced by the workers, poor and all oppressed people in Sri Lanka.

In Britain, we can expect to hear Cameron assure us that he will raise the issue of human rights with Rajapaksa and Co. His mission, however, is to keep the profits flowing by doing deals with this tyrant. Cameron and Charles – along with all the other participants – will happily shake Rajapaksa’a bloody hands.

They want to keep up the arms sales, along with the deals to provide army training and logistical support. They want to keep at least a foothold in this strategically important region – even though Britain has been for a long time a third-rate power, dwarfed by China, US and India’s influence. And they want a slice of the cheap sweatshop labour and the tourist opportunities opening up on the sandy beaches, so recently the scene of mass slaughter.

Tamil Solidarity has consistently warned of the treachery of the establishment politicians – from all the parties. Their policies reflect the interests of those who pull their strings: the rich and powerful elite.

And the international agencies, such as the United Nations, also dance to the tune of the major powers in the final analysis. That was why the UN took no decisive action during the genocide of 2009.

The only reliable allies in the struggle for the right of self-determination for the Tamils are those fighting for their rights and fighting against injustice in Sri Lanka and the world over. That is why Tamil Solidarity puts such an emphasis on linking this struggle to that of the workers’ movement in Britain.

We, too, will use CHOGM as a global stage, to make sure that everyone is aware of Rajapaksa’s brutal and divisive rule.

We’ve heard enough lies from politicians. We’ve been betrayed too many times. We need real solidarity: not assurances from politicians but solidarity in action from workers and young people around the world.

Reportes : Manny Thain

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