Tamil Solidarity received a complaint against the BTF which was signed by over 2,000 people. We have sent the following letter to the BTF requesting them to respect the demands of the people. We have so far received no response. Here we publish the letter that we sent to the BTF.
Here is the documents that we received.
Dear BTF organisers,
Please find below an email that Tamil Solidarity has received. Some young activists have collected over 2,000 signatures demanding their right to fly the Eelam national flag at the Mullivaikal event. We have attached the files that we have received.
As you may already be aware, many Tamil activists feel outraged that you are preventing them from flying the Eelam flag. The Mullivaikal event, not only marks the massacre of Tamils but also the deaths of thousands of freedom fighters.
Tamil Solidarity agrees that those who supported the struggle in the past have every right to fly their flag at an event like Mullivaikal. This day is not just a remembrance day, but should be a day of defiance. We remember the dead on this day to build a fight for the living. It would be wrong to narrow this day to organisational petty differences.
It is absolutely not necessary to prevent anyone from bringing their own material or any flag that they want to carry so long as it is not threatening the rights of others. As you may know, some young Tamils once used St George’s crosses as a national flag and held a protest almost mimicking horrific racist protest recently. They were ill informed. We engaged with them to explain the political weakness of such action, rather than resorting to imposing a ban. If you are in disagreement with the youth for political differences, then you should explain those political reasons clearly.
The Mullivaikal event is not a BTF event. Anyone or any organisation can take part in this public event. They have the right to bring their own material to this event. Workers and activists in Britain have fought a hard battle in the past to win such democratic rights. If you are an active organisation working in the community you also have a duty to listen to the activists in the community.
As you can see from this email over 2,000 people had given their signatures to support the idea of flying the national flag in this event. It is not true that such action is illegal. The symbols, flags and operation of the LTTE are banned in UK. However the flag that is in use now is not banned by the authorities. There are many young people who used these flags in a protest organised by the Tamil Solidarity. The authorities have made it clear that they will not make arrests for flying such a flag as it is not on the banned list. This is why many feel that the action of the BTF to prevent this is a political one. Hence the reason we are forwarding this to you.
We agree with the young people that the new struggle that we want to build is one that will be in part a continuation of the past struggles. It must honestly and openly take account of the mistakes and wrong strategies of the past to learn from it to build a new effective struggle. We don’t believe that it is possible to win Tamils’ rights by disregarding the past. The very idea of struggle itself is supressed by the establishment at this stage. Your action will only contribute to that suppression.
We request you to respond to the email below and to be accountable.