The attacks by the right-wing government of Nicolas Sarkozy on the rights of workers – minorities in particular – has had a huge affect on Tamils living in Paris. Their living conditions have not improved for years. Continuous right-wing policies have alienated a generation of new immigrants. This alienation and social segregation is felt deeply by the older generation. The young generation, struggling to find its place in society, does not see their interests reflected anywhere. Young Tamils have, on the one hand, differences with the older generation, and on the other hand, anger at the continuous attacks of the right-wing government. Participation in the spontaneous protests against the slaughter of Tamils in Sri Lanka has only intensified these young people’s frustration.
Faced with brutal attacks by the French police, a blackout by the French media, and total inaction by the French government, protesters have been struggling to make their voices heard. Since the Sri Lankan government’s declaration of victory, western governments are no longer tolerating Tamil protests.
But over 250,000 Tamil people remain in detention camps in the north of Sri Lanka. There has not been an end to their incredible suffering. Many young protesters feel it is now essential to carry on the fight. However, the last few months of constant struggle have made it clear that they cannot rely on the western governments, or on international bodies such as the UN, or on any south east Asian regional powers to defend the oppressed population in Sri Lanka. These young people are quickly drawing the correct conclusion that they must join forces with the left, who have been fighting against the same rotten ruling classes.
This was felt very much at the meeting organised by Gauche Revolutionaire (GR), the French section of the CWI, in Paris. Virginie, introduced the Stop the Slaughter of Tamils campaign, to end the war and fight for democracy in Sri Lanka (SST), and the need for the struggle of the Tamil people to continue. The 65 people present were eager to find out what can be done.
Senan, international coordinator of SST, outlined the need for learning from the past and taking the struggle in the right direction. There was general agreement that the way forward for Tamils in Paris is to work with GR who are part of SST to campaign against the killings, and also to fight against the rotten French ruling class. Young people in the meeting were able to see the need to build trade union support and the need to unite with GR in the fight against the system that is responsible for oppressing the poor and workers in many countries. The fight against the ruling elite in France is also a fight against the ruling Sinhala chauvinist government. A number of questions about the campaign, GR, NPA, and campaign demands were asked by the participants.
More than two hours of discussion was not enough and everyone made sure that they took the details of GR so they could carry on the discussions and organise activities together.