Ever since Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) gained independence from Britain in 1948, the basic rights of the Tamil minority have been under attack.The ruling elite from the Sinhala majority have found anti-Tamil racism an extremely convenient device to secure their power and privilege and deflect discontent from below. The history of Sri Lanka is marked by a shameful and bloody series of government-instigated anti-Tamil pogroms.
The persecuted and besieged Tamils finally turned to armed struggle to secure independence or self-government in their traditional homeland areas. With the 2009 military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the death of its main leaders, this phase has come to an end. The victory of the regime was made possible by the backing of the West and China. These governments — Australia included — all have blood on their hands.
Today the Sri Lankan regime has militarised the Tamil homelands and is implanting Sinhalese colonists there on a large scale. Condemned to a miserable existence in their own country, tens of thousands of Tamils have sought refuge abroad. Many have risked their lives on decrepit boats to make a perilous journey to Australia. But rather than finding sanctuary here they are forced to endure fresh torments as they are demonised and victimised at the hands of a racist government.
Now more than ever, the oppressed Tamil people need the solidarity of progressive forces in Australia and around the world. This pamphlet provides an essential background to the conflict from a socialist and Marxist viewpoint.