May 28, 2009
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Tamils Struggle for Independent Homeland will not Disappear - By Mufid Abdulla 

Over the last two weeks we have seen the advancement of the Sri Lankan government troops against the Tamil ethnic group as part of their ongoing attempts to suppress the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) liberation movement since its outset in 1976. Since the establishment of the LTTE, they have been struggling for a separate state for the minority ethnic group the Tamils, who make up about 13% of the population. The Sri Lankan army, in conjunction with the support of outside military groups have managed to root out the armed struggle and their bases in the north of the country. In addition, it was announced just a few weeks ago of the death of the leader of the group Velupillai Prabhakaran by the brutal Sri Lankan army along with deaths of other leaders in the LTTE.

The LTTE gained momentum after a wave of anti-Tamil riots in 1983, sparked by an LTTE attack which left many Sri Lankan police officers dead. The violence, known as the Black July pogrom, left between 1000 and 3000 Tamils dead, drove many Tamil youths to join the LTTE and marked the beginning of the long running civil war. The LTTE leaders have spent most of the last 20 years between various heavily guarded underground jungle hideaways.

The Tamil’s struggle and civil war have entered many phases which bear similarities to those we have seen in the north of Kurdistan with the struggle between the PKK and the Turkish state. The Tamils have entered a lot of negotiations with the Sri Lankan government without any results. Subsequently, the Sri Lankan state, which is dominated by the Sinhalese majority, has been decided on the basis of it being the best strategy in terms of a military solution and as such they have succeeded in the short term.

The situation as it stands in Sri Lanka is also reminiscent to that in the south of Kurdistan in 1988, when we witnessed Saddam’s brutal Iraqi state managing to wipe out the entire Kurdish armed struggle with the help of all the powerful weapons in their possession. Contrarily, the Kurdish struggle and movement did not take weeks but after a few months the movement managed to send their fighters into the deepest part of Kurdistan on the basis of guerrilla warfare and hit and run tactics. The struggle continued until Saddam’s security was expelled with the help of allied forces.

The Sri Lankan State is now mistaken for claiming success over the defeat of the LTTE. Only a few months will be required before the new group will train and prepare their followers for a new wave of armed struggle against the existing military state. What is happening in Sri Lanka with the Sinhalese coming to replace the Tamils in the north of the country is basically a case of ethnic cleansing. Despite this fact, I am very surprised at the lack of publicity from the Western broadcasting stations and feel that it is essential to increase global awareness of the Tamil’s struggle for independence which is very similar to that of the Kurds. The cause of the Kurdish issue with the PKK in the north of Kurdistan and the Tamils in Sri Lanka can only be solved through dialogue and negotiation and can not be dismissed so easily.


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