BY GRAHAM MATTHEWS
British/ Sri Lankan singer MIA. (Maya Arulpragasam) was banned from entering the United States in May by the US immigration department. While US officials are refusing to make public any reason, there is speculation that the banning is related to the fact that MIA's father was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group fighting for the national rights of the Tamil population against the Singhalese chauvinist government of Sri Lanka. The LTTE is considered a terrorist organisation by the US State Department. Despite a 2002 ceasefire, there's been an escalation of violence against Tamils in recent months and many young Tamils have been murdered by Sri Lankan military-backed armed gangs.
Some of MIA's lyrics refer to the Tamil national struggle, and to her father. The following is abridged from a statement published on her personal MySpace blog.
"THEY TRY SHUT MY DOOR!
"Roger roger do you here me over!!!!
"the U S immigration wont let me in!!!!!
"i was mennu work with timber startin this week, but now im doin a Akon 'im locked out they wont let me in' im locked out! they wont let me in! Now Im strictly making my album outside the borders!!!! so il see you all one day, for now ill keep reportin from the sidelines."
From Green Left Weekly, June 21 2006.
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