Tamil struggle: 'More solidarity needed'

Issue 

On October 30, 100 people attended a public forum and film screening of My Daughter the Terrorist, at the University of Melbourne.

The event was organised by the Socialist Alliance and sponsored by the Tamil Eelam Women's Organisation (TEWO) and the Melbourne University Development Studies Program of the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry.

Produced in 2007 by Norwegian documentary makers, the film features interviews with two young women, members of the Black Tigers, who have decided to commit themselves to carrying out a suicide mission.

The Black Tigers are an elite part of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is carrying out an armed struggle against the Sri Lankan military, fighting for independence for the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka known as Tamil Eelam.

The forum was also addressed by Mano Navaratnam from the TEWO and associate professor Damien Kingsbury, a senior lecturer in the school of International and Political Studies at Deakin University.

Navaratnam spoke about how the longstanding military offensive and oppression by the Sri Lankan government towards the Tamil people disproportionately affected women.

She also outlined how devastation from the war convinced many women to join the resistance movement, and how women play important roles in leading the administration of the Tamil-controlled areas.

Kingsbury addressed the question of what drives someone to want to blow themselves up for a cause, suggesting that the despair felt by many Tamils leads some to carry out suicide attacks.

With the increased escalation of activity by the Sri Lankan military and the government's stated goal of destroying the LTTE, the need for more solidarity and to raise awareness of the issue amongst the non-Tamil community was emphasised.

On November 1, 400 people attended a rally organised by the Tamil Youth Organisation against Sri Lanka's military escalation. The rally was addressed by members of TYO and the Socialist Alliance, and called on the Australian government to cease its support for the Sri Lankan government.

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