Tamil youth call for aid, homeland

When the United Nations describes the Sinhalese army's attacks on the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka as a "bloodbath on the beach" you know a massacre is going on.

The ultra-racist Sri Lankan government of Mahinda Rajapaksa refused to allow foreign observers into the war zone. This has helped conceal the fact that 10,000 Tamil civilians were slaughtered in a matter of months

The corporate media has also failed to report the horrors of Sri Lanka's war on Tamils truthfully. This is not just because the footage wasn't easily available. It uncritically followed the line taken by Western governments: allow Rajapaksa to wipe out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and downplay the enormous human tragedy.

But the Tamil diaspora was well aware of the carnage in their homeland. They received texts and phone calls from family members in the war zone.

In early May, the Rudd government even sent more "aid" to the government of Sri Lanka. The Australian government's action makes it complicit in the genocide against the Tamils.

Tamil activists, meanwhile, have been organising around the world to demand governments pressure Sri Lanka to end the killing.

In Australia, the community has organised protests, vigils, car cavalcades and hunger strikes to shed light on the slaughter and to get the Rudd government to take a stand.

They have been frustrated and saddened at how difficult it has been to get their message across.

Nevertheless, the message did start to get out and some unions even took a stand.

The NSW secretary of the Fire Brigade Employees Union, Simon Flynn, spoke about Tamil rights in his May Day address. Hundreds signed a Tamil crisis protest statement calling for a ceasefire. Supporters of the Tamil cause started to join the community vigils and protests.

On May 22-23 "Stop the genocide of Tamils" protests were organised by Tamils and their supporters around the country. Dr Sam Pari, one of the youth leaders, and spokesperson for the Tamil community in Sydney, told Green Left Weekly that supporters of the Tamils now have to focus on helping those who have been left to die in the government-run camps, without food, medicine or shelter.

"Food must be given to thousands who are on the brink of starvation", she said. "Foreign media and human rights monitors must have access into the area to investigate suspected government war crimes.

"There also has to be unhindered access to government camps to investigate claims of rape, abuse and torture of internally displaced Tamils."

Pari said the community wants the international courts to investigate suspected war crimes by the Sri Lankan military in the past months. Even now, there are reports of paramilitaries coming into the camps and taking Tamil youths, she said.

The brutal war of the Sri Lankan government over three decades has culminated in genocide similar to what took place in Srebrenica, in 1995. There, 8000 men and boys were massacred by the Serbian army in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Sri Lankan government must be held to account for the crime of deliberately targeting hospitals and ambulances.

The fact that an estimated 250,000 people in the government-controlled camps are facing starvation — or have already died as a result of starvation — should also be treated as a war crime.

The recent military onslaught demonstrates to the whole world exactly why the Tamil people are struggling for their own homeland — Tamil Eelam.

According to Pari, a "critical part" of the struggle from here is to build international "support for a political solution that addresses the aspirations of Tamil self determination".

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