Chris Slee

Yet again, the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (a federal government body set up to attack unions in the building industry) has launched legal action in the Federal Court against the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).

The inspectorate said on September 12 that CFMEU organiser Theo Theodorou was alleged to have told the director of a demolition company wishing to work at a Carlton building site that: “as [the demolition company] is working in the city, it needs to obtain an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU for its employees”.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka.

The group was formed in response to discrimination against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan government, after peaceful protests had been repeatedly met with violent repression. It waged an armed struggle for nearly three decades.

The LTTE was militarily defeated in 2009, and no longer exists. Yet people are still being penalised for alleged links with the group. This is happening in Sri Lanka, in Australia, and in other countries.

Was I a Stranger in My Homeland?
By Malavi Sivakanesan
Xlibris, 2013

Malavi Sivakanesan was eight years old in 2003 when her father, a Tamil dentist living in exile in Norway, went back to his homeland in Sri Lanka to set up a mobile dental clinic.

He not only carried out dental work himself, but also trained local people to continue after he left.

At the time, there was a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

During a recent visit to China, Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa signed an agreement to give China 1200 acres of land in the Trincomalee area on a long term lease for “defence-related development”.

Part of this land is occupied by temples, mosques, schools and houses. The Tamilnet website said about 450 families will lose their homes. Those affected are mainly Tamil-speaking Muslims.

China’s plans for the area are unknown. However, Trincomalee’s renowned natural harbour, situated on the north-east coast of the island of Sri Lanka, was used as a naval base by the British.

Journalist Nic Maclellan spoke at a public meeting in Melbourne on July 10 about his visit to New Caledonia to observe the May 11 elections.

Maclellan said New Caledonia was colonised by France in 1853. Indigenous Kanaks have been reduced to a minority in their own country. Kanaks are now 44% of the population. In addition to settlers from France itself, there are also people from other French colonies in the Pacific (Tahiti, Wallis and Futuna), as well as people whose ancestors came from former French colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria.

The Australian government says there is no need for people to flee Sri Lanka because it is a democratic country. It also claims that, following the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009, Sri Lanka is a “society at peace”.

But the end of the war does not mean the country is at peace. It just means that the violence is now one-sided. The Sri Lankan army still commits acts of violence against the Tamil people, but the Tamils can no longer fight back.

Three Muslims were killed and about 10,000 made homeless after attacks by Sinhalese Buddhist mobs during the week starting June 15.

Violence began in the town of Aluthgama after a rally by the Sinhalese-Buddhist chauvinist group Buddhist Power Force (BBS). It then spread to several other towns.

Muslim-owned shops, houses and vehicles were burnt by the mobs. Police were sometimes present, but did nothing to stop the violence.

The BBS has been engaging in a campaign of anti-Muslim propaganda and violent attacks for several years.

In the Shadow of Gallipoli
By Robert Bollard
NewSouth, Sydney 2013

On April 25, 1915, Australian troops landed at Gallipoli on Turkey’s coast. They were part of a British imperial force aiming to capture Constantinople (now called Istanbul) and the land alongside the narrow waterway linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

It was hoped this would enable British ships to enter the Black Sea and bring supplies to allied Russia.

Students and staff at Jaffna University lit candles on May 21 to remember the Tamils who died in May 2009 when the Sri Lankan army carried out a genocidal onslaught in the final days of the island's decades-long civil war.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children were killed as Sri Lankan government forces bombarded them from land, sea and air.

About 300 pensioners, unemployed people and sole parents attended a rally called by the Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition on May 21.

Marion Lau, deputy chairperson of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, spoke of the injustice of the federal government’s plan to force workers, including those in heavy manual jobs, to work to the age of 70 before they can get the age pension.

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