Socialist candidate: “I support the Tamil struggle”

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Duncan Roden.

Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW seat of Parramatta Duncan Roden was born in Fiji and grew up in Sydney's west. He is a member of the socialist youth organisation Resistance and is an activist with the Parramatta Climate Action Network and Westies Welcome Refugees.

Roden spoke to Tamil Aruvi about his views on the Tamil people’s struggle for self-determination. The interview is republished below.

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What do you know about Sri Lanka's treatment of Tamil people?

The Tamils of Sri Lanka are suffering under military occupation by the Sri Lankan army. Large areas of land in the north and east of the island, where Tamils have lived for thousands of years, are held by the army as “high security zones”.

Many Tamils are prevented from returning to their homes in these areas. Instead, Sinhalese settlers are being brought in as part of a government-sponsored colonisation scheme, with the goal of changing the demography of these areas (a policy similar to that of Israel in the West Bank).

The Sri Lankan army and its allied paramilitary groups are carrying out a reign of terror against the Tamil people, through frequent murders and disappearances.

An unknown number of former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who fought for an independent Tamil homeland, are still detained in prison camps.

Tamil culture is under attack. The names of villages and roads are being changed from the Tamil to the Sinhala language. Cemeteries holding the graves of Tamil independence fighters have been bulldozed.

What is Socialist Alliance's position on the Tamil struggle?

Socialist Alliance pledges its continued support to Australia's Tamil community in the campaigns it carries out in protest against the oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

We also support campaigns to free the refugees, which includes many Tamils, being held in Australia's detention centres.

Do you support Tamil Eelam's right to self determination?

I fully support the right of the Tamil people on the island of Sri Lanka to national self-determination. They should have the right to form an independent Tamil state if they wish, or be part of a federal structure in Sri Lanka if they so choose.

What has Socialist Alliance done to support the Tamil people?

Socialist Alliance members have been active in solidarity with the Tamil people for many years.

We have taken part in Tamil demonstrations, and have written numerous articles in Green Left Weekly. We have published a book on the Tamil struggle.

We will continue doing all we can to publicise the Tamil struggle as widely as possible.

Why should the Tamil community support the Socialist Alliance over other political parties?

The Labor Party and the Liberal Party have only assisted the brutal Sri Lankan government. The migrant and refugee community should not support these pro-corporate, pro-war parties.

The main parties also lock up refugees and demonise refugees in contravention of the UN Declaration on Refugees. The Tamil community should not support these racist parties.

The Socialist Alliance is an anti-capitalist party that builds the grassroots movements for change. We need systemic changes to deliver justice to refugees and the global south.

From GLW issue 873