national liberation

Men in uniform, mainly young soldiers holding AK 47 rifles, are seen all around northern Sri Lanka, from Mannar in north-west to Mullaitivu, the last battlefield in the north-east. In Mullaitivu, there are said to be more soldiers than civilians.

This is the situation in the largely Tamil north of the island one-and-a-half-years after the end of the Sri Lankan Army’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed by the SLA in the last months of the conflict.

When a newly established group, Australians for Tamil Rights, began advertising a protest titled “Sri Lanka: Massacre of Tamils is just not cricket”, anti-Tamil Sinhalese went wild on Facebook with a campaign of vitriolic abuse. Most of the abusers denied that there had ever been a massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Despite the internet campaign against the November 3 protest, it went ahead outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground where Sri Lanka and Australia played a 20-20 cricket match.

One of the Sri Lankan cricketers, Ajantha Mendis, is a former artillery gunner in the Sri Lankan army.

More than 100 Palestine solidarity activists gathered in Melbourne over October 29-31 for Australia's first national BDS conference.

Palestinian civil society groups called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel five years ago. The BDS campaign demands an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the dismantlement of the separation wall in the West Bank, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

"A Jewish majority in a solely Jewish state necessitates perpetual discrimination against the Palestinians”, Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American award-winning speaker for human rights in the Middle East, told an audience of 100 at the Queensland Parliamentary Annexe on October 27.

Baltzer is an author, former Fulbright scholar and granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. She has lived and worked in the West Bank, and has contributed to four upcoming books on the Palestinian struggle.

Anna Baltzer is a US activist who worked in Palestine with the International Women's Peace Service documenting human rights abuses. She is author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.

Boats — an enemy evoked by major Australian political parties to win elections — have become a symbol of international resistance to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

This is particularly the case since Israeli commandos attacked an aid flotilla headed for Gaza in May, killing nine people.

With this in mind, the Berlin Coalition for Gaza (BCG) launched a one-boat “flotilla” through an inner-city Berlin canal on October 15.

“History was made early today on the other side of the world”, said Grant Morgan, an Auckland-based organiser of the Kia Ora Gaza convoy bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s siege. Kia Ora is a six-person New Zealand team that has joined the Viva Palestina covoy.

“The vicious Israeli siege of Gaza has been broken by an international aid convoy of 400 volunteers from 30 countries driving 150 vehicles carrying vital medical supplies worth NZ$7 million.”

West Papuan leaders have rejected the possibility of talks with the Indonesian government until it acknowledges human rights abuses and ensures economic development, the October 5 Jakarta Globe said.

Indonesia has claimed West Papua as its territory since a fraudulent vote by handpicked Papuans in 1969. It continues to deny Papuans the right to self-determination, repressing expressions of support for Papuan independence.

Herman Awom of the Papuan People’s Council told the Globe: “We don’t want to talk to Jakarta because Jakarta never wants to talk to us.

On September 5, the Basque armed group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, ETA), which has fought an armed struggle for Basque freedom for decades, released a video declaring that several months ago it had decided to stop armed actions, and announced a ceasefire.

In its statement, ETA said: “In recent times, the Basque country has been at an important crossroads. The political struggle has opened up new conditions...

“The time has come to build a democratic framework for the Basque country respecting the wishes of the majority of the Basque people...

On September 27, the repressive police apparatus of the Spanish state was brought to bear on the Askapena, the internationalist organisation of the Basque pro-independence left. Seven members were arrested across the Basque Country.

Among those arrested was Walter Wendelin, who does a lot of solidarity work with Latin America.

Many of the reports in the Spanish media make clear that the police operation is trying to target the relationships of the Basque pro-independence left with Latin America.

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