Sri Lanka is in an economic crisis, and the blame is being laid squarely at the door of its president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Last weekend, tens of thousands of protesters tore that door down and stormed his official residence. Since the beginning of this economic crisis, Sri Lankans have been quick to denounce his corruption and amassing of personal wealth. They picked apart his policies ranging from his tax cuts to his pledge to ban chemical fertilizers. Sri Lanka’s protestors, however, have been conspicuously silent about one of the state’s most significant policies that have brought the country to this predicament in the first place - the Sri Lankan military occupation of the Tamil North-East.
Whilst firecrackers were let off in Colombo to celebrate Rajapaksa’s resignation, he must not, however, be allowed to leave office without facing any consequences. The former defence secretary should be taken and tried at The Hague over his command responsibility for war crimes and genocide.
Writing in Foreign Policy, Neil Devotta, professor of international affairs at Wake Forest University, explains that “the roots of the current crisis lie with ethnocracy” which has led a country from meritocracy to kakistocracy – governance by a country’s worst citizens. Quoting a Sri Lankan newspaper, Devotta writes, “drug dealers, fraudsters, murderers, rapists, bootleggers and cattle rustlers’ control politics, and they have bankrupted a country with so much potential”. In explaining the rise of Sri Lanka as an ethnocratic state, he begins with the premiership of Prime Minister S.W.R.D...
Sri Lanka’s economic and political crisis has reiterated what the island’s Tamils have been saying for decades. Only an independent Tamil state can bring stability to the island. This weekend, enraged protestors ran through the Sri Lankan president’s official residence and burnt down the prime minister’s home, in scenes which reflected the anger and outrage over the island’s economic collapse. All across the Sinhala south there have been rallies and protests, decrying how the island has fallen into financial ruin. In the Tamil homeland however, there are different sentiments to be found. Though the North-East has been hit just as hard by the financial crisis, if not harder given the decades of destruction it has faced, the protests of the south do not resonate the same way with Tamils. There is bemusement at how the same people who overwhelmingly elected a man who platformed on bringing a militaristic rule, have turned on him within a few short years. There is scepticism as to whether these demonstrations will ever lead to any deep-rooted change for an island that has been plagued by cycles of violence. And there is a sense of vindication over what Tamils have known and said for decades. Sri Lanka is not just in crisis - it is a failed state, that in its current form is not fit for purpose. It is time for the Tamil people to be free from it.
The province of Ontario’s lawyers effectively argued to dismantle the legal case filed against Bill 104 – the “Tamil Genocide Education Week Act”, at the Superior Court of Ontario by Tamil Genocide deniers. It is a well-known fact that the Sri Lankan government is working extremely hard against any efforts undertaken in the struggle for justice for Tamil people in Sri Lanka and around the world. Even today despite facing an economic crisis, triggering political and financial instability, the Sri Lankan government continue to engage in Tamil Genocide denial and distortion.
Writing in Redflag this week, Tamil Refugee Council member Ben Hillier condemned the newly elected Australian Labor Party (ALP)'s immigration policy and it's handling of the Murugappan family’s immigration case. Hillier stated that the new Labor government could have granted permanent protection to the Murugappan family, "the Biloela family snatched from their home four years ago by Border Force and placed in the prison-like conditions of immigration detention by the Liberal government."
Photograph: Gardiner Expressway, May 10, 2009 Thirteen years ago, I was among tens of thousands in Toronto’s Tamil community who protested the war in Sri Lanka. I remember waking up on Mother’s Day that year to the horrific news that an all-night artillery barrage killed nearly 1,000 people in a single night. After weeks of candlelight vigils, letter-writing campaigns and petitioning, we felt desperate to draw the world’s attention to Sri Lanka’s escalating genocide against the Tamil people. Later that day, thousands of us occupied the Gardiner Expressway . It would become a landmark event in the history of our community.
Three of my children were killed in an artillery attack on the same day at the same place. If they were alive today, the eldest son would be 20 years old, daughter would be 17 years old, and the youngest son would be 15 years old. With them, nine members of my family, including my mother-in-law, my husband’s 6-year-old sister, his younger brother, brother’s wife, their 6-year-old son and their 9-month-old daughter, were killed in that incident. Six of them were children.
Writing in response to the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Mario Arulthas, an advisor to People for Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka (PEARL), stresses that "without a fundamental restructuring of the state, Sri Lanka will simply repeat the past mistakes that got it there". Arulthas explains that the current crisis Sri Lanka finds itself in follows an open embrace of "Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy" by the vast majority of Sinhalese voting in the Rajapaksa's during the 2019 Presidential election and granting them a two-thirds majority in the subsequent 2020...
Sri Lanka’s violence will not end until “the country ends its war on Tamils and Muslims and drastically scales back its military budget,” writes Tamil Guardian staff writer Ben Andak in Jacobin Magazine this week, as the economic and political crisis on the island continues. “Many are increasingly alarmed by the authoritarian nature of their government and blame President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, taking to the streets and demanding that “Gota Go Home”,” writes Andak. “But the crisis in Sri Lanka cannot be placed solely on one family. Nor will the IMF rescue the island from the root cause of the crisis: the country’s militarized and ethnocratic state.”