Support the Tamils

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I did not agree with the emphasis of the article "Sri Lanka - the dead end of nationalism" (Frontlines, Socialist Review, March 2009).

The critique of nationalism does not seem to be the priority for socialists - as the government of Sri Lanka, led by the hardliner President Rajapakse, pursues a brutal "war for peace" policy against the north east Tamil area.

Over 300,000 Tamils have been displaced living in desperate conditions amid a growing humanitarian disaster. There are clear similarities with the plight of Palestinians but due to the reporting ban of the government the Tamils' story is hidden.

There was last month a demonstration in London of 100,000 Tamils against the barbarism against their people. The immediate argument for socialists needs to be to support the Tamils, like Palestinians, against their oppression that was institutionalised after the British left in 1948.

It was this oppression and the suppression of the resulting peaceful protest that led to the formation in the 1970s of the Tigers. In order to be able to engage in criticism of their nationalist and guerrilla approach we must first stand with Tamils against genocide in Sri Lanka before we move onto any criticism of the LTTE.

Matt Foot
London