Sri Lanka

Telling the truth about wars

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 09:17

Simon Nelson

The career of the journalist Marie Colvin was fairly unique. She covered most of the major conflicts of the 1990s and 2000s up until her death in Homs, Syria, in 2012.

Her articles in the Sunday Times brought across some of the horrors of war, not just the conflicts between political factions and leaders but the stories of mass graves in Fallujah, and the near starvation of internally displaced Tamils. Until her death she may be remembered as one of the last journalists to interview Colonel Gadaffi before he was killed in the Libyan conflict of 2011.

The film, based on a Vanity Fair article,

Tensions rise amid anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2018 - 17:46

Rohan Fernando

A state of emergency declared on 6 March to try to rein in the spread of communal violence in Kandy, Sri Lanka was finally lifted on the 18 March.

The violence was sparked by the death of a Sinhalese man, allegedly after being beaten by a group of Muslim men.
Muslim-owned homes and businesses were attacked in a series of revenge attacks, with violence escalating further when two hardline Buddhist monks arrived to negotiate the release from police custody of accused rioters.

With police unable to contain the riots, Maithripala Sirisena’s government declared a state of emergency, for the first

The rage of the refugee

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:25

Phil Grimm

In the opening scene of Dheepan, beaten soldiers of the Tamil Tigers are burning their war dead. They have been brutally defeated by state forces in the Sri Lankan civil war. As the funeral pyre burns in the jungle clearing, one man quietly changes out of his uniform and into tattered civilian clothes. He has had enough of the killing; it’s time to get out.

The film tells the story of three Tamil refugees. The former soldier meets up with two total strangers at a camp — a woman and a young girl. They have all lost their families in the war, and agree to pretend to be a family themselves in

Clarence Chrysostom, 1921-2013

Published on: Wed, 07/08/2013 - 16:58

Clarence Chrysostom, who died on 5 July aged 92, was one of the last survivors of the early revolutionary period of the Sri Lankan Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), one of the few Trotskyist parties in history so far to win a mass following.

Joining as a young man, he later sided with the revolutionary minority when the leadership joined a bourgeois coalition in 1964. He came to England shortly afterwards and, after a very brief membership of Gerry Healy’s Socialist Labour League, joined the International Marxist Group, becoming part of the pro-Labour Party faction round Al Richardson in 1968-9.

Sri Lanka: witness to atrocity

Published on: Wed, 09/05/2012 - 10:04

Film maker Callum Macrae has made two influential films about Sri Lanka.

He has been nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. He spoke to Solidarity.

Under the guise of rehabilitation and reconstruction the Sri Lankan government is attempting a Sinhalisation of the north of the country — an attempt to destroy the Tamil community.

Thousands of Tamils remain displaced while Tamil property is taken over and given to the military.

The army is opening hotels in the north. You can go whale spotting with the Sri Lankan navy. You cannot go to the east, where the final battles took place [in the 2008

Sri Lanka: why war crimes went unchecked

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 12:49

This film is the follow-up to Channel 4’s 2011 documentary cataloguing the final year of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

This latest documentary recaps the investigations and describes the world’s response — or lack of it. Macrae interviewed David Miliband, then UK Foreign Secretary, and John Holmes, a British diplomat who was UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

The evidence, both from Tamils who suffered and members of the Sri Lankan army that were involved, is damning. The Sri Lankan army deliberately targeted civilian targets, and they used co-ordinates from humanitarian

Exposing the "Sri Lankan option"

Published on: Thu, 27/05/2010 - 13:47

Rosalind Robson

A recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) documents the appalling brutality of the Sinahala-nationalist Sri Lankan government when, in 2009, it carried out a “military solution” to a 26-year conflict with the Tamil population.

As it attemped to wipe out the Tamil nationalist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) it killed tens of thousands of Tamil people caught up in the conflict. Internationally, governments either supported this regional “war on terror”, or stood by while the Sri Lankan army shelled the general population.

While the offensive was going on Liam Fox (then

Sri Lanka: Left must stand firm for consistent democracy: self-determination for the Tamils!

Published on: Thu, 14/05/2009 - 11:18


The civil war that has raged, on and off, for over 25 years in Sri Lanka seems to be approaching a horrible endgame, with the remaining fighters of the Tamil minority cornered into a small area by the Sri Lankan army.

Our immediate priority is solidarity with the Tamils against the army slaughter. The history of the conflict also raises broader issues:

• The need for socialists, in situations of communal conflict, to fight for consistent democracy as the only basis for working-class unity.

• The fact that the previously-favoured can become the oppressed. “Support for the oppressed” can never

Stop the war on the Tamil people!

Published on: Wed, 22/04/2009 - 23:32

Bob Sutton

The war in Sri Lanka has reached a grim new intensity. The Sinhala (Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority) chauvinist Government has set about the final stages of what they call the elimination of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers), the group who have waged an armed struggle for Tamil independence for three decades.

What this amounts to is a near total war against the entire Tamil population.

In January 2008, President Mahinda Rajapackse unilaterally abrogated the Cease Fire Agreement brokered by the Norwegians in 2002. This winter, while the world’s attention was turned to Gaza, the

Solidarity! This week. With the Tamils, with Visteon.

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2009 - 14:48

Robin Sivapalan

Tuesday, 7 April, morning: Hi campers: It's all going on from where i'm standing, my head can barely take it, people on such a scale, from all different struggles, are taking action these days.

I hope the news is spreading today, 7 April, that hundreds of Tamils have been occupying Westminster Bridge since last night, blocking traffic and holding back the police, putting out the call that people must continue to gather outside parliament until the genocide in Sri Lanka stops.

I think all the demands are problematic for a number of reasons. I cannot say I support the Tamil Tigers, but what is

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