Sri Lanka: United Socialist Party leader on death list

Days of victory celebrations humiliating all Tamils

Death list

The Committee for a Workers’ International has received a copy of a vile communication put out by Sinhala chauvinist hate-mongers in the wake of the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Amongst the portraits of those they want killed are NGO activists, Indian politicians and five Sri Lankan politicians including Siritunga Jayasuriya, Secretary of the United Socialist Party (CWI Sri Lanka).

As readers of this site will know, the USP has maintained a courageous stand in defence of the rights of all Tamil-speaking people and for a united struggle against land-lordism, capitalism and imperialism with socialist policies. It has had its criticisms of the methods and approach of the LTTE, but has spoken out against the war-mongering of the Rajapakse regime and the slaughter of thousands of Tamil civilians. It has also spoken out against the vast and inhumane camps in which the government is holding prisoner hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“They are not just celebrating a military victory over the LTTE,” Siritunga said in a statement, “But a communalist victory over the Tamil nation. It is a humiliation of all Tamil-speaking people, including in the Hill Country, in the South and in the East.

“No Tamils are enjoying this so-called victory except the three Judases who have sided with the Rajapakse government – Thondeman of the Ceylon Workers’ Council based in the tea plantation area, Karuna (the ex-Tiger leader, now a minister) and Douglas Devananda (the Tamil politician expected to become the stooge Chief Minister of the northern ‘province’ of Sri Lanka).

“My name is being mouthed by ministers on the TV and shouted by frenzied people in the streets. I am being labelled as a “traitor”, as “unpatriotic” and even as a “coward” who should be killed. All this because we speak out against this chauvinistic, autocratic government.

“We fear for the lives of the people in the camps – many of whom will die without food, water and medical attention. Young people will be accused of LTTE sympathies and be ‘disappeared’ by the regime…In this way the Rajapakse government seeks to ‘solve’ the national question. We have been challenging him to say what his political ‘solution’ is and he stays silent. We will pursue our demand for equal rights for all Tamil-speaking people to the end.

“We will not be silenced by death threats and insults. The Sinhalese workers and poor people who are celebrating today, imagine that peace means prosperity and a better life for them. They will not only be expected to suffer more deprivation to pay for the government’s war debts and for the capitalists’ crisis, but the emergency powers of the government will be used against any who try to organise strikes and other actions. Our party is struggling to survive against the onslaught of propaganda being thrown against us. We welcome the international solidarity campaign launched in Tamil Nadu earlier this year and urge it to continue its work.

“We also ask all readers of this horrible news to consider supporting our party in one of the darkest periods in its history. We will prepare for a new period of united struggle against this dictatorial government and against the capitalist system that spawns war and oppression, of which we have seen more than enough.”

Donations to assist with urgent measures necessary defend the USP and its secretary, Siritunga Jayasuriya, against physical attack should be sent to Campaign Sri Lanka. Donate on line (add the words ’Campaign Sri Lanka’ to the comment box) or send cheques to Campaign Sri Lanka c/o Committee for a Workers’ International, PO Box 3688, London, Britain, E11 1YE.

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May 2009