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Home> Tamils - a Nation without a State> Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Overview > Questions & Answers
TAMIL EELAM STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
A. After Independence, in 1948, the power was given by Britain to the Sinhalese majority (17million) who began the systematic persecution and repression of the Tamil people (3 million).
Tamil people have been losing their land since the 1930's when Sinhalese families started being settled on the borders of the Tamil areas.
In recent years more than a million Tamil people have fled their homes in the far North of the island as the Sri Lankan armed forces took over Tamil towns and villages, bombing and destroying homes, public buildings, crops and farmland. The Sri Lankan government is stopping food and medicine getting to hundreds of thousands of refugees. Over 60,000 Tamil civilians have been killed since 1983.
A. After more than 35 years of Ghandian-style non-violent resistance (satyagraha), the Tamil people felt forced to take up arms to liberate themselves. The use of arms is an element in liberation struggles as it has been in Namibia (SWAPO) and South Africa (ANC). The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE - (often referred to as the Tamil Tigers) have led the struggle for Freedom and truly represent the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the Tamil people.
The LTTE are not, as is sometimes quoted, a bunch of misguided terrorists, but are a well-organised political people's movement and have been running schools, land management and rehabilitation projects in areas which they control, in an enlightened, ethical way.
May 13th 1998 marked one year of the LTTE's determined resistance to the Sri Lankan government's military offensive, Jaya Sikkuru (Victory assured), launched to take control of an important road in the Tamil North. The government had anticipated that the operation would be successful within two weeks but with the support of the people the LTTE has successfully resisted this latest onslaught by Sri Lankan armed forces.
A. Every year the World Bank and the IMF give huge sums of aid to Sri Lanka, through the Paris Aid Group (PAG). This artificially props up the Sri Lankan regime and enables them to carry on their "War for Peace", as they call it. Military expenditure uses up 29% of Sri Lanka's total budget. The amount the PAG gives in aid, $800 million, is equivalent to the sum required by the Sri Lankan government to prosecute the war for a year. Britain gives aid through the PAG to Sri Lanka, sells arms to Sri Lanka and trains the Sri Lankan military through the UKMTAS (United Kingdom Military Training Assistance Scheme). Sinhala brigadiers are from time to time trained at Sandhurst.
A. Every day in areas controlled by the Sri Lankan army, atrocities such as rape, torture, disappearances and extra judicial killings are occurring. In general we hear nothing of this because the Sri Lankan government is ruthlessly efficient at suppressing this type of information. It is almost impossible for NGOs to work freely. The Sri Lankan government controls reporting of the war and this cannot be easily counteracted as journalists are denied free access to Tamil areas. To influence international opinion the Sri Lankan government employs PR firms and well-known journalists. This enables them to promote their interests and to hide the horror of their brutal crushing of the Tamil people. Their aim in this protracted war is to demoralise and terrorise the Tamil people into giving up their struggle .
Psalm 26 in Why O Lord ? Psalms and
Sermons from Namibia