ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Sri Lanka’s war to crush the Tamils

Refugees from Sri Lanka have been among the asylum seekers recently prevented from reaching Australia’s shores.

Many are Tamils, an ethnic minority in Sri Lanka, fleeing a vicious assault by the Sri Lankan military as it attempts to finally crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (also known as the Tamil Tigers).

For 30 years, the Tigers have waged a struggle for an independent state for the Tamil people.

Until recently they controlled most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka. But today, having been pushed into a 10 kilometre strip of land on the Jaffna Peninsula, the Tigers are all but military defeated.

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa has demanded the Tigers surrender or face total annihilation.

In the last three months, at least 6,432 civilian Tamils have been killed, while tens of thousands have been maimed.

Up to 300,000 Tamil civilians have been displaced by the military offensive.

Under the guise of the “war on terror”, schools, hospitals and even civilian “safety zones” have all been targeted by aerial bombings, at times with devastating and totally indiscriminate cluster bombs.

For months, hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians have been trapped in the war zone without adequate food, water and medicines.

As Tamil areas have fallen to the Sri Lankan military, starved, emaciated and seriously injured men, women, children and the elderly have poured into highly militarised government-controlled transit camps, or “welfare villages”, designed to allow the Sri Lankan military to single out alleged Tamil Tiger activists.

Predictably, there have been disturbing reports of disappearances from these camps.

Around the world, the Tamil diaspora has protested to raise awareness about the war crimes being committed against their people. Over 100,000 Tamils and their supporters took the streets in London in January and again in April.

These protests have drawn attention to the plight of the Tamils when the corporate media have all but refused to.

This silence is partly because the Sri Lankan government has refused the media entry to the war zone. Furthermore, critics of the government’s repressive war have been physically silenced – abducted, arbitrarily arrested, disappeared or assassinated.

In the last two years, 19 journalists have been abducted and at least nine killed, making Sri Lanka the fourth-most dangerous country for journalists to work in according to Reporters Without Borders.

But the deadly silence of the media internationally has more to do with their support for the Sri Lankan government’s war. The Rudd government has refused to condemn Sri Lanka’s slaughter of innocent Tamils.

 The US has quietly backed the war, despite concerns that communal tensions might flow over into neighbouring Indian state of Tamil Nadu, destabilising a key economic and strategic asset for the US in South Asia.

Britain, the US, China, Russia and Israel have all supplied the Sri Lankan army with weaponry used in the offensive. And many Western countries have proscribed the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organisation to cut off important sources of funds.

Where the international media have reported on the conflict they have focused on the violence of the Tamil resistance, despite the overwhelming responsibility for the violence lying with the government.

There has also been a complete absence of any discussion of the roots of the civil war, which lies in the long history of state-sponsored racism and oppression of the Tamils.

When Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, the political and economic elite from the ethnic Sinhalese majority sought to cement their power by cultivating an intense ethnic nationalism.

Migrant Indian Tamil plantation workers in Sri Lanka were denied citizenship and deported to India. Sinhalese was made the sole official language, making Tamil speakers second-class citizens. Tamil children also had little chance of a university education.

There have been numerous violent anti-Tamil pogroms, often led by Buddhist monks with the support of the police and army. These genocidal pogroms culminated in the murder of an estimated 3,000 people in the government-instigated 1983 riots.

Attempts to end discrimination through a non-violent civil rights struggle were repeatedly repressed by the state. Unsurprisingly, non-violent action gave way to formation of guerrilla organisations, as Tamil youth took up arms against the state in the 1970s.

But the Sri Lankan state has refused to cede any autonomy, let alone independence, to the Tamils.

The military defeat of the Tigers and the barbaric slaughter of Tamil civilians will not bring a lasting peace to Sri Lanka.

Without addressing the discrimination and poverty faced by Tamils, without a just political solution, their struggle for the right to self-determination will continue.

This article, by Liz Walsh, first appeared in this month’s Australian socialist magazine, Socialist Alternative.



Comment from Sie.Kathieravealu
Time May 17, 2009 at 1:41 am

Probably the BEST possible POLITICAL solution with meaningful and just power sharing arrangement.
An earnest APPEAL to all those who strive for sustainable peace in Sri Lanka
“The lack of engagement and communication, in turn adds to the sense of estrangement. This is not in the interests of either side, particularly the Sri Lankan people who yearn for peace, a just solution to the ethnic conflict and the hope of prosperity at least for their children.” – so said Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council.
With the above end in view please spare a part of your valuable time to ABSORB the meaning of the views submitted below.
Too much of time has been wasted in discussing the origins of the problems and the paths taken by various real patriotic and peace-loving persons to solve the problems in the ways they sincerely believed as the best. The problems have grown and evolved and had been twisted by many to suit their way of thinking.
So, it is high-time we start re-thinking in terms of a solution that would address NEARLY ALL THE PROBLEMS rather than continue to criticize other people for their “faults”.
Failures are the pillars of success. We have learned a lot of things through experience. With the experiences gained we will have to work for a change of heart not just a change of mind of all the people in the country.
“People who value democracy, equality and equity, needs to pressure the Sri Lankan state to take immediate action towards a meaningful and just power sharing arrangement. That is the only way to ensure security and the dignity of the peoples of Sri Lanka.
If peaceful coexistence through power sharing is not achievable, the only other solution that would be available will be secession” so said Mr. Lionel Bopage, former Secretary of the JVP.
There is a vast difference in the policy and thinking of the ORIGINAL JVP to which Mr.Lionel Bopage belongs and the policy of the present JVP.
A new concept that moves towards a meaningful and just power-sharing arrangement based on real democracy, equality, equity and a great deviation from the usual thinking of the meaning of the word “devolution” is given below for the perusal and comments of concerned people.
Many, who call themselves as ‘moderates’ and advocating a “Unitary State” in principle, are not willing to consider this NEW concept which gives a certain degree of ‘power’ with ‘responsibility’ to everyone including the poor and voiceless silent majority in the country and not excluding the so-called “minorities” and still maintain the “character” of a “Unitary State”
Now, one word, for those who are actually and sincerely interested in fostering a unitary-state by supporting “devolution” as a means to achieve sustainable peace, please avoid thinking in terms of “devolution” and instead please try to think in terms of “sharing” of powers, rights, duties and responsibilities that cannot be taken back at any time by any government or individual by any method.
The best political solution to address many of the problems faced by many sections of the Sri Lankan society – particularly the poor, the politically weak and the “minorities” who do not carry any “political weight” – would be to DILUTE the powers of all elected representatives by separating the various powers of the Parliament and empowering different sets of people’s representatives elected on different area basis to administer the different sets of the separated powers at different locations.
It has to be devolution HORIZONTALLY where every set of representatives would be in the SAME LEVEL as equals and in par and NOT VERTICALLY, where one set of representatives would be above (more powerful than) the other, which is the normal adopted practice when talking of devolution, in this power-hungry world. It is because of “devolution” being evolved “vertically”, we have all the trouble in this power-hungry world. So, for sustainable peace it should not be the present form of “devolution” but “dilution of powers” or “sharing of powers” in such a way that no single or set of peoples representatives is superior to another.
This system would eradicate injustice, discrimination, bribery and corruption – the four pillars of an evil society – and help to establish the “Rule of Law” and “Rule by ALL” for sustainable peace, tranquility and prosperity and a pleasant harmonious living with dignity and respect for all the inhabitants in the country. Everyone must have “equal” powers, rights, duties and responsibilities and most importantly everyone should be deemed “equal” before the law not only on paper but also practically – be it the Head of State, The Chief Justice or the voiceless poor of the poorest in the country.
Since all political and other powers flow from the sovereignty of the people, it is proposed herein that these powers be not given to any ONE set of representatives but distributed among different sets of people’s representatives (groups) elected on different area basis (village and villages grouped) to perform the different, defined and distinct functions of one and the same institution – the Parliament – like the organs of our body – heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, nose, ear etc. – performing different and distinct functions to enable us to sustain normal life.
A detailed version of the concept, which is quite long is available for discussion by interested individuals with an aim to change the hearts not just a change of mind of the citizens of this country who aim to preserve a UNITARY form of Government with every section of people from every part of the country PRACTICALLY PARTICIPATING in the GOVERNANCE OF THE COUNTRY in a meaningful way. In a way it may be termed “participatory democracy”. In this system the COUNTRY IS NOT DIVIDED but the “powers of governance’ of the Parliament is separated and administered COLLECTIVELY by different sets of peoples representatives.
The system suggested is neither for a federal state for which “Thanthai Chelva” worked hard through non-violent means for nearly thirty years nor the “Two State Solution” for which the LTTE is fighting through violent means for more than thirty years. It is a combination of both and is between both.
The solution advocated can be compared to the policy of the EPDP – a partner in the present government – “self-governance at Regional Level and collective governance at the National Level”. The main differences between my suggestion and that of the EPDP are that my suggestions are for sharing of power horizontally and EPDP’s suggestions are for sharing power vertically. EPDP’s suggestions are for addressing the aspirations of the Tamils while my suggestions are for addressing the aspirations of the PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA and not of any political party. A careful perusal of my suggestions in FULL will convince the truth.
Give and Take is the best policy. Rule or control your “self” and allow everyone to rule themselves.
IF THERE IS A SINCERE WILL to treat all inhabitants with dignity and as citizens enjoying equal rights in this country, then THE ABOVE IS A WAY
The above suggestions are by a voiceless member of the silent majority who wants all voice to be heard.

Comment from Leonie
Time May 17, 2009 at 9:17 am

Thanks Sie Kathieravealu for your heartfelt plea for peace and justice.

Write a comment