Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 07:18:06 +0100
From: Barrio Nuevo barrionuevo.canada@gmail.com

To: editor@vheadline.com
Subject: Eva Golinger’s opinion on Tamils

We, organizations in Canada that have been working for years in solidarity with the Bolivarian process and have been responding to misinformation against Venezuela and the revolution. We have also been strong admirers of Eva Golinger’s standard of investigative journalism and advocacy against imperialism. Today we are compelled to address what appears to be some misinformation in her piece titled ‘Sri Lanka’, printed in the Correo del Orinoco on Saturday, May 15.

Eva Golinger’s article makes a number of claims, including that the Canadian Humanitarian Appeal for the Relief of Tamils (HART) is a front group for the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

This is a bold , not to mention dangerous and ultimately false assertion.

As organizations on the ground here in Canada, we know this organization to be largely first generation youth of Tamil origin who have been working tirelessly to educate people on the situation of the 300,000 internally displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka as well as those in forced migration. The charge that Eva Golinger is labelling on them is the same that our own (Canadian) government … the reactionary government of Stephen Harper … has been looking to place on them for some time now.

In Canada, where groups like the LTTE are categorized as terrorist — just as they categorize Hamas in Gaza, the FARC in Colombia and many other groups globally — carries what could be a lengthy jail sentence. It is disappointing to see such un-validated claims considering Eva Golinger’s record of well-researched literature and articles.

Unfortunately, the same claims appear in articles in Sri Lanka such as the article Sri Lanka’s The Sunday Times entitled ‘Tiger Carcass in Caracas’ http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100516/News/nws_05.html and other media sources which re-iterate these false statement in an attempt to cast doubt on the work of these young activists.

Much of this response, both from Eva Golinger’s article, and those in Sri Lanka before it, appear to have been prompted by the recent article in Cuidad CCS entitled ‘Piden refugio en Venezuela para desplazados tamiles.’ http://www.ciudadccs.org.ve/?p=61361 This article is telling in a number of different ways. First of all, it reveals that Canadian HART is in fact engaging in advocacy around Tamil refugees particularly the case of the close to 300 Tamil refugees in Indonesia, as the article makes clear.

Canadian HART has been a participant organization in Frente Norman Bethune … an internationalist solidarity project which looks to establish people to people solidarity between movements and organizations in Canada and those in Venezuela.

  • We believe Venezuela represents a hope in our world, a place where the principles of social justice, equality and popular democracy are being struggled for by the people. These are universals which should be available to all people, and the struggle of any people denied these basics are the struggle of all.

Secondly, the deplorable situation of the majority of Tamils in Sri Lanka and the sheer number of civilians killed should give one cause to reconsider the label that Eva Golinger has placed on Sri Lanka. In characterizing the government of Sri Lanka as ‘leftist’ and a victim of ‘imperialism,’ she has, unfortunately, overlooked the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and the 7,000-20,000 Tamil civilians killed in the military offensive of 2009 using Israeli weaponry such as AI Kfir fighter jets and Super Dvora Mk III class patrol vessels.

There was no mention of Rajapaska’s statements to TIME Magazine that Sri Lanka “followed what [George W.] Bush said. We accomplished what he wanted: eliminate terrorism. They must give credit to us. We fought their war.” Nor is there any consideration for the comments of Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, when he met with Bush to share his “appreciation of US support to Sri Lanka in its continuing struggle to combat terrorism, especially the pro-active measures taken by the US toward this end.”

There are may other facts which dispel the characterization of the Rajapaksa government and state as ‘progressive’ or ‘anti-imperialist.’

We are not LTTE supporters, as it is not our place to tell people who their representatives or spokespeople should be. We are also not telling sovereign governments like Venezuela who they should trade and establish relationships with.

However we are committed to an anti-imperialism that is internationalist, and as such strongly ask Eva Golinger to reconsider her positions and particularly her claims labelled against committed, revolutionary activists whose well-being — and even lives — are threatened by such baseless allegations.

In Solidarity,

Barrio Nuevo