2ND LEAD (Correction)

Book on Santhiya becomes narration of Tamil struggle incorporating Marxist ideas in early 80s

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 August 2019, 23:28 GMT]
Ben Hillier, the editor of Australia’s leading socialist publication, Red Flag, wanted to recount the life of Santhiya, a former LTTE cadre who had perished in an Indonesian detention centre in late 2017. Her tragic death occurred as a result of the anti-refugee and anti-Tamil struggle policies practised by Australia. In his efforts to trace her life the editor of the Red Flag travelled to Jakarta, Indonesia and then to the occupied country of Eezham Tamils with the support of the Tamil Refugee Council (TRC) a grassroots diaspora group in Australia. Ben Hillier, who travelled to the occupied country and learned more about the sacrifices made by the Eezham Tamils, particularly the Tamil women, authored his book “Losing Santhiya: On Life and Loss in the Struggle for Tamil Eelam” in July.

Losing Santhia

Losing Santhia
Losing Santhia
Losing Santhia
Ben Hillier said he realised, despite being in disagreement with some of the policies of the LTTE, the historical necessity for a national liberation struggle for the independence of Tamil Eelam. The discourse and the narrative became evident as he worked through the historical conditions and the modus operandi of the oppressive forces of the unitary state of Sri Lanka targeting Tamils.

The Red Flag Editor has incorporated the text of, “Liberation Tigers and Tamil Eelam Freedom Struggle,” a booklet authored in August 1983 by LTTE’s theoretician, the late Anton Balasingham, elaborating the socialist orientation of the Tamil struggle.

“Santhiya left home and school and joined the LTTE when she was a young teenager and had joined the national struggle for liberation. I found her story intriguing. So the story went from something to recounting someone’s life and humanizing her story to something larger,” said Mr Hillier who was addressing the audience at the Monash University on 27th of July, when the TRC launched the book.

He continued: “Santhiya’s life was extraordinary for us here, but it became evident that over there, as many of you would know, in Tami Eelam, and the ranks of the LTTE, her story was quite ordinary.

“Many books could be written by the heroism of many of the activists, soldiers and cadres involved in the national liberation war.

“Santhiya does not stand out as more worthy of telling than the many thousands of others, who fought, died or got scattered to the four corners of the world. The book then became of this story of National liberation, which we thought need to be covered in Australia.”

Santhiya lost her life in an Indonesian detention camp which was formerly under Australian government financing. It was part of the off-shore detention centre policies introduced to curb Boat refugees from Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Rohingya as well a considerate section who were Eezham Tamils escaping genocide.

Australia, taking part in the US bandwagoning in the region, is long known for appeasing the Colombo-centric unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, successive Australian governments have also been financing the military and bureaucratic institutions of the SL State to strengthen its ‘capabilities’ of deporting, apprehending and preventing Eezham Tamil refugees from fleeing the island towards Australia.   Such policies have been framed under the broader geostrategic push by the USA to consolidate the unitary state into its Indian ocean maritime security policies.

Despite being abandoned by the UN system, the late Eezham Tamil woman Santhiya was recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR.

Santhiya’s husband and brother were forcefully made to disappear by the occupying Sinhala military during the 2009 onslaught.   Santhiya, then fled to India, and from there to Indonesia to seek asylum in Australia.   She was languishing with her now-orphaned 12-year-old in the Indonesian detention camp.   The detention camp was earlier an overseas detention centre funded by the Australian government, which later moved its operations to Manus Island.

Losing Santhia
Losing Santhia
Losing Santhia
Losing Santhia
Losing Santhia

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