Join us at Socialism 2019 for the official Sydney book launch of “Losing Santhia – Life and loss in the struggle for Tamil Eelam” with Lee Rhiannon and author Ben Hillier. This session is co-hosted with the Tamil Refugee Council and Interventions publishing.
On a small stretch of sand in north-eastern Sri Lanka in 2009, the Sri Lankan armed forces slaughtered tens of thousands of Tamils. The Tamil Tigers, who had waged a three-decadelong war of national liberation, were militarily defeated. But some of their ranks survived. Santhia was one. After the war, she and her infant son tried to reach Australia but were stranded in Indonesia. Santhia died in a Jakarta hospital in October 2017 aged just forty-two.
Sponsored by the Tamil Refugee Council, Ben Hillier travelled to Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the month after Santhia’s death to piece together her life. In this essay, she appears as an individual expression of a nation’s fight for liberation. The essay is paired with a seminal document, Liberation Tigers and Tamil Eelam freedom struggle, written in 1983 by Anton Balasingham on behalf of the Tigers’ political committee. Ben Hillier is an editor of Red Flag and a member of Socialist Alternative in Australia.