Women in the LTTE:

From a Revolutionary Womb to an Exploding One

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were established in 1976 and arose out of various student wings from different Tamil parties in the North and Northeast of Sri Lanka. In the beginning there were several militant movements, but only the LTTE managed to come to power. The LTTE’s goal, just like the one of the established parties, was to achieve equal treatment and justice for the Tamil minority in the country. These groups were unsatisfied with the slow and hesitant progress of the political parties and believed that only militant methods would serve the purpose. This conviction was further strengthened by the fact, that the parliamentary and non-violent demand for an independent Tamil state by the Tamil coalition TULF (Tamil United Liberation Front) failed in 1977. Over time, the LTTE developed into a secular separatist terrorist organization with no political ideology, other than separatist-nationalism, but rather based on grievance. The LTTE was led by a centralized command with Vellupillai Prabhakaran as their supreme leader. In the early stages, the organization was solely male in consistency. Only in the mid-1980s they slowly began to recruit women into their cadres. The Tamil Tigresses first were mainly responsible for logistical activities such as medical care, fundraising, ideological propaganda, and recruitment. Over time, they became an essential part of the Black Tigers, the suicide bombers of the LTTE. 

Pinkwashing Oppression

Since the early 2000s, the state of Israel has been using the discourse around homosexuality deliberately to represent itself as modern, tolerant, and Western. In 2007, Jasbir Puar explained how and why it was possible, that ‘acceptance’ and ‘tolerance’ of homosexuality has become advantageous for a nation, and going one step further, even became the barometer by which a nation’s readiness for sovereignty is measured. He called the concept homonationalism. Homonationalism is reason for and enables pinkwashing. Israel’s pinkwashing strategies rely heavily on the concepts of orientalism and islamophobia. I state that Israel’s reason for exercising pinkwashing is to some extent money, but much more the legitimizing and normalizing of its settler colonialist practices, which then again brings money. Therefore, I argue, that pinkwashing is simultaneously an international strategy for the image and an internal strategy to control and oppress Palestinians. There are several different organizations, that try to fight pinkwashing. To find out, what can be successful in taking action against pinkwashing, I examine the background and also existing resistance movements.
Two aspects make this topic difficult. First, Israel’s occupation of Palestine is a sensitive topic because of Israel’s history. Critique on the state of Israel can be quickly understood as antisemitic. This present critique is not at all about religion, but solely about politics. Second, a critique on Israel’s commitment for gay rights could possibly be understood as homophobic. Equal rights for people defining as LGBTQIA+ are always desirable and should never be exploited. However, I argue that exactly this is what makes the pinkwashing strategy so effective, because critiquing something essentially positive is much more challenging than something ‘obviously’ bad.

Tuesday Oct 5 2021
Contact: julia@lanzweb.ch