The things we think of when we think M.I.A. -- being petite and feisty as hell, practically giving birth on the Grammy stage, having plenty of "swagga" to go around -- don't usually include political activism. But this week as she takes a stand for civilians caught up in violence in Sri Lanka, all that looks to change.
A campaign launched in Britain last week plans to deliver food and medical supplies to innocent people in the midst of violence between the Sri Lankan government and militant group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The "mercy mission" is now in danger, as the Sri Lankan Navy claims that it was alerted by authorities that a boat sailing from Britain under the guise of civilian aid with more than 2,000 tons of food would actually be heading for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Based on this, the navy has said it will fire on any unauthorized vessel in Sri Lankan waters. M.I.A. -- who is of Tamil-lineage and whose father is a revolutionary opposed to the Sri Lankan government -- has publicly urged the government to let the boat through. "The Mercy Mission will carry dry food and medicines for Tamil civilians in the Wanni within the Sri Lankan Government’s ‘safe zone,'" she said. “Many have already perished from starvation and preventable disease. We cannot ignore these genocidal conditions, and if the aim of the SL Government is to protect the lives of the civilians, then this ship will reach its destination and lives will be saved.”
For more information on the conflict in Sri Lanka, read up here.