“Facing the Taliban” by Anoja Wijeyesekera

Synopsis of Anoja Wijeyesekera’s FACING the TALIBAN

facing the talibanIt is the night of 11th September 2001. Anoja is frantically gathering her things. In the background, the falling bombs shake the foundations of the house, but her thoughts are far away. The scene is far from the ravaged Manhattan skyline. Anoja is one of the UN aid workers being evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan. In the midst of the bombardment which was getting closer as the night wore on, she can only think of her brother, Srinath, who is himself trapped in the debris of the Twin Towers in New York. In a cruel twist of fate, two siblings find themselves as bystanders on opposite sides of what would soon become a cruel and painful conflict.

This dramatic opening to Anoja’s autobiographical account is just a small window into the fascinating and tumultuous tale of an aid-worker, mother and woman who finds herself in a place that would soon become a focal point of global politics. Continue reading

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Filed under female empowerment, fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, law of armed conflict, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, terrorism, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, zealotry

Asanga Welikala’s Groundviews Appreciation of Ananda Chittambalam

Asanga Welikala

I was engaged in the thoroughly humdrum activity of marking some LL.B Honours dissertations early this Good Friday morning when I received an email from my old schoolmate, Sam Wickramasinghe, informing me of the death last night of Ananda Chittambalam. I am still shocked at the suddenness of his demise and terribly saddened by the news. But as Dryden said, ‘Death, itself, is nothing; but we fear /To be we know not what, we know not where’ and I take some small and inadequate solace in the fact that Ana’s end was swift. Continue reading

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Filed under heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, trauma, unusual people

Body Cavity Bombers: new modes of terrorist penetration

Body Cavity Bombers: The New Martyrs: A Terrorism Research Center Book 

body cavity . . authoritative account of a significant new terrorist tactic that is likely to become more pervasive in our increasingly sophisticated technological and medical age in which it is becoming easier for the terrorist adversary to use the types of body cavity bombs that will be capable of evading detection technologies Dr. Joshua Sinai, Washington, DC-based consultant on counterterrorism studies and author of Active Shooter: A Handbook on Prevention. “Body Cavity Bombers shows how what was once a lurid Hollywood fantasy has emerged as a legitimate threat, dissects the risk with clinical precision, and soberly considers the remediation options” Dr. Nils Gilman, Director of Research at Monitor 360 and co-editor of Deviant Globalization. “A timely and important book about a disgusting subject. In showing how the human body might be used to carry and conceal explosive devices, terrorism experts Bunker and Flaherty have left no stone unturned” Dr. Martin van Creveld, one of the world’s leading writers on military history and strategy, with a special interest in the future of war, and author of twenty books including The Transformation of War. “Those in the front line of identifying and taking necessary action to counter these new techniques of destruction would be well advised to read Dr. Bunker and Dr. Flaherty’s realistic assessment” Dr. Stephen Sloan, internationally recognized terrorism scholar and author/co-author of fourteen books on terrorism.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, fundamentalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Taliban, teaching profession, terrorism, world affairs

Fashioning a Spectre of Disaster with Aid from Humanitarian Agencies: Tamil Marvels

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Groundviews, where the title differs and where readers will find critical comments

81 - displacement A scene showing displaced Tamils in makeshift encampments in late 2008(?) or early 2009 as they faced multiple displacements in step with LTTE demands

Summarising previous essays (see bibliography below) this article proceeds in point-form with an eye on greater impact via succinctness.

A. During the last phase of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 the LTTE attempted an international heist that is unprecedented in world history:[1] they used some 320,000 of their own people to manufacture a picture of an “impending humanitarian disaster” so that concerned international forces would intervene and impose a ceasefire or effect a rescue operation. These entrapped Tamil people were not only so many sandbags and a source of labour and/or conscripts. Their primary purpose was to constitute a spectre of impending horror. A2 – Thus, the LTTE political commissar Puleedevan told some friends in Europe “just as in Kosovo if enough civilians died … the world would be forced to step in” (quoted in Harrison 2012: 63) — a line of policy confirmed subsequently by KP, the head of the Tiger international arm, during a frank interview with the redoubtable Tamil journalist in Canada, Jeyaraj: “[we] had to magnify the humanitarian crisis,” (Jeyaraj, “KP” speaks out, 2011: 25, 30). A3 — This spectre was disseminated by (a) LTTE satellite technology at their HQ, and by TamilNet and the extensive Tiger networks abroad; and A4 — was fed by the reports of the Tamil medical men within the battle theatre acting as patriots[2]or under duress.

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Filed under Sinhala-Tamil Relations, military strategy, Rajapaksa regime, life stories, LTTE, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, world events & processes, Tamil civilians, war crimes, Tamil Tiger fighters, power politics, Eelam, authoritarian regimes, sri lankan society, politIcal discourse, disparagement, NGOs, law of armed conflict, slanted reportage, the imaginary and the real

A Sated Leopard in Sleepy Satisfaction at Kumana

Dushy Perera captures a rare treat

DSC03715  DSC03743 Continue reading


Filed under landscape wondrous, life stories, slanted reportage

Ethnic Branding & Its Fallacies: Romesh faces Sinthujan

Guilt By Ethnicity – A Liberal Sinhalese Response


Dear Sinthujan, …. https://www.facebook.com/RootsofDiaspora/info

I read with bemusement your letter to the “Sinhalese ally”. Coming after the arrest of the human rights activist Ruki Fernando, such condescension may be untimely given how devoted Ruki and other have been towards advocating for the rights of the Sri Lankan Tamil community as well as other minority groups. Notwithstanding the emotional reaction, the allegations and insinuations in your piece deserve a response. This is mine. Continue reading

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Filed under accountability, citizen journalism, communal relations, ethnicity, life stories, politIcal discourse, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society

The Federal Party emerges seeking self-determination, 18 December 1949

Inaugural Meeting of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi, Colombo, 18 December 1949 … with Presidential Address by SJV Chelvanāyakam and Editors’ Preface by EMV Nāganāthan and V Nāvaratnam [1]

ITAK (1)                                      


The Editors of the I. T. A. K. Publications make no apology for placing this booklet (the first of a series to be established in Tamil and English) before the public for the expression of its opinion on a matter which is as fundamental to the cause of democracy and freedom as it is vital to the existence of the Tamil-speaking nation in Ceylon as a free and self-respecting people in this their Island home, to which they have at least as good a claim as their Singhalese-speaking brethren. Continue reading

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Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, legal issues, life stories, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, TNA, unusual people