Toby Harnden, in The Australian, 26 April 2013, courtesy of The Sunday Times
IT is nearly a quarter of a century since the Berlin Wall fell, bringing the Cold War to a close. The triumph of liberal democracy briefly seemed to herald “the end of history” before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, triggered what the Pentagon called the global war on terrorism and a clash between the West and militant Islam. Just over a decade later, this conflict is drawing to a close. Much of al-Qa’ida has been dismantled; US President Barack Obama has declared “the tide of war is receding” and it is time to conduct nation-building at home. America’s imperial ambitions are over, for the foreseeable future at least. The world is no longer uni-polar. Continue reading
Sunday Leader, 23 September 2012, where adifferent title was used: “Sri Lanka should devolve power at the centre.“
Prof. Rohan Gunaratna
International defence expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratna tells The Sunday Leader that rather than trying to breakup the country by region, ethnicity and religion, the strategy should be to unite the different communities, by devolving power at the centre by having a prime minister, several cabinet and other ministers, permanent secretaries and even a chief of the security forces from the Tamil and Muslim communities.
Q: How do you view the recent attacks on Sri Lankan travelers in Tamil Nadu, India, in the backdrop of a seemingly growing anti-Sri Lanka sentiment in the State?
A: Traditionally, Tamil Nadu has been a friendly state. When Prabhakaran broke the law in Pondi Bazzar, Tamil Nadu, in 1981, the Tamil Nadu police arrested him. However, Tamil Nadu became hostile to Sri Lanka with the emergence of Tamil nationalist politics in Sri Lanka and their counterparts in Tamil Nadu building a partnership with Sri Lankan separatists. Continue reading
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Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe, courtesy of the Sunday Times
US Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis is wrapping up after three eventful years in Sri Lanka. During her term, the US Government played out its most controversial engagement so far in Sri Lankan affairs in the history of US-Sri Lanka relations. Yet, speaking to a group of businessmen in Jaffna, a few days before the end of her term, she says, “I think it is a mistake if people think that we can dictate to this Government. I worry when people come to us with these expectations.” “Why didn’t the UN intervene when there was so much killing?” asks one businessman. “Both sides were killing,” she reminds them. “Yes,” they nod. “You can’t just jump in. Look at Afghanistan. Iraq was a mess. I think it is dangerous for the Tamil community to think that the UN will come.”
We are travelling with Ambassador Butenis in Jaffna as she meets old acquaintances and bids farewell. She says a vehement “No” to a journalist who asks her if the US Government supports Eelam, and is aware that she could end up sounding like an apologist for the Sri Lankan Government. Continue reading
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In this iconic June 8th 1972 photo, children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, run down Route 1 near Trang Bang, Vietnam after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places as South Vietnamese forces from the 25th Division walk behind them. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. From left, the children are Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim’s cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. (AP Photo/Nick Ut).
Margie Mason of Associated Press, an article which has appeared under various title including “Iconic ‘napalm girl’ photo that shocked the world turns 40″
In the picture, the girl will always be 9 years old and wailing “Too hot! Too hot!” as she runs down the road away from her burning Vietnamese village. She will always be naked after blobs of sticky napalm melted through her clothes and layers of skin like jellied lava. Continue reading
Amanda Hodge, in The Australian, 2 May 2012 where it was presented under a different title
A FUNNY thing happened at the site where Osama bin Laden’s house once stood the other day. Three Chinese businessmen, arrested for entering the Abbottabad neighbourhood where the al-Qa’ida chief lived a life of secret mediocrity, tried to cut a deal with police to sell “genuine bin Laden rubble” over the internet.
The story is as notable for its slapstick value as it is for the fact that residents of Bilal Town can finally – after a year of fear and intrusion – see something to laugh about. Continue reading
Michael Roberts, 15 March 2012
There are many forces promoting the campaign to haul the Sri Lankan government – and implicitly Sri Lankan society – before the coals through a condemnatory resolution at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva this month. That big power interests (inclusive of their manifest double standards) power this drive is undoubted. That the Sri Lankan governmental agencies over the years 1977-2012 have much to answer for is also clear – though WHO should administer such a process of monitoring and/or accusation, and how practical & useful such a project would be, is far from clear in my mind.
Apart from Tamils seeking vengeance, in my reading it is equally evident that strands of secular fundamentalism centred in INGOs, Western political moralists and Tamil and Sri Lankan activists have also inspired such Continue reading
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Amanda Hodge in The Australian, 1 November 2011 … SEE http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/huge-rally-backs-imran-khan-as-pakistan-leader/story-e6frg6so-1226181910208 …..PAKISTANI cricket legend Imran Khan vaulted into the political mainstream at the weekend, drawing at least 100,000 people to a rally at which he vowed to build relations with China, stop CIA drone attacks on Pakistan and end dependence on US aid.
ONE: Libya’s rebels take revenge, by John Lyons in The Weekend Australian, 5-6 November 2011
SITTING in their home on the outskirts of Tripoli, a Libyan family is afraid. Their fear is that a knock on the door could come from the rebel militias that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. This situation is extraordinary. Only weeks ago, these people were enthusiastic supporters of the uprising against the Gaddafi regime. One of the members of the family sitting in the living room was a rebel fighter. He spent two days in a gunfight in Tripoli battling the bodyguards of Gaddafi’s son Mutassim, and still keeps a Kalashnikov in the boot of his car. FOR THE REST SEE http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/libyas-rebels-take-revenge/story-e6frg6ux-1226186182145
Hiroshima–Pic from Getty Images
TWO: When the flames of hell rained on Japan, by Paul Ham in The Weekend Australian, 5-6 November 2011
GENERAL Curtis LeMay, commanding XXI Bomber Command, led America’s strategic air offensive against the Japanese home islands and earned the cold respect, if not the affection, of the pilots in his charge. He had flown, with courage and skill, several air raids against the Germans in 1943; he was willing to do so overJapan, and would have done so had not his knowledge of S-1 – the atomic bomb development project – grounded him at the US air base in Saipan; his superiors could not risk the secret’s extraction under torture. FOR THE RESTS. SEE http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/when-the-flames-of-hell-rained-on-japan/story-e6frg6z6-1226186152605
ONE: “The West’s hidden agende reaches fruition,” by Selvan Canagaratna, in The Island, 29 October 2011
It’s easy to overlook what’s very important about the man President Ronald Reagan labeled ‘This mad dog of the Middle East’: that Muammar Qaddafi, since the late 1990s, had openly renounced his revolutionary heritage and, especially after 9/11, gave himself wholeheartedly to the terrorism preached by George W. Bush calling itself, funnily enough, the War on Terror. The proof of Qaddafi’s significant qualitative ‘conversion’ from ‘despotic’ terrorism to the ultra-modern ‘democratic’ version was that he readily allowed his not inconsiderably brutal prison-network in Libya to become an integral part of the archipelago of GWB’s secret torture sites used regularly by the CIA, by European intelligence and the recently-deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
”What stories Qaddafi might have told if he were allowed to speak in open court?” mused Professor Vijay Prashad, the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, in his piece on Qaddafi’s murder in CounterPunch magazine, then answering his own rhetorical query with Naeem Mohaiemen’s response: “Dead men tell no tales. They cannot stand trial. They cannot name the people who helped them stay in power. All secrets die with them.” Continue reading