Darshanie Ratnawalli courtesy of the Nation and the Colombo Telegraph, with the latter drawing a volatile discussion which readers may wish to view … SEE note below pertinent to that discussion
I am the legitimate issue of a woman who unabashedly claims to admire the Bodu Bala Sena. This affords me a critical perspective into the issue, without which everyone is floundering like headless chickens. There may be other people, whose mothers etc. harbor soft spots for the BBS. But because they are not me, they would either try to keep these mothers in the closet or, in contradistinction, empathize with these soft spots; whereas I…Well you shall see.
My mother represents the Sri Lankan equivalent of Middle America and, as such, the demographic bloc that makes or breaks any movement dependent on mass support for its success. In Middle America (SL), one becomes a Buddhist by being a stakeholder of the Buddha Sāsana (deliberately called henceforth, the Buddhist Church of Lanka) and by emotionally aligning oneself with the age-old mission of fostering this Sāsana on this soil for the allocated five thousand years. Once one has fulfilled this basic requirement adherence to Buddhism proper becomes peripheral and is largely left to personal discretion. Continue reading
Filed under citizen journalism, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, disparagement, historical interpretation, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, racist thinking, Rajapaksa regime, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, world affairs
Hemantha Situge, courtesy of The Aloysian
Dr. D.V.J. Harischandra needs no introduction to the Sri Lankans. He is a well acclaimed psychiatrist by profession for well-nigh five decades who has rendered yeoman services to the nation. His first book entitled “Psychology Aspects of the Buddhist Jathaka Stories” published 2000 was an analytical study which penetrated into the inner aspects of the Buddhist Jathatha Stories – which is almost synonymous with the Sri Lankan Buddhists – hitherto no one has delved into. His book was well accepted by a wide array of readership. This book won the then State Literary Award. Continue reading
Firazath Hussain: “This 40 minute black and white film was made in 1934 on request to advertise tea. The film that was made was regarded as a prize winning documentary. Lionel Wendt did the narration, most of which was simply reading excerpts of Knox over the visuals. The camera work in many places is quite stunning. Perhaps, some day, someone will see fit to work a digital restoration of something that is quite a unique piece of history.”
Michael Roberts, Courtesy of Groundviews, where it appeared on Wednesday last
When I was in Sri Lanka from mid-April to early June 2009 I was on holiday with my wife and not able to pursue investigations in any depth. In contrast my sojourn in May-June 2010 focused on a range of studies and travels. One gem of a life-story surfaced near my second home in Wellawatte when I was able to chat with a domestic servant at a Tamil house nearby, a lady who had been through the crucible of Eelam War in the Vanni Pocket. I shall call her Sambandhi. She was a wizened wiry soul who had survived the war together with husband, but (1) had one daughter killed by shrapnel; (2) one son (who was then aged c. 21) hospitalized in mid-2009 with the loss of one eye and injuries to face and other eye; and (3) was wracked with pain because one of her sons had been conscripted by the LTTE and was missing. Khimera is the pseudonym I shall place on this son, a young man born in 1983 and aged circa 26 in 2009. Continue reading
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Michael Roberts hijacking Dhaneshi Yatawara
I: Preamble by Michael Roberts
Dhaneshi Yatawara is a Sri Lankan reporter whom I do not know and have no contact with. I happened to be in Sri Lanka in April-June 2009 and collected news clippings, which now guide me to items on web. Among the latter are a series of striking photographs provided by Dhaneshi Yatawara on the 10th and 17th May 2009 respectively. The first lot were obviously (though not so stated) snapped on the foreshores in the Pulmoddai or Trinco area as Tamil IDPs injured and “carers” were disembarked from ICRC ships guided by the SL Navy. Parenthetically I note here between the 10th February and 15th May 2009 the ICRC ships “Green Ocean” and “Seruvila” escorted by the SL Navy made several trips and evacuated “over 13,500 sick and wounded people and their caretakers” (http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/ documents/ update/sri-lanka-update-090609.htm).
This Pic is not from Yatawara Continue reading
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In the course of presenting a seminar on the topic “Humanitarian Work obscured by the Fires of Propaganda War: The IDP Camps, 2009-12” at the premises of ICES on 7th November 2012, I was met by a hostile challenge from Mirak Raheem of the Centre for Policy Alternatives who raised three points of criticism – one based on empirical material that I had presented about a few IDPs who were bussed in from Nandikadal and the Vanni Pocket – a four-five hour journey I believe – being dead on arrival. Information from the UTHR report , from such individuals as Narendran Rajasingham (who met escaped IDPs in March-April) and the doctors at Manik Farm (e.g. Safras, Woodyard) reveal that there were a few IDPs who could best be described as “walking dead” (and some kin reported the trauma of leaving grandparents behind because they were not fit to move).
Despite the evocative photographs presented re the abnormal conditions encountered for several months by the Tamil populace corralled together in a revolutionary act of blackmail by the LTTE, Raheem had clearly NOT comprehended the abnormal circumstances of that moment in April-May 2009 and the looming possibility of a humanitarian disaster among the large clusters of IDPs assembled (some 250,000 all told) in the Vavuniya locality in numerous temporary schools-used-as-camps as well as the Mänik Farm Zones. This outstanding failure was – and remains — a measure of the ideological blindness located in advocacy circles in Colombo. It marks an obduracy that is founded upon (1) enclosure within air-conditioned cocoons in Colombo; and (2) a visceral hostility to the Rajapaksa regime that cannot allow for any good emanating from a range of official (and unofficial) agencies. One can even envision the advocacy circles in Colombo as a cluster that has created its very own siege bunker in the morally righteous cloister way up in the clouds. Continue reading
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My mother is the 43rd Chief justice of this country. She is also the 1st female Chief Justice in this country’s 200+ year history. She is an academic, one who possessed a PhD in Law before it went on sale. She is also a loving sister, mother and a wife. She is a hardworking woman who loves her country dearly and wishes to preserve its seemingly flailing integrity. She is not a politician. She is not the kind of person who expects to do something and expect something in return. She is also not the kind of person who would waver or change under pressure or intimidation. She is not going to change her conscience on a whim. There have been many occasions in which she could have given in and been rewarded lavishly. Most people are unaware of who my mother really is. Until recently, seldom would anyone have heard anything from her or about her. She has always believed that as a judge and as the Chief Justice, she must not socialize or be seen to favour any party. It is not that she is not a sociable person. It is purely because she feels it’s a burden she must carry in order to uphold the integrity of the august position which she holds. Is that incapacity? Is that misbehaviour? The powers that be claim the impending impeachment to be one to uphold democracy and the concept of separation of powers. Frankly, in my humble opinion, it is one of vengeance. It is one of spite and pure hatred. Continue reading
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I: Preamble:Alex Van Arkadie is not known to me but seems to have received a stack of reports on the humanitarian side of the IDP camps [2009-12], which had recently been posted in http://thuppahi.wordpress.com from some circuits of email, perhaps that generated by Victor Melder. This conversation was an incidental outcome. Michael Roberts.
II: Alex Van Arkadie to Michael Roberts, 30 September 2012
Pardon me for the intrusion. Tell me please, what relevance does the word ‘thuppahi‘ have in relation to your works of mercy for the abandoned, helpless and needy? I am rather concerned, because not all of the contemporary Burghers in Sri Lanka would consider it user-friendly? Continue reading
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