Izeth Hussain, in The Island, 16 March 2013
Gnanasara Thero of the Bodu Bala Sena declaims –Pic by Daminda Harsha Perera
It is questionable whether there are today any purely internal problems, serious internal problems, without any external dimension to them at all. It is true that governments frequently try to explain away internal problems, for which they alone are responsible, by alleging foreign interference. It is true also that there is the human propensity to indulge in conspiracy theories. In certain situations of stress people can become paranoid and imagine that sinister foreign forces are at work behind practically every serious problem. While all that is true, it is also true that in today’s highly interdependent world foreign interference takes place on a scale never before known in human history. Continue reading
Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Muslims in Lanka, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, racist thinking, Rajapaksa regime, religious nationalism, sri lankan society, tolerance, violence of language, world affairs
President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
President of Sri Lanka,
7th March 2013.
Anti-Muslim Hate Campaign: The Government Must Act Decisively
Dear President Rajapaksa,
The Friday Forum urges you to act immediately and decisively to counter the increasingly venomous and strident anti-Muslim hate campaign launched by a few extremist groups claiming to represent the majority Sinhala community. As you are aware, this campaign has intensified over the past several months. The country has witnessed attacks against mosques, and the circulation, on social media, public posters and web-sites, of obscene and vituperative messages that are offensive to religious beliefs. It has witnessed anti-Muslim public rallies and processions, including a call to boycott Muslim business establishments.
Mahara mosque – 03rd March Mahara mosque – vandalised Continue reading
This article is a reprint of chapter 8 in Roberts, Exploring Confrontation, Reading: Harwood, 1994 which inturn was re-printed with the above title in ROBERTS, CONFRONTATIONS IN SRI LANKA, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2009 ISBN 978-955-665-035-8
Introduction: Categorical Clarifications1
In the course of 9-10 days in May-June 1915 segments of the Sinhala population drawn from a wide occupational spectrum systematically attacked the property and at times the person of Mohammedan Moors residing in the south western quadrant of the island—a region containing the majority of Sri Lanka’s population at that point of time. This event has since been referred to in Sinhala as the marakkala kolahālaya and in the English rendering as “the 1915 riots” or “the communal riots of 1915.” Because disputes in front of mosques are known to have been one of the reasons for these “riots”, it has been interpreted as a “religious conflict” between Muslims and Buddhists (Nissan & Stirrat 1990: 31-32; Spencer 1990: 5, 8). By itself, this characterisation is misleading and a corrective is in order.
Those whom we refer today in Sri Lankan English as “Muslim” were described till about the 1930s as “Mohammedan.” “Mohammedan” (or Muslim) takes its meaning from its context of usage. In juxtaposition with the categories Burgher, Sinhalese, Tamil, Malay, it is an ethnic label. Where aligned in distinction from Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, it is a religious category. It therefore carries a duality of meaning. This dual-sidedness is accentuated by the Sinhala usage. The Sinhala word, marakkala (Moor), is often used to refer to Mohammedans as well. Though there is ambiguity on this point, marakkala does not, unlike the English word “Mohammedan” (Muslim), usually encompass the jā (Malays). Indeed, the more erudite Sinhala word for Moors is yon (yona) in distinction from javun, javo, ja. Continue reading
Rasika Somarathna, in the Daily News, 12 March 2013
The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) which has been issuing the Halal certification to businesses, said yesterday it decided to withdraw the Halal logo from all local products. However, companies may continue to obtain the Halal certification for their products on a voluntary basis to facilitate exports etc, and such certifiction will be issued free of charge by the ACJU, according to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC). Continue reading
Filed under accountability, communal relations, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, patriotism, power politics, power sharing, pulling the leg, reconciliation, sri lankan society, tolerance, world affairs
Compiled by Michael Roberts to assist present-day debates on Sinhala -Muslim tensions …with RED identifying contemporary material
Abdul Rahiman, W. M. 1915 Letter from WM Abdul Rahiman to Sir Robert Chalmers [Governor], 1 July 1915, in Colonial Office 54/782.
Ameer Ali, A. C. L. 1981 “The 1915 racial riots in Ceylon (Sri Lanka): a reappraisaof its causes,” South Asia 4: 1-20.
Amunugama, Sarath 1978 “John de Silva and the Sinhala nationalist theatre,” Ceylon Historical Journal 25: 285-304. Continue reading
Filed under atrocities, British colonialism, British imperialism, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, riots and pogroms, sri lankan society, tolerance, violence of language
From Daily News, 3 January 2013
Juliet Coombe took a gamble on entering the forts inner sanctum, the Galle Fort betting shops in the heart of popular pedlars street. From early morning to late afternoon, men scurry in and out of the betting houses on Galle Fort’s popular Pedlar street, where you can find little old men studying the racing pages of the papers as if for a major exam, all part of the exciting bookie business world, which varies from day to day.
In between people placing their bets, the owners normally spend their mornings gluing the spines of the various different versions of The Racing Post with a pencil-shaped piece of wood, so that the pages are sealed together making them easier documents for his customers to negotiate. Piles of these papers are delivered every morning at 5.30am from the head booking office in Galle, who he works under. Continue reading
courtesy of Renton de Alwis
SEE http://www.recdo.org/gallery-children-and-youth.php and the work of RECDO
Theruni Sebastiampillai, from The Island, 10 November 2012 … noting *** at end
How do I define my identity? At first glance, the answer would be simple and clear: I am a French citizen with Sri Lankan origins. This would be enough for any administrative paperwork. But in daily life, the reality is quite different depending on the situations that we are facing.
The first question would be: Am I French or Sri Lankan? I was born in France, I studied in France, I live and work in France. So what could be more natural than to feel French? Continue reading