Adolf Hitler seemed an unlikely leader – fuelled by anger, incapable of forming normal human relationships and unwilling to debate political issues. Such was the depth of his hatred that he would become a war criminal arguably without precedent in history. Yet this strange character was once loved by millions. How was this possible, and what role did Hitler’s alleged ‘charisma’ play in his success? Continue reading
Category Archives: Fascism
Nimal Sanderatne, courtesy of Groundviews … http://groundviews.org/2013/04/17/review-of-fire-and-storm-by-michael-roberts/
When Michael Roberts left Peradeniya in the late seventies, he was part of an exodus of intellectuals from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, arguably one of the best universities at that time. The exodus of academics at that time was compelled by the economic difficulties faced by university dons. It was the second wave of such emigration that diminished the intellectual life of the university and country. The Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya never regained its prestigious academic status after that. Today the University of Peradeniya cannot take pride in intellectuals of the eminence of E.F.C. Ludowyck, E.R Sarachchandra, H.A.de S. Gunasekera, Fr. Ignatius Pinto, Ian Van den Driesen and many others. Continue reading
Kavudha Rajaa! Who is to be King? Mahinda or Prabhaa? Misjudgements that changed the course of history
Somapala Gunadheera, in The Sunday Island, 11 November 2012
Misjudgements are anathema to justice. Nevertheless even they may accidentally ensure ‘the greater good of the greater number’ in very exceptional circumstances. The following judgements made by the Supreme Court since 2005 have turned out to be one such instance.
1. Injunction to prevent the Police from further investigating alleged misappropriation of tsunami funds by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR)
2. Ruling that President Kumaratunga (PK), steps down from office one year earlier than stipulated
3. Decision that allowed any “cross over” in Parliament to continue as an elected MP, despite his or her political party’s objections
These decisions have been widely criticized with cogent reasons by legal luminaries. Recently there has even been an implied confession on the tenability of the injunction at 1 above. However, my intention is not to go into the legality of these decisions but to reflect on how they changed the course of history of this island. Continue reading
Dayapala Thiranagama, in The Island, 21 September 2012
Starting a family in Jaffna with Rajani, in the midst of the Tamil community was a life enriching experience. Having two young daughters added happiness and an extra stability for us. However, the apparent tranquillity in Jaffna could not be taken for granted. The subsequent years the situation began to change from bad to worse. We never expected that the life was going to be smooth but we never envisaged what was to follow. The war and its horrors that tore apart so many family lives made a lasting impact on the whole community. Returning to Jaffna again to painfully revisit the past was a difficult experience.
This summer, after 23 years, I drove to Jaffna from Galle with my eldest daughter. We travelled through the heart of Sri Lanka on the A9 road, passing Kandy, Matale, Dambulla and Kekirawa. We drove past areas where I had worked in 1986 as a member of the Vikalpa Kandayama (Alternative Group), laying down an underground political structure. At the time, I had left my academic job in the university to do fulltime political work and was confronted by two great dangers: increasing political repression from the UNP government on the one hand and the JVP’s second insurrection on the other. In my journey from the place of my birth, Galle, to Jaffna in the north, I retraced my own political journey in Sri Lanka to its conclusion, the grave of my wife Rajani. Continue reading
Padraig Colman reviews issues of reconciliation after severe conflict in different parts of the world
Reconciliation as a concept = pcolman.wordpress.com/category/reconciliation/
Reconciliation in Chile = pcolman.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/reconciliation-in-chile/
Reconciliation in Rwanda = pcolman.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/reconciliation-in-rwanda
Reconciliation in Argentina = http://www.nation.lk/edition/feature-viewpoint/item/5753-reconciliation-and-retribution-in-argentina.html
Reconciliation in Peru = http://www.nation.lk/edition/feature-viewpoint/item/6020-reconciliation-in-peru.html
Reconciliation as a concept = pcolman.wordpress.com/category/reconciliation/
Reconciliation in Chile
William Charles, reviewing Peter Monteath’s book on Australian POWs under Hitler, for the Adelaide Review, http://www.adelaidereview.com.au/article/867
Imagine yourself a prisoner of war at one of the teeming number of internment facilities spread the length and breadth of Hitler’s Reich. Upon being interrogated, you find the German officer questioning you speaks with a broad Australian accent and has been educated at the University of Adelaide. Truth always turns out stranger than fiction – the person in question being from a German-Australian family turfed out of South Australia during the 1914 – 1918 war and now settled back in the Fatherland. Even back then, it seems, turning immigrants away had unforeseen consequences. Continue reading
Ganeshan Iyer, trans by Parames Blacker
PREAMBLE by Michael Roberts: This is chapter 14 in the serialized memoirs in Tamil by Ganeshan Iyer found in http://inioru.com/?p=12399 (whose work has now appeared in book form). The strict translation of this chapter would be “Fighters opposing Prabakaran – My records on the Eelam warfare,” but I have chosen to highlight the central motifs in this segment.
I also have Gobinath Ponnuthurai;’s translation of this chapter; while Dayan Jayatilleka has provided a somewhat different translation of key sentences in this document relating to Hitler and Mein Kampf. All the versions are broadly in agreement re the threads of content.
Ganeshan Iyer became the Treasurer of the LTTE when it was initially formed in May 1976. Iyer is from the Brahmin caste, a numerically minute body of people in the Jaffna Peninsula who serve as temple priests and are dependent on the Vellālar caste. Nourished in the Vellālar village of Punallaikatuvan, Iyer came to know Pirapāharan when the latter hid there under the auspices of Chinniah Rajeshkumar, alias Rāgavan, in the early-mid 1970s. An atheist and reformer with Leftist leanings, Iyer joined the LTTE’s hard-core guerrilla ranks in the 1970s. When the LTTE divided into two factions Iyer joined the faction led by Uma Maheshwaran that opposed Pirapāharan. This faction later evolved into the militant organisation known as PLOTE. Subsequently Iyer became critical of PLOTE and associated with a dissident faction named Theepory which hived off from PLOTE. Finally he became associated with the NLFT, a faction identical to Naxalites. Thereafter he sought refuge in Europe and seems to have ended up in Germany though other inforamtion indicates that he is in India.
Arun Ambalavanar is the person who first brought Iyer’s writings to my attention and provided the reference to his serialized memoirs in Tamil within Inioru.com. Ambalavanar makes this point emphatically: “though his Marxist thinking is very much evident in his memoirs on the LTTE days, the recollections provide genuine reportage and information on the history of the LTTE.” Michael Roberts. SEE bibliography attached at end.
Ganeshan Iyer: “Fighters opposing Prabakaran – My records on the Eelam warfare,” Chapter 14 trans by Parames Blacker
The dream of the Thamil Eelam Tigers was to establish a powerful army. We believed that the basis of this could be started with the making of a disciplined training camp. Prabakaran comes forward with the full plan for this. As planned the training camp was set up in Mankulam. We trained towards this at every opportunity, with small army activities like pistol shooting practices. Continue reading