Michael Roberts, reprinting an article published in 2003 in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Summer 2003, 9: 75-102.**
ABSTRACT: The collective identity of Sinhala-speakers over four centuries dating from the 1590s is analyzed with due attention to the structural form of (a) the Kingdom of Kandy and (b) the British colonial regime that took control of the whole island by 1815/18. The analysis dwells on the modes of oral, visual-iconic and written forms of cultural transmission that pre-dated print technology, while drawing attention to the relative uniformity of the Sinhala language in both geographical and temporal scale. A semantic pattern of political alliances based on the opposition of inside to outside which works contextually like a nestling Chinese-box is one dimension of this linguistic order. This supported the tendency of Sinhalese representations to adopt an associational logic which merged past enemies (the wicked Tamils) with contemporary enemies (the Portuguese, the English) during the liberation struggles of the Kandyan state and its militia in the pre-1818 period. Such tendencies and the continuation of disparaging epithets coined during the period of Portuguese imperial intrusion into the vocabulary of the twentieth century must inform any theoretical efforts to distinguish the collective consciousness of the Sinhalese after the substantial transformations initiated under the British from that which is expressed so powerfully in the war poems of the pre-British period. Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, communal relations, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, language policies, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, politIcal discourse, population, power sharing, religious nationalism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, world affairs
Type of Publication: Edited Collection…..Publisher(s): The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), and the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF)
Place Publication: Colombo, Sri Lanka ….. Date of Publication: 21st December 2012…….
Size of Publication: 1168 pages in two volumes (Vol. I: pp.1-660; Vol. II: pp.661-1168)
ISBN: 978-955-1655-93-8 ………..Bar Code: 9 789551 655938
Editor: Asanga Welikala
Website: http://republicat40.org (entire contents downloadable in complete volumes or as individual chapters)
Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu of CPA
Purpose and Scope of the Publication: In 2012, Sri Lanka marks the fortieth anniversary of the founding of its republic. With the promulgation of the first republican constitution on 22nd May 1972, Ceylon severed its remaining constitutional links with Britain that had survived the grant of independence as a dominion in 1948. Both the process adopted in the making of that constitution as well as its substance were historic – a decisive ‘constitutional moment’ – reflecting dramatic political currents that had dominated the late-colonial and post-independence period, and establishing a constitutional order that has, despite being replaced by a second republican constitution in 1978, retained its essential substantive character as a highly centralised unitary state to the present. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, economic processes, ethnicity, female empowerment, governance, historical interpretation, language policies, Left politics, LTTE, nationalism, NGOs, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, terrorism, tolerance, women in ethnic conflcits
KM de Silva’s Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE (Penguin books, 2012 ISBN 9780143416524) looks at the rise and fall of LTTE in the context of South Asia and the India-Sri Lanka relationship, says R Hariharan. The story of Velupillai Prabhakaran’s rise from the backwoods of Jaffna to build the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the most dreaded terrorist organisations, and his fall in the battlefield can be told in many ways. Sri Lanka historian KM de Silva in his latest book looks at the rise and fall of the LTTE in the larger context of South Asia and the India-Sri Lanka relationship. Continue reading
Filed under Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Left politics, suicide bombing, military strategy, Rajapaksa regime, life stories, LTTE, terrorism, Indian Ocean politics, world events & processes, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, power politics, indian armed forces, prabhakaran, truth as casualty of war, language policies, sri lankan society, politIcal discourse, atrocities, law of armed conflict, military expenditure
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
Filed under accountability, american imperialism, arab regimes, democratic measures, ethnicity, historical interpretation, language policies, politIcal discourse, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world affairs
Statement by Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 21st HRC yesterday
My delegation takes note of the High Commissioner’s statement. Sri Lanka is firmly committed to maintaining the independence of the OHCHR, and supports the High Commissioner in her efforts to fulfil her mandate as contained in GA resolution 48/141. Towards this end, we see constructive engagement by states aimed at increasing transparency in funding and staffing of the OHCHR, as a means of enhancing the institution’s credibility, efficiency and independence.
Independent functioning: We also encourage special procedures to vigilantly and vigorously observe the provisions as delineated in HRC Resolution 5/2 and the Code of Conduct as annexed, in the execution of their respective mandates, through a professional and impartial assessment of facts, to maintain credibility. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, democratic measures, language policies, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, reconciliation, rehabilitation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, world affairs
Jehan Perera, in the Island, 24 July 2012
The national social integration policy of the government is the latest in its multi-pronged effort to affirm and reaffirm its commitment to improvement in practices of governance and making Sri Lanka the home of all Sri Lankans. It comes at a time when the flight of boat people from Sri Lanka to Western countries has reached a level that is attracting international media attention that is not complimentary to the country. Less visible is the brain drain that is depleting the country of its best human resources as I discovered over the weekend to my dismay when I rang up to make an urgent appointment with my doctor.
The launch of the National Policy Framework for Social Integration that took place at the President’s House in Temple Trees follows the report of the Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission which Continue reading
IRIN, 23 July 2012 …. with Comment by Michael Roberts
Enhancing practical efforts to uphold the language rights of millions of ethnic Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans could play a key role in the country’s long-term peace and reconciliation, say analysts and activists. “Language parity is one of the biggest challenges to Sri Lanka’s peace and reconciliation efforts, and indeed its future. Without it, I doubt we will ever be able to move forward,” Wijedasa Rajapakshe, a human rights lawyer and writer on jurisprudence, told IRIN in Colombo, the capital, which is located in the south of the island. Continue reading
Filed under historical interpretation, language policies, politIcal discourse, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, truth as casualty of war, violence of language, world events & processes
Chandre Dharmawardana…. “Providing Tamil-Language resources where needed, and building Ethnic reconciliation”
Sebastian Rasalingam (SR), writing in the Island newspaper of July 5th, has discussed the topic “Administering justice to Tamils, 13A+, and the issueof ethnic reconciliation‘. SR was responding to an article by Mr.Hemantha Warnakulasuriya (published also in D. B. S. Jeyraj’s electronic journal).
The language barrier and jailing innocents on suspicion : Hemantha Warnakulasuriya (HW) has narrated the harsh treatment faced by a group of exclusively Tamil-speaking citizens of Sri Lanka (described as “Estate Tamils”) Continue reading
Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, language policies, life stories, NGOs, politIcal discourse, population, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world events & processes
Rohan Samarajiva, courtesy of Choices Ideas, 9 March 2009, where the title is “Ideas for Sri Lanka after the War” http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=1364249603 and where some useful blog comments will be found; while one from Maskara has been borrowed and inserted here at the end.
I have been asked why I do not write about the war. I did not, because I could not see the clear value addition. But now, as the LTTE’s 18-year control of territory is about to end, things must change. And ideas can play an important role.
There has been consensus across the political spectrum, except at the lunatic fringes, that the legitimate demands of the Tamil speaking people must be addressed.
Deeds, not words: D.S. Senanayake understood this when he inducted the then political leader of the Tamil community and the proponent of 50:50, G.G. Ponnambalam, into his Cabinet.
S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike knew this when he signed an agreement with the then leader of the Tamil community, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, as did Dudley Senanayake a decade later. Continue reading
Filed under communal relations, ethnicity, historical interpretation, language policies, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, tolerance, unusual people, world events & processes