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
What FUN !
SEE no Fun! Smell no Fun ! What a Folly!
Terrific PICs by Willy Thuan — Courtesy of a Fanatic Chain-Mailer Continue reading
Filed under Left politics, life stories, power politics, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, taking the piss, terrorism, tolerance, war crimes, world affairs
Sunalie Ratnayake, in The Daily News, 18 April 2013
Today (April 18, 2013) is the fourth death anniversary of a legendary man of unparalleled faculty, whose life encompassed a sheer, rich versatility. The world of Sri Lankan screenplays, movie directions, performing/acting, political activism, writing and analysis was undeniably enriched by this startling human being, that possessed knowledge in each of the aforesaid spheres, and much more, in a manner that surpassed that of a routine intellectual. The man who was fearless to dream of even the most impossible, and remained zealous in turning the same impossible dreams into reality was none other than Tissa Ananda Abeysekera Guneratne de Fonseka, more often than not known as Tissa Abeysekera. Continue reading
Elmo Jayawardane, reviewing Dayan Jayatilleka: Long War, Cold Peace
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has not stopped at merely hitting the nail on the head; he’s gone a lot deeper! The man has taken a Black and Decker and drilled the skull of the reader and carefully pushed in 498 pages of faction and action (shameful and laudable) that relate to our “Long War” of almost three decades.
It is a timely publication too. The International Tambourine Men gathered in Geneva flaunting their lily white innocence in attempts to barbecue us. At least, we the ordinary habitants of this land should know how the cookie crumbled while we suffered the consequences of divisibility for thirty grisly years. Of course the ‘mea culpa’ rests with none other than the leadership. They festered the wound of ethnic divide and titillated political maggots that nearly annihilated us as a nation. We need to know some truths that have been gagged and swept under the carpets by both sides, ably assisted by the good Samaritans who sat on the third seat preaching negotiated peace. ‘Long War, Cold Peace’ is the answer. Dr. Dayan is punching hard, in a ring where he knows the rules, and he is not holding anything back. There is a good possibility that the book may take him to the mouth of a long menacing serpent in the political game of ‘Snakes and Ladders.” But then, with his historically valuable contribution in ‘Long war, Cold peace’, he will walk tall among people who really matter. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, Eelam, governance, historical interpretation, indian armed forces, Indian Ocean politics, Left politics, LTTE, mass conscription, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, unusual people, world events & processes
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
Bracegirdle beside Colvin R. de Silva and other Trotskyite leaders at Horana in 1937 – Pic from Victor Ivan, Paradise in Tears, Plate 164.
The Bracegirdle Incident is the true story of how an Australian communist labour agitator almost brought down the British colonial government in Ceylon in 1936. Unknown in Australia, the case of Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle became a cause celebre in Ceylon’s independence struggle, and his name remains revered among the Left in Sri Lanka today. The son of an artistic English blue stocking, Bracegirdle arrived in Australia in 1927. He joined the Communist Party of Australia and quickly became a ‘bagman’, or financial organiser, attracting the attention of the Commonwealth security service. In 1936 Bracegirdle sailed for Ceylon, ostensibly to become a tea planter. Continue reading
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 atrocities, indian armed forces, Indian Ocean politics, language policies, law of armed conflict, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, military expenditure, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes
Leelananda de Silva, reviewing Kumari Jayawardena’s biography of her father
For the common man, politics began only in 1931. In 1931, men and women over the age of 21 were given the right to vote for electing members to the new legislature – the State Council. 1931 should be seen as the year that liberated the common man from the oppression of centuries, whether it be under local authoritarian monarchies, Portuguese, Dutch or British rule. About this time, two new and distinct strands in politics and in intellectual life could also be discerned. A new class of English educated men was emerging, drawn from village backgrounds, of moderate affluence, Buddhist in religion, and imbued with Eastern and Western values. They were people like G.P. Malalasekara, Senerath Paranavithana, P. de S. Kularatne, Martin Wickramasinghe and many others of that ilk. Many of them came from the Southern seaboard. A.P. de Zoysa belonged to this category of intellectuals. Continue reading
Gerald H. Peiris, in The Island, 31 October 2012 … drafted 24 October 2012
Three months of agonising wait is finally over for tens of thousands of youth in the higher strata of our educational system, now that the so-called ‘university crisis’ is deemed to have ended, and our dons have decided to resume their routine duties. Many among them would like us to know that had it not been for their patriotic zeal they would have left Sri Lanka to sell their brains in far more lucrative markets. Mighty decent of them.
In fairness to this fraternity I should say that it has seldom resorted to politically confrontational trade union action, and, until a few weeks back, never took to the streets to win their demands. This time around they mobilised considerable public support for their cause, mainly by misrepresenting their case and camouflaging their objective. They appear to have been so persuasive that even some of the sternest critics of higher education including those of the media did not (as far as I am aware) really challenge the legitimacy of the FUTA agitation for higher salaries, leave alone its other demands and claims relating to imperilled free education, inadequacy of government spending on education, university autonomy, and the brain-drain. Continue reading