Michael Roberts, … a reprint of an article in Social Analysis, Volume 50, Issue 1, Spring 2006, 73–102
The de facto LTTE state in Sri Lanka has established a number of calendrical rituals to honour and remember its fallen heroes and heroines, the māvīrar. These are the personnel who have died in battle or fallen as part of the LTTE goal of political independence, namely, Thamilīlam or Eelam as the latter is more widely labelled. The most significant of these moments is Heroes Day on 27 November when their talaivar, or “Leader,” Velupillai Prabhākaran (more properly Pirapakaran) also delivers a peroration for 25 minutes immediately prior to the lighting of the flame of sacrifice at 6.06 p.m. at the designated tuyilam illam (resting places) for the māvīrar. As Chritiana Natali discovered (2005) the Tamil people do not see these sites as “cemeteries.” Rather they are “portrayed as temples.” Binded, like the people she talked to, a demi-official LTTE site described the locations as “holy places.” Continue reading
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“Every day at dusk, Indian and Pakistani border guards put on a show of one-upmanship at the Wagah border crossing near Amritsar, Punjab. The two countries are not on the best terms, but instead of a boring stare down, there is plenty of humour and acrobatic extravaganza to be found as the soldiers try to outdo the other side by marching and parading in hilariously exaggerated fashion. Thousands show up to watch from the stands everyday, and we thoroughly enjoyed the crazy uniforms, impressively HIGH leg kicks, and the longest bellowing contest we have ever heard. Gotta say, the Pakistani bellower was a bit better that day.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPpiQTAC__s
PS: There is some parade on NOW in Sri Lanka is there not?
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
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Aatish Taseer, courtesy of SUNDAY, where the title is “a People without a Story”
celebrations in the south–May 2009
FOUR years ago this week, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam announced that their struggle for an independent homeland in northern Sri Lanka had “reached its bitter end.” The group had been fighting on behalf of the Tamil people for more than a quarter-century, and its defeat was absolute. Today, great sections of Tamil country are still a scene of devastation. The houses are either destroyed or brand-new; the land is uncultivated and overgrown; there are forests of decapitated Palmyra palms, damaged by heavy shelling. And then there are the relics of war — graveyards of L.T.T.E. vehicles rotting in the open air; the remains of a ship, its superstructure blown to pieces and in whose rusting starboard a gaping hole gives on to blue sea. Continue reading
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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
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Fr Perniola captured by Johnny in 2013
I: A Note by Carl Fernando: The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka commenced their Annual Sessions on 28th March 2013. The prestigious Sir S. C. Obeysekere Medal for 2013 was awarded to Fr. Perniola. This medal is awarded periodically to members of the Society, of which Fr. Perniola is a Life Member, for outstanding achievements. His Pali Grammar which was published by the Pali Text Society of London and the History of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, running into 19 Volumes, are some of his great works. An erudite Linguist, Scholar and Historian, Fr. Perniola served at St.Aloysius’ College, Galle for a period of about 15 years and was Rector from 1949 to 1952. He celebrates his 100th birthday on the 10th of April 2013. A thanksgiving mass will be held on that day at St. Mary’s Church, Bambalapitiya, at 4.30 pm. Continue reading
What FUN !
SEE no Fun! Smell no Fun ! What a Folly!
Terrific PICs by Willy Thuan — Courtesy of a Fanatic Chain-Mailer Continue reading
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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.”
HL Seneviratne, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where this esays attracts several commendations: see http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/venerable-voices-stirrings-of-a-sleeping-conscience/
In the 1930s and ‘40s educated urban Buddhist monks launched a movement of rural development, proclaiming that their work is not ritual but “social service”. They achieved some successes in the early period of their work, but by the mid-1940s this largely social and economic movement had deteriorated into a majoritarian political movement that identified the island with Buddhism and the Sinhala ethnic group, thereby marginalizing the minorities. Thus, while these monks talked about social service, their actions were devoid of a social conscience. With the assassination of Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike by a Buddhist monk, their vociferous support of the ethnic war while obstructing attempts at a negotiated settlement, and most recently, the attacks on Muslims in Dambulla and Pepiliyana led by them, the image of the “political monk” has been severely tarnished. The ochre robed monk, the messenger of the world’s most peaceful religion and symbol of tranquility and compassion, has become the symbol of violence and intolerance. Continue reading
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Shelagh Goonewardene ** …. sadly and fondly In Memoriam -Editor
The words are Shakespeare’s, the greatest English-speaking playwright, and continue “and men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances.’’
For all performers, including politicians who are invariably performers of high calibre, this is the view of the world that is dominant. For me, I was a performer since childhood and devised my own plays with my sister and friends to which we would invite our families and the neighbours. This activity was welcomed at school where we were encouraged once a year to produce a concert for the Principal’s birthday. Each class was left entirely to its own resources, sans teachers, to produce an item which could be dramatic, comedic, tragic and frequently involved mime and song or music of some kind. All this was preparation for me to continue these activities when I entered the University of Ceylon in 1954. The University Dramatic Society had been established by an Englishman, Professor Leigh Smith, in 1922 when he was Professor1 of English. Continue reading
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