Sacrificial Devotion and Virulent Politics

 A public lynching of Henry Smith, a Black, Paris USA

In late December 2008 a small group of scholars in Australia marshalled by Michael Roberts secured a research grant and conduced a workshop on “Sacrificial Devotion: the LTTE and Beyond.” this cluster included such figures as Professor Riaz Hassan, Dr. Daya Somasundaram, De Bea Trefalt, Dr Rohan Bastin, Clive Williams, Dr Carl Thayer and Shyam Tekwani. It also incorporated several postgraduate students.

 

 Mob, Borella junction, 24/25 July 1983- Pic by Chandragupta Amarasinghe

Hindu mob assembled at night, Bhagalpur Pogrom, October 1990 –Photo by Krishnan Murari Kishan for PANA-India, 28 October 1990

 One student was Daniel Nourry whoso was researching martyrdom in medieval Europe. Spurred on by Nourry, after the discussions Michael Roberts proceeded to establish a web site devoted to the theme of “Sacrificial Devotion and Virulent Politics.” He was aided materially by Faye Ruck-Nightingale (in Lanka then) and Vasee Nesiah (in Melbourne), two IT buffs who kept the motors running.

We hoped that the site would be interactive. And that our inner membership would participate in active fashion; and that there would be commentary from bloggers now and then. It has not quite worked out that way. Inertia I among university personnel inundated with countless tasks may be one reason. However, Imtiaz Issadeen who runs a successful site for Sydney Lankans (one that draws international hits) told me that the articles are too long (and maybe too heavy?) for the attention-span of most bloggers. But he added that the number of hits we had received was pretty good for the type of site it is.

That was 3 months back, in early August 2008. Well, the number of. on 9 December 2008 read as 3229. Now, in June 2011, some 30 months later it is only 13, 049 –not surprising given the absence of new entries. However, the old cluster of posts may interest some of you. Particularly important is the section on the Right Panel bottom entitled PHOTOS. This section displays instances of racial violence in old USA and “communal violence” in India and Sri Lanka. let me end by noting here that it was my work on ethnic violence in Sri Lanka that led me to emphasise the value of photographic records in researches on violence. Michael Roberts

The web site reference = http://sacrificialdevotionnetwork.wordpress.com/

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Filed under cultural transmission, historical interpretation, life stories, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, terrorism, world events & processes

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