Category Archives: centre-periphery relations

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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Flood Disaster Aid. A Mother-and-Baby Pack Mission

Myrna Setunga

Hi Michael, Despite a few hiccups and delays at the start, the Mother and Baby Pack Mission was concluded very satisfactorily. With a lot of help from Dushy & Tanya Perera and Sonali & Niranjan (my niece and her husband) who provided their vehicles, we were able to load 45 packages including 45 basins into the two vehicles. On Monday, the 19th June, we left at 6.30 a.m. and help from Dushy’s GPS we got to our first stop in Madurawela by 7.30 a.m. We had to wait till all 13 women turned up. They told us that all their houses got flooded right up to the roof. Yet they had happy faces as you will see in the photos. I think they were really pleased with their gifts.

 Myrna and some recipients of Packs at Bulathsinhala Continue reading

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Effrontery …. or Bust !!!

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Deciphering Religious Rivalries in South and Southeast Asia

K.M. de Silva …. introducing Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia: The Politics behind Religious Rivalries  … with highlighted emphasis  added by The Editor, Thuppahi

Almost from the time of its establishment in 1982 as the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) its academic leadership felt compelled by the challenges of its location in one of the principal Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia, to take a hard and unsentimental look at religion, Buddhism in the Sri Lankan context, as a factor in the prolonged ethnic dispute here.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, the situation in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies.

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Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/deciphering-religious-rivalries-in-south-and-southeast-asia/

 Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi) 

The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading

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China’s Transcontinental Pathways … and Indian Ocean Issues for Lanka

Philips and Kurukulasuriya … and other items

I > Rajan Philips: “One Belt-One Road from China, but no Bridge to India: Lanka’s Development Dilemmas,” Island, 20 May 2017

Even as he bade farewell to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of his Vesak visit, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was all but ready to take flight to China to attend the economic summit of the 21st Century. This was Beijing’s big splash on the world economic map, and one that India chose not to officially attend. Japan was another boycotter. A number of Indian business and think-tank figures went to Beijing as ‘unofficial delegates’, and they were critical of their government’s decision not to send at least an official delegation. 130 countries marked their presence at the two-day (May 14-15) event in Beijing, including 29 state and government leaders. Even the Trump Administration, despite its spiralling turmoil in Washington, was represented in Beijing.

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The Forgotten People: Malaiyaha Tamils of the Plantations and Hill-Country

Meera Srinivasan, from The Hindu, 18 May 2017, where the title runs The long journey of a forgotten people”

“Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils want to be seen as rightful citizens, not passive beneficiaries”

 Estate workers in late 19th century

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally on May 12 with Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils, on the second day of his two-day visit to the country, was a success, if you went by conventional markers such as the crowd he drew or the cheers that arose from it. But its real outcome is rather limited compared to the wide-ranging needs of the historically neglected community. That an estimated 35,000 people from in and around the central highlands converged on the small town of Norwood – many walking over 5 km since buses clogged the narrow roads — partly reflects the affinity the Tamils feel for India, from where their ancestors moved to Sri Lanka about 200 years ago. Moreover, hill-country politicians put in their might to mobilise workers, campaigning widely across the tea estates that employ a fourth of the over one million-strong community.

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