Category Archives: communal relations

Violence in Sri Lanka: Slipshod Scholarship

Michael Roberts

I recently circulated a whole set of articles by some Muslim scholars (located in the Eastern Province and abroad) as well as a few others in Western universities — mostly written in the 2011-19 period. I am beginning to go through them slowly when I can carve out time for this set of tasks. A few have focused on the incidence of crime and communal violence in the post 2009 period.

What strikes me on reading these ventures is the limited degree of reading of past works that has been pursued and the appalling gaps in their background – lapses which also impinge on their comments on the death toll in the last stages of Eelam War IV.

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The Tamil Parties chase Chimeras and miss the boat

Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Island, 12 November 2019 … “A message to Tamil voters in the North”

German ‘Iron Chancellor’ Otto von Bismarck between 1862 and 1890 effectively first ruled Prussia and then a unified Germany. He famously said, “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.”

The five-party Tamil coalition TNA, Tamil Maakal Mootni (TMK) led by former Northern governor CV Vigneswaran and Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) fired a broadside recently. It consisted of 13 demands. They promised to rally the support of northern Tamil voters for any of the frontline Presidential candidates who agreed to make good their conditions.

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USA’s Political Programme in Sri Lanka and the Peace Corps Initiative

Daya Gamage, in response to the Thuppahi Invitation to Address Shenali Waduge’s Memorandum

This Pic  does not relate to a Sri Lankan issue; but it captures the tone in which Hillary Clinton pilloried Sri Lanka on 22nd April 2009 when the GoSL government did not abide by USA’s direct orders and proceeded to penetrate the LTTE’s last redoubt beyond Nandhikadal Lagoon — see https://frontline.thehindu.com/static/html/fl2610/stories/20090522261001600.htm

ONE: US Support for Tamil Separatism

In 1984, the CIA and the State Department produced a joint document – a highly classified one – solely on US foreign policy towards Sri Lanka after the LTTE started its terror campaign to bifurcate Sri Lanka followed by the JR Jayewardene administration seeking Washington’s help for military assistance.

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USA’s Imperialist Advances by Stealth? Goodness Gracious Me!

Michael Roberts

In my readings of her past work, Shenali Waduge tended to go overboard in several of her claims, while also displaying one-sided Sinhala chauvinistic leanings in her assessments. But her recent article in Lankaweb, entitled “US in Sri Lanka since 2015 – turning Sri Lanka into a Neo-Colonial Military Base,” addresses a wide range of issues, including some that are looming over Sri Lanka today. It is also marked by considerable industry and embraces an extended sweep of time.

COMSTOCK 3

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Sinhala Buddhist Storm Clouds in the Present Presidential Race

ACL Ameer Ali, in Colombo Telegraph, 25 October 2019, … and Financial Times, 26 October 2019, with this title, “Political Buddhism, Presidential Race & Minorities”

Although the origins of political Buddhism in Sri Lanka goes back to the 19thcentury, it was harnessed as an election winning tool in the 1950s by the founder of SLFP, SWRD Bandaranaike. It was from him that even the CIA is said to have learned to politicise Buddhism to entrench American power in Southeast Asia (Eugene Ford, Cold War Monks, Yale University Press, 2017). From the 1950s onwards, political Buddhism has become a permanent feature of in Sri Lanka’s ethno-democracy. In a sense, political Buddhism adopted a military face during the Rajapakse regime between 2005 and 2009 when it confronted an armed nationalist Tamil militia, and the absolute victory in that confrontation added an element of pride to politicised Buddhists. 

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Bathiudeen and Hakeem Arm-in-Arm

Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Island, 27 October 2019, with this title “Hakeem-Bathiudeen United Front”

That the Rajapaksas were responsible for the political advent of Rishad Bathiudeen (RB) and his All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) is a widely believed theory. It was supposed to counter the political monopolization of the Muslim community by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and its leader and Rauff Hakeem (RH). Nevertheless, recent events indicate that may not be the case. When push comes to shove, they seem to be operating in unison, protecting and defending each other.

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Political Currents Past and Present bearing on the Sri Lankan Dilemmas Now

 DCP Amarasekere[i], in Island, 28 October 2019, with this titleBeyond the story of doom: the social base of ‘new authoritarianism’ in Sri Lanka”

With only a few weeks left for the 2019 Presidential Election, two questions seem to dominate our social conversations and news coverage: “who will win?” and “what will be Sri Lanka’s political destiny?” In the absence of country-wide scientific polling, the first question is typically answered by using anecdotes, quasi-scientific, social media or social network specific speculations or gossip.  The second question, which categorically stems from the liberal quarters of society, is a long-winded lament about the “cruel dilemma” of having to choose between a “neo-conservative” coalition and weak political formations putting up a brave fight to hold on to the last straw of the country’s democracy.

NM Perera at hartal 1953 and SWRD for Sinhala Only in 1956

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