Tisaranee Gunasekara in The Sri Lanka Guardian where the title runs thus: “Blood-and-Faith Populism and Sri Lanka’s Future””
“As the great reformers of the 19th century well knew, the Social Question, if left unaddressed, does not just wither away. It goes instead in search of more radical answers.””……Tony Judt (Reappraisals)
This month, the populist wave suffered two critical defeats. In France outsider-candidate Emmanuel Macron beat Marine Le Pen. In Iran, reformist president Hassan Rouhani trounced Ebrahim Raisi, a religious hardliner backed by Supreme Leader Khameni and the Revolutionary Guard. These defeats come in the wake of other electoral setbacks for populists, especially in Austria and The Netherlands. Despite these welcome-defeats, the current wave of populism is far from spent – and would continue wreak havoc, until the forces of moderation manage to create a new synthesis between pluralist democracy and progressive economics.
Populism is hardly a new phenomenon. It flourishes best where there is economic loss and pain. Populist leaders succeed in their power-grabs by harnessing that economic pain to their political projects. Continue reading
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Charles Sarvan aka Ponnadurai, in Colombo Telegraph, reviewing K. M de Silva’s The Island Story: A Short History of Sri Lanka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2017
EPIGRAPH: “Sri Lanka in the first few centuries after the early settlement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society: a conception which emphasises harmony and a spirit of live and let live” (K. M. de Silva, op. cit., page 13)
It’s said that fools rush in where the wise fear even to walk. I tiptoe hesitantly, conscious that I am no historian (my discipline was Literature) while the author is perhaps the most eminent of Sri Lankan historians writing in English. The hope is that what I write will be taken as a layman’s perspective and contribution to discussion. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, British colonialism, British imperialism, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, Eelam, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, riots and pogroms, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes
Soeren Kern, courtesy of The Gatestone Institute , 21 April 2018, where the title reads thus: “New waves of Anti-Semitism in Germany: A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018,”
A far-right rally in Berlin commemorates the 30th anniversary of the death of leading Nazi figure Rudolf Hess, on Aug. 19, 2017. (Photo: Frank Jordans, AP)
- Anti-Semitism is running rampant at German primary schools, according to Heinz-Peter Meidinger, president of the President of the German Teachers’ Association (Deutschen Lehrerverbandes, DL). He also said that videos of beheadings are commonplace at German schools, and that female pupils are being threatened with murder. “In chat forums like WhatsApp, movies such as ISIS beheading videos are spreading like wildfire.”
- “It is unacceptable that non-Muslim and above all Jewish children have to be afraid of going to school in this country because they are being labeled as ‘unbelievers’ and even threatened with death…. Since autumn… Kuwait Airways is allowed to discriminate against Jews at Frankfurt Airport, and the Federal Government does not object. Let us not fool ourselves: it is the Federal Government, which, for inexplicable reasons, allows Jews in Germany to be treated like this.” — Julian Reichelt, Editor-in-Chief of Bild.
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Susan Bayly in 1983, reviewing Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 by Michael Roberts Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982.
The literature on the south Asian caste system is vast and contentious and the current war of words shows no sign of abating. This book conforms to current trends both in focusing on the experience of a single caste group under colonial rule, and also in adopting a polemical tone towards other historians. Roberts’ subject is the Karava population of Sri Lanka and his first aim is to explain why this group of poor fishermen and artisans managed to throw up a disproportionately large elite of businessmen, lawyers and other western-educated professional men by the end of the nineteenth-century. The discussion is set against the background of works on comparable Asian business communities such as the Marwaris and Parsis. An important theme, then, is the relationship between individual enterprise and the corporate structure of caste: did the Karava magnate class emerge because of, or in spite of, their roots in a hierarchical caste order? Continue reading
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Leelananda De Silva, courtesy of Sunday Island, 24 March 2018, where the title runs “Are We Heading Towards Constitutional Anarchy? The Evolution of Constitutional Governance in Sri Lanka (Revised Second Edition)”
n the 1950s in Ceylon, there was the university entrance examination, conducted by the University of Ceylon annually, to select students for entry to that university. There were no G.C.E. A-Levels then. One of the subjects for this examination was called Government. Those who sat for this subject read the Constitution of Ceylon by Ivor Jennings. Jennings was the author of the Sri Lankan Constitution of 1948, and it was first hand analysis of the constitutional provisions of 1948. Jennings was one of the foremost constitutional lawyers in England and he had published the authoritative “Cabinet Government” some years before and also a more popular book called the British Constitution and another called The Law and the Constitution. Undergraduates of that time were fortunate in reading these authoritative tomes by a leading constitutional scholar. Since 1948, there has been little scholarly writings on constitutional developments in Ceylon, especially on the politics behind constitutional changes.
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