Category Archives: communal relations

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.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, democratic measures, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, language policies, life stories, literary achievements, racist thinking, religiosity, religious nationalism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

“Demons in Paradise” at Cannes: Jude Rutnam in Firing Line

Hindustan Times,  http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.htmlhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.html

 Jude Ratnam is worried how his film might go down with his fellow Sri Lankan Tamils. And he has a point. Demons in Paradise, which is premiering at the Cannes film festival, tells of the bloodbath that drove some Tamils to take up arms in the three decade-long insurgency that tore the island apart. But the documentary also shatters a taboo by insisting that some of most horrific violence the minority endured was at the hands of their supposed defenders, the Tamil Tigers.  And the “hard truth” comes from the mouths of former Tamil fighters   themselves.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, anton balasingham, atrocities, communal relations, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Jane Russell on Sri Lankan Political History in Debate with Kumarasingham’s Readings

From London the historian and scholar  Jane Russell has entered an extensive set of comments on Harshan Kumarasingham’s Heidelberg essay of 2013 –reprinted in Thuppahi in 2014. Given its length and Russell’s background (see below) it deserves wider exposure in the hope that debate will be promoted. I am therefore deleting its original location and posting it as a separate item.

 Russell  Kumarasingham

  1. HARSHAN KUMARASINGHAM”s “The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence: ‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’,”  is an interesting paper with which I broadly agree, despite a tendency by the author to sacrifice judgement in favour of rhetoric. However, Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham has gone for the elegant historical narrative rather than seeking to explore and analyse some of the more nuanced, underlying factors that may help to understand the spiralling of Ceylon, cited by the British as ‘ the Premier Crown Colony” at independence in 1947, into Sri Lanka, characterised by the west at the turn of the 21st century as a terrorist-riven semi-failed state. I hope the following will help to redress this.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under communal relations, economic processes, education policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, language policies, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, teaching profession, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes

Glossing over the Atrocities

Sanjana Hattotuwa,  courtesy of The Island, 20 May 2017, where the title is “Eight years hence” ... followed by Jehan Perera

These violent delights have violent ends,

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,

Which, as they kiss, consume. Shakespeare

 CTF report being handed in 

There are 71 mentions of ‘Army’ in the 491-page final report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF), released earlier this year. One paragraph is worth flagging in full. “The Army representatives also stated that although they had achieved the Government’s objective under its political direction and in difficult and challenging circumstances, they felt a lack of solidarity and support at present. They stated their support for a truth-seeking process and if there is any evidence of criminal activity, for the prosecution of the guilty. Given that as far as they were concerned, no criminal activity had been undertaken, they saw no need for amnesty either. Whilst they insisted that civilians were not deliberately targeted and that a policy of zero-civilian casualties was followed, they conceded the possibility of civilian deaths on account of civilians being caught in the crossfire. They also denied that sexual violence was used as a weapon of war. The Air Force reiterated that no crimes were committed and no illegal weapons used.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, communal relations, democratic measures, disparagement, historical interpretation, human rights, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, war crimes, world events & processes

The SL Army Medical Corps and Its Services at the Battlefront

Maj Gen Sanjeewa Munasinghe, RWP RSP USP … being a Presentation at the Defence Seminar entitled Defeating Terrorism,” held at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo  between 31st May 2011 to 2nd June 2011 …. with a NOTE by Michael Roberts clarifying the context at the end of the Speech

A medical Division in taking care of the injured and meeting their medical needs, boosts the morale and confidence of the troops. The Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps is a relatively small Division and by 2006 there were only 118 officers and 3200 men of which only a small proportion could be employed in the field. In order to address this problem, a group of infantrymen from each regiment were trained as nursing assistants in the combat life support training course. This extended to all special force personnel, commandos and young medical officers. In addition, all medical officers, nurses and paramedics of the corps were given ample training in handling and managing victims of chemical exposure. At the start of the operation, all male nurses, nursing assistants and medical officers in static Military Hospitals were mobilised to operational and non-operational areas in the field. The Ministry of Health provided civil medical officers, nurses and additional surgical teams to assist in the operation and strengthen army base hospitals.

 Treating civilian casualties –– http://www.defence.lk/picturegallery/picc.asp?tfile=20090121&cat=DUTY

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, communal relations, female empowerment, governance, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, medical marvels, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Caste in Sinhala Society

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, working class conditions

Timeless Classics: A Concert Bridging Lanka

Lorraine Fernando

On Sunday 12 March 2017 a group of us decided to attend a concert at the Besan Centre in Melbourne comprising artistes who had arrived from Sri Lanka. I had been told that Soundarie and Shey were Sri Lankans with a great deal of talent, but apart from knowing this fact, I had absolutely no expectation of what the night would be like. I’ve lived in Melbourne Australia for 43 years and thus, do not know very much about the concert scene in Sri Lanka. As we approached the Concert Hall on an almost perfect Melbourne Autumn evening, it was great to see a most colourful crowd of ladies in beautiful saris or smart casual evening attire and gentlemen dressed to suit the occasion. The concert commenced on time and little did we know, what an extravaganza was in store for all of us, in the hours that followed.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, female empowerment, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, travelogue, unusual people, world affairs