Category Archives: communal relations

Vengeance! How Personal Vendettas BLINDED Sri Lanka’s Security Bulwarks

Stephen Long, in Asian Tribune, May 2019, where the title is

My relationship with the island nation of Sri Lanka began over twenty years ago. At that time, it was engaged in a bloody 30-year civil war that eventually claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people. A deadly tsunami had devastated the country on Dec. 26, 2004, and on November 19, 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to the first term of his presidency. From his predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga, a lady of questionable ethics, Mr. Rajapaksa inherited a country in chaos; it was rife with political corruption, racial, cultural, and religious conflicts, as well as poverty and social turmoil. The beleaguered natives were weary of hardship and death, of the seemingly endless war, of being left behind by economic development, and of living in constant fear that a suicide bomber might suddenly appear and blow them to bits.

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Intolerance. The Deep Currents within Sri Lanka

This last week  i received two emails, one from a friend in Canada and another from a well-placed senior person in Colombo, which, quite independently, touched on Ahmaddiya, Christian and Rohingya refugees brought to the island as transit refugees by UNHCR and parked in the western coastal areas. Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey’s recent public address confirmed the thrust of these two emails. The implications are disheartening and should fore all of us Lankans to review our recent history and its shortcomings.

ONE: Email Note from Canada, 15 May 2019

Hello Michael.The following might be of interest to you as a social scientist. (A) I read the story (in the link below) at Google News – which sends me stories on SL to my inbox, This is interesting as I was unaware that SL had “foreign” refugees. There were rumours that R ishad Badudeen (Minister – Puttalam) was settling some Bangladeshis in Wilpattu. Continue reading

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Building Sri Lankan Identity is Our Duty in the Midst of this Failure — The Anglican Bishop of Colombo

An ADDRESS by the Bishop of Colombo, Anglican Diocese,

“… …. do not demonize the entire Muslim community because of the sins of a few warped minds”

Media Briefing on current situation in the country by the Bishop of Colombo, Diocese of Colombo … viz. Dhiloraj Canagasabey

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An Incisive Summary of Factors that enabled the Easter Bloodbath

General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”

While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.

1 What went wrong?

At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading

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The Zahran Hashim Network and Other Factors behind the 21/4 Carnage in Sri Lanka

Anbarasan Ethirajan, BBC news, 11 May 2019 — with this title Sri Lanka attacks: The family networks behind the bombings”

For many Sri Lankans, it was a horrific shock to learn that local Muslims could have been behind the suicide attacks that killed more than 250 people last month. How could a smalL group have planned such a devastating wave of bombings undetected? The clues were there in mid-January, when Sri Lankan police stumbled upon 100kg (220lb) of explosives and 100 detonators, hidden in a coconut grove near the Wilpattu national park, which is a remote wilderness in Puttalam district on the west coast of the country.

  Zahran Hashim has been identified as the ringleader of the bombers

FACEBOOK – Inshaf Ibrahim (R) and his father (C) accepted an award in 2016 from a Sri Lankan minister

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Sharpening Politico-Religious Divisions in Sri Lanka

Dear Rohan,

Your thoughtful note has provoked this set of comments — comments that range far and wide. I will. of course, welcome your reactions and hope that others will chip in with both comments and data.  Michael

One:  Note this segment in Ameer Ali’s important essay: ” The Islamist creep was manifested in several ways. For example, the cry Allahu Akbar announced the opening and close of every public gathering organised under the banner of SLMC. Quotations from the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s Hadiths added a tone of religiosity to political speeches. Even hand clapping in some instances was substituted by shouting Allahu Akbar to appreciate a speaker’s oratory.”  One can speculate that Ameer Ali is writing as a Sri Lankan Australian first and a Muslim second ….. But the point is the inside information conveyed by that observation — data which our Muslim MPs and others have not conveyed to their non-Muslim colleagues — perhaps not having grasped the implications of Wahhabism for inter-communal life in Sri Lanka.

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Missing the Boat. How Religio-Political Divisions have Deepened

A Letter from Rohan De Soysa in Colombo to Michael Roberts in Adelaide, 9th May 2019

I’d like to suggest a different angle. We have a Minister for Buddhist religious affairs, another for Hindu religious affairs, yet another for Muslim religious affairs and still another for Christian religious affairs.  Then there are Governors for the various provinces: Eastern Province, Western Province, Northern Province, Southern Province etc.  They have been provided deputy ministers, offices, staff, bodyguards, cell phones and vehicles, etc.

Should they not monitor and observe any untoward teachings and undesirable tendencies in what comes under their purview, namely places of worship and education, catering to their specialized religions? Why did they not do so? Isn’t it about time they did?

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