Category Archives: communal relations

Gay Marriage! Where Muslims, Jews and Christians Unite in Horror: Western Sydney

Andrew Jakubowicz    in The Australian and in The Conversation 15 November 2017…. with the title “How social conservatism among ethnic communities drove a strong ‘no’ vote in western Sydney

The “yes” vote on same-sex marriage carried the day in every state in Australia, but the “no” vote was strongest in New South Wales – particularly around western Sydney.  The results suggest that, as predicted, social conservatism among many ethnic communities loomed large as a factor.

In NSW, the “yes” vote came in at 57.8% and the “no” at 42.2%, with a participation rate of 79.5% – but in some western Sydney electorates the “yes” vote was as low as 26.1%.

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Filed under Australian culture, australian media, communal relations, electoral structures, heritage, tolerance, trauma, unusual people, world events & processes

Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Dilemma Today

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in The Island, 17 November 2017, where the title is “Our Constitutional Conundrum–A Commentary”

Sri Lanka’s current political debate on constitutional reform is significant for a variety of reasons. The Interim Report of the Constitutional Assembly has inspired a spirited opposition from Buddhist monks, reminding us of the similar opposition emerged in 1995 when Professor G. L. Peiris unveiled the August 1995 proposal of the People’s Alliance government. Although Professor Peiris has changed his political beliefs beyond recognition, the leading Buddhist monks, who continue to be very vocal on matters constitutional, have not.

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Filed under accountability, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, economic processes, electoral structures, governance, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world events & processes

Prevent International Conventions creeping in as Law

Sriyan de Silva, Island, 17 October 2017, where the title is “Sri Lanka, International conventions and debasement of our legislative process”

Arising from Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka’s useful article, titled Government has Accepted the ICJ’s Jurisdiction over Sri Lanka [The Island, 18 September 2017], where she has stated that such acceptance is a consequence of the government’s ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, it is necessary to examine when/where Sri Lanka is legally bound by the International Conventions it has ratified. [Presumably she means the International Criminal Court and not the International Court of Justice].

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Filed under accountability, anton balasingham, communal relations, constitutional amendments, governance, religious nationalism, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, unusual people, world events & processes

Reflections on the Violent Buddhist Responses to Islam in Lanka and Burma

Stephen Labrooy

Ravi Velloor’s  article in THUPPAHI drew a private comment from Stephen Labrooy in Sri Lanka which is food for thought in itself, but carries particular value because it comes from Sri Lankan Burgher of some seniority[1] who has travelled abroad and presently serves as President of the Dutch Burgher Union. I have queries on several points and raised just two hurriedly (see below); but the “memorandum” has useful ethnographic information, while running several inter-related arguments. Hence its airing here.

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Dayan Jayatilleka counters Gerald Peiris

Dayan Jayatilleka, in Island, 6 October 2017, with title The rise of the Sinhala fundamentalist new right: Response to Prof GH Peiris” the emphasis below being that of the Editor Thuppahi

Philosophy, said Kautilya (Chanakya) in the Arthashathra, deals primarily with the right and wrong use of force. At least from that time, it was recognized that there is a right way and a wrong way of doing even what is necessary or unavoidable. This was of course the very premise of the Just War doctrine of Christian theologians St Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. A war had to be for the right cause and the right cause was not self-evident or merely self-referential and self–proclaimed. It needed to pass certain criteria to qualify. This too was not enough. For war to be just it not only needed to satisfy the criteria for a just cause but be fought by just means, which too needed to meet certain criteria to warrant the appellation. Modern theologians, especially of the Protestant persuasion, have added a third criterion, that of Just Peace, i.e. of the outcome of the war.

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Reconciliation via Cricket and Charity? The Political Ground is a Waterlogged Minefield

Michael Roberts

It is possible that Velupillai Pirapaharan remains a revered leader and symbol of the nationalist drive for Thamililam among some Tamils residing within the island f Sri Lanka today – even though they are circumspect in expressing such thoughts in public. Indeed, it is possible that some Tamils in the island worship him as a deity in the manner espoused in some quarters abroad by Tamils of the diaspora (see image below).

So, how does one measure the political reverberations of the well-meaning efforts towards reconciliation and the bridging of the Tamil-Sinhala divide delineated in several essays presented recently[1] in THUPPAHI?

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Tamils Yesterday, Rohingyas Today: Rohingya Issue and Its Wider Ramifications in a Nutshell

Ravi Velloor,, in The Island, 15 September 2017where the title reads “Rohingya issue and the danger to South-east Asia” … with highlighting being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Not since the landlocked Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan swept out its Nepali-speaking Hindu population in the late 1980s has Asia witnessed as relentless an action against a minority group as seen lately in Myanmar. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called the sustained drive to push Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Continue reading

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