Category Archives: communal relations

Encountering Prejudice in Lanka as a Person of Mixed Descent

Krystle Reid, from Groundviews, http://groundviews.org/author/krystle-reid/  where the title is “A Welcoming Nation”

The following is a list of things I’m often asked or told, revealing of Sri Lankan perceptions about the Burgher community.

  1. Are you Sri Lankan?
  2. Can you speak in Sinhalese?
  3. ‘You’re a Burgher? You sure don’t look like one’
  4. ‘Sounds like a Las Vegas stripper name’
  5. ‘They get drunk every Saturday and go to church the next day, no shame’
  6. ‘Burghers? Parents must be divorced then.’
  7. ‘Lansi no? Probably got the job because of her English and the mini skirt’
  8. ‘Burgher…. like a hamburger?’

I could continue but the real point I was trying to make is that 70 years after independence, our ethnicity is still misunderstood. Continue reading

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Individual Subjectivity in the Appraisal of 70 Years of Independence: Explorations in Groundviews

What does it mean to be Sri Lankan?

70 years after independence, our identity is defined mostly along majoritarian lines, which can be traced back to the divisions created under British rule. These divisions have contributed to violence and war, in the years since 1948.

To this day, there are communities who feel that what is commonly projected and defined as the Sri Lankan identity does not reflect their reality, or themselves. Looking at this, Groundviews produced a series of videos exploring identity and belonging in a country emerging from war, but not yet out of conflict.

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Dance, Song, Word and Dress: Melburnian Lankans Celebrate 70th YEAR of Independence

Tony Donaldson, whose preferred title is “A Time of Celebration and Reflection. Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day in Melbourne”

Many Sri Lankans have made the journey to Australia and now call it home and Melbourne continues to be a popular destination with the number of Sri Lankans living in this multicultural city estimated to be approximately 35,000. It is a diverse community and so it was pleasing to see that the emphasis of Sri Lanka’s 70th National Independence Day celebrations held on 4 February 2018 in the Kingston City Hall, Moorabbin, was placed on recognizing the plurality of Sri Lanka as a nation of many ethnic and religious groups. Organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne, the celebrations were like a gift of treasures but it was also a time to reflect on the postcolonial history of Sri Lanka and its future.

Kandyan dance performed by the Sri Lankan Cultural Ensemble of Australia

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Three Clowns at Election Corral! Sri Lankan Politics in a Nutshell

Rajan Philips, in Island, 3 February 2018, where the title runs thus “Lanka at 70: Political circus interrupts the country’s constitutional odyssey”…. with highlighting here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

As the country marks the seventieth anniversary of independence, its principal political leaders are out-clowning one another and turning the whole political system into a circus of clowns. There is no other charitable way to describe what the President, the Prime Minister and the former President are doing in a desperate three-way shootout – to either produce the best scorecard or avoid the worst scorecard for their respective parties and alliances in the local government elections next Saturday. The scorecard that will be used for political bragging and the commentaries that will go with it will have two lines: the national tally of votes and the number of local bodies won, with special mention for trophy municipalities – Colombo being the big one.

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In Honour of Ambalavaner Sivanandan as Anti-Racist Radical Intelelctual in Britian

Meera Srinivasan, in The Hindu, 4 January 2018, where the title is “A ‘Black intellectual’ from Sri Lanka”  …. Emphasis added in this version

Sri Lanka-born British writer Ambalavaner Sivanandan, theorist of state racism and Black liberation politics and founding editor of Race & Class journal, passed away in London on Wednesday. He was 94.

Best known for his political essays and his novel When Memory Dies, Mr. Sivanandan made original contributions to understanding communities of resistance in Britain, focussing on the Black working class that he felt was more prone to the “racism that kills”, as opposed to the “racism that discriminates” against middle-class Black people. Continue reading

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Revisiting the Story of the IDP Camps, 2009 et seq: ONE

Michael Roberts

As with Eelam War IV the Western media juggernaut, primed and fed by the extensive LTTE networks abroad, mounted an effective disinformation campaign on this topic. One illustration was when Jeremy Page of the BBC reported in June 2009 that 1400 persons were dying per week in the Manik Farm camps.

Coping with the influx of internal Tamil IDPS from late 2008 onwards was in fact a huge administrative and humanitarian problem with security implications. The task was faced by the Government of Sri Lanka and a collection of INGOS and NGOs with the support of monetary aid provided by the Western governments and UN agencies and with a Coordinating Committee chaired by Mahinda Samarasinghe keeping an eye on proceedings.

Annet Royce (standing) and Sewalanak Cooking team at Omanthai transit camp in mid-May 2009 preparing food packets for IDPS bussed in from war front on way to Manik Farm Camps Continue reading

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A Historical Exhibition in Mumbai that Challenges the Hindutva

   Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, courtesy of  Christian Science Monitor, 17 November 2017, where the title runs Mumbai museum challenges Indians’ self image

In a dimly lit gallery at Mumbai’s premier museum, visitors admire a 17th-century cloth painting depicting characters from a Muslim court in south-central India. An Ottoman trader feeds a bird; a Central Asian merchant holds a Chinese vase; and in one corner, a yogi sitting cross-legged on a deer-skin contemplates a wondrous new object: a pineapple brought to India from the New World by the Portuguese. Such intriguing juxtapositions, unexpected stories, and global connections form the essence of an ambitious new exhibition that recounts India’s history and its engagement with the world through 200 objects. In doing so, it offers a counterpoint to rising intolerance and nationalism in India and elsewhere.

 see https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2017/1117/Mumbai-museum-challenges-Indians-self-image

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