Category Archives: communal relations

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

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Caste in Sinhala Society

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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.

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Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where it is presented with a different title ….  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/histrionic-voice-as-spark-for-ethnic-violence-political-extremism/

Anguish and grief are powerful emotions that can contort and wrack a body. While ‘suggesting’ helplessness, the anguish that engulfs a person can also empower that person … and others connected to that person by commonalities of interest/emotion. In this manner anguish can transcend obstacles, generate waves of bitterness and swell into paths of retributory hate and punishment. The ‘little’ drops of tears can swell metaphorically into ‘waves’ – and even inspire enraged mobs (mostly male) bent on punishing the purported root of the tears, a recalcitrant Other, an enemy family or “community” deemed to be the cause of that expressive anguish or deemed to have transcended local norms. In southern Lanka that community can be a neighbouring caste grouping or ethnic group or religious group (Muslim Moor,[1] Hindu, Buddhist, Christian).

Let me highlight the argument by presenting an unusual juxtaposition.

  1. Expressive Grief displayed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman at a protest demonstration before David Cameron by persons whose kin have been missing in the course of Eelam War IV

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Where Music transcends Ethnic Divisions: Sinhala Nona

Pon Kulendiren, courtesy of The Tamil Mirror where the title is “True Story of coincidence: Sinhala nona”

Kaffrinha –Pic from The Localist

It was snowing heavily. A few days were left for Christmas. I was enjoying a sip of Scotch on the rocks and watching Discovery channel on T.V. My wife walked into the sitting room after preparing the dinner for the family. She looked at the clock that showed 5.30 in the evening. With a grimace she turned towards me. It showed that she did not like me having a second drink. Black label bottle was a quarter empty. She quietly took the bottle and disappeared into her room. I ignored her action as I was reluctant to start a fight as she may have a long face while serving dinner. She returned after a few minutes. Continue reading

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Professional Mourners in Ceylon and Southern India

Michael Roberts

 My interest in the topic of disappearances in Sri Lanka over the past decade and the allegations presented by one “Floyyd” in his comments on my central frontispiece named ”Sinhala Mind-Set” on the 25th November 2013 led me to supplement my posts and inquiries on that topic with a serious question I sent to several friends and personnel on  the 9th December 2016 and the week that followed.  Only a few responded to my inquiry in the course of that month. It is of some significance that most of those whose information is presented below are of the older generation and, like me, in the age-bracket seventies. For that reason they are calling upon their younger days in supplying ethnographic information that is of considerable value. For this reason I refer to “Ceylon” in my title because the data seems to refer to practices before the name change in 1972. However, this does not mean that the practitioners of mourning and the capacities for lamentation on cue have been totally buried.

oppari-22  Women in oppari lamentation in southern India — cf Balachandran’s note below oppariFrom https://www.flickr.com/photos/wellbredkannanclicks/14228110375

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Reconciliation Modalities? Dingiri Dinga Le Meenakshi

TAMIL OLD–Dingiri Dingale meenakshi Dingiri dinkale–ANBU ENGE 1958

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