Category Archives: electoral structures

Sri Lanka in Limbo … A Tortoise on a Fence Post

Citizen Silva, in Sunday Times, 16 June 2019, where the title is “The Tortoise on the Fence Post”

While indulging in my usual musings this weekend, pondering over the happenings in our land over the past few weeks, I was reminded about the story told to me by one of my friends a few months ago.

“I say Silva” he began “do you know that our president’s position these days is just like that of the famous tortoise on the fence post?”

I looked at him quizzically. “What tortoise? I cannot remember you telling me that particular story of yours. Remind me – I am all ears.”

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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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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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Political Intolerance on the Rise. Fostered by Social Media

Chris Kenny, in The Australian, 8 May 2019, where the title runs “Egg attack on Morrison hints at rotten state of public debate”

The Albury egging was so pathetic it didn’t even crack the egg. But there would have been milliseconds of sharp concern and shambolic reactions, with one woman knocked to the ground, that ruined what otherwise would have been a terrific event for the Country Women’s Association. And while they will be outwardly phlegmatic, Scott Morrison, his staff and the Australian Federal Police close personal protection officers will be — pardon the pun — walking on eggshells for a while.

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How Extremisms have fed off Each Other in Sri Lanka, 1950s-to-2019 …. and still proceeding

Ameer  Ali, in Colombo Telegraph, 6 May 2019 where the title runs “Anatomy Of An Islamist Infamy – II”

It takes two hands to clap and make a noise, and what a deadly noise did Sri Lankans hear during that fatal Easter Sunday? In the first part of this analysis the Muslim leadership hand was identified and discussed. This second part looks at the hand of governments that governed this country since independence and how they laid the remainder of the bricks that paved the bloody road. 

Politicisation of Buddhism  

Long before Ashraf and his SLMC allowed Islamism creep into Muslim politics, Bandaranaike (SWRD) politicised Buddhism to win his electoral battle against the UNP.  His landslide victory at the 1956 General Elections to which he harnessed the support of Buddhist monks, Ayurvedic physicians and village school teachers demonstrated the political potential of Buddhism in changing governments in Sri Lanka, which even made American CIA to politicise Buddhism in South East Asia to fight against the rise of communism (Eugene Ford, Cold War Monks, 2017). While SWRD won the elections and lost his life at the hands of a Buddhist monk the Americans harnessed Buddhism and lost the fight against communism in Vietnam and Cambodia.      Sri Lankans, Let Us Arise as ONE

Sri Lanka Muslim Civil Society was organized a “Rise up for Solidarity – Humanity Beyond Religion one Nation one Country at Colombo 7 Independence Squire-04th May | Picture by Ashraff. A. Samad

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Amarasingham’s Study of Sri Lankan Tamil Activism in Canada

 

Pain, Pride, and Politics: Social Movement Activism and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Canada …. As a product of Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series) Paperback – September 15, 2015

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Paranoid Fears and Ethnic Supremacy: From Christchurch to Sri Lanka and Beyond

Lakshman Gunasekara, in  Horizons, 31 March 2019, with this title “Supremacism: harnessing myth,  paranoia”

…Before we deal with the fertility rates, we must deal with both the invaders within our lands and the invaders that seek to enter our lands…declares the mass murderer of Christchurch in his 80 plus page long ‘The Great Replacement’ political declaration which he had posted on the internet. Does this declaration by a deadly mass killer ring a bell to us, Sri Lankans?

Readers only need to refer back through our own post-colonial national discourses to come up with loads of this stuff. Our news media and other publishing archives and records will reveal the sheer volume of similar such statements expressed in political party rhetoric, nationalist activist arguments, and even in parliamentary debate over the decades since our island society won back its freedom from European colonialism. Continue reading

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