Category Archives: ethnicity

Honouring Sri Lanka’s Dead Servicemen

Pramod De Silva, from Daily News, 19 May 2017, where the title is They still live on” … Note Queries at the end from Editor, Thuppahi

A soldier never really dies. He lives on in our hearts. A soldier’s mission never ends, not even in death. One of my favourite war anecdotes has a 10-year-old boy asking a World War II veteran “how does it feel to be a hero?”. His reply: “Oh, son, I am not a hero. We buried all the heroes, I am just a survivor”.  No surviving soldier can ever forget his or her comrades in arms who perhaps died right next to them. Their devotion to friends and colleagues who made the Supreme Sacrifice is simply indescribable. Yet, soldiers fall in every battle. Others make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain. They charge ahead and win the battle. They do not seek glory, nor do they seek fame.

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Poles Apart on May 19th: Tamil and Sinhala Voices of Power

Lamentation vs Pleased Affirmation …. The Power of Polarity! That is in capsule form the  story of Sri Lanka from the 1940s to the present day. No better illustration can be provided today than the reading of the May 18/19th anniversary of the LTTE’s defeat and the death of talaivar Pirapaharan by intellectuals on both sides of the divide.

A family member of one of those who disappeared during the civil war with the LTTE, mourns in Colombo–AFP

“A Day of Grief” said Chief Minister Wigneswaran on 18th May.

“Lest we Forget”  said a Sinhala Australian in evoking the sacrifices and the victory of Sri Lanka’s armed forces in the vocabulary of Australian patriotism

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Obeyesekere’s Study of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha and His Downfall

Jolly Somasundram,  in The Island, 16 May 2017, where the title is Regime Change in Ceylon: 1815″

“The West won the world, not by the superiority of its ideas, values or religion but, rather, by its superiority in applying organised violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-westerners never do” = Quote from  Samuel R Huntington

History matters. Obeyesekere relates events, two centuries after they had occurred and a century after the Russian Revolution. Yet they are all so contemporary! Confused by memories, living in a very unpredictable past and troubled by Fukuyama’s statement that all had ended, Obeyesekere has given a fillip to re-interrogating the relevance of history. Both Hegel and Marx considered History to be teleology, moving to a purpose. The impact of Portugal and Holland on Sri Lanka was akin to the placid non-movement in a cemetery: 1815 regime change, headed by the leading country of the Industrial Revolution, promised traction to a stalled Hegel and Marx.

 

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Engaging the Vijaya Fable Once Again

note that Michael Roberts

    Perinbanayagam  Peiris  Gunatilleke

ONE 

In coming across one of my old essays on the Vijaya myth reproduced and questioned within my website Thuppahi recently, I circulated it (ITEM TWO below) once again by email – perhaps too hastily. Both responses to this email and the original commentary signal sharp reactions. Besides they involve eminent Sri Lankan scholars in the person of Professor Robert S. Perinbanayagam of Hunter College in New York and Professor Gerald H. Peiris of Peradeniya University, besides enabling me to bring in the incisive intervention of Godfrey Gunatilleka and to hark back to a ‘line’ from the economist VK Wickremasinghe (son of the noted author Martin Wickremasinghe). Continue reading

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Afro-Asian Hybridity across the Indian Ocean

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya

“Lost Narratives and Hybrid Identities in the Indian Ocean: Afro-Asians” has appeared in r print in Indi@logs Vol 4 2017, pp. 11-26, ISSN: 2339-8523

ABSTRACT of Article: The voluntary movement of Africans was concurrent with their involuntary uprooting, driven by the slave trade. Trade, colonisation and slavery have been drivers of migration, interconnecting people of diverse ethnicity globally. Afro-Asian communities are both historic and contemporary and, whilst Afro-diasporic communities in the Atlantic World are well recognised, the diasporas in Asia have only become visible in the last decade. Assimilation to the diversity of the Indian Ocean has contributed to this invisibility. With the loss of patronage due to changing political scenarios, African migrants have become disenfranchised. The dynamics of their identity, shaped by strong cultural memories bring out their African roots. This paper argues that diasporic consciousness of AfroAsians is expressed through their strong cultural memories. As people with dual belongings, identifying with both the homeland and the hostland, Afro-Asians are able to reconcile their hybrid identities. With the movement of Afro-Asians from the peripheries their subaltern voices are beginning to be heard. Their eclipsed histories and lost narratives are challenging the Atlantic model of African migration. Continue reading

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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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Tissa Jayatillka opens the Rotary Conference on Reconciliation

Tissa  Jayatilleka: “Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka,”  28 March 2017

 Opening comments by TISSA JAYATILAKA at a panel discussion held during the 26th Rotary District Conference, Rotary District 3320- Sri Lanka and The Maldives, on 18 March, 2017 held at the BMICH, Colombo. The following served as panelists: Mr. R.Sampanthan, The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Rauf Hakeem, Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Mr. Mano  Tittawela, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, The Centre for Policy Alternatives, Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Former Vice Chancellor and Professor of Law, University of Colombo.

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