Category Archives: Fascism

Hatreds. Chasms. Bill Deutrom’s Insights on the Political Impasse in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, 15 December 2018, where the title is different

    pro-UNP rally

Email Note from Bill Deutrom in Lanka to Michael Roberts, 8 Dec 2018

Thank you, Michael for your amazing collection of articles on the Eelam War and its aftermath as well as the present political impasse. Alas, they will not convince people who have already made up their mind based on emotion, ethnicity or with a hatred for Rajapaksa. Continue reading

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Rivetting Data on the Jaffna Peninsula and Tamil Politics, 1929-1970s

Handy Perinbanayagam 

This is a reproduction of COMMENTS  in a previous Thuppahi Item from 2012 — which presented an article by Rajan Philips in the Sunday Island of 26 February 2012. This unusual step is taken because the information therein: (1) about caste oppression in the Jaffna Peninsula even in the 1970s; (2) data on the politics of the Jaffna Youth congress and its boycott campaign against the Donoughmore Reforms and the 1931 elections in  the north; (#) a reading of GG Ponnambalam (4) the contributions to the discussion from R, Sid Perinbanayagam and Nalliah Thayabharan — with Thayabharan’s slashing criticisms of the LTTE and Tamil diasporic supporters evincing a remarkable courage.  

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An Ode in the Face of The Terrorist Liberation-Fighter

  Jane Russell

“[This poem was presented] a small pamphlet called “Ganga” published in Colombo in 1978: it was aimed at the boasting men of violence everywhere – the Warriors of Terror whom in the guise of Freedom Fighters were inflicting further violence on already violated communities:

To Aloysius-Ludovico (The Terrorist)

I am tired of hearing you sing
the anthems of Freedom and War…
How joyously you crack the whip
and bellow out the tune above the drums!
But the faces of my friends haunt me
in the mornings when I see Death’s Armada
With its pirate’s flag of torture trailing….
what does it matter, your Freedom?
They are dying, my friends and their children…

Nalliah Thayabharan, thank you for reminding me of this poem written in despair in Colombo 30+ years ago. A whole generation has grown up since then but the same (better) poem is probably being written today in Syria by some unknown idealist…..as the song goes “When will we ever learn?”

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In Praise of Traitors: Intimacy, Betrayal, and the Sri Lankan Tamil Community

Sharika Thiranagama, Chapter in Suspicion, Intimacyy and The Ethics of State-building, ed. by S. Thirangama and Tobias Kelly, , University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

 

ABSTRACT: In a 2006 Canadian Sri Lankan Tamil pamphlet called Thurohi (Traitor), the author tells his diasporic audience, “many of us fled and came to this country. Why? Our life’s duty is to survive. But what is our historical duty? To be traitors” (Jeeva 2006, 3; emphasis added).1 The war between the Sri Lankan state and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) drew in Sri Lanka’s three largest ethnic groups: The majority Sinhalese, the minority Sri Lankan Tamils, and Sri Lankan Muslims; the latter, while war-affected, were not active in the conflict. The primary battlefields and areas of LTTE control were northern and eastern Sri Lanka. In May 2009 the war came to a bloody close in a stand-off with the Sri Lankan Army and the death of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and most senior leadership. This end came long after the writing of this chapter and is not its subject……. Continue reading

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Overcoming Hate: A Lesson for Tamils and Sinhalese from a Holocaust Survivor

Zygmunt Swisrak

I had so much hate towards the Germans. That hate was killing me. I realised this later when I went to Germany. Three times I have been there. They wanted me to lecture at university, at ­technical colleges, about what I suffered in the ­concentration camp in Frankfurt. I just went there to tell them what happened. And I met so many Germans; it started to change me. After I finished one talk, a student wrapped herself around me. She had tears in her eyes and said, “I am sorry for what our fathers and grandfathers have done to you, your family, and your country.” Then I started to get emails from students saying that my survival was not wasted and that to hear from somebody who was there, as an inmate in their country, was a ­different story. That’s how I got rid of the hate. I didn’t expect that. I have changed a lot. I can’t get rid of the hate altogether but it’s much less than I had and it doesn’t kill me anymore.” …. An Extract from Zygmunt Swisrak’s Last Testament

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Profound Testimonies: Aged Holocaust Survivors and Their Last Testaments

Fiona Harari, in the Weekend Australian Magazine 27/28 Jan 2018, where the title reads “Last Testament”

Survivors of Nazism who have adult memories of the ­Holocaust are a fading group. Born in 1926 or earlier, they were at least 18 when the war ended. The war consumed a small fraction of their lives, percentage-wise. But its legacy endures in their memories, their outlooks and, increasingly, in their dreams. They are the last living voices of a generation that was not meant to be, men and women now in their 10th and 11th decades who have defied not just the law of a nation that sought to annihilate them, but the law of nature that not so long ago would have dictated a much shorter lifespan.

Mala Sonnabend. Picture: Fiona Harari

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Revisiting Jaffna and the LTTE in mid-1999 guided by Mark Corcoran and the ABC

Michael Roberts

 

In mid-year 1999 during the ongoing Eelam War III, Mark Corcoran of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) visited Sri Lanka and composed three film documentaries of fascinating breadth. They were

Sri Lanka. A Close Encounter with Arthur C. Clarke …. 6 June 1999

Sri Lanka Tigers at the Gate …… 29 June 1999

Sri Lanka. Extreme Surfing ……… 13 July 1999

I have yet to see the first and third of these film documentaries, but find the topics chosen very much in my line of interest. It so happened that I watched TIGERS AT THE GATE in Adelaide then.[1]  I then had the temerity to send a Letter to the ABC and Corcoran with some criticisms of the coveragedeploying an University of Adelaide letterhead so as to secure attention. This exercise had completely slipped my mind till I came across my typescript and Mark Corcoran’s reply (dated 5th July) among my manuscripts when indulging in some archival sorting. In reproducing my Memo and placing this exchange within the inter-net ‘bar,’ I stress that my memories of the documentary NOW are zilch and that i have not been able to study it again. However, I suspect that it would be very useful for analysts to revisit this documentary. Continue reading

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