Category Archives: fundamentalism

Suicide Missions as Witnessing: From Self-Immolation to Assassination and Mass Strike

Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30:  857-88.with the titleSuicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts” and is reproduced here with its original American English spelling. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla. The pictorial images are embellishments that were not part of the original essay. I have also added highlighting emphasis in orange as well as a few hyperlinks to other standard sources of information. The bibliographical references are within the End Notes as in the original format.

ABSTRACT: Studies of suicide missions usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assassination, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Sadat as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such extensions. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. Norman Morrison in Washington in 1965 and Jan Palach in Prague in 1969 did not have such beneficial settings and the immediate ramifications of their protest action were limited. Morrison’s story highlights the significance of a societal context of individuated rationalism as opposed, say, to the “pyramidical corporatism” encouraging martyrdom operations in the Islamic world.

Jan Palach…19 Jan. 1969 Nathuram Godse vs Mahatma Gandhi .. 30 Jan 1948

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Gridlock and Hocus-Pocus in Sri Lanka underwritten by Prejudice, Exclusion plus False News

Michael Roberts

This is an expanded version of anarticle sent earlier toColombo Telegraph and this expanded version will be sent to the print media in Sri Lanka as well as Col/Tel. It is test case: are the political lines associated with the present crissi so sharp that Editors shut out perspectives that question their political leanings?

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Suri  Amarakeerthi  

It is the fashion for Editors of prestigious newspapers and for authors themselves to impress their credentials when presenting articles in newspapers. When Amarakeerthi Liyanage wrote a Letter to the Ambassador for China and presented this text in The Island, he was “Professor Amarakeerthi Liyanage.” When a friend recommended Suri Ratnapala’s readings of the present constitutional conundrums in Sri Lanka to me, he stressed that Suri was “a much-respected Professor of Law.”

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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… the song goes “When will we ever learn?”

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Utter Constitutional darkness in Sri Lanka. A Sunday Times editorial falls prey

Darshanie Ratnawalli

+++ This article is in the line of interpretation within difficult terrain presented by Gerald Peiris in Thuppahi yesterday as well as Peiris’s earlier intervention on this front elsewhere. Early signs suggest that both Peiris and Ratnawalli may be censored by the Editors of the principal newspapers, but hopefully Colombo Telegraph will be more open to her submission. For the readers to get some sense of the  conflicting interpretations, I append a short list on both sides of the fence. A long list will demand a journey into the year 2019. Text highlighting is by the web editor.

The editorial of Sunday Times, arguably the most prestigious Sunday newspaper in Sri Lanka, stated on 11/11/2018 that “Article 33 (2) (c) which gives blanket powers to the President to dissolve Parliament at his wish” is a provision that “comes from the original 1978 Executive Presidency Constitution.” This is an error when you consider that in our present Constitution, every other provision under 33(2) – 33(2)(A), 33(2)(B), 33(2)(D), 33(2)(E), 33 (2)(F), 33(2)(G), and 33(2)(H) comes from the JR Constitution, while 33(2)(C) is the only provision that DOES NOT.

Such an error in such a reputed source shows in what darkness the public is fighting the battle to find the true Constitution of Sri Lanka. To give the proper context, the relevant paragraphs in the ST editorial must be quoted in full.

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The Situation of the Tamils in the Present Saga — Guruparan

Kumaravadivel Guruparan in Scroll, 5 November 2011, where the title is Sri Lanka’s political crisis explained, and what it means for the island nation’s Tamil community”

In November 2014, Maithripala Sirisena, who was then a cabinet minister and member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, broke ranks with his leader, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and agreed to be the common presidential candidate of the Opposition, led by the United National Party. Sirisena won the election in what was then hailed as a “democratic revolution”.

He undid that “revolution” on October 26 this year when he sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and appointed Rajapaksa in his place. He did so ignoring the constitutional amendment he had helped pass after coming to power in 2015, which had done away with the president’s power to remove the prime minister. He thus triggered what is being called Sri Lanka’s first unconstitutional transfer of power – a coup.

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The Western World’s Cumulous Clouds of Deception: Blanketing the Sharp Realities of Eelam War IV

Michael Roberts, Courtesy of Colombo Telegraph , October 2018


This is a provocative piece on the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 and on its aftermath of Reports and You Tube cut-and-thrust. It makes specific claims in assertive style. These assertions are founded on lengthier articles with their supporting evidence. So, it is by assertion that I proceed. Continue reading


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Dharmasiri Bandaranayake’s Message for Reconciliation and Oneness

Kamanthi Wickramsingha in Q and A, in Daily Mirror, 14 March 2018, where the title runs Peace and unity should be in everyone’s heart”

Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, the maverick of Sinhala cinema and theatre, has attempted to portray the reality of the state in every production. From Hansa Vilak tBawa Duka, Bawa Karma and stage plays such as Eka Adipathi, Dhawala Beeshana and Makarakshaya [he has] addressed issues from the 1980s riots to the dogma of Buddhism in Sri Lanka to other issues of national and political importance. “If the perpetrators of previous riots and crimes were identified and punished, what happened in Digana would have never happened,” said Bandaranayake in a candid interview with the Daily Mirror. He recently directed ‘Paradise in Tears’ a documentary film which portrays the historical evolution of the ethnic crisis in the country through its various phases. During the interview, Bandaranayake expressed his concerns over the manner in which the country’s rulers have treated people and how they have suffered as a result of ethnic violence, the role of artistes and how people should respond during incidents such as what happened in Kandy.   

  • There is no punishment for perpetrators
  • People should refrain from promoting separatist agendas
  • Violence should never be in the vocabulary of artistes
  • Reconciliation shouldn’t be on billboards   

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