Category Archives: governance

Knowledge in the Sinhala World. Yesterday and Today

Sajeeva Samaranayake presents his considered thoughts on the discussions associated with Geedreck Usvatte-Aratchi’s National Trust talk on “Sinhala Attitudes to Knowledge” – which appeared in the Island as well as Thuppahi in August 2017. Emphasis in blue is that of The Editor, Thuppahi; but the black highlights are the author’s.

In the following note I am setting out the findings of Dr. Usvatte Arachchi, my comments thereon and some questions that arise. This is to help move this discussion forward as it appears to be a very critical inquiry into our collective capacity as a Sinhalese speech community.

 Samaranayake    Usvatte-Aratchci

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Mantovan and Ambos: Two Young European Scholars researching Sri Lankan Issues

 Mantovan  Ambos

The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden reveals the interests of two recent Fellows at IIAS who have been delving into Sri Lankan issues in recent times. Herewith some summaries

Giacomo Mantovan is of Italian lineage:

“My research in social anthropology, which focuses on individuals and their relations with their social milieu, and in particular with state authorities, aims to grasp how certain critical times, such as civil war, exile, and illness, become moments of construction of subjectivity and memory.” Continue reading

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Dayan Jayatilleka counters Gerald Peiris

Dayan Jayatilleka, in Island, 6 October 2017, with title The rise of the Sinhala fundamentalist new right: Response to Prof GH Peiris” the emphasis below being that of the Editor Thuppahi

Philosophy, said Kautilya (Chanakya) in the Arthashathra, deals primarily with the right and wrong use of force. At least from that time, it was recognized that there is a right way and a wrong way of doing even what is necessary or unavoidable. This was of course the very premise of the Just War doctrine of Christian theologians St Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. A war had to be for the right cause and the right cause was not self-evident or merely self-referential and self–proclaimed. It needed to pass certain criteria to qualify. This too was not enough. For war to be just it not only needed to satisfy the criteria for a just cause but be fought by just means, which too needed to meet certain criteria to warrant the appellation. Modern theologians, especially of the Protestant persuasion, have added a third criterion, that of Just Peace, i.e. of the outcome of the war.

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Reconciliation via Cricket and Charity? The Political Ground is a Waterlogged Minefield

Michael Roberts

It is possible that Velupillai Pirapaharan remains a revered leader and symbol of the nationalist drive for Thamililam among some Tamils residing within the island f Sri Lanka today – even though they are circumspect in expressing such thoughts in public. Indeed, it is possible that some Tamils in the island worship him as a deity in the manner espoused in some quarters abroad by Tamils of the diaspora (see image below).

So, how does one measure the political reverberations of the well-meaning efforts towards reconciliation and the bridging of the Tamil-Sinhala divide delineated in several essays presented recently[1] in THUPPAHI?

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Tamils Yesterday, Rohingyas Today: Rohingya Issue and Its Wider Ramifications in a Nutshell

Ravi Velloor,, in The Island, 15 September 2017where the title reads “Rohingya issue and the danger to South-east Asia” … with highlighting being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Not since the landlocked Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan swept out its Nepali-speaking Hindu population in the late 1980s has Asia witnessed as relentless an action against a minority group as seen lately in Myanmar. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called the sustained drive to push Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Continue reading

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The Devolution Debate: Indelible Facts

Gerald H. Peiris … an original article with emphasis in black being that of the author and that in blue being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi

 

Several articles by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke published in The Island during the past few days indicate that he is very definitely the most articulate and, arguably, the most “intermestic” exponent of the notion of the ’13th Amendment’ (implemented more comprehensively than at present with all powers and functions referred to in its Ninth Schedule vested on Provincial Councils – PCs) being the constitutional via media that would ensure stability, good governance and interethnic harmony. Dr DJ is no doubt aware that, following the misguided curtailment of Presidential powers through the 19th Amendment of the Constitution in 2015, alongside the practice of foreign agents including diplomatic personnel bypassing the Colombo government in their transactions with the ‘Northern PC’ emerging an unofficial ‘convention’ in Sri Lanka’s external relations, his prescription would actually entail the creation of a more autonomous network of PCs than envisioned at the promulgation of the 13th Amendment thirty years ago. Continue reading

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Hambantota Port set for Boom under Chinese Auspices

Peter Fuhrman,  courtesy of Beyonf Brics  where the title is “China-owned port in Sri Lanka could alter trade routes”

Much has been said — but far less is understood — about the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the centrepiece of Xi Jin ping’s expansive foreign policy. That Mr. Xi has ambitions to extend across Eurasia China’s commercial, political and military power is not in doubt.But, the precise details on OBOR remain just about as unclear now as they did four years ago the policy was unveiled — which countries are included, how much cash China will invest or lend, where are the first-order priority projects, will any of the trillions of dollars of proposed  China-owned port in Sri Lanka could alter trade routes, will spending achieve commercial rates of return? Questions multiply. Answers are few.

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