Category Archives: governance

Profound & ‘Coloured’ Insights into Our Environmental Degradation

Prasad Abu Bakr, in Sunday Observer, 7 July 2019, …. http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2019/07/07/art/book-review-slow-cooked-thoughts

This is a ‘must-read’ book for those who lived during that glorious past, which is quietly slipping out of our grasp. It is also one for the next generation, who live in a world of make-believe – thinking that demolition of that glorious past and the pristine environment that was there, in the name of ‘development’ is aimed at making the world a better place to live in.

In her Foreword, Jill Macdonald refers to Slow-cooked Thoughts as a compelling compilation of writings both occasional and various, linked by a common motif of the writer’s passionate and unwavering belief of what constitutes a right relationship with the world around us.

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Cumulus Clouds shroud the Death Penalty in Sri Lanka

Gerald H Peiris, in Island, 8 July 2019, where the title is “To Hang or Not to Hang?: Our Heads in Shame”

Our press coverage of the ‘Capital Punishment’ debate that followed President Sirisena’s announcement on 26 June of his signing death warrants on four persons convicted for serious narcotic-related crimes – I refer to ‘Features’, ‘Opinions’, news reports such as those on intimidatory “orders” conveyed to the government of Sri Lanka by foreign diplomats and spokespersons of INGOs, decisions of trade unions and other civil society outfits, and the seemingly casual statements by political leaders in the course of censuring the president’s wayward performance −  provided no cause for surprise in the sense that they were the expected responses. For instance, those from the regimes of the sanctimonious agents of the ‘West’ and their INGOs were displays of both pretended “humanitarian” commitments as well as economic muscle-power directed at governments like ours that readily genuflect.  Likewise, the more prominent among our political leaders are obviously impelled by electoral considerations. The civil society stances reflect, more than all else, the widespread unpopularity of the ‘Yahapalanaya’ which the president is believed to nominally lead.

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USA’s Infiltration via ACSA and SOFA

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 7 July 2019,where the title is  “Inside story of how Sri Lanka fell into the ACSA-SOFA trap”

Amid mounting opposition, President should appoint expert probe team to identify weakness in the national security system 
Despite denials and clarifications by the US, the two deals give America a major footprint in Sri Lanka
With little or no prospect of contesting presidential election, Sirisena may settle for a portfolio close to his heart

Opposition is mounting over the two defence related agreements between Sri Lanka and the United States, one already signed and another now pending.The first is the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). For almost two years it was not tabled before Parliament. Nor was there a government statement explaining the contents, on a matter of such national importance to Sri Lankans.

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Canadian Cha-Cha-Cha: Genocide Claims

Chandre Dharmawardana, in Colombo Telegraph, 5 July 2019, where the title “Two Alleged Genocides – And Canada’s Claimed Support For Conflict Prevention In Sri Lanka”

David McKinnon, Canada’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka  has stated, on Canada’s National Day  that  “Canada would continue to support conflict prevention efforts in Sri Lanka, where  it has been seen how hate speech and media can entrench communal divisions”.  Meanwhile back in Canada, successive Canadian governments have failed to understand how this very “hate speech” is being entrenched in Canadian municipal discourse and even in parliamentary proceedings by militant diaspora groups. They wish to replay the old ethnic animosities of their homeland  in Canada too.

fervent demonstrations in Toronto mounted by Canadian Tamils in 2009 … presaging recent claims

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Sri Lanka in 1988: Experiencing ‘Ordinary Living’ in A Conflict Zone

John Richardson, whose title in this article conveying diary notes runs thus:  “Ordinary Living” in the Midst of Civil War Notes to Family and Friends“[1]  … with highlighting and pics inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

February 1988: After getting settled in our home at number 5 Bagatelle Terrace, within walking distance of Colombo University, we have begun to fit into our neighborhood and the city.   Already we have made a number of Sri Lankan acquaintances.  Emily knows the city better because she is an inveterate walker.  She covers three to five miles each day on foot; more than any expatriates and most Sri Lankans, except the very poor.  She feels quite safe walking about during the day. We walk about at night, too, but are more careful as the streets are poorly lighted.  “Homeless” people do live on the streets here.  They are about as visible as they are in Washington, D.C., but I think the culture here is more accepting; the gap between rich and poor is much less than in America.  In fact, what strikes me about the majority of Sri Lankans, both rich and poor, is their unfailing honesty, courtesy and decency.  (The principal exception appears to be some of those who deal regularly with foreigners).  They are a considerate, friendly people – and for many, life is arduous.

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Buddhism over Time in Colonial and Independent Sri Lanka

Abstract of Article by Ananda Abeysekara entitledBuddhism and ‘Influence’: The Temporality of a Concept” Qui Parle, 2019, Vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-75.

For almost three decades the concept of “Protestant Buddhism” has been the object of critique by numerous scholars such as John Holt, Charles Hallisey, Anne Blackburn, Erik Braun, Alicia Turner, Steven Kemper, and others. They claim to tell a different story about the relation between religion and modernity (“Protestantism”) in South Asia. By extension, these scholars seek to reconstruct the temporal relation between the past and the present, questioning postcolonial conceptions of history, time, and religious practice. But this story of temporality is staked on the question of “influence,” which has a genealogy that includes not just colonial, missionary, liberal politics but also contemporary legal-political questions about foreign influence on democracy and sovereignty. This article contests the ways in which the critiques of Protestant Buddhism conceptualize colonial and postcolonial forms of time, translated into universal forms of self, agency, responsibility, etc. The article argues that the question of influence, which animates parts of the story of secular ways of inhabiting time, obscures not just how the encounter with the temporality of a tradition is an encounter with power. It obscures how even modern sensibilities of inhabiting time, ironically, require coherence even as they are repeatedly said to be constituted by “heterogeneous” forms of everyday life.

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American Hands behind National Thawheed Jamath and 21/4?

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, in Dateline-Lanka, where the title reads “Sri Lanka Easter bomb attacks and the role of Western intelligence agencies”

Speculation that Western intelligence agencies had a hand in the well-coordinated, precision-timed Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka arises from a number of sources and circumstances. Analysts are still trying to figure out how the little known group ‘National Thawheed Jamaath’ (NTJ) could have orchestrated such a feat. The terror group known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Islamic State (IS) or Daesh, claimed responsibility through online videos. ISIS”s enemy is the West, and so Western governments unanimously expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka in its fight against the new terror (in a way they did not, with regard to Sri Lanka’s 30-year war against LTTE terror). One might recall how US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “This is America’s fight too.” Though IS is fronted for the attacks, answers to more specific questions such as who the handlers of the nine suicide bombers were, remain murky.

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