Category Archives: IDP camps

Introducing FIRE AND STORM by Michael Roberts

Anonymous Reviewer in Sunday Times, 21 July 2013,  where the title runs “Important contribution towards a dialogue on Lankan polity. Book facts”

When Michael Roberts left Peradeniya in the late seventies, he was part of an exodus of intellectuals from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, arguably one of the best universities at that time. The exodus of academics at that time was compelled by the economic difficulties faced by university dons. It was the second wave of such emigration that diminished the intellectual life of the university and country.

  Pirapāharan and leading Tiger Commanders at the Indian sponsored training camp at Sirimalai in 1984

The Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya never regained its prestigious academic status after that. Today the University of Peradeniya cannot take pride in intellectuals of the eminence of E. F. C. Ludowyck, E. R Sarachchandra, H. A. de S. Gunasekera, Fr. Ignatius Pinto, Ian Van den Driesen and many others. Continue reading

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Situating Clarance’s Book: Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis

Michael Roberts, reprinted from South Asia, Sept 2008, 31: 394-96, a review of Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.

This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field. 

aa-ethnic-warfare-in-sri-lanka-and-the-un-crisis  His brief in Sri Lanka was to cater to the needs of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India who had chosen to return to their homeland. In practice, however, the local UNHCR’s efforts also embraced some local refugees (IDPs, or ‘internally displaced people’), whether Tamil, Muslim or Sinhalese, who were the flotsam and jetsam generated by the warring turmoil in the island. Clarance sets the pursuit of this venture within its historical context by outlining the temporal stages in the escalation of hostility between leading Tamil and Sinhalese political forces. This competent summary is complemented by a description of the Indian intervention in 1987 and a capsule survey of the events in the period 1987–89, the immediate background to the UNHCR relief efforts.  Continue reading

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Two Sri Lankan Tamil Voices from the North Today

Frances Bulathsinghala, courtesy of Daily FT, 5 August 2016, where the title reads “Post-war voices from the north.” The emphases in highlighted colours, however, are additions by The Editor, Thuppahi

Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu: Rajini is 46 years old and an ex-LTTE Commander with a 10-year-old daughter. She is a widow. She has few visitors. Tamil politicians are rarely among them.  Occasionally she chases off military officers who enter her premises in her absence and make themselves at home for hours in her garden. She flies into a rage at them. She informs them that they have no right to enter her garden in her absence. They accept, grin, make some lame excuses and good-naturedly lope off after the cursory examination of the military reference documentation that is as important for ex-militants in post-war times as it was for civilians in peace times. 

It is peace. At least there is no gunfire now. Of the memories of fire that continue to burn in hearts and minds we do not know.

fb-ranjini

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Murali Reddy evaluates the Ram-Rajapaksa Conversation in July 2009

B. Muralidhar Reddy in Frontline, Volume 26 – Issue 15 :: Jul. 18-31, 2009, where the title is “Sri Lanka — A New Dawn? ... emphasis is the hand of The editor, Thuppahi

“The fast-moving developments in the country since the end of the war seem to show that the President’s strategy is working.”

redyy-on-mr-and-gsl-plans-july-2009President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the all-party meeting called by the governmentPic by Eranga Jaywardena

THE pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of what could be the future of post-Prabakaran Sri Lanka appear to be falling into place. A three-hour, no-holds-barred interview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu group of publications, on the evening of June 30 appears to throw up several pieces that could fit into the puzzle.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa meets “The Hindu” in July 2009

I. Preamble by Michael Roberts

I was in Colombo from mid-April 2009 to early June and observed the local coverage of Eelam War IV at its bitter end. I was invited by Muralidhar Reddy[i] to write articles for Frontline on aspects of the politics surrounding the war. Though Frontline is a magazine produced by The Hindu consortium, I was not a regular follower of that newspaper on web — even though I had once been introduced to its owner and chief executive, N. Ram, way back in time by Chandra Schafter and had also had an extended chat with him in Delhi in 1995.[ii]

n_ram_20120625_350_630 N Ram talking to Mahinda Rajapaksa, mid-2009 mahinda-with-ram

Thus the receipt of a Hindu report on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s thoughts in mid-2009, expressed in an extended session with him conducted by N. Ram, serves up new material from my position. In step with my policy of raising significant episodes in the course of Eelam War IV to public notice,[iii] I  hasten to place this exchange in the public domain. Continue reading

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Groundviews on Disappearances and the OMP

MISSING -GV 22

Raisa Wickrematunga: “Searching for Answers: The Road to the OMP,” 30 August 2016, https://groundviews.org/2016/08/30/searching-for-answers-the-road-to-the-omp/

Bhavani Fonseka: “The Office on Missing Persons: A New Chapter or Another Empty Promise?” 18 August 2016, https://groundviews.org/2016/08/18/the-office-on-missing-persons-a-new-chapter-or-another-empty-promise/

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Lessons from Sri Lanka for the Humanitarian Crisis swamping Middle East and Europe?

Jehan Perera, in The Daily News, 21 October 2015, where the title is “Sri Lankan experience to mitigate world humanitarian crisis “

These past two months Sri Lanka figured significantly in the deliberations that took place on important topics in Geneva, which is one of the key venues for gatherings of the United Nations. In September the country took a central place in the deliberations of the UN Human Rights Council where it co-sponsored a resolution on itself that called for truth, accountability and justice in relation to its past conduct of the war against the LTTE.

humanitarian efforts

In October last week Sri Lanka again got attention at the final consultation of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Geneva which brought together nearly one thousand humanitarian workers from all parts of the globe. One indication of the country’s visibility was the role played by Sri Lankan media personality Chevaan Daniel who obtained the official position of master of ceremonies for the duration of the three day consultation on account of the Maharaja group of companies’ humanitarian work and hence became a part of the WHS Secretariat that guided the consultation to a successful conclusion. Continue reading

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