Category Archives: immolation

A Glimmer of Hope for Australia-China Relations

Fair Dinkum

It is common for governments to issue travel warnings to their citizens. Australia does it frequently. Australia’s travel warnings to its citizens have sometimes annoyed other countries such as Indonesia and Jordan, to name a few. So, it should come as no surprise that China has issued travel warnings to its citizens over concerns about a surge in racist attacks against Chinese and Asians in Australia.

Pix deployed by RMIT in Melbourne to reach out to students affected by the situation through a campaign of care

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Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Perspective: A Workshop at Adelaide University in Late 2005

Daya ….. Rohan…. Shyam…. Riaz ….. what a South Asian spread! …………………. a dinkie-die curry’

I = Michael Roberts: An Explanatory Preamble Cast in May 2020

By 2004 I had retired from teaching in the Anthropology Department at Adelaide University and was proceeding with the pursuit of my research interests at my own pace within my limited resources. Sri Lanka and my connections therein was one such resource. When researching in Colombo in late November 2004 I flew to Jaffna on a wing and a prayer[1] with the intention of exploring the Tamil Tiger “cult of suicide.” Previous contacts with two Tamil Canadians and a visit to the University of Jaffna as soon as I landed assisted me no end: partly via the invaluable support provided by the Krishnaswamy family[2] and the readiness of their medical student son Chenthan to become my aide and guide during peregrinations within the Peninsula.[3]

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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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Warrior Cults, Shamans and War Machines — Doug Farrer at Work

Q and A with Doug Farrer ……. This post is the transcript of an electronic interview between D. S. Farrer and Berghahn blog editor Lorna Field…….. D. S. Farrer is the co-author of the article Chants of Re-enchantment: Chamorro Spiritual Resistance to Colonial Domination and special issue editor of Social Analysis Volume 58, Issue 1: War Magic and Warrior Religion: Sorcery, Cognition, and Embodiment

img2545_16072011014026 Silat training–Pic from www.greatnewplaces.com

What drew you to the study of War Magic & Warrior Religion? Initially I was drawn to the study of war magic through my doctoral research into a Sufi warrior cult, where the Malay martial art (silat) was employed as a means to attract and secure local and international followers and converts. A wise informant, Dato Penggawa Tua Zaharah Mokhtar, recommended that I start with Winstedt [1925] (1993), Shaw (1976), and Skeat’s [1900] (1993) books on Malay magic to begin my research on silat. At the time I was lecturing on Weber at the National University of Singapore, so the chiasmus between warrior religion and war magic came naturally: of course, the connection also appears in Deleuze and Guattari’s [1987] (2004) Treatise on NomadologyThe War Machine, among other sources. Continue reading

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War Magic and Warrior Religion. Q and A with DS Farrer

Berghahn Q & A for War Magic & Warrior Religion: Sorcery, Cognition & Embodiment

berg DOUG Farrer Douglas Farrer

What drew you to the study of War Magic & Warrior Religion?

Initially I was drawn to the study of war magic through my doctoral research into a Sufi warrior cult, where the Malay martial art (silat) was employed as a means to attract and secure local and international followers and converts. A wise informant, Dato Penggawa Tua Zaharah Mokhtar, recommended that I start with Winstedt [1925] (1993), Shaw (1976), and Skeat’s [1900] (1993) books on Malay magic to begin my research on silat.  At the time I was lecturing on Weber at the National University of Singapore, so the chiasmus between warrior religion and war magic came naturally: of course, the connection also appears in Deleuze and Guattari’s [1987] (2004) Treatise on Nomadology—The War Machine, among other sources. Continue reading

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Lone Cell Assaults: From Boston to Westmead-in-Sydney to the Unabomber. Inspirations and Enabling Conditions in Comparative Perspective **

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is slightly different: http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/lone-wolf-assaults-from-boston-to-westmead-home-invasion-to-the-unabomber/

11--bOSTON mARATHON 33 The recent bomb outrage in Boston has sent tidal ripples along the media networks around the world.  It appears that the bombs were hidden in pressure cookers packed with nails/ball bearings and put in backpacks which were placed on the pavement among onlookers. “Similar easy-to-make roadside bombs are used in Iraq and Afghanistan” (Stewart 2013). But such bomb-making techniques are also clarified on internet sites. Among the first readings one headline in The Australian said: “Stamp of lone wolf more than al-Qa’ida” (Maley 2013). The contention here was that “in recent years, so-called “lone wolf” attackers — people who acquire radical ideology and weapons skills online — have become the greatest concern for counter-terrorism officials, who have virtually no way of detecting the activities of these people” (Stewart 2013).The absence of “chatter” on internet among jihadi circles after the event is one reason for this suspicion. 22--boston Marathon supeced bomb pack suspected bomb pack Continue reading

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