Category Archives: Indian Ocean politics

The Flag of Convenience as Potential Jackpot for Sri Lanka’s Ports?

Capt A. Banerjee, Sunday Observer, 23 April, 2017, where the title was slightly i different

In the last 2 years Sri Lanka has taken considerable efforts and is slowly moving towards her desire to be the next Maritime Hub.The government and other maritime stakeholders are trying their best to put their heads together in realizing this dream. I too would like to contribute towards this initiative and feel that so much can be achieved if we can nurture this “golden goose” called Flag of Convenience. I hope with this article I am able to make you realize the great opportunity that lies ahead.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, commoditification, economic processes, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, modernity & modernization, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, world events & processes

Amnesty International Agitation: Bowling Googlies for the LTTE?

Shamindra  Ferdinando, in The Island, 19 April 2017, where the title reads “AI’s longstanding ‘alliance’ with the LTTE”

Publicly declining to testify before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that has been tasked by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa to inquire into war crimes allegations, London headquartered Amnesty International (AI) joined the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) to flay Sri Lanka. The LLRC commenced sittings in Aug 2010.  In a joint statement issued on Oct 14, 2010, the three organizations called for a genuine, credible effort to pursue political reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. Declaring that the LLRC had failed to meet what they called minimum international standards for commissions of inquiry, they said: “There is little to be gained by appearing before such a fundamentally flawed commission.”  “Accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka demands an independent international investigation.”

 Francis Boyle Yolande Foster & ??

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, doctoring evidence, foreign policy, governance, Indian Ocean politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, wikileaks, world events & processes

A Down-to-Earth Review of E-War IV and Its Literature

Michael Roberts, courtesy of an original article in 29 October 2015 in Sinhalanet with the title “Down-to-Earth: The Hard Truths of Eelam War IV” … a work that I could not have written in 2009 because I had to transcend  my office-room background and it has taken time todevelop a sharper understanding of the situation. That said, I am still limtied by my ilack of battle theatre experience.

“Just as in Kosovo if enough civilians died in Sri Lanka the world would be forced to step in” – Pulidevan of LTTE to a pal in Europe (quoted in Harrison 2012: 63).

Guided by a series of studies that I have indulged in over the years 2010-15, let me summarize my findings in point form. The focus is on the period 2008-to-May 2009.  However, four facets of the broad historical context must be stressed initially: (I) Prabhākaran had one goal only: Eelam and a separate state; (II) the LTTE used two ceasefire periods in 1995 and 2001-06 as recuperating periods for renewal of their war effort; (III) as Ben Bavinck and the UTHR reports have insisted, Thamilīlam under Prabhākaran was a fascist state; and (IV) the Rajapaksa government which struggled for survival against the LTTE proved the validity of the Marxist dictum that there is an unity in any contradiction: it  became distinctly authoritarian itself, albeit still populist in its self-convictions.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, doctoring evidence, economic processes, Fascism, gordon weiss, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, politIcal discourse, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, world events & processes, zealotry

A New Study of the Portuguese in the East

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya’s THE PORTUGUESE IN THE EAST: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF A MARITIME TRADING EMPIRE  is due in print soon, under the imprint of IB Tauris

:Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in the late fifteenth century opened up new economic and cultural horizons for the Portuguese. Undertaken at the height of Portugal’s maritime influence, it helped to create an oceanic state ranging from the Cape of Good Hope to China. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya charts the influences of the Portuguese in more than 50 Asian tongues. Luso-Asian influence became engrained in eastern cultures in subtle ways, such as the Portuguese oral traditions in folk literature, embedded in postcolonial Asian music and song. Portuguese cultural legacies are a lasting reminder of an unexpected outcome of seaborne commerce. “Jayasuriya’s use of music and linguistic innovations as a source for the history of the Portuguese presence in Asia opens new paths for other historians … an important contribution.” — João Vicente MeloJournal for Maritime Research

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Afro-Asian Hybridity across the Indian Ocean

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya

“Lost Narratives and Hybrid Identities in the Indian Ocean: Afro-Asians” has appeared in r print in Indi@logs Vol 4 2017, pp. 11-26, ISSN: 2339-8523

ABSTRACT of Article: The voluntary movement of Africans was concurrent with their involuntary uprooting, driven by the slave trade. Trade, colonisation and slavery have been drivers of migration, interconnecting people of diverse ethnicity globally. Afro-Asian communities are both historic and contemporary and, whilst Afro-diasporic communities in the Atlantic World are well recognised, the diasporas in Asia have only become visible in the last decade. Assimilation to the diversity of the Indian Ocean has contributed to this invisibility. With the loss of patronage due to changing political scenarios, African migrants have become disenfranchised. The dynamics of their identity, shaped by strong cultural memories bring out their African roots. This paper argues that diasporic consciousness of AfroAsians is expressed through their strong cultural memories. As people with dual belongings, identifying with both the homeland and the hostland, Afro-Asians are able to reconcile their hybrid identities. With the movement of Afro-Asians from the peripheries their subaltern voices are beginning to be heard. Their eclipsed histories and lost narratives are challenging the Atlantic model of African migration. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Christopher Hitchens in Perceptive Reading of the LTTE Defeat in May 2009

Christopher Hitchens,in Slate, 25 May 2009, where the title is “The End of the Tamil Tigers” … and where the chief by-line saysInsurgencies don’t always have history on their side” … See my brief NOTE at the end re the late Christopher Hitchens and note that the  highlights are my imposition

In the late fall of 1978, I was approached by a Sri Lankan Tamil rights group, which visited the office of the socialist weekly in London where I was then working and entreated me to pay a visit to their country. I say “their” country, though they actually referred to it as “Ceylon”: the British colonial name that continued to be the country’s name after independence in 1948. It was only changed in 1972. The word Lanka is simply the name for island in Sanskrit, and the prefix Sri has a connotation of holiness, and the alteration generally reflected the aspirations and preferences of the Sinhalese-speaking and Buddhist majority. So the difference in emphasis there was pretty large to begin with.

 Sri Lankan soldiers with the remains of what’s said to be Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran = pic & caption as in SLATE

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, Eelam, foreign policy, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, nationalism, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

American Power, American Shambles — Lanka 2009

Two Insights from the Sri Lankan scenario in early 2009 during the last stages of  Eelam War IV which I re-discovered in going through an essay based on a Skype chat with Gotabaya Rajapaksa and investigation among the US Embassy despatches to Washington open to the world via Wikieaks

A = Ambassador Robert Blake to Gota: “We are Americans. We will teach them a lesson and even bomb them if need be.” –– in response to Gotabaya’s scepticism about the Tiger leadership’s readiness to accept international intervention to save the threatened civilian  population in the remnant LTTE stronghold on the coastal shores abutting Nandikadal Lagoon [in the course of an amiable conversation on either the 11th or 15th April 2009

 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Indian Ocean politics, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry