Category Archives: island economy

Sri Lanka as Lilliput Isle between Two Giants

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 19 May 2019, where the title runs “Sri Lanka caught in the big power conflicts”

When elephants fight, an African proverb says, it is the ants that get crushed. In essence that encapsulates how the small and weak become dangerously vulnerable when big powers fight for dominance and even hegemony. That is Sri Lanka now.

President Maithripala Sirisena returned from China on Thursday after adding another explosive chapter to this big nation power play. His Media Office head-lined a statement saying, “three significant agreements with China on national security and development were signed.” However, there was no mention of what these agreements were or the different titles.

Bilateral talks on security between China and Sri Lanka under way Continue reading

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An Incisive Summary of Factors that enabled the Easter Bloodbath

General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”

While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.

1 What went wrong?

At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading

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Missing the Boat. How Religio-Political Divisions have Deepened

A Letter from Rohan De Soysa in Colombo to Michael Roberts in Adelaide, 9th May 2019

I’d like to suggest a different angle. We have a Minister for Buddhist religious affairs, another for Hindu religious affairs, yet another for Muslim religious affairs and still another for Christian religious affairs.  Then there are Governors for the various provinces: Eastern Province, Western Province, Northern Province, Southern Province etc.  They have been provided deputy ministers, offices, staff, bodyguards, cell phones and vehicles, etc.

Should they not monitor and observe any untoward teachings and undesirable tendencies in what comes under their purview, namely places of worship and education, catering to their specialized religions? Why did they not do so? Isn’t it about time they did?

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Intelligence Network Failures in Sri Lanka

Siri Hewawitharana, in Asian Tribune, May 2019, with this titleSL Death Cult and Political Corruption that created this monster”

I present a few details re the SL state security apparatus during the war period some details about the major work that started after the war with the goal of creating better defenses for the SL state

There were many engineering talents helping SL military with signal, satellite and other cyber warfare work during Eelam War IV. Gotabaya was instrumental in installing a single command structure for all 3 services and the police. In fact, he also asked me to help with the Army Research and Development group by servicing a suitable command structure and product development.

… a caricature that is not Hewa’s but one introduced by The Editor, Thuppahi to attract attention to this article. See note at end

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Ultimate Loyalties: Sri Lankan Muslims in Lanka but beyond the Nation

Rajeewa Jayaweera in a Comment that responds toa QUERY from Michael O’Leary addressed to Ameer Ali

Michael, If one contributes to the absurd theory, [that] only those who returned from Saudi Arabia make up the radicalized elements in the Muslim community in SL; there is no sensible and meaningful answer to O” Leary’s question.

If however, one can look beyond the theory of “Peace-loving Muslim Community,” it would be easier to understand. Those who went to Saudi Arabia were mostly from the impoverished segment of Muslim society. They worked as housemaids, laborers, etc. and had nil to minimal educational qualifications. Many returned radicalized in a manner of speaking. Women who covered their heads when they left returned covering their faces. Those who did not adhere strictly to praying five times a day earlier would not dream of missing a single prayer session after their return. Watching movies, even musicals became taboo after their return. Continue reading

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The Transformation of Muslim Politics in Sri Lanka and the Growth of Wahhabism from the 1980s

Ameer Ali,** courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, where the title is “Anatomy of An Islamist Infamy”

The Easter carnage that consumed the lives of nearly two hundred and fifty innocent worshippers and bystanders including children, opens another chapter in Sri Lanka’s post-colonial bloody history of communalism and majoritarian rule. Unless one is prepared to accept this fundamental flaw in the nation’s political development and remedy it sooner rather than later the future may become even bloodier. Sri Lankan masses, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or Burghers, are not to be blamed for this tragic history and they should be kept out of the equation. Instead, the political and religious leadership must bear full responsibility for laying the path of democracy with bloody bricks. 

  a madrassa

The Easter mayhem, is now becoming increasingly clear, as the result of a combined failure of a Muslim leadership which was in a state of denial for decades and a government in a state of paralysis. The first part of this analysis will deal with the Muslim variable. Continue reading

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A Muslim Lankan’s Thoughts on the Atrocities and Their Implications

Irfan Husain, in Sri Lanka Guardian, 29 April  2019, where the title isJihadis in Sri Lanka

Whenever there’s a terrorist attack anywhere, I pray that Muslims weren’t involved. And if they are, I cross my fingers and wish none of them were Pakistanis. In the horror stories emerging from Sri Lanka, I seem to have got my second wish. However, this is scant consolation for the mayhem unleashed by a little-known Islamist group, the National Towheed Jamaath (NTJ), backed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

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