A Note received from Gerald Peiris, Friday 15th November 2019 … 12.56 pm
Gota, I think is going to be a definite winner, despite all the anti-Rajapaksa propaganda, Al Jazeera being just one source of such viciousness. Throughout the campaign Gota maintained a sense of dignity and balance (vis-a-vis the subject of ethnic relations) and has provided hope for the future of the country replacing the widespread despair that prevailed earlier. Sajith has been so hopelessly bad in his platform performances, sounding more like an undergrad firebrand contesting at a university student council meeting, focusing (to an incredible extent) on the theme of what a great guy he is.
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Ivan Amarasinghe to Michael Roberts –a personal communique dated 15 November 2019 which I have taken the liberty to publicize …. deploying our common groundings at St. Aloysius and Ivan’s wide cosmopolitan experience
Over the last six weeks, I have been doing the rounds at all levels: 1. grass roots peasantry in Colombo and Galle, 2. Plantation Tamil sector in the Central and Southern provinces, 3. villages from Hikkaduwa, Galle, Akmeemana, Baddegama, Deniyaya, Akuressa, Weligama, Unawatuna, Habaraduwa and along the coast up to Hambantota, Beliattha communicating with local people; 4. the peripheral urban Sinhala Buddhist areas, 5. the inner Colombo Black-Whites; 6. Local MPs; 7. Governor of Southern Province (being my cousin who sided with MS in 2015!); doing the flood relief activities with him and the various Provincial and Local Council heads while staying in his official residence and being an “embedded” traveller in his official vehicles.
Ivan with the Catholic Bishop of Galle Revd Wickramasinghe, and Dr Ramesh Pathirana, and Malcolm Gunasekera
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The recent political debate on SOFA, MCC etc (see Roberts 2019) highlights the place of KOGGALA in the Western imperial map of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The British airfields at Katunayake Trinco and Koggala were part of the imperial defence system – a geo-political ensemble that became even more significant after the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in WW Two marked vulnerabilities not envisaged till then.
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I recently circulated a whole set of articles by some Muslim scholars (located in the Eastern Province and abroad) as well as a few others in Western universities — mostly written in the 2011-19 period. I am beginning to go through them slowly when I can carve out time for this set of tasks. A few have focused on the incidence of crime and communal violence in the post 2009 period.
What strikes me on reading these ventures is the limited degree of reading of past works that has been pursued and the appalling gaps in their background – lapses which also impinge on their comments on the death toll in the last stages of Eelam War IV.
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Kieren Shafritz De Zoysa’s Essay “Sri Lanka: My Cultural Connections” … submitted for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition … written just before he was among those killed by a Muslim bomber at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on Easter Sunday 21/4/2019**
The tropical sun burns bright. On my way to school, red and black buses full of office workers, tuk-tuks of all colours, Porsches, Land Rovers, and BMWs crowd the roads. There are few road rules. I pass a speeding blur of white colonial buildings, ancient banyan trees, old elegant homes behind high walls, short ladies pushing trash carts, small kadeys selling cream crackers and sodas, and road-side hawkers offering freshly plucked red rambutans, golden yellow mangoes, young orange coconuts. Steel and glass office towers stand high over small houses. Cranes rise above expensive new apartment buildings. Occasionally I see a Buddhist monk in orange robes. Lonely, stray dogs roam the streets and sidewalks scavenging for food, near tourists who turn bright lobster red taking selfies in front of thousand-year-old temples.
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ONE ISSUE: to what extent has EXTREMISM been nourished by the particular electoral structures we have had from 1947 to 1977 and then from 1978 to 2015/19?
Comment from Ivan Amarasinghe in UK, 12 November 2019
Perhaps the piece that is cutoff had too many thorns, roughness, irritability and even poisonous to the welfare of the Lank-et wearer!
The guy seems to say “better a loin cloth / amudey than a fully covered thorny Lank-et.