Category Archives: language policies

Hatreds. Chasms. Bill Deutrom’s Insights on the Political Impasse in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, 15 December 2018, where the title is different

    pro-UNP rally

Email Note from Bill Deutrom in Lanka to Michael Roberts, 8 Dec 2018

Thank you, Michael for your amazing collection of articles on the Eelam War and its aftermath as well as the present political impasse. Alas, they will not convince people who have already made up their mind based on emotion, ethnicity or with a hatred for Rajapaksa. Continue reading

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Sam Samarasinghe’s Postscript to the Raging Debate in Colombo Telegraph on His Previous Essay

 Sam Samarasinghe aka Stanley WR de Samarasinghe, with this NOTE in Colombo Telegraph: Some of you may have read my article titled “A Way Out of the Crisis to Save Sri Lanka’s Democracy” that appeared in the Colombo Telegraph on December 7th. It elicited a fairly significant response. The format of Colombo Telegraph allows for dialogue and discussion of a topic. Making use of that I prepared a response partly to answer some issues and questions that some of the correspondents raised. Colombo Telegraph has published my response. …. A Response presented here with highlighting emphases imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

I am thankful to all those who contributed to the dialogue following my article published in the Colombo Telegraph on December 07. I will not attempt to respond to individual comments. But taken in its totality the discussion raises some important issues relating to governance in Sri Lanka in the context of the present crisis.

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Victor Ivan’s Contentions on the Present Crisis: Two Essays

 ONE: “The present crisis is likely to end up in a serious disaster,” in

Of the Executive Presidents who ruled the country prior to Maithripala Sirisena, J.R. Jayewardene and Mahinda Rajapaksa can be described as those who mostly and increasingly exhibited the majesty and the prowess of the post. Both had adequate powers to do so. In fact, J.R. Jayewardene boasted that the only thing he could not do was to make a man a woman and vice versa.

 President Maithripala Sirisena is not equipped with powers to do what  he is doing at the moment

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Sri Lanka’s Political Story from 1948-2018 in a Slash-and-Burn Nutshell

Qadri Ismail, in Groundviews, 3 November 2018, where the title is “WHAT, to the minority, is democracy?” ….with emphasis insertedby the Editor, Thuppahi

Maithripala Sirisena violates the constitution, stands to destroy democracy itself. Liberals, overwhelmingly Sinhalese, are aggrieved, appalled, aghast.

As a minority, I laugh. Not the happy laughter of someone enjoying a good joke. But the bitter, mirthless cackle of someone forced to read this script many times before – like every full moon, when the temple speakers blare its bana and you can’t blot out the noise with sleep because the liquor stores are closed.

All postcolonial Sri Lankan heads of government, all of them Sinhalese, have consistently violated the constitution and/or “threatened” democracy – usually by practicing it – and/or oppressed minorities. One could deem it a job requirement.

Just a few months after independence, Don Stephen Senanayake denaturalized, then disenfranchised ‘Indian’ Tamil citizens, already alienated from this country by their naming. Constitutional? Probably not. Democratic? Absolutely – passed by a majority of Parliament. Continue reading

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Sri Lanka’s Withering History. Without a Hattotuwa or a Fukuyama!

Richard Simon, whose preferred title is “The End of History, Again” ……. —  A parody which is presented in this blog viz,……………………………………. http://notesfromceylon.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-end-of-history-again.html — a site which I encourage you to visit …. Note that I have inserted highlighting emphases to assist readers.

Hattotuwa  A Tiger Cub resembling Hattoyama?

A Tiger Lad going on duty -Pic by Shyam Tekwani circa 1989

Someone for whom I have great respect asked me to write my reaction to this essay by Sanjana Hatthotuwa in the Island. I do so somewhat unwillingly, since the kind of writing it represents is ordinarily of no interest to me. This is because I view, historical processes (including, inter alia, all social and political processes) as being beyond human control. It is true that humans, both individually and in groups, can grasp and sometimes make use of these processes to further their own ends, but in doing so they unavoidably change both the process and its results. And these changes and effects are not fully predictable by anyone. Hence my deep conviction that socio-political activism is at best ambiguous in its effects, and at worst downright dangerous.

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Politics without Principle in Sri Lanka, 1948-1992

John Richardson. reproducing a chapter in Arun Gandhi, Ed., W orld Without Violence (1993) which is entitled “The Seventh Blunder: Politics without Principle. Lessons from Sri Lanka” ++

 FR Jayasuriya fasting unto death in support of SINHALA ONLY … 24 May 1956

The world began to experience a wave of political change in 1989.  Entrenched authoritarian regimes in many nations have crumbled in the face of popular dissatisfaction with repressive policies that failed to deliver on promises of economic opportunity.  Many nations are now experimenting with the forms of democracy: popular elections to choose leaders, accountability of leaders to elected parliaments, freedom of expression and freedom to compete for power within organized political parties.[i]

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Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka and Sinhalese Perspectives: Barriers to Accommodation

Michael Roberts …. reprinting an article drafted in Heidelberg in 1976 and published in the MODERN ASIAN STUDIES in 1978  … with the pessimistic forecast in its concluding paragraphs being informed by seminar discussions in SRi Lanka in the early 1970s, an article by Martin Woolacott in the Guardian Weekly and news items in UK indicating that young Tamils were receiving military training with the PLO.

Bandaranaike stirring a crowd and Mettananda addressing a crowd of Sinhalayo on Galle Face Green pressing for the Sinhala Only Bill

It is widely recognized that the concepts of ‘state’ and ‘nation’ developed largely out of the history of Europe. In Western Europe the process of state-building preceded and assisted the process of nation-formation. In consequence, the concept of the nation that developed from this process focused on the political community as defined by the institutional and territorial framework. In the tradition of Rousseau, Abbé Sieyes could define a nation as ‘a body of associates living under one common law and represented by the same legislature’.[1] In most lands of Western Europe these developments also produced the model of a single nationality nation or nation-state. In Central and Eastern Europe, the process was different: ‘the nation was first defined as a cultural rather than a political entity’ and the underlying theoretical foundation was in the tradition of Herder rather than Rousseau.[2] Nevertheless, once nationhood had been achieved in these regions there was a tendency to approximate to the model associated with Western Europe. This was made all the easier in such states as Italy and Germany because the majority of their citizens were from one ethnic group; they, too, were single nationality nations.[3] Whatever the dualisms and amalgams in Europe, the export model has been that associated with that of Western Europe—for the simple reason that the predominant colonizing powers were from this part of the Continent.

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