Category Archives: Left politics

Dharmapala, Banda and Gunadasa as Central Figures in Dissection of Nationalist Authenticity

Harshana Rambukwella

Let’s begin with the book title. Why is it called ‘The politics and poetics of authenticity’? 

The title refers to the central theme of the book. It is primarily about why we think certain cultural practices are more authentic than others. How do such ideas come about? And what are the political implications of such notions of authenticity and what are the cultural and aesthetic implications of these notions as well? The poetics in the title refer to the second aspect of culture and aesthetics.

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1948-2019: Intertwined Trajectories summed up …. Sri Lanka and Personnel

  Michel Nugawela, in Daily Financial Times,  4 February 2019

In search of a story: Professor Simon Anholt, who coined the term ‘nation brand’, once asked, “If the hand of God should accidentally slip on the celestial keyboard tomorrow and hit delete and Britain went, who would notice and why?”  I would like to ask the same question of Sri Lanka. After all, good leadership is largely about providing people with a meaningful narrative – a cohesive story that weaves together the significant characters and events of a community or country into a plot that articulates who they are, and who they strive to be.

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The Split within the JVP in 1983 and the Programme of State Repression in the 1980s

Lionel Bopage, in Sri Lanka Guardian, 29 March 2019,where the title is The Frozen Fire’ — Art and Political Reality

There are diverse views about the politics of the JVP and the inherent limitations contained in their political discourse. In particular, many of the views that exist regarding the politics of comrade Rohana Wijeweera and his assassination have contrasting narratives. In such an environment, even coming forward to produce a cinema work like ‘The Frozen Fire’ is a matter that needs commendation and appreciation.

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Lakshman Gunasekara’s Reflections on the Political Turmoil in Late 2018: Three Essays

Lakshman Gunasekera

ONE. Lakshman Gunasekara: “Politics vs Constitutionalism,” in Horizons, 9 December 2018 …

When the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH, what a mouthful) began hosting conferences in those old-fashioned 1970s, we, the ordinary citizens hadn’t a hope of freely strolling into its premises (let alone its halls). One needed a conference invitation to enter the gates and some ‘delegate’ or ‘media’ tag to enter the main hall or ‘committee rooms’ (as they were quaintly termed then). Today, in our lower-middle-income country comfort zone, people are constantly streaming in and out of the BMICH, for weddings, exhibitions, conferences, convocations, concerts and seminars, all at the same time (and I am sure there is romance in those verdant gardens).    Continue reading

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Incisive Thoughts on the Presidency in Today’s Situation from Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips, in Sunday Island, 6 January 2019, with this title “Leaving Sirisena alone and finding a way to change the Executive Presidency”

There is redundancy in the 2019 air. Impeach, censure or force his resignation – all targeting Maithripala Sirisena for his rampant violations of the constitution in 2018. He deserves any and all of them. The question is whether he is worth the effort and energy that any one of them will involve. Impeaching him or forcing his resignation will only remove the man but will leave in place the institution of executive presidency that became Sirisena’s wrecking wrench. It would be more worthwhile to spend time in radically reforming the executive presidency than waste time getting rid of Maithripala Sirisena who will be gone in one year anyway. Keeping it simple, leave Sirisena severely alone and keep targeting the executive presidency.

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Anne Abayasekara’s Sturdy Witness to Our Troubled Times

Suvendrini Kanagasabai Perera, in Island, 26 December 2018, where the title reads In the thick of it: Anne Abayasekara, Unfaltering Witness. Review of book – ‘Telling It Like It Is’emphasis via highlights below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Reflecting on her life at an address to the Rotary Club in 2012, Anne Abayasekara made a telling comparison between the life of the creative writer and what she described as her own “enduring love affair with journalism”: “The distinctive feature about journalism … is that in writing for newspapers, you don’t sit in solitude, but have to be out on the street, in the thick of people and events.”

Anne Abayasekara spent over 65 years in the thick of it, thoroughly enmeshed in a world she relished and clearly loved, but nonetheless viewed with great clarity. Her extraordinary career spans Independence in 1948 (she attended the festivities as a young reporter for the fashion pages), the three grim decades of the war and the unpromising peace that has succeeded it. Through it all, she held up a mirror to the society she loved, bearing witness to its atrocities and most egregious failures, as to its small acts of grace and moments of beauty. This carefully distilled selection of her writings provides an important snapshot of this period. At the same time, emerging from its pages is a picture of the writer herself: a spirited, large-hearted, deeply humane woman, characterised, above all, by a rare, sustained courage. Continue reading

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Re-positioning Uyangoda et al in the 21st Century Political Dispensation

Vinod Moonesinghe … with highlighting being impositions of The Editor, Thuppahi, whose “NOTE” at the end is also pertinent

The judgement of the Supreme Court, whatever the motives of the judges, is broadly perceived by the mass of people as being detrimental to democracy, (a) by putting back in the seats of power a regime which had proved itself not only incompetent, but venal, and totally dependent on the diplomatic corps of the Western powers; and (b) by preventing the people from voting.

The people whom Uyangoda mentions as being “committed to civil liberties”, people who opposed what they called a “constitutional coup,” were voluble in presenting themselves as “acting in the interests of democracy”, not of Ranil Wickramasinghe, in fact only appear to be committed to the civil liberties of the elite. Continue reading

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