Category Archives: life stories

Life and Death for SL Army Infantrymen on the Vanni Battlefront

Sinha-Raja Tammita Delgoda[1]

As a layman who blundered into a war of his own volition and someone who has lived in and worked in the Weli Oya border region for 6 months,[2] I think you are absolutely right in your stress on the difficulties encountered by infantry soldiers and the critical relevance of specific landscapes. Let me quote relevant segments from one of the Manekshaw papers published by India’s Centre For Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

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Infantry Warfare and the Final Phase of Eelam War IV: Where Laymen Blunder into Infantile Assessments

Michael Roberts

 In his typically feisty style Mark Salter has taken issue with the characterization of a statement in his To End a Civil War as “infantile”  (within an article based on the Lt Col Gash files[1]). [This protest is now reproduced at the end of this essay as well]. Salter’s assertion is from an UTHR report which in turn is based on appraisals provided by Tamil civilians who survived the last stages of the war. Here I address both Salter and Rajan Hoole, a friend of mine and the central figure behind the exhaustive 2009 UTHR reports.

Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the LTTE separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu…Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu, northeast Sri Lanka, March 26, 2009. Pictures taken March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (SRI LANKA POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

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SBD de Silva: Marxist Scholar Extraordinary … Sharp Mind, Simple Life-Style

Gamini Seneviratne,  courtesy of The Island, 18 June 2018

SB who passed away last week at the age of 93 was undoubtedly the foremost analyst we have had of what his principal work defined as “The Political Economy of Underdevelopment”.  In that work, first published in 1982, as the blurb puts it, Dr. de Silva dealt with the theory of underdevelopment as he attempted a synthesis between the internal and external aspects of underdevelopment. In the Marxist tradition he focused on the impact of the external on the internal as the dominant reality.

Front Cover
RoutledgeMay 23, 2012 – Business & Economics – 646 pages

First published in 1982, this reissue deals with the theory of underdevelopment, as Dr. de Silva attempts a synthesis between the internal and external aspects of underdevelopment and, in the Marxist tradition, focuses on the impact of the external on the internal as the dominant reality.Viewing underdevelopment as a problem in the non-transformation to capitalism, this analysis is in terms of the character of the dominant capital and of the dominant classes. Underdevelopment thus encompasses the ‘traditional’ peasant economy and also the export sector where the ‘modernizing’ influence of colonialism was felt. The book finally considers how the contemporary internationalization of capital affected the economies of the Third World.

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Aussie Troops in Afghanistan deploy Nazi Emblem and generate Furore

Naaman Zhou, in The Guardian, 14 June 2018, where the title runs Nazi flag on Australian army vehicle ‘utterly unacceptable’, Turnbull says”

Malcolm Turnbull and the Department of Defence have condemned Australian soldiers who flew a Nazi flag above an Australian army vehicle in Afghanistan. Leaked photos taken in August 2007, obtained by the ABC, show the vehicle flying a flag emblazoned with a swastika during operations. Defence confirmed that the photos were genuine, and said they “rejected everything the flag represents”.

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Woollacott’s Insight in 1976: Tamils set for Guerilla War and Secession

In sorting through my papers I came across a news cutting that is historically significant. Here was one occasion where a visiting journalist deciphered a developing scenario correctly. That I retained the clipping in papers relating to an article  I drafted in 1976 is also significant. These circumstances are clarified briefly at the end of Woollacott’s piece. It is fitting that he should hold centre stage ((though, alas, Alamy have put a price on the only photograph I can find of Woollacott)…. Michael Roberts

Tamil satyagrahis being foricbly removed from Galle Face Green by Sinhala enthusiasts in 1956 during the former’s protest vs the Sinhala Only Bill … 1956 or thereabouts (see Victor Ivan: Paradise in Tears … http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2009/12/20/paradise-in-tears-%E2%80%93-new-edition-by-victor-ivan/)

 Ponnadurai Sivakumaran of Urumpirai was a budding resistance fighter who committed suicide by cyanide in 1974 when trapped by police. He is embodied here in high profile with SJV Chelvanayagam of the Federal Party as the embodiment of resistance to oppression. As such, he reflects the strands of Tamil thinking that Martin Woollacott discerned in 1976. Note that the Tamil New Tigers or TNT had been formed in 1972 and metamorphosed into the LTTE in 1976. In the meanwhile the Tamil United Liberation Front under SJV Chelvanyakam adopted the Vaddukoddai Resolution on 14 May 1976 calling for a separate state of Thamililam.

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June 16, 2018 · 4:29 am

Gregory Peck: Peyaawa for Peck from His Pal Victor

Victor Melder, whose preferred title is “The Truth about Gregory Peck and Peyawa”

In 1953 my father, Randolph (Rando) Melder, was stationed as Driver, CGR in Kadugannawa. We occupied a ‘Railway Bungalow’, besides the rail tracks bordering the Kadugannawa – Pothupitiya Road. A rail gate was situated by our home too. In early 1954 the movie “Purple Plain” was on location in Sri Lanka and much of the filming was done at Kadugannawa, at the outskirts of the town, on the Colombo- Kandy Road (Peradeniya end). An entire Burmese village was recreated in an area of a fallow paddy field. It was fascinating watching the village come up, with the local villagers supply plants, timber etc, all for a fee.

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Diehard Tigers Unpunished: Swiss Federal Court negates Its Prosecutors

News Item from Swissinfo,ch … where the title is  “No jail for Swiss Tamil Tiger financiers”

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has given no prison terms to alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). The 13 accused were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted. The court on Thursday said accusations of participation in and support of a criminal organisation did not stand and released all of the accused.

It noted that the hierarchical link between the LTTE and WTCC was not sufficiently established. The judges also felt there was not enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal organisation.  Continue reading

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