Kim Wall and Mansi Choksi, in Longreads, May 2018 where the title is “A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers” …… How during a brutal, 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers failed the women soldiers who sacrificed everything to fight for a sovereign state for the Tamil minority [with a NOTE from the Editor, Thuppahi at the end]
“We went on our first reporting trip together to write about an emerging Chinatown in Kampala in 2015,” says Mansi. “And then the next year, I moved to New York, where she was living, so we would spend our afternoons working together.” Mansi and Kim traveled to Sri Lanka in 2016. Mansi recalls Kim’s dedication to telling the story of the women who fought with the Tamil Tigers during Sri Lanka’s brutal, 25-year civil war. “Kim genuinely fell in love with the women we were writing about,” says Mansi. “You can hear it in her voice, in the tapes of our interviews.”
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During m researches I discovered that the SIOT teams were a critical element in enabling the SL Army to outmanoeuvre the LTTE during Eelam War IV. Brigadier (Retd) Hiran Halangode has indicated[i] that General Sarath Fonseka was responsible for initiating this concept in 2001. He sent me a Memo written up Brigadier Ralph Nugera at some point in the past. Ralph Nugara (the correct spelling – altered in the military to rhyme with pronunciation?) is a Peterite whose skills were honed as a commando to the point where he led one of the special force units that crossed the Nandhikadal Lagoon on the night of 18th April 2009 and breached the fortified bunds of the LTTE on its eastern side. This was undoubtedly a remakable operation whihc demanded inovation and skill … as well as careful training beforehand against dummy embankments and defences re-rcreated well to the rear of the ongoing battles.
I was fortunate in being able to interview Ralph before he retired in 2017; but this item is presented without recourse to my interview or memories thereof.[ii] I present the Nugera Memo sent by Brigadier Halangode.
Filed under cultural transmission, education, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, performance, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes
In a riveting article in Asian Tribune entitled “Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics,” Stephen Long has assessed Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s contribution to Sri Lanka’ victory during Eelam War IV in this style: “With the precision of a skilled strategist, Gotabhaya decisively defeated the LTTE. With limited resources, the military intelligence network he put together to keep track of the terrorists was second to none; he literally had the country “wired” for real-time information-collecting and feedback to authorities.”
Filed under accountability, Eelam, historical interpretation, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, war reportage, world events & processes
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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Asiri Fernando, in Sunday Times, 12 May 2019, “Easter Sunday bombers used high-tech communication: Army Chief”
The terrorists who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings used a Swiss developed, highly encrypted mobile communication App named “Threema”, Army Chief Lt. General Mahesh Senanaayake told the Sunday Times. The mobile phone App boasts ‘best in the class’ end-to-end encryption and allows a user to generate a random Threema ID, thereby giving anonymity to the user, the product website claimed. The level of encryption used by the said App makes intercepting or decrypting such communications very difficult for Sri Lankan authorities with available technologies.
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Sanjana Hattotuwa, in Sunday Island, 28 April 2019, where the title is “It doesn’t make sense”
-Naren Hattotuwa – Easter Sunday.” … with highlighting emphasis being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi
A Scene from Christchurch … and Sri Lanka
On Monday, my 12-year-old son learnt his classmate had passed away at the Intensive Care Unit, a victim of one of the blasts in Colombo. My son’s mother and I grew up in the long shadow of the Black July anti-Tamil pogrom and the UNP-JVP violence in the late 80s. For many in our generation and older, there is a normalization of violence. This is often confused with getting used to or accepting violence.
After the Christchurch massacre in March, many Kiwis trying to get to grips with the scale of the violence unthinkingly said that since I came from Sri Lanka, I was far more used to dealing with terrorism. I suppose that’s in a way true. Mundane things done every day have their own logic and reason that no one from outside cycles of violence would understand. In Kabul, a city where so much is wrong and getting worse, I feel completely at home amidst the detours, convoys, checkpoints, occasional explosion, news of imminent attacks and sporadic gunfire – or the sound of an engine back-firing shrugged off as gunfire, obviously the lesser evil there. The assumption that the more time one spends with it, the greater the ease in dealing with terrorism is, however, untrue. Continue reading
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