Category Archives: LTTE

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

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Nirupama reviews A Powerkeg in Paradise

 Nirupama Subramanium, courtesy of http://www.sangam.org/2010/08/Powderkeg.php?print=true

Disappointingly for an “insider account”, there are no major revelations in the book; it is a faithful narrative of what is already in the public realm about the ceasefire and written carefully, striking a balance between the government and the LTTE, with the decisions/actions of both sides called into question.

A POWDERKEG IN PARADISELost Opportunity for Peace in Sri Lanka… by …  Jon Oskar Solnes; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., A-149, Main Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092. Rs. 750.

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Kumar Sangakkara’s Many Steps towards Reconciliation and Sensible Institutional Governance

Michael Roberts

In July 1983 Chokshanada and Kumari Sangakkara – in step with some Sinhalese, Malay and Burgher and other Sri Lankan families and in implicit opposition to the actions of Sinhalese people of violence –sheltered a number of Tamils who were in severe danger from the assaults on person and property that was a frightening element of the pogrom that occurred then. Many Sinhalese families in the central and southern districts protected their neighbours and/or friends in this manner. In conjectural manner, one can say that humane considerations and cultural traditions of alms-giving and amity informed such actions — a dimension of riots/pogroms in southern Asia that has been sidelined in historical studies of various “riots” in southern Asia. Perhaps inspired thus and perhaps encouraged also by the ecumenical spirit nurtured by his parents as well as Trinity College, Kumar and Yehali Sangakkara have continued this line of enterprise. In a significant step Yehali was beside Kumar when he visited St. Patrick’s College in Jaffna in April 2011 during the World Cup.

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“Demons in Paradise” at Cannes: Jude Rutnam in Firing Line

Hindustan Times,  http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.htmlhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.html

 Jude Ratnam is worried how his film might go down with his fellow Sri Lankan Tamils. And he has a point. Demons in Paradise, which is premiering at the Cannes film festival, tells of the bloodbath that drove some Tamils to take up arms in the three decade-long insurgency that tore the island apart. But the documentary also shatters a taboo by insisting that some of most horrific violence the minority endured was at the hands of their supposed defenders, the Tamil Tigers.  And the “hard truth” comes from the mouths of former Tamil fighters   themselves.

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Jane Russell on Sri Lankan Political History in Debate with Kumarasingham’s Readings

From London the historian and scholar  Jane Russell has entered an extensive set of comments on Harshan Kumarasingham’s Heidelberg essay of 2013 –reprinted in Thuppahi in 2014. Given its length and Russell’s background (see below) it deserves wider exposure in the hope that debate will be promoted. I am therefore deleting its original location and posting it as a separate item.

 Russell  Kumarasingham

  1. HARSHAN KUMARASINGHAM”s “The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence: ‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’,”  is an interesting paper with which I broadly agree, despite a tendency by the author to sacrifice judgement in favour of rhetoric. However, Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham has gone for the elegant historical narrative rather than seeking to explore and analyse some of the more nuanced, underlying factors that may help to understand the spiralling of Ceylon, cited by the British as ‘ the Premier Crown Colony” at independence in 1947, into Sri Lanka, characterised by the west at the turn of the 21st century as a terrorist-riven semi-failed state. I hope the following will help to redress this.

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Honouring Sri Lanka’s Dead Servicemen

Pramod De Silva, from Daily News, 19 May 2017, where the title is They still live on” … Note Queries at the end from Editor, Thuppahi

A soldier never really dies. He lives on in our hearts. A soldier’s mission never ends, not even in death. One of my favourite war anecdotes has a 10-year-old boy asking a World War II veteran “how does it feel to be a hero?”. His reply: “Oh, son, I am not a hero. We buried all the heroes, I am just a survivor”.  No surviving soldier can ever forget his or her comrades in arms who perhaps died right next to them. Their devotion to friends and colleagues who made the Supreme Sacrifice is simply indescribable. Yet, soldiers fall in every battle. Others make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain. They charge ahead and win the battle. They do not seek glory, nor do they seek fame.

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