Category Archives: modernity & modernization

Canadian Cha-Cha-Cha: Genocide Claims

Chandre Dharmawardana, in Colombo Telegraph, 5 July 2019, where the title “Two Alleged Genocides – And Canada’s Claimed Support For Conflict Prevention In Sri Lanka”

David McKinnon, Canada’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka  has stated, on Canada’s National Day  that  “Canada would continue to support conflict prevention efforts in Sri Lanka, where  it has been seen how hate speech and media can entrench communal divisions”.  Meanwhile back in Canada, successive Canadian governments have failed to understand how this very “hate speech” is being entrenched in Canadian municipal discourse and even in parliamentary proceedings by militant diaspora groups. They wish to replay the old ethnic animosities of their homeland  in Canada too.

fervent demonstrations in Toronto mounted by Canadian Tamils in 2009 … presaging recent claims

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Andrew Fidel Fernando’s Encounters and Travels in Sri Lanka

 Arjuna Ranawana reviews “Upon a Sleepless Isle” by Andrew Fidel Fernando

Fans of Andrew Fidel Fernando will be surprised, and those who are new to his writings, delighted. The well-known Cricket writer, a returnee to Sri Lanka, has written a book, “Upon a Sleepless Isle,” in which he travels through the country, crisscrossing the island on buses, tuk-tuks, scooters and bikes. In doing so he reveals a deep love for this land and its peoples as well as its most exasperating idiosyncrasies.

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Premkumara De Silva,** in The Midweek Review of The Island, 17 May 2005, where the title runs ” Anthropology of ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ “

The disciplinary identification of “Buddhism” in Sri Lanka as an anthropological object began in the late 1950s as part of a growing field of “peasant” or village studies in South and Southeast Asian societies. In Sri Lanka, the work of Gananath Obeyesekere, Edmond Leach, Michael Ames, and Nur Yalman is central to this inaugural moment. These anthropologists have identified the integration of the diverse beliefs and practices of Sinhala Buddhists within a religious worldview that is in accordance with fundamental Theravada Buddhist teachings. Within this academic exercise Obeyesekere insisted on the term “Sinhalese Buddhism” to convey the idea of full variety of religious practice, popular and esoteric, in Sri Lankan Buddhism. He argues that Sinhala Buddhism should be seen as “a single religious tradition”, and not as composed of separate “layers” to be analysed in isolation from each other.

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Washington’s Arm-Twisting via Trade exposed by Daya Gamage

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 14 June 2019, where the title is “”GSP as a ‘bait’, Pompeo in Sri Lanka to push the (SOFA) military deal”

Washington – quite obviously to fulfil one of its foreign policy objectives in the Indo-Pacific Region – is sending a high-level delegation next week to Sri Lanka to discuss the ‘continuation’ of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with the government when the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is scheduled to visit Colombo in the following week on June 27 at a time Sri Lanka has expressed some skepticism of several (highly questionable) terms of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the US wants Sri Lanka to accept.

Mike Pompeo 70th incumbent Secretary of State

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Remembering SBD de Silva: A Scholar in Every Fibre

Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta, in Sunday Island, 16 June 2019, where the title reads “One Thing Leads to Another – Memories of a Great Guru”

SBD de Silva, at 92, acted like he would live forever. To the very end, he kept drafting in almost imperceptible scribble – with pen or pencil, whatever being handy, glasses falling off his nose, peering over some text or daily/weekly newspaper – filling an A4 until no blank space was left, and then, so as not to break his concentration or the sentence, without looking, reach for another blank…

Like Scheherazade of the 1001 Nights who had to keep narrating to save her life until each dawn, so did SB, by day and by night, keep writing as if fresh insights, expressed in perfect words, would make him immortal. Yet, ambushed he was by impermanence. But such dedication to his craft and to the country was sheer dream to witness, let alone to hope to emulate, yet must be upheld as a beacon of scholarship for future generations.

 SBD de Silva (1926-2018) at a diplomatic reception in the 1950s. His classic, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, tracks our own economic history midst that of the world.

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SOFA — American Boots in Sri Lanka in ‘Soft Power’ Insertion

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 6 June 2018, with this title “U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Report 2019: Military presence to secure ‘Homeland’.”

Coinciding the Asia Security Summit – the Shangri-la Dialogue – in Singapore in which US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was the major participant, on June 1 Washington released the 2019 the Trump-Defense Department-designed Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, labeling Asia the ‘priority Theater’, and explicitly declaring, the U.S. enhanced military presence in the region is to “protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life”.U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 1, 2019 – All about Military and Defense issues..

Similarly, the first sentence of the report itself (“The Indo-Pacific is the single most consequential region for America’s future.”) could not be more explicit.

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Diving into Amarasingam’s “Terrorism on the Teardrop Island”

Hassina Leelarathna

In a tweet about his article “Terrorism on the Teardrop Island: Understanding the Easter 2019 Attacks in Sri Lanka,” Amarnath Amarasingam says he’s taking “a deep dive into everything we know so far about the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka” and that he’s providing “new details” along the way. After plumbing the depths of that “deep dive,” I have these comments.

The Wellampitiya bomb factory discovered in early 2019

Jihad in South Asia

Says Amarasingam

  • “The Sri Lanka attacks may be early evidence that the Islamic State is taking an important and renewed interest in South Asia, following losses in Syria and Iraq.”
  • “With respect to what the Sri Lanka attacks may reveal about the Islamic State’s strategy going forward, two factors are important. First, the author has been asked many times since the attack why the Islamic State would go out of its way to target a small island like Sri Lanka. This is largely the wrong question. As has been seen in Dhaka, Quetta, and other places that have experienced recent attacks, it is not so much that the Islamic State is targeting these countries as it is accepting allegiances by local groups who want to bridge localized grievances with a more transnational brand. As such, it is not that the Islamic State targeted Sri Lanka, but that groups like the NTJ are aligning their cause with international terrorist groups.”

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