Category Archives: Muslims in Lanka

The AUSTRALIAN ‘Umpire’ bats for Sajith and depicts Gota as Anti-Democratic Ogre

 Amanda Hodge in The Weekend Australian, 16 November 2019, where the title runs Sri Lanka election dilemma: democracy or the dread of dynasty”

Ahead of Sri Lanka’s polarising presidential elections on Saturday, an editorial tinged with desperation in the Sunday Observer newspaper urged voters “to keep the lights on in Asia’s oldest democracy. Vote to keep the journalists in this newsroom and newsrooms across the country, who are trying to be truth-tellers, safe from harm,” it said. “There are 35 candidates on the November 16 ballot paper, but a presidential election is ultim­ately a choice between two candidates. One of them terrifies us.”

Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa with the Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalist party on Wednesday during the last political rally before heading to the polls on Saturday. Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images.

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Violence in Sri Lanka: Slipshod Scholarship

Michael Roberts

I recently circulated a whole set of articles by some Muslim scholars (located in the Eastern Province and abroad) as well as a few others in Western universities — mostly written in the 2011-19 period. I am beginning to go through them slowly when I can carve out time for this set of tasks. A few have focused on the incidence of crime and communal violence in the post 2009 period.

What strikes me on reading these ventures is the limited degree of reading of past works that has been pursued and the appalling gaps in their background – lapses which also impinge on their comments on the death toll in the last stages of Eelam War IV.

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Sinhala Buddhist Storm Clouds in the Present Presidential Race

ACL Ameer Ali, in Colombo Telegraph, 25 October 2019, … and Financial Times, 26 October 2019, with this title, “Political Buddhism, Presidential Race & Minorities”

Although the origins of political Buddhism in Sri Lanka goes back to the 19thcentury, it was harnessed as an election winning tool in the 1950s by the founder of SLFP, SWRD Bandaranaike. It was from him that even the CIA is said to have learned to politicise Buddhism to entrench American power in Southeast Asia (Eugene Ford, Cold War Monks, Yale University Press, 2017). From the 1950s onwards, political Buddhism has become a permanent feature of in Sri Lanka’s ethno-democracy. In a sense, political Buddhism adopted a military face during the Rajapakse regime between 2005 and 2009 when it confronted an armed nationalist Tamil militia, and the absolute victory in that confrontation added an element of pride to politicised Buddhists. 

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Bathiudeen and Hakeem Arm-in-Arm

Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Island, 27 October 2019, with this title “Hakeem-Bathiudeen United Front”

That the Rajapaksas were responsible for the political advent of Rishad Bathiudeen (RB) and his All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) is a widely believed theory. It was supposed to counter the political monopolization of the Muslim community by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and its leader and Rauff Hakeem (RH). Nevertheless, recent events indicate that may not be the case. When push comes to shove, they seem to be operating in unison, protecting and defending each other.

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Narendran’s Critical Dissection of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Victory Day Speech on 18th May 2009

Rajasingham Narendran, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, 19th May 2009, where the title is “A Response To The President’s Address On Victory Day”

I read with much interest the President’s ‘Victory Day’ speech at the Galle Face Green, yesterday [18th May 2009], reproduced in CT.   While I agree with much of his recount of recent history, there are glaring gaps in the story he recalled.  Further, he has failed to address the current concerns of the victims his forces liberated, at all.  I have selected some sentences and sections from his address to express my concerns.

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The Political Machinations of the Deep State and Their Imprint on 21/4

Rajan Hoole

Our history of impunity, especially since the ascent to power of J.R. Jayewardene in 1977, brings us to the strange and largely un-mourned disappearance of the law. The Easter eruption, the evidence suggests, was a gamble the protagonists stumbled into in confronting the arithmetical realities of the coming presidential election. Their expectations appear to have gone awry. What transpired was in effect, a second attempt at disenfranchisement, this time of the Muslims. The Plantation Tamils were disenfranchised in 1949, as a follow up to the 1948 Citizenship Act.

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PK Balachandran’s Evaluation of Presidential Stakes: Sajith vs Gota and the Implications

PK Balachandran, in Sunday Island, 20 September 2019, with this title What’s in store for Lankans with Sajith and Gotabaya vying for the Presidency?”

On Thursday, after a month-long bitter inner-party struggle, Sajith Premadasa was nominated as the ruling United National Party’s candidate for the November 16 Sri Lankan Presidential election. The entrenched faction led by party Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to bite the dust eventually, and grant Deputy Leader and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa the party nomination “unconditionally.”

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