Category Archives: Muslims in Lanka

Revamping Lanka’s Government Structures? CTF Proposals In. Prospects Dim.

Sanjana Hattoruwa,  in The Sunday Island, 7 January 2017, where the title is “A Report on Reconciliation“… with the highlighting below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

chandrika manouri-muttetuwegama

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Last week, the Consultations Task Force (CTF) handed over its final report to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunga. It was supposed to be handed over to the President. However, he wasn’t present at the ceremony, on a date and time his office had negotiated after many delays spreading over months. As widely noted, the CTF comprised of eleven members drawn from civil society and was appointed by the Prime Minister in late January 2016, to seek the views and comments of the public on the proposed mechanisms for transitional justice and reconciliation, as per the October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, you would expect the PM, whose brainchild the CTF was, to be present at the handover ceremony. He wasn’t either. Continue reading

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Anthropology and History in the Mix in Political Analysis

Muralidhar Reddy, in Frontline, Vol 26/20, Sep. 26-Oct. 09, 2009, a review article

Michael Roberts’ collection of essays on Sri Lankan identity is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere polluted by callous accounts.

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SRI LANKA, a country of 20 million-odd people of distinct identities, is witnessing a series of momentous events in the post-Prabakaran period. Michael Roberts’ latest book is a collection of 13 analytical essays, most of them written by him an d others edited by him, on the much-debated issues of collective “Sri Lankan identity” and the cultural roots and ideology of the majority Sinhala and minority Tamil nationalisms, and a detailed study of the projects of Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933), a staunch Sinhala Buddhist who made a conscious effort to swim against the tide and launched a full-throated campaign against British rule and Christian missionaries.
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The Muslims in Sri Lanka: Trends, Dangers, Failures

ameer_ali-140x150ACL Ameer Ali,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is Paranoia & Paralysis: The Buddhist-Muslim Tragicomedy” …  Note that the highlighting emphasis below is that of the Edito , Thuppahi

The military victory led by an overwhelmingly Sinhala-Buddhist army over the tyrannous LTTE in 2009 has, among other things, injected in the minds of certain sections of the Buddhist community that Sri Lanka belongs only to the Sinhala Buddhists and others are permitted to live here only at the behest of the Buddhists. This twisted ideology which is now developing into an anti-Muslim, anti-Christian and anti-Tamil paranoia is totally contradictory not only to the noble teachings of the Enlightened Buddha but also and more significantly to the millennial historical tradition of ethnic and religious tolerance indelibly engraved in the long legacy of the island’s Buddhist monarchs. To deny this historical truth is to court intellectual dishonesty.

sinha-le-15-feb-ss maha-jaatiya-image

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Gems and Nuggets within the Commentary on SINHALA MINDSET: Reflections

Michael Roberts

A chance event led me to study the comments responding to “Sinhala Mind-Set,” one of the signature ‘tunes’ introducing my web-site thuppahi.wordpress.com – the other being WHY THUPPAHI. The present collection of responses has been cast in spasmodic fashion between 2009 and 2013. They are from Sri Lankans for the most part, with Mel Glickman, Jane Russell and one “Duque” being the only personnel outside this specific ‘embrace’ of nationality. Several facets of the information and thinking inscribed in these comments are pertinent to the situation facing Sri Lanka in the 2010s. I have therefore presented them again with significant segments highlighted to assist or stir readers, while proceeding to add reflections of my own in this companion piece. The aim is to promote provoke debate.

1364002696fea9-4 ssinhala-ness

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The Terrain of War: Ahmed and Thiranagama. From Outside and Inside

aa-bart-of-melbBart Klem, a Review Essay courtesy of South Asia Multidisciplinary Journal, at https://samaj.revues.org/3853 where the title is “Victory’s Categories, Contingent Histories: Re-visiting Sri Lanka’s Ethno-separatist War”  …the books under review being (A)  Ahmed Hashim (2013) When Counterinsurgency Wins: Sri Lanka’s Defeat of the Tamil Tigers, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 280 pages. (B) Sharika Thiranagama (2011) In my Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 320 pages.

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Ahmed Hashim’s When Counterinsurgency Wins (2013) and Sharika Thiranagama’s In my Mother’s House (2011) may appear similar at first sight. Both books look back on Sri Lanka’s ethno-separatist war; both pay close attention to the rise and fall of Tamil militancy; and both are published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. However, in crucial ways, they are opposites. Hashim’s book is a military analysis focusing on the Sri Lankan government’s victorious campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Thiranagama’s is an ethnographic account of how Sri Lanka’s Tamil and Muslim society were irreversibly transformed by the war.

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Debilitating Political Ignorance in Sri Lanka’s Populace?

Sanjana Hattotuwa,  from The Island, 8 October 2016, where the title is The new constitution that may never be”. .. Emphasis below via highlighting is an imposition by the Editor, Thuppahi.

Gramsci spoke of the pessimism of intellect and the optimism of will. How does this relate to Sri Lanka today? The deafening silence around the process of constitution making, justified by key architects as inevitable in order for progress around tenacious issues to be made, indicates to all but the most delusional the reform process has little to no traction in the public imagination. This is a problem. Basic intelligence suggests a process as vexed as writing a new constitution, without public traction or debate, dumped by government elites for approval just before a referendum risks confusion at best and opposition or rejection at worst. And yet, Sri Lanka really needs a new constitution.

If the constitution expresses the will of the people, it needs to be one that guides us away from the structures of power and identity that led to what we are still hostage to – a violent, racist State, largely unable as a first step to even recognise the degree to which it excludes and discriminates. The optimism of will, when embodied in a constitution, is what can guarantee to the extent possible a better future for all citizens, independent of what government, Executive or Prime Minister are, say and do. Continue reading

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Discontent and Confrontational Violence in Sri Lanka, 1948-2009

Gerald Peiris, being Chapter 7 from his book Political Conflict in South Asia (2013, University of Peradeniya)  — a chapter based on his previous writings  [1]

 The survival of the principle of representative government based upon universal adult franchise since its introduction to the constitution more than eighty years ago while ‘Ceylon’ was still a colony of the British Empire is a feature often accorded prominence in scholarly discourses on the political history of Sri Lanka. Over the first three decades after independence (1948) the regularity of peaceful transfers of power from one regime to another, based upon the will of the people as expressed at national elections, was also widely acclaimed as a feature that made Sri Lanka unique among the emergent nation-states of the post-colonial era. The radiance of that achievement has, of course, dimmed considerably in the more recent past, due mainly to the violation of democratic norms in affairs of governance, and the intense rivalry that features the sub-national disputes which often find expression in confrontational violence.

1958-riots-22  Scenes in Colombo from 1958 riots after OEG led crackdown1958-getty

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