Category Archives: NGOs

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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Waduge’s Summary Survey: USA’s Hands in Sri Lankan Politics, 1950s-2019

Shenali Waduge, in LankaWeb. 1 November 2019, where the title reads “US in Sri Lanka since 2015 – turning Sri Lanka into a Neo-Colonial Military Base”

Ever since a regime change was choreographed in 2015 January, the US has been using its lackeys in government to exert tremendous influence in 3 areas – Sri Lanka‘s economy, Sri Lanka‘s Parliament and Sri Lanka‘s armed forces. Based on media articles, press releases and whatever other information has been made available to the public, an overview of the extent to which Sri Lanka’s sovereignty has been compromised can be deduced. Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation and Sri Lanka must uphold that sovereign status. Any new government must understand the fundamentals of what it means to be sovereign and ensure national policy is drafted to ensure that and for any gain that sovereignty is not compromised.

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Dr Susiri Weerasekera: A Man for All Seasons

Michael Roberts

A chance finding of an old article that I had written on “dedicated medical work” on both sides of the battlefront during the last stages of the war brought vibrant memories of Dr Susiri Weerasekera into my mind. Getting to know him well after I visited the Friend-in-Need Society opposite the Gangarama at Colpetty in mid-2010, I can assure all readers that he was a man to have alongside one in adversity. We became warm friends over the years.[1] My admiration for his dedication towards humankind, his industry, patriotism and sagacity is unbounded. He is alive still I believe; but I write in the past tense because he lapsed into a state non compos mentis about two years back and I find it distressing even to seek information on his state of body and mind.

This is a valedictory memorial in several parts.

Dr Weerasekera standing 2nd from right facing us with a visiting dignitary at the FINS buildng

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Presidency Stakes: “Devolution is the Key Issue” says Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera, in The Island, 26 August 2019, with this title “A Presidential Candidate the People want”

The main opposition party, the SLPP, was the quickest off the mark to propose its candidate. Their candidate, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has the advantage of being both a known and unknown quantity. On the one hand, he is known as being one of the primary architects of the military defeat of the LTTE, once believed to be an undefeatable politico-military force and enjoying local and transnational support. On the other hand, as a former army officer and public servant, his performance as a politician is untested and unknown. In the context of the widespread disillusionment against established politicians, this is an advantage to which the SLPP’s political opponents need to find an answer.

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UN Aid Workers in the Crucible of War, 1989-92: William Clarance’s Fascinating Account

Michael Roberts, in SOUTH ASIA¸ Sept 2008, 31: 394-96 reviewing Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.

This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field. 

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Retd Brigadier Halangode highlights Alan Keenan’s Misrepresentation

A NOTE from Retd Brigadier Hiran N. Halangode (of Gemunu Watch)

Michael   [Alan Keenan’s recent press release] is a typical tale of the sort of stories peddled in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The socio-economic conditions prevailing in the neighbouring districts of Uva and the North Central Provinces are very similar.  These INGOs spread unfavourable messages about the country when the government is bending backwards to Reconcile. It is the Tamil politicians and INGOs that spread distorted versions of the state of the country in those regions without doing any productive work themselves. I have attached a website reference http://www.cimicjaffna.com/Cimicnews_2019_04_04.php to show you what the Army is doing in the North to bring about  resettlement, rehabilitation and reconciliation.

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The Divided Island debated by Chatham House in London, 17th January 2018

Chatham House Public Notice: “A Divided Island: Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Crisis” … 17 January 2019  1:00pm to 2:00pm ……………….Chatham House | 10 St James’s Square | London | SW1Y 4LE ….. NB: “Chatham House” is The Royal Institute of International Affairs

Overview: …… A decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war, the country has recently been plunged back into turmoil. A constitutional crisis created by the sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe by President Maithripala Sirisena, and a plan to replace him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, paralysed the country’s legislative and executive branches as both Wickramasinghe and Rajapaksa claimed the office of prime minister. Against this background, the panel considers how Sri Lanka’s opaque domestic politics is reflected by the government’s slow progress toward its pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to address accountability and political reconciliation emerging from the country’s 26-year civil war. Looking forward, will Wickramasinghe pursue reconciliation, and accountability for past abuses? And what will Rajapaksa’s disputed return to frontline politics mean for a nation still reconciling the violence of its recent history?

LONDON, UK – Apr 19, 2017: Metropolitan police officers on duty at 10 St James’s Square The Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House

 

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