Category Archives: political demonstrations

The JVP and Rajapaksa in Vidyodaya Politics, 1970s: Recollections

Chandre Dharmawardana …. [1] … [2]

Some of what I remember from the period that Mahinda Rajapaksa was at Vidyodaya University as a library assistant is as follows.  S. B. Dissanayake[3] was the leader of the Communist Party in the Campus at Vidyodaya University, now known as Jayawardenapura University. He asserted his power as soon as he became the student leader by launching a strike at the Hostel on a food issue. It was just a show of power because in fact the food was quite up to par.  Mahinda Wijesekera,[4] his brother and a Buddhist Monk were JVP leaders who were trying to flex their muscles. Mahinda Wijesekera was in the science faculty while S. B. Dissanayake was a student in the Business Administration Department.

Mahinda in his Vidyodaya days with friend Anura Dias B  at a pirit ceremony Continue reading

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Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where it is presented with a different title ….  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/histrionic-voice-as-spark-for-ethnic-violence-political-extremism/

Anguish and grief are powerful emotions that can contort and wrack a body. While ‘suggesting’ helplessness, the anguish that engulfs a person can also empower that person … and others connected to that person by commonalities of interest/emotion. In this manner anguish can transcend obstacles, generate waves of bitterness and swell into paths of retributory hate and punishment. The ‘little’ drops of tears can swell metaphorically into ‘waves’ – and even inspire enraged mobs (mostly male) bent on punishing the purported root of the tears, a recalcitrant Other, an enemy family or “community” deemed to be the cause of that expressive anguish or deemed to have transcended local norms. In southern Lanka that community can be a neighbouring caste grouping or ethnic group or religious group (Muslim Moor,[1] Hindu, Buddhist, Christian).

Let me highlight the argument by presenting an unusual juxtaposition.

  1. Expressive Grief displayed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman at a protest demonstration before David Cameron by persons whose kin have been missing in the course of Eelam War IV

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Against Extremism: In Defence of 26th January Australia Day

Greg Sheridan, in The Australian, Thursday, 2 February 2017, where the title is “If Australia day is Illegitimate, so are We”and visit http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/greg-sheridan/if-australia-day-is-illegitimate-so-are-we/news-story/eded818b24fa646b643829177fb1c6fa …..where there already are 155 comments

a-oz-day-22 a-oz-day-33Australia should celebrate Australia Day on January 26 because it is right to do so. It is the day modern institutions, in our case British institutions, entered Australian life. They have brought with them the entire institutional and indeed ethical framework of modern Australia. They brought the rule of law, individual human rights, independent courts, free media, multiple centres of power in government.

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Looking Back at DS Senanayake and the Gal Oya Project

Ajit Kanagasundram, courtesy Sunday Island 18th & 25th September 2016, where the title is “The Gal Oya Project 60 years on” … an essay supported by personal experiences and his father’s key role in this pathfinding development project. ALSO  go to http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/10/10/the-gal-oya-project-60-years-on/ for the same essay and significant blog comments therein. … Emphasis by highlights is my imprint Editor, Thuppahi

Not many people today remember the Gal Oya Project but for 20 years it was the showpiece of modern independent Ceylon. It was later overshadowed by more grand (grandiose?) projects like Mahaveli where billions more were spent but the Gal Oya Project remains the standard by which all other projects should be judged. The Gal Oya Project, moreover, stands as an exemplar as to how things should be done under ideal circumstances. The project was done and paid for within our own resources, managed by local administrators and completed on time and all major objectives relating to the clearing of forest, settlement of colonists and irrigation of land were accomplished.

kanagasundramK. Kanagasundram Continue reading

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The People’s War in Nepal and Martyrs, Living and Dead

marie-lecomte-tilouineMarie Lecomte-Tilouine, courtesy of http://samaj.revues.org/3018, where the title is “Martyrs and Living Martyrs of the People’s War in Nepal

Abstract: In Nepal, the Maoists’ armed wing (PLA) developed as a collective of martyrs-to-be, whose example was disseminated as soon as they fell through tributes, poems and ceremonies. Its dynamic relied on self-sacrifice rather than any heroic prowess, and acquired a strong power of attraction in that it fundamentally asserts that anyone, whether illiterate, poor or of the lowest status, is of ‘priceless’ value, and can contribute to the project to change the order of things by putting their lives at stake. The People’s War also brought about a wave of ‘Living Martyrs’, who survived the war and who are now busy recording their past experiences. They combine all the ingredients in terms of pathos and achievement to become historical figures and models for the future, while fallen immortals have already lost their individualities and play a collective and anonymous role.nepal-maoists-22-revo-in-asia  nepal-maoists-globalsecurity-org Pic from Global Security Org

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Analysing the Kashmir Imbroglio

Gerald H. Peiris, in an essay which is an abridged and up-dated version of Chapter 8 of G. H. Peiris: Political Conflict in South Asia (2013, a monograph published by the University of Peradeniya).

 Information on the Indo-Pakistan conflict pertaining to Kashmir being widely circulated in the context of the recent upsurge of their mutual hostilities has a distinct pro-India bias, mainly because the bulk of international news that reaches us tends to be filtered through the media of mass communication in the global ‘West’. The present crisis in Kashmir is, of course, the latest episode of a complex saga recorded from many perspectives, with no heroes and villains, an abundance of zealotry, and countless victims of circumstances. What is attempted in this paper is to present a brief but objective portrayal of this conflict in order to forestall the possibility of our views, here in Sri Lanka, being influenced by prejudice and ill-informed pronouncements on rights and wrongs. 

kashmir Kashmir — from internet kashmir-gerry Continue reading

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Extremisms in Lanka and Worldwide

Rajan Philips,  courtesy of The Island, 1 October 2016, where the title is With the West sneezing extremism, can Sri Lanka and others avoid catching cold?” .… Emphasis vvia highlighting is from The Editor,Thuppahi.

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, Donald Trump appears on the "Fox & friends" television program in New York. Trump on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 told a group of New Jersey Republicans he expects New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to make it through the scandals that are plaguing his administration. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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One would have thought that the old wisecrack needs to be reversed. The West may not be just sneezing, but has already got the cold, even worse, a bad fever of extremism. And that the worry would be if others can avoid the infection. Not so fast, says the wag, as there is quite a bit of Sri Lankan and South Asian sneezing and coughing going around, and we don’t need infection from the West to make matters worse. Jaffna’s Chief Protestor has signalled his periodical awakening from his chronic administrative sleep with the new “EzhugaThamizh” (linguists use ‘zh’ instead of ‘l’ for a unique Dravidian letter and sound) slogan. “Pongu” relates to the liquid state of matter, Ezhuga could be Freudian. Southern Chief Ministers are weighing in, or rising up, and the SLFP’s two-timing (between Mahinda and Maithri) Nimal Siripala seized on the sneeze from Jaffna to bark out a cough of his own on the inviolability of being unitary. Continue reading

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