Category Archives: political demonstrations

Reconciliation via Cricket and Charity? The Political Ground is a Waterlogged Minefield

Michael Roberts

It is possible that Velupillai Pirapaharan remains a revered leader and symbol of the nationalist drive for Thamililam among some Tamils residing within the island f Sri Lanka today – even though they are circumspect in expressing such thoughts in public. Indeed, it is possible that some Tamils in the island worship him as a deity in the manner espoused in some quarters abroad by Tamils of the diaspora (see image below).

So, how does one measure the political reverberations of the well-meaning efforts towards reconciliation and the bridging of the Tamil-Sinhala divide delineated in several essays presented recently[1] in THUPPAHI?

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Anguish!! Reading Mike

 Image from http://sangam.org/sachis-files-chapter-4-2/ by Sachi Sri Kantha, 16 October 2015,

When the essay “Anguish as Empowerment …A Path to Retribution” was presented on the 22nd March 2017, I received several private email comments from good friends. My recent little essay on Ëxtremist Cricket Fans” has led me to look over this set of remarks and a tirade of sorts directed at me by an embittered Tamil nationalist named Kathiravan espousing the cause of Eelam in February 2011 in the Blog Comments within Colombo Telegraph (and rehashed by me in Thuppahi = see ……………………….……………. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/an-angry-tamil-kathiravan-confronts-roberts/).

The unsolicited readings are too valuable to lie in the cupboards and I am waxing bold by presenting them to the world without the permission of my friends within the present reflections on EXTREMISM. Continue reading

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Narrating Tamil Nationalism: Subjectivities and Issues

 Michael Roberts,  being a reprint of a review article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, s., Vol. XXVII, no.1, April 2004 …… with a review of this essay by Bandu de Silva having appeared earlier Thuppahi. The version here has highlighted emphasis to aid the reader –clearly a ‘work ‘in 2017.

     ONE

Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, now regrettably with his maker, remains Sri Lanka’s leading political scientist, with numerous books associated with his name. He had secured eminence as early as the 1970s, when attached to Peradeniya University, and this reputation enabled him to move to a Professorship at the University of New Brunswick around 1972. It was his considerable scholarly reputation that encouraged the president of Sri Lanka and leader of the right-wing United National Party, J. R. Jayewardene, to utilise his consultative services in the political negotiations and constitutional engineering that occurred in the period 1978–83. His participation was facilitated by K. M. de Silva, a confidante of the president as well as Wilson’s long-time friend.

 Wilson     KM dde Silva Continue reading

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July 19, 2017 · 3:39 pm

Fire-Storm Images, I: The Sinhala Tamil Gulf Emerges

SWRD Bandaranaike woos a crowd on Sinhala language enthusiasts 

Bandaranaike was an eloquent speaker in both English and Sinhala. This image captures his rhetorical vigour while on the stage… Continue reading

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Al-Jazeera and Laksiri Highlight Rise in Anti-Muslim Mayhem in May

ONE: Al-Jazeera Item, “Sri Lanka; Buddhist leader stokes anti-Muslim tension,” May 2017, 

A manhunt is on in Sri Lanka for a hard-line Buddhist leader after a series of attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses that authorities accuse him of encouraging.  President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim hate crimes after assuming power in 2015, however, attacks have escalated over the past two weeks. Another Muslim shop in the town of Kahawatte was reportedly burned to the ground this week by unidentified attackers.

Galaboda atththe Gnansaara Thero

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General-Secretary Galagoda Atte Gnanasara has encouraged his Buddhist supporters to lead another campaign against Muslims following the deadly Aluthgama riots in June 2014, which attempted to create disunity between Buddhists and Muslims.  Less than 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s population of 20 million are Muslim. The majority are Sinhalese Buddhist, while most Tamils are Hindu.

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When Violence is inscribed into Everyday Politics in Lanka

Gananath Obeyesekere, a reprint of his 1984 article “The Institutionalization of Political Violence,” from James Manor (ed.)  Sri Lanka in Change and Crisis (Ed. James Manor, 1984 …   courtesy of  Kathika Sanvāda Mandapaya .. where it is presented in two Parts

In Colombo on 26 July Air Lanka, the country’s only airline, put out its usual television advertisement, ‘Visit Sri Lanka: A Taste of Paradise’. This commercial, with pictures of brand new hotels with expanses of beach and ocean and tables overflowing with lobsters and tropical fruits, routinely appears, but on this occasion the advertisement was not in the best taste. The paradise isle was in flames, the houses and business establishments of the minority Tamil community were being systematically burnt and looted by well-organized mobs belonging largely to the lumpen proletariats of the cities and small towns of Sri Lanka. The brutality was unbelievable: homes and shops were set alight, cars were doused with petrol and lit, sometimes with the occupants inside; some people were hacked to death, others burnt alive. Thirty-five political prisoners were killed by irate regulars in the country’s maximum security prison. The next day, 17 more were slaughtered in the same manner. There was a total breakdown of law and order in the nation that had been touted by foreign governments as the model of stability, the apogee of free enterprise. A few days and the illusion was shattered: the house of cards had crumbled.

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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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