Category Archives: power politics

Bomb Blast as Ideological Assertion

Raffaello Pantucci, courtesy of The Telegraph, 23 May 2017, where the title isCars and knives are easier to use, but bombs will always be central to terrorist thinking” **

Terrorism has a predictable brutality to it. And yet, the idea of a bombing is something that still surprises us when it happens. The attack in Manchester in some ways appears a flashback to a different time when the terrorists we worried about detonated bombs, rather than using vehicles as rams or stabbing people. The reality is that terrorism’s only constant is its desire to shock and kill. For any group or ideology, the fundamental point is to make yourself heard as dramatically as possible. Groups and individuals will use whatever tools they have to gain that attention.

 The successful use of a bomb is unusual among recent terror attacks CREDIT: JOEL GOODMAN/LNP

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, cultural transmission, historical interpretation, immigration, Islamic fundamentalism, life stories, Middle Eastern Politics, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, vengeance, world events & processes

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Heed Raffaello Pantucci on Homegrown Jihadism

Greg Sheridanin The Australian, 24 May 2017, where the title is “Manchester Terror Attack: Endless Cycle of Jihadism” … with emphasis by highlights being the intervention of The Editor, Thuppahi

A crowd of mostly teenage girls, as innocent as young people can be, at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. It’s everything jihadist terrorists — from Islamic State to al-Qa’ida to the Taliban — hate most about the West, and everything that declares the innocence of youth and the pleasure of music in public spaces. The savage attack — believed to have been carried out by a lone male suicide bomber, leaving at least 22 dead, 60 injured and more fatalities likely — demonstrates the stark realities of the terrorism war. First, the terror threat in Western societies is not diminishing. Every so often the West gets weary of the terror story, develops terrorism fatigue and wants to declare the peak of the threat has passed. This is not true.

 Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena yesterday after reports of explosions. Picture: Getty Images Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, atrocities, australian media, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, life stories, Middle Eastern Politics, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, vengeance, world events & processes

Jane Russell on Sri Lankan Political History in Debate with Kumarasingham’s Readings

From London the historian and scholar  Jane Russell has entered an extensive set of comments on Harshan Kumarasingham’s Heidelberg essay of 2013 –reprinted in Thuppahi in 2014. Given its length and Russell’s background (see below) it deserves wider exposure in the hope that debate will be promoted. I am therefore deleting its original location and posting it as a separate item.

 Russell  Kumarasingham

  1. HARSHAN kUMARASINGHAM”s “The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence: ‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’,”  is an interesting paper with which I broadly agree, despite a tendency by the author to sacrifice judgement in favour of rhetoric. However, Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham has gone for the elegant historical narrative rather than seeking to explore and analyse some of the more nuanced, underlying factors that may help to understand the spiralling of Ceylon, cited by the British as ‘ the Premier Crown Colony” at independence in 1947, into Sri Lanka, characterised by the west at the turn of the 21st century as a terrorist-riven semi-failed state. I hope the following will help to redress this.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under communal relations, economic processes, education policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, language policies, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, teaching profession, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes

China’s Transcontinental Pathways … and Indian Ocean Issues for Lanka

Philips and Kurukulasuriya … and other items

I > Rajan Philips: “One Belt-One Road from China, but no Bridge to India: Lanka’s Development Dilemmas,” Island, 20 May 2017

Even as he bade farewell to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of his Vesak visit, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was all but ready to take flight to China to attend the economic summit of the 21st Century. This was Beijing’s big splash on the world economic map, and one that India chose not to officially attend. Japan was another boycotter. A number of Indian business and think-tank figures went to Beijing as ‘unofficial delegates’, and they were critical of their government’s decision not to send at least an official delegation. 130 countries marked their presence at the two-day (May 14-15) event in Beijing, including 29 state and government leaders. Even the Trump Administration, despite its spiralling turmoil in Washington, was represented in Beijing.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, energy resources, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, military strategy, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under atrocities, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, life stories, modernity & modernization, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, riots and pogroms, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, vengeance, violence of language, world affairs

Nuvara Yugayē Sinhala Bava reaches the Bookshelves

  bearing ISBN 978-955-665-161-4 in the year 2016 … with the translation being the result of the labours of Anura Hettiarachchi and Ananda Wakkumbura. The original work is entitled Sinhala Consciousness in Kandyan Period, 1590s-1815, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under atrocities, British imperialism, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

The Forgotten People: Malaiyaha Tamils of the Plantations and Hill-Country

Meera Srinivasan, from The Hindu, 18 May 2017, where the title runs The long journey of a forgotten people”

“Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils want to be seen as rightful citizens, not passive beneficiaries”

 Estate workers in late 19th century

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally on May 12 with Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils, on the second day of his two-day visit to the country, was a success, if you went by conventional markers such as the crowd he drew or the cheers that arose from it. But its real outcome is rather limited compared to the wide-ranging needs of the historically neglected community. That an estimated 35,000 people from in and around the central highlands converged on the small town of Norwood – many walking over 5 km since buses clogged the narrow roads — partly reflects the affinity the Tamils feel for India, from where their ancestors moved to Sri Lanka about 200 years ago. Moreover, hill-country politicians put in their might to mobilise workers, campaigning widely across the tea estates that employ a fourth of the over one million-strong community.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, electoral structures, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, language policies, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes