Sachi Sri Kantha, in Ilankai Tamil Sangam, 9 February 2014, … http://sangam.org/stanley-jeyaraja-tambiah-1929-2014/
Category Archives: racist thinking
Stanley J. Tambiah
In writing about the Gal Oya riots, it would not be possible to give a meaningful and chronological account of the happenings if one were to confine oneself to only what one saw with one’s own eyes. I am taking the liberty of presenting an account based on direct knowledge as well as indirect information elicited from persons. However I shall carefully specify and differentiate between statements based on events witnessed by me and statements based on accounts given by others in the valley at the time of the riots. Care will be taken to state the sources of the facts narrated.
The Gal Oya disturbance cannot of course be treated as an isolated phenomenon. It must be viewed in the general context of communal tensions and political differences existing in the country and also as a continuation of disturbances that started in Colombo during and after June fifth. The account given here however deals only with incidents that happened in the Eastern Province. Continue reading
A dangerous confession: I have been a Murali-sceptic for some time. This is not something that should be admitted, in public or otherwise, if you are Sri Lankan and fear being lynched. Make no mistake, I am no Murali-denier. Who can possibly deny the man’s genius, his artistry, and his quiet dignity? But when first I saw him in 1995, bamboozling the Kiwis in Sri Lanka’s first Test series win abroad, my reaction was that there was dodginess at work – dodginess concentrated around the elbow region. I wasn’t the only one.
At the time I hadn’t read the rules on what constituted a chuck, but it seemed to be all about elbows: whether they straightened or whether they bent. My view of chucking mirrored conventional views on pornography: hard to define, but I would know it when I saw it.
For those, however, who saw Murali, who truly saw the man’s wizardry, there is far more to him than a curious elbow. The eyes that glare like an All Black mid-haka, the wrist that flaps at improbable angles and, unseen by most, the shoulder that all but dislocates at the point of delivery.
A Melbourne teenager [name withheld] from a middle-class background had “expressed violent loathing of non-believers and likened Shia Muslims to cockroaches” in his Facebook and Surespot rantings. He had gone further and gathered the material for a pressure cooker bomb –activities which have seen him tried and sentenced to a seven-year jail term (see The Australian, 8 Dec 2016)
There is dark paradox here: a highly particular ideologue has deployed a universal pejorative. Continue reading
Current conflict in Sri Lanka is explicable by nothing less than an analysis of Sri Lanka’s entire history. But “all history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself,” says Emerson. In his article “Sinhala-ness and Sinhala Nationalism” Dr. Michael Roberts presents a broad but concise ‘culturalogical’ perspective of the development of Sinhala consciousness between the 16th and 20th centuries. This helps us to better understand today’s events in Sri Lanka that are mostly justified in the name of history and culture.
There was a continuing force of oral story telling and poetry among Sinhala people until the mid-twentieth century. However, faced with the task of superimposing capitalism on a feudal (or Asiatic type) set-up, the British colonialists proceeded with building infrastructure needed for the capitalist economy, bringing the country under one administration and making English the language of administration. Against this background, Michael explains how various communities such as Burghers, Jas, Yons and Ceylon Tamils came to occupy niches in that socio-economic order.
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.
David Aaronovitch, courtesy of The Times, 17 November 2016 & The Australian, 17 November 2016, with the former bearing the title “The West has only itself to blame for populist revolt”
At the time of his death, Alan Kurdi seemed to be a harbinger of something else. Washed up on a Turkish beach last year, his lifeless body symbolised a suffering that could no longer be ignored. This tragic consequence of mass migration, mostly involving Syrians fleeing the civil war, was going to be the moment when a conscience-pricked world would do something to help. No more – Alan has an altogether different significance now. The insurgencies that gave us Brexit and the Trump presidency have gestated over many years. But the proximate cause of both, I believe, was not economics or wage inequalities but the events of 2015.