Category Archives: Rajapaksa regime

Thomas Meaney, A Review Article, courtesy of the Author and the London Review of Books,… with emphasis by highlights added by The Editor, Thuppahi … SEE www.lrb.co.uk

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Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World by Steven Kemper, Chicago, 480 pp, £31.50, January 2015, ISBN 978 0 226 19907

Tamil: A Biography by David Shulman, Harvard, 416 pp, £25.00, September 2016, ISBN 978 0 674 05992 4

The Seasons of Trouble: Life amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan, Verso, 368 pp, £16.99, October 2015, ISBN 978 1 78168 883 0

Independence was handed to Ceylon’s elite on a platter. ‘Think of Ceylon as a little bit of England,’ Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the first native governor-general, said. This was a point of pride. Don Stephen Senanayake, the country’s first prime minister, remarked: ‘There has been no rebellion in Ceylon, no non-cooperation movement and no fifth column. We were among the peoples who gave full collaboration while Britain was hard-pressed.’ After independence in 1948, Ceylon alone among the former colonies not only retained but promoted the monarchy: the Union Jack flew alongside the Ceylon flag; a new constitution was drafted by a former LSE professor, Ivor Jennings; Colombo debutantes were presented at Buckingham Palace; and, thanks to some genealogical ingenuity, George VI was recognised as the latest monarch in the ancient line of Kandyan kings. While the rest of the empire in Asia smouldered – in India there was Partition, in Malaya the Emergency, in Burma the civil war – Ceylon became Whitehall’s model for the transfer of colonial power. ‘There was no fight for that freedom which involved a fight for principles, policies and programmes,’ Solomon Ridgeway Bandaranaike, the anti-colonial head of state who took power in 1956, said when he reviewed the transition a decade later. ‘It just came overnight. We just woke up one day and were told: “You are a dominion now.”[1] Continue reading

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February 10, 2017 · 1:03 pm

The Limits of State Sovereignty and R2P: Gareth Evans in Colombo, Mid-2007

Gareth Evans: “The Limits of Sovereignty: The Responsibility to Protect in the 21st Century,”  being the Neelan Memorial Lecture of 2007 …. see vital NOTE at the end clarifying the context and inviting responses.

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Today more than ever, on this eighth anniversary of his assassination, Sri Lankans and those in the wider international community need to remember and be re-inspired by Neelan Tiruchelvam’s life and achievements. While we can no longer benefit directly from his remarkable intelligence and learning, his boundless energy, his political commitment, and his optimism, we do still have his spirit living among us in the ideas and institutions he gave us, and in the example he set for us of an engaged intellectual and a principled politician.

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HRW in Syria and Sri Lanka: Moral Fervour generating Political Blindness and Partisanship

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is different and reads as “The Political Bankruptcy of the Western Human Rights Lobby: Their Stance in Syria & Sri Lanka in Juxtaposition.” I anticipate lively blog-comments therein –with the usual quota of disparaging ‘assassinations’.  Highlighted emphasis in RED in the version below is my work.

 A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled “What Trump Should Do in Syria,” Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas” with Russian backing. In his reading the enormous civilian death-toll is the product of the regime’s deliberate strategy, Besides generating an outflow of refugees, he says that the consequence will also produce an escalation of Islamist extremism. 

As an outsider with a limited knowledge of the extremely complex Syrian and Middle-Eastern ground situation, what strikes me about Roth’s declamation is its one-sidedness and its simplifications. It slides over the impact of US and NATO bombing runs. It implies that the extremism of ISIS, Al Qaida and other forces who are challenging the Syrian dictator is an outcome of the latter’s policies and says little about (a) the Sunni-Shia rivalries that are one aspect of the complex politics in Syria and the Middle East and (b) the repercussions flowing from the American dethronement of Saddam via invasion.

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Lucien’s Spicy Pot Pourri: LSSP and Hambantota

Lucien Rajakarunanayake,  courtesy of Daily News, 17 December 2016, where the title is “Hambantota moves in step with the Nation” … with highlighting emphasis added by Editor Thuppahi

Hambantota was the stuff of patronage politics under the Rajapaksa Regime. Since then it has been the subject of economic strategy, to find ways and means of getting the Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport to function with some contribution to the national economy; instead of continuing to be examples of the wasteful expenditure of the past.

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Constitutional Issues via Architectural Form: Sharp Interest from People, Somnolence from Politicoes

Sanjana Hattotuwa, courtesy of The Island, 3 December 2016, where the title is “Corridors of Power” … with highlighting emphasis inserted by Editor Thuppahi.

I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember a time when I was so frustrated with the Rajapaksa regime’s blatant disregard for the constitution that I wondered how best I could communicate a critique of power to even those who would vote for, and loved him. This was after the 18th Amendment, late 2010. I was interested in a way to engage with what I hated to see come about, in full knowledge, at the time, that those opposed to what Mahinda Rajapaksa did were in a minority. I had one relatively successful previous attempt which suggested when instead of presenting a contrasting opinion, which can be variously, violently and immediately dismissed, a way to debate the substance of a contentious issue is created, a rather different timbre of engagement ensues.

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Disappearances and Torture in Sri Lanka, 2011-13 … or Thereabouts: Soundings and Question-Marks

Michael Roberts

In studying the blog-comments on “Sinhala Mind-Set” and presenting the lot for public scrutiny a specific claim by a person identifying himself as “Flloyd” caught my attention. Whether Flloyd is a Tamil is of lesser moment than his allegation. It is the sort of claim that is widely peddled by reporters and VIPs who drop in and fly out after short stays and have the clout to reach a worldwide audience – for instance Roger Draper in the National Geographic and Greg Bearup in The Weekend Australian recently.   Thus prodded,  I took the initiative to test the degree of validity that we could attach to this type of assertion by approaching a selected body of personnel (mostly Sri Lankan) via a one-on-one letter presenting the QUESTION repeated here [in blue].

“I came across a blog comment from one “Flloyd” in April 2013 which adopted a reasonably moderate stance on the ethnic situation in the country but which also presented this assertion: “The presence of an organized rebel group is no more, but the Tamils continue to be tortured, raped, and killed by the state. Many still mention the brutality of the rebels, but in no way can that justify the current situation, as the rebel activity is gone.”

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Gamage on USA’s Machinations in Support of the Tamil Tigers

daya-profile-pixDaya Gamage, via review notice in Asian Tribune with title New book discloses U.S. machinations that globally- revived Tamil Tigers”

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