Category Archives: Rajapaksa regime

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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Chandraprema on Gnanasara Thera in 2014

C. A. Chandraprema, in …5 July 2014,  with the title “Gnanasara Thera & the UNP” — a repetition of this article from 2014 in the light of Dayan Jayatilleka’s recent intervention and the clutch of news items and articles on hate-speech and Sinhala Buddhist –Muslim tensions

Last week, the cat jumped out of the bag when the US Embassy in Colombo cancelled Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera’s US visa. When this writer asked the US embassy in Colombo in a previous column how this monk had gone to the USA after he had begun this campaign of hatred and incitement of violence, we assumed that he had entered the USA on the kind of single entry visitor’s visa that ordinary mortals like us get after answering a whole string of questions and producing copious documentation. Now it turns out that he had a five- year multiple entry visa which had been granted to him in 2011 and had not yet expired. The US authorities appear to have panicked that if this monk made another visit to the USA on this visa in the middle of all this controversy, their role in all this mayhem would be badly exposed.

 Gnanasara Thero Continue reading

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Target Incitement to Violence – Deploy Gota’s Capacities

Dayan Jayatilleka, courtesy of The Island, 21 June 2017, where the title is  The issue is incitement: The BBS, Champika & the Gota factor” … with highlighting being the work of The editor, Thuppahi

The entire discussion or debate about the BBS, Gnanasara Thero and extremism is missing something. The discussion confuses ultra-nationalism, chauvinism, Islamophobia and extremism with the real issue: incitement to violence. Whether an ideology is extremist or not is one issue, but it is an issue that is difficult to resolve. What is far easier to resolve, legally and morally, is the issue of whether or not an action or statement constitutes an ‘incitement to violence’ against an individual or a collective.

 Gnanasara Thero Ranawake

It is morally slippery to avoid the central issue that is present before our very eyes, namely incitement, and instead to shift attention by merely equating all forms of chauvinism and denouncing them all equally. Continue reading

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Volatile and Grim Economic Prospects for Sri Lanka: Three Voices

Sam Bresnick, in Daily News, 19 June 2017, with title “Economic Endeavour : Uncertain Road to Recovery” … with highlighting being the work of The Editor Thuppahi

It is no secret that Sri Lanka is currently navigating choppy economic waters as it shifts strategies in an uncertain moment in the world economy. The move towards private sector-led growth and away from public sector-sponsored development is, according to several economists, necessary given the government’s debt situation. But that does not mean that the transition has been seamless or easy. On the contrary, Sri Lanka is going through growing pains as it tries to jump start its export industry and attract foreign-direct investment (FDI).

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Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

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Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/deciphering-religious-rivalries-in-south-and-southeast-asia/

 Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi) 

The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading

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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.

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