Category Archives: reconciliation

Ernest Renan as Pathway to National Reconciliation in Australia

Stan Grant, ABC News, 31 May 2018, with title  Äboriginal reconciliation and what we can learn from a French philosopher”

What can a French historian and philosopher tell us about reconciliation between black and white in Australia? More than a century ago, when in Australia it was still widely presumed that Aboriginal people were a dying race, Ernest Renan was grappling with the question, what is a nation? It remains one of the most profound and powerful statements of identity, written in 1882 in the shadows of the French Revolution.

 

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KG Amaradasa: Tamil Literary Scholar and Man of Vision

 L. Murugapoopathy, in Colombo Telegraph, 12 May 2018, where the title runs “Memories Of Late K.G Amaradasa – An Ardent Tamil Literary Lover & Advocate For National Unity”

Some might say that if a Sinhala man marries a Tamil woman or a Tamil man marries a Sinhala woman, then national unity will be born. I don’t think so. If people of different ethnic origin get married, only the children would be born as a natural consequencequipped Ven. M Ratnavansa Thero – a Buddhist monk much loved and respected by Tamil writers and community members alike. The late K.G. Amaradasa is someone of similar calibre who also held the strong belief that national unity is not a one-way street. He is a remarkable man who learned and excelled in the Tamil literature and who pioneered the way in introducing the great Tamil national poet Mahakavi Barathiyar to the Sinhala people.

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Symbolic Moments: Corbyn and Labour Party Support Self-Determination for Sri Lankan Tamils

“Jeremy Corbyn reaffirms the UK Labour Party’s strong support for Tamil self-determination and peace and justice in Sri Lanka,” 17 May 2018

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A Corpse That has Healed and Linked Japanese and Aussies

Ian  McPhedran, in The Australian, 23 April 2018, where the title reads “Anzac Day: for Jack Hart, battle within was more ferocious than hand-to-hand combat in war”

Jack Hart went to war — twice. The first time, he survived critical injuries deep in the jungle. The second time, it was the psychological injuries that nearly did him in, says his former wife, Jean.

Izumi and Bill Hart with a copy of a monograph about Jack Hart written by Bill’s mother, Jean, and the signed World War II flag returned to a Japanese peace museum.
Izumi and Bill Hart with a copy of a monograph about Jack Hart written by Bill’s mother, Jean, and the signed World War II flag returned to a Japanese peace museum.

John Edward Hart was born in Sydney in 1923, enlisted in 1941 and was posted to Rabaul on the island of New Britain as an anti-aircraft gunner attached to the 1400-strong Lark Force in August 1941. Five months later, the Japanese captured Rabaul. Hart was among a small number of Diggers who escaped. Most of Lark Force were either killed in the battle, captured and executed, or died later when an American submarine sank the Japanese prison ship Montevideo Maru. Continue reading

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A Catering Kitchen in Mannar: Mothers 4 Mothers

An Appeal for Donations from BRIDGING LANKA

Dear Michael, … As we edge nearer to Mothers’ Day, we are trying to raise funds for a project which is close to our hearts — the building of a catering kitchen and cafe for our widows to enable their financial survival: https://chuffed.org/project/mothers-4-mothers

This project focuses on vulnerable women who’d been affected by the war Many are widows, some were deserted, some are disabled and some have been victims of rape and assault, many have children to care for.  They are a bunch of survivors, admirable people, wonderful cooks and carers.  Continue reading

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The Recent Sinhala-Muslim Violence in Lanka: A Plea for Tolerance

Asoka Bandarage, in Asia Times, 30 March 2018, where the title runs “Avoiding ‘religious’ violence in Sri Lanka”

On the night of February 22, four drunken Muslim youths traveling on a three-wheeler in Sri Lanka’s Kandy district beat up a Sinhala Buddhist truck driver because he had not allowed them to overtake his truck. The police arrested the assailants but released them on bail.

Although intelligence officers had warned that the incident could be used to instigate ethnic tensions in the area, the police did not take immediate action. After the truck driver died and his body was being taten from the hospital on the night of March 2, feeling betrayed by state authorities, villagers burned tires in protest.

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Liddle’s Sarcastic Criticism of David Cameron’s Arrogance in Sri Lanka at its CHOGM Occasion in 2013

A NOTE: With the UNHCR sessions looming in Geneva this month and CHOGM due to take place in London in the near future I am stirred to visit this moment when a local journalist broke away from the miasma clouding the judgement of a whole ‘tribe’ of media personnel in Britain in their reportage of the Sri Lankan war and its IDP camp aftermath. As I am in UK because of a family bereavement. I have been stirred to return to this puzzle. That is, my investigations of the scenario in Sri Lanka in 2009-2010 led me to the firm conclusion that the British media had bought into the clever  propaganda of the LTTE — in part from ideological reasons (in my surmise). Among those who I would place in this camp of pro-Tiger supporters (in varying degrees) THEN are Frances Harrison, Marie Colvin, Jeremy Page, Nick Paton-Walsh, Gethin Chamberlain  Charles Haviland and Alan Keenan (ICG)….. and of course Channel Four writ large. In such circumstances the ‘sniper commentators” who took a different stance (e.g.Simon Jenkins, Christopher Hitchens, Liddle) are worth a glance … or more. Any such exploration should also attend to some of the readings I am placing at the end of this article. Michael Roberts

Rod Liddle,   “That’s the president of Sri Lanka, PM, not one of your fags,” in The Times, 17 November 2013,

I have to say, I thoroughly approve of the manner in which our prime minister has decided to deal with foreigners, especially jumped–up foreigners who by rights should really still be part of our dominion and thus be doing as they’re bloody well told. David Cameron struck precisely the right note with a man called Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is somehow running a place that I think we’d all prefer to call Ceylon. Normally when one is a guest in someone else’s country, it is incumbent upon the visitor to be polite, even deferential. Continue reading

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