Category Archives: rehabilitation

Community Housing Projects for the North: Pertinent Questions from Ahilan Kadirgamar

Editor, Sunday Times, 27 May 2017 :  Lankan economist prefers community-driven housing for war-torn North””

Jaffna-based political economist, Dr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, says that the best model for housing projects in the war-torn Northern Province in Sri Lanka is one where the houses are built by the local community with outside financial and technical assistance. “The community housing scheme will provide employment and business opportunities to members of the local community and the cost will also be lower,” Kadirgamar told newsin.asia.

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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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Saving Tamil Civilians by Sea: More on the ICRC-cum-SL Navy Operations: Admiral Travis Sinniah Speaks

Michael Roberts

I sent my article “Gash Files III” to Admiral (Retired) Travis Sinniah as soon as it was placed on web and was able to conduct an extended Skype-Chat with him on 12th April.[1] He had no major quarrels with the gist of that article. However, he stressed that the whole exercise was an extremely difficult one – involving difficulties that words cannot quite capture.

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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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Colombo’s Wetlands: IWMI”s Concerns and Explorations

Darshanie Ratnawalli, in Sunday Island, 4 February 2018, where the title runs “Understanding Colombo’s wetlands with IWMI

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According to historians the very position of Kotte in the middle of a marsh attests to peril. It was to arrest peril emanating from the North that a city was built in the middle of a marsh. For what except the most dire necessity would induce anyone to locate a capital city in a marsh? Given any other choice what self-respecting feudal overlord would opt for a marsh as a location of a capital? Continue reading

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Overcoming Hate: A Lesson for Tamils and Sinhalese from a Holocaust Survivor

Zygmunt Swisrak

I had so much hate towards the Germans. That hate was killing me. I realised this later when I went to Germany. Three times I have been there. They wanted me to lecture at university, at ­technical colleges, about what I suffered in the ­concentration camp in Frankfurt. I just went there to tell them what happened. And I met so many Germans; it started to change me. After I finished one talk, a student wrapped herself around me. She had tears in her eyes and said, “I am sorry for what our fathers and grandfathers have done to you, your family, and your country.” Then I started to get emails from students saying that my survival was not wasted and that to hear from somebody who was there, as an inmate in their country, was a ­different story. That’s how I got rid of the hate. I didn’t expect that. I have changed a lot. I can’t get rid of the hate altogether but it’s much less than I had and it doesn’t kill me anymore.” …. An Extract from Zygmunt Swisrak’s Last Testament

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Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, education, ethnicity, Fascism, historical interpretation, human rights, immigration, life stories, meditations, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes