Category Archives: riots and pogroms

Woollacott’s Insight in 1976: Tamils set for Guerilla War and Secession

In sorting through my papers I came across a news cutting that is historically significant. Here was one occasion where a visiting journalist deciphered a developing scenario correctly. That I retained the clipping in papers relating to an article  I drafted in 1976 is also significant. These circumstances are clarified briefly at the end of Woollacott’s piece. It is fitting that he should hold centre stage ((though, alas, Alamy have put a price on the only photograph I can find of Woollacott)…. Michael Roberts

Tamil satyagrahis being foricbly removed from Galle Face Green by Sinhala enthusiasts in 1956 during the former’s protest vs the Sinhala Only Bill … 1956 or thereabouts (see Victor Ivan: Paradise in Tears … http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2009/12/20/paradise-in-tears-%E2%80%93-new-edition-by-victor-ivan/)

 Ponnadurai Sivakumaran of Urumpirai was a budding resistance fighter who committed suicide by cyanide in 1974 when trapped by police. He is embodied here in high profile with SJV Chelvanayagam of the Federal Party as the embodiment of resistance to oppression. As such, he reflects the strands of Tamil thinking that Martin Woollacott discerned in 1976. Note that the Tamil New Tigers or TNT had been formed in 1972 and metamorphosed into the LTTE in 1976. In the meanwhile the Tamil United Liberation Front under SJV Chelvanyakam adopted the Vaddukoddai Resolution on 14 May 1976 calling for a separate state of Thamililam.

Continue reading

3 Comments

June 16, 2018 · 4:29 am

KM de Silva’s Short History of Lanka reviewed critically by Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan aka Ponnadurai, in Colombo Telegraphreviewing K. M de Silva’s The Island Story: A Short History of Sri Lanka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2017

EPIGRAPH: “Sri Lanka in the first few centuries after the early settlement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society: a conception which emphasises harmony and a spirit of live and let live” (K. M. de Silva, op. cit., page 13)

It’s said that fools rush in where the wise fear even to walk. I tiptoe hesitantly, conscious that I am no historian (my discipline was Literature) while the author is perhaps the most eminent of Sri Lankan historians writing in English. The hope is that what I write will be taken as a layman’s perspective and contribution to discussion. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, British imperialism, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, Eelam, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, riots and pogroms, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, British colonialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, jihad, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, religiosity, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, world events & processes

Profound Reflections: Jean Arasanayagam in Response to Smrti Daniel’s Searching Questions

Jean faces Smrti 

Daniel 1: What in your childhood contributed to the kind of writer you are now? What recurring motifs and images from that time find expression in your work?

JEAN1: So many factors. As I delve into my mind those images together with the diverse motifs that were part of each and every experience of my childhood. I was greatly loved and cared for by my parents and had aunts and uncles who played an important part in the lives of my brother and sister (I was the youngest) and showered us with gifts, especially books, from a very early age. My parents too read a great deal and the houses we lived in were full of books – of course the individual tastes of my parents were reflected in their reading choices. My father loved reading on everything under the sun, sport, Big Game, hunters and hunting, colonial history and landmark figures, discovery and exploration, plantations and the lives of planters in Ceylon (many of them were his friends), reminiscences, biographies, autobiographies, explorers, wars, the jungle lore of Ceylon … So much and so much, while my mother read a great deal of romantic fiction. She had a great store of memories too and would relate very adult stories to me (in between it was Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, fairy tales, family history where she unfolded hidden narratives which penetrated my mind and which I have reconstructed into greater dimensions to trace our lineage and bloodlines – so everything, now that I look on it all, began in my childhood, as being the youngest I was closest to them while my brother was at College, and my sister too spent more time at school (Wesley and Trinity, later the University of Colombo for my brother, and Girls’ High School for my sister). It would take reams and reams to write about just this one aspect of my childhood. There are other aspects too – the freedoms I enjoyed when I was growing up in the provincial township of Kadugannawa, living in that house on the hill. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, communal relations, education, ethnicity, female empowerment, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, performance, politIcal discourse, refugees, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, teaching profession, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, war crimes, welfare & philanthophy, women in ethnic conflcits, world affairs

Tales of an Infertility Pill are effectively dismissed by Sri Lankan Medical Specialists

If EVER there was a tale of gullibility and chicanery combining to spread violent killing and havoc among the populace, it is the manner in which some elements in the Sinhalese population accepted the validity of rumours that Muslim traders were dispersing infertility pills among the Sinhala peoples. Such rumours seem to have peaked immediately after the Digane-Teldeniya violence and may have been a factor inspiring the attacks. They are certainly part of the vicious propaganda being wrought by elements of the BBS type as well as gullible ordinary citizens.

From my studies of ethnic violence in the past, I note that this arena is where the voices and incitement of women contribute to the retributory actions we know as “riots” and/or “pogroms.” Michael Roberts ***

The featured picture shows Sri Lankan police commandos guarding a riot hit market place.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, conspiracies, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, doctoring evidence, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, racist thinking, riots and pogroms, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, violence of language, world events & processes

1983 and 2018: Kunanayakam’s Warnings suggest US-UNHCR-Yahapālana Machinations

Tamara Kunanayakam, in The Island, 15 March 2018, where the title reads thus: “Former PR in Geneva warns Lanka at the mercy of UN-US project” …. with the highlighting here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Given that we find ourselves today standing at a pivotal crossroads in our nation’s history, I would like to begin and end by addressing an appeal to the Sri Lankan people – irrespective of the community they belong to – not to be swayed by events imposed upon them by others, but to keep their focus on the issues that concern them directly – the real issues, the issues that affect their daily lives, their working and living conditions, the issues that determined their vote and political choice at the recent Local Government elections.

TAMARA -SLeaderhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamara_Kunanayakam

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, doctoring evidence, economic processes, ethnicity, historical interpretation, island economy, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, suicide bombing, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, violence of language, world events & processes, zealotry

A Battery of Cricketers condemn Sinhala Racist Attacks

Mahela Jayawardena :https://twitter.com/mahelajay/status/971269970964381696

Sanath Jayasuriya :https://twitter.com/sanath07/status/971296370408808449

Kumar Sangakkara :https://twitter.com/kumarsanga2/status/971293153969000449 Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, Buddhism, communal relations, cricket for amity, democratic measures, disparagement, education, ethnicity, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, racist thinking, religious nationalism, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sri Lankan cricket, sri lankan society, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, trauma, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, welfare & philanthophy