Category Archives: self-reflexivity

“Bonfire of the Vanities” in Screeching Crescendo in Sri Lanka Today

Elmo Jayawardena, in Island, 15 August 2019, … http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=209019

The phrase BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES took life more than 500 years ago, 1497 to be precise, in the Italian city of Florence. The unusual practice was started by the followers of Franciscan priest Girolamo Savonarola. He denounced corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor. These were un-abated traits of Florentine rule, which were evenly spread among the rich and the powerful. Friar Savonarola waged war on vanity and preached to his followers to discard anything that was vain for a simple life of a man or woman who sought lasting contentment and happiness. To this end, he encouraged people to bring all their items of vanity and burn them. The bonfires of the vanities became a rallying call of the followers of Padre Savanarola so much so the Pope excommunicated the rebel priest and imprisoned him. He was later hanged along with two of his assistants and their bodies were burned. So ended the Bonfires of the Vanities, and Florence went back to abusing power.

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A Populist Strongman in the Wings in Sri Lanka

M. R. Bhadrakumar in Indian Punchline, 12 August 2019, where the title runs “The return of the strongman in Sri Lanka”The announcement in Colombo on Sunday by former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa that his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be his party SLPP’s presidential candidate in the election due to be held before December 8 electrifies the politics in the island country. The announcement was expected, but there was an element of uncertainty lingering insofar as the incumbent president Maithripala Sirisena also harboured ambitions to seek a second term and Gotabaya himself was awaiting the approval of the US administration on his renunciation of American citizenship, which would qualify him to be a candidate under Sri Lanka’s electoral laws.
Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) and SLPP Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa (R) wave at supporters during the party’s National Convention, Colombo, Aug 11, 2019

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Nish Duraiappah appointed Police Chief in Peel Region, Canada

News Item in

Mainstream print media in Toronto including News Agencies and television broadcasting stations were quick to break the story that Halton Region police deputy chief Nish Duraiappah has been named Chief of Police of the Peel Region. Duraiappah, who has been a member of the force for 25 years, will take over from interim chief Chris McCord in October.

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American SOFA Proposals generates Sharp Debate

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Asia regional correspondent, Daily FT, 14 August 2019, with this title “US-Sri Lanka military negotiations hit a roadblock”

A Sri Lankan marine stands guard in front of Japanese helicopter carrier Kaga docked at Colombo port. Japan, along with India and China, have many ships going into the port – Reuters
The US government’s new military blueprint in the Indian Ocean is facing headwinds in Sri Lanka, a strategically located South Asian island also being courted by India, China and Japan in a scramble for geopolitical influence.  In the crosshairs is a Status of Forces Agreement initially signed by the countries in 1995, paving the way for the US military to access Sri Lanka for logistics.. But Washington’s push to negotiate a new military cooperation deal under the SOFA, which lays out a raft of protections and privileges for visiting US troops, has come under intense scrutiny.

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Displaying Lionel Wendt: Seeking Archival Material

THE COMPILATION OF AN ARCHIVE OF LIONEL WENDT & THE ART CENTRE …. AN APPEAL TO HIS FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS FOR RELEVANT MATERIAL

The Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund (LWMF) is presently engaged in creating an archive of Lionel Wendt, his work and the Centre for the Arts built in his memory. The LWMF is the only officially appointed organisation in the world established with the purpose of perpetuating the legacy of Lionel Wendt.

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India’s Kashmir Action: Severe Implications for Sri Lankan Tamils

 PK Balachandran, of BD News, in Island, 13 August 2019, “Kashmir episode further dims chances of devolution of power to Sri Lankan Tamils

What is happening in India now in regard to federalism and devolution of power to Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir (J and K) region could further dim prospects of Sri Lankan Tamils’ getting power devolution beyond what they have been given de facto under the 13th Amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution.

Through a Presidential Order on August 5, the Indian central government headed by strongman Narendra Modi, nullified Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution which had given J and K State a large degree of autonomy. The Presidential Order also divided the State of J and K into two Union territories with very much less autonomy.

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IPKF and Sri Lankan Military at Ease, 1987-90

Retd Brig. Sri Mudannayake … responding to the Items describing the Assault on Rajiv Gandhi by a SLN rating after the signing of the Indo-Lanka Pact

You might want to add that, once the IPKF arrived, Sri Lanka Army and the Indian Army troops acted in perfect harmony upholding best of military traditions. There were misunderstandings at times at mess, but they were addressed and resolved amicably.

One notable incident happened in Trincomalee at a check point where our Army and Indian troops briefly exchanged fire. No one was killed.  The SLA’s ‘ hot headed’ Brigadier in charge of the area was transferred out by Gen Ranatunga. The Indian Army Chief Gen Krishnaswamy Sunderji came to Sri Lanka and addressed SLA officers at Army Hq Colombo after the incident. Gen Ranatunga in his book referred to him as ” An Officer & Gentleman.”

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