Category Archives: Sinhala-Tamil Relations

Fighting LTTE Women …. Looking Back from 2016

Kim Wall and Mansi Choksi, in Longreads, May 2018 where the title is “A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers” …… How during a brutal, 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers failed the women soldiers who sacrificed everything to fight for a sovereign state for the Tamil minority [with a NOTE from the Editor, Thuppahi at the end]

“We went on our first reporting trip together to write about an emerging Chinatown in Kampala in 2015,” says Mansi. “And then the next year, I moved to New York, where she was living, so we would spend our afternoons working together.” Mansi and Kim traveled to Sri Lanka in 2016. Mansi recalls Kim’s dedication to telling the story of the women who fought with the Tamil Tigers during Sri Lanka’s brutal, 25-year civil war. “Kim genuinely fell in love with the women we were writing about,” says Mansi. “You can hear it in her voice, in the tapes of our interviews.”

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Stephen Long’s ‘Revenge Politics’: Questionings

Michael Roberts

In a riveting article in Asian Tribune entitled “Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics,” Stephen Long has assessed Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s contribution to Sri Lanka’ victory during Eelam War IV in this style: “With the precision of a skilled strategist, Gotabhaya decisively defeated the LTTE. With limited resources, the military intelligence network he put together to keep track of the terrorists was second to none; he literally had the country “wired” for real-time information-collecting and feedback to authorities.”

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Vengeance! How Personal Vendettas BLINDED Sri Lanka’s Security Bulwarks

Stephen Long, in Asian Tribune, May 2019, where the title is Sri Lanka: A Tragic Lesson in Revenge Politics”

My relationship with the island nation of Sri Lanka began over twenty years ago. At that time, it was engaged in a bloody 30-year civil war that eventually claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people. A deadly tsunami had devastated the country on Dec. 26, 2004, and on November 19, 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to the first term of his presidency. From his predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga, a lady of questionable ethics, Mr. Rajapaksa inherited a country in chaos; it was rife with political corruption, racial, cultural, and religious conflicts, as well as poverty and social turmoil. The beleaguered natives were weary of hardship and death, of the seemingly endless war, of being left behind by economic development, and of living in constant fear that a suicide bomber might suddenly appear and blow them to bits.

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An Incisive Summary of Factors that enabled the Easter Bloodbath

General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”

While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.

1 What went wrong?

At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading

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The Demons within Sri Lanka: Long-Term Methods of Abatement?

Michael Roberts

Here I reproduce the second half of a longer article presented in October 2018 where I pinpointed the hidden dangers to Sri Lanka resting within the implications of Mark Field’s visit to the island then — a conveying a message that was one part of the continuing Western nation-cum-UNHCR project to punish Sri Lanka and foist a devolutionary political system on the island. Obviously, this essay was coined before the explosive manifestation of another divisive time-bomb within the Sri Lankan body politic: that of Islamic extremists motivated by the Wahhabi ideology hostile to specific ‘pinnacles’ in any Westernized body politic – such as (a) the Papacy and (b) high-rise hotels marking wealth and ‘debauchery’.**

This traumatic moment on Easter Sunday 21st April 2019 reminds us of two earth shattering moments: the LTTE attack on the Central Bank in Colombo on 31st January 1996 and the Al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9th September 2001 (9/11 in shorthand).***

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Waleed Aly’s Violent Misreadings of the Sri Lankan Scenario on DISPLAY

Waleed Aly, in The Age,  25 April 2019, entitled “The Sri Lankan attacks are uniquely senseless”

Every terrorist attack in which innocent people are killed is devastatingly tragic. Every one of them is heinous. But what we’ve seen in Sri Lanka this week exists on a rarefied level of depravity. Of course, there’s the supreme violation of slaughtering people in worship – now an established feature of terrorism and particularly Islamic State’s violence in places like Egypt or the Philippines. Then there’s the nauseating symbolism of the day itself. Easter Sunday: perhaps the holiest day on the Christian calendar, but more than that, the day Christians mark the resurrection. The very idea of life’s triumph over death deformed into a day of death above all else.

Catholic nuns and others participate in a vigil outside Sacred Heart Cathedral in remembrance of victims.
Catholic nuns and others participate in a vigil outside Sacred Heart Cathedral in remembrance of victims.CREDIT:AP

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Security and Governance Failures Everywhere: A Concise Review by Gus Mathews

EMAIL NOTE  from Gus Mathews in London, 25 March 2019 commending the Article by Rajeewa Jayaweera (see below)

Rajeewa,

Thank you for this incisive analysis. Irrespective of the atrocities committed on Easter Sunday I am afraid the blame lies entirely with the government of the day. This government is slipshod, non-functional and above all complacent. While many will indicate the toxic relationship between the President and PM as the main fault it is much more than this simple issue. The security apparatus has been run down deliberately since the end of the Eelam war to appease the minorities and the West. Is it any wonder that it took the horrific murder of 359 innocents and the wounding of over 500 for this government to come to its senses. When it came down to security the last regime was on the ball and the security services would have heeded not only the International warnings but acted on it swiftly.

in Feb 2019- AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

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