Category Archives: slanted reportage

The Death Toll in 2009: Deceit and Myopia, International and Lankan

 Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph which  accepted the idea in principle several days ago, but requested a division of the essay into six parts.

Discussion of the death toll during Eelam War IV and the related topic of “The Disappeared” has been marked by collective myopia. Most discussions have dwelt in cloud cuckoo-land. This criticism can be levelled at the witch-hunters in the Western international order (whether UN and Western officials, media personnel or Tamil migrants) as well as the liberal humanists within the Sri Lankan middle class supporting a range of allegations. However, it also applies to analysts and reporters in defense of the realm such as Rohan Gunaratna,[1] Shamindra Ferdinando,[2] the editors of Sri Lanka’s print and internet media and many defenders of the Sri Lankan dispensation in its moment of crisis.

 1=Tiger dead assembled by SL Army (MoD Pic)    2 = A body in the Last Redoubt, presumably Tiger (MoDefence Pic)

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Galle Face Hotel in Australian Frontlines after Facelift

Phil Hawkes, in The Australian, 19 April 2017,  with the titleGalle Face Hotel gracious reminder of foregone era”

It’s 1982 and I’m in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at a travel conference. We rock up at the portico of the legendary Galle Face Hotel in a decrepit 10-seat minibus that the organisers managed to provide for 12 delegates. Hardly the coolest of ways to arrive at this heritage-listed reminder of British colonial days. Where’s the fleet of vintage Rollers? But there’s Kuttan the doorman, splendid in his unique white uniform and sporting his trademark handlebar moustache, welcoming us as if we’re royalty. He is used to greeting guests such as Lord Louis Mountbatten, Princess Elizabeth, Jawaharlal Nehru and other famous people, but his welcome to us is just the same. Feeling like celebrities, we forget about the minibus. Kuttan was a recognisable character at the Galle Face Hotel for 72 years, surely a world record. He died in 2014 at age 94, much honoured by colleagues and those guests whose lives he touched. Now his tradition is carried on by PB Rathnayaka, whose tenure is a mere 51 years with another “rich and famous” list to recall, including Fidel Castro and Indira Gandhi, and more than a few Australian cricketers.

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The Games that the Almighty Play: Syria Now, Sri Lanka Then

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka, from The Island, 10 April 2017, where the title is “Watching Syria, seeing Sri Lanka” … highlighting in this presentation being my workas Editor …. and with further Commentary and Bibliographic References at the end

It was not easy to watch the proceedings on Friday April 7 that the UN Security Council’s emergency ‘open session’ on Syria without thinking of Sri Lanka, although the actual circumstances of the UN’s engagement with the two countries are very different. Only one thing seemed alarmingly similar. It seemed like a set up. US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s dramatic gesture of holding up photographs of chemical-gassed children only served to bring to mind the now famous theatrical display of a vial of anthrax by US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the same venue to warn the Council of the imminent danger that lay before the world from WMDs in Iraq.

Image #: 24024242 Pigeons lie on the ground after dying from what activists say is the use of chemical weapons by forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen August 24, 2013. Picture taken August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Dar (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT ANIMALS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) REUTERS /STRINGER /LANDOV

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Mangala’s Testicles in a Selfie-Twist

Lasanda Kurrukulasuriya, courtesy of Daily Mirror, 5 April 2017 where her chosen title is Geneva resolution is about prosecutions, not reconciliation”… so the Thuppahi title is an Editorial Imposition.

After the UN Human Rights Council 34th session ended in Geneva, the US said it introduced three resolutions that were adopted with ‘broad cross regional support.’ The list included Resolution 34/1 on Sri Lanka.  The statement says that ‘Sri Lanka was one of the 47 co-sponsors’ of Resolution 34/1. This assertion is extremely disingenuous, if it is made on the basis that the resolution was adopted without a vote in the 47-member HRC. How could any member state of the HRC or friend of Sri Lanka be expected to raise its voice against the resolution when Sri Lanka itself had submitted to co-sponsoring it?

  SNAIL AS TESTESMANGALA

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The War Dead in Sri Lanka: Deceit and Ignorance Rule the Air Waves

      Both these images are from TamilNet and were part of the extensive stock sent to me in 2009/10 by “Citizen Silva” aka IDAG. The first is dated 6 April 2009 and the second 28 April 2009

ONE = Michael Roberts: “Introduction”

When I presented an essay on  “Missing Persons” in Groundviews in March 2013 the reactions were, as usual, mixed and included a derisive dismissal from one “Velu Balendran”.[1] However, one individual named Nathan inserted a dose of common sense and also introduced readers – as well as myself – to a pertinent article by two Indians, Ajay Sahni & S. Binodkumar Singh in the Indian magazine Outlook.

I do not know Nathan and where he resides, but am deeply grateful to him. As I am now returning to this topic, I believe that readers should be introduced to his brief thoughts and led to the article he recommended. I will thereafter insert key bibliographic references on the topic from my original essay and its companion piece; while also embellishing this ‘compendium’ with images that provide a glimpse of the context and assorted outcomes in indelible ways beyond words.

TWO = Nathan, 1 April 2013, extract from http://groundviews.org/2013/03/28/a-missing-person-in-sri-lanka-heartfelt-issues-ground-realities/

It’s a shame that people have failed to read and grasp the thrust of Dr Michael Robert’s article . Continue reading

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Exploring Leslie Gunawardana’s Erroneous Pathways with KNO Dharmadasa — Part Two

Darshanie Ratnawalli, courtesy of  The Nation (print edition here) on Sunday, 08 March 2015. Here the title was “Revisiting the sins of – Leslie Gunawardana (Part 2)”

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Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia, goes down in history as mounting, up to this point, the only direct and authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the second instalment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 15 February, 2015.

DR– Here’s something serious. In page 14 of “Historiography in a Time of Ethnic Conflict” Professor Gunawardana implies not only that Prof. Paranavitana’s identification of the language of the Vallipuram inscription as Sinhala is wrong but that Paranavitana realized several decades later that it was wrong and instead of admitting to the error openly, tried to cover it up by quietly dropping that identification in his second edition of the Vallipuram inscription.

KNO– (Laughs aloud)

Senarath_Paranavitana -- en.wikipedia.org Senarat Paranavitana –Pic from en.wikipedia.org LESLIE Gunawardana-www.pdn.ac.lkeslie Gunawardana-www.pdn.ac.lk

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Tissa Jayatillka opens the Rotary Conference on Reconciliation

Tissa  Jayatilleka: “Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka,”  28 March 2017

 Opening comments by TISSA JAYATILAKA at a panel discussion held during the 26th Rotary District Conference, Rotary District 3320- Sri Lanka and The Maldives, on 18 March, 2017 held at the BMICH, Colombo. The following served as panelists: Mr. R.Sampanthan, The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Rauf Hakeem, Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage, Mr. Mano  Tittawela, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, The Centre for Policy Alternatives, Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, Former Vice Chancellor and Professor of Law, University of Colombo.

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