Category Archives: Tamil civilians

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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For Sri Lanka: Rajendra Theagarajah’s Exhortations to Canadian Tamils

Item in Lankareporter.com… https://lankareporter.com/blog/need-access-markets-not-handouts-expatriates-rajendra-theagarajahs-canada-speech/

Partner with us in Sri Lanka, not to build a social welfare state, but to build an entrepreneurially focused new Sri Lanka, was the message of Rajendra Theagarajah, Vice Chairman of Cargills Bank who was the guest of honour at the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce gala and awards ceremony in Toronto. “No handouts, why not engage?” he said. He urged innovative Sri Lankan Tamil entrepreneurs in Canada to utilize hundreds of graduates each year produced by the University of Jaffna’s IT computing program and the new engineering institute of the North in Ariviyal Nagar, Killinochi.

Rajendra Theagarajah, Vice Chairman of Cargills Bank who was the guest of honour at the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce gala and awards ceremony. (Picture by Gnane Gananedran)

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Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

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Nirupama reviews A Powerkeg in Paradise

 Nirupama Subramanium, courtesy of http://www.sangam.org/2010/08/Powderkeg.php?print=true

Disappointingly for an “insider account”, there are no major revelations in the book; it is a faithful narrative of what is already in the public realm about the ceasefire and written carefully, striking a balance between the government and the LTTE, with the decisions/actions of both sides called into question.

A POWDERKEG IN PARADISELost Opportunity for Peace in Sri Lanka… by …  Jon Oskar Solnes; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., A-149, Main Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092. Rs. 750.

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Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/deciphering-religious-rivalries-in-south-and-southeast-asia/

 Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi) 

The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading

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“Demons in Paradise” at Cannes: Jude Rutnam in Firing Line

Hindustan Times,  http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.htmlhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.html

 Jude Ratnam is worried how his film might go down with his fellow Sri Lankan Tamils. And he has a point. Demons in Paradise, which is premiering at the Cannes film festival, tells of the bloodbath that drove some Tamils to take up arms in the three decade-long insurgency that tore the island apart. But the documentary also shatters a taboo by insisting that some of most horrific violence the minority endured was at the hands of their supposed defenders, the Tamil Tigers.  And the “hard truth” comes from the mouths of former Tamil fighters   themselves.

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Glossing over the Atrocities

Sanjana Hattotuwa,  courtesy of The Island, 20 May 2017, where the title is “Eight years hence” ... followed by Jehan Perera

These violent delights have violent ends,

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,

Which, as they kiss, consume. Shakespeare

 CTF report being handed in 

There are 71 mentions of ‘Army’ in the 491-page final report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF), released earlier this year. One paragraph is worth flagging in full. “The Army representatives also stated that although they had achieved the Government’s objective under its political direction and in difficult and challenging circumstances, they felt a lack of solidarity and support at present. They stated their support for a truth-seeking process and if there is any evidence of criminal activity, for the prosecution of the guilty. Given that as far as they were concerned, no criminal activity had been undertaken, they saw no need for amnesty either. Whilst they insisted that civilians were not deliberately targeted and that a policy of zero-civilian casualties was followed, they conceded the possibility of civilian deaths on account of civilians being caught in the crossfire. They also denied that sexual violence was used as a weapon of war. The Air Force reiterated that no crimes were committed and no illegal weapons used.”

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