Category Archives: tamil refugees

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

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, disparagement, Eelam, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes

The LLRC Sittings in Pictures

The recent presentation in Thuppahi of a specific proposal from the LLRC on national anthems as well as the issues raised by Thuppahi on the topic of DISAPPEARANCES prompt me to present a number of images from the sittings conducted by this peripatic body of personnel together with a brief officla report. the images have been helpfully provided by Kithsiri De Silva an old Aloysian class-mate who was an officer servicing the work of this august body.  I am also tacking on an official report on the LLRC plus one dissenting note about its lopsided composition from Harshadeva Amarathunga. Michael Roberts

llrc-1

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, communal relations, democratic measures, disparagement, ethnicity, gender norms, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, law of armed conflict, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, mass conscription, military strategy, modernity & modernization, news fabrication, NGOs, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, welfare & philanthophy, women in ethnic conflcits, working class conditions, world events & processes

Situating Clarance’s Book: Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis

Michael Roberts, reprinted from South Asia, Sept 2008, 31: 394-96, a review of Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.

This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field. 

aa-ethnic-warfare-in-sri-lanka-and-the-un-crisis  His brief in Sri Lanka was to cater to the needs of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India who had chosen to return to their homeland. In practice, however, the local UNHCR’s efforts also embraced some local refugees (IDPs, or ‘internally displaced people’), whether Tamil, Muslim or Sinhalese, who were the flotsam and jetsam generated by the warring turmoil in the island. Clarance sets the pursuit of this venture within its historical context by outlining the temporal stages in the escalation of hostility between leading Tamil and Sinhalese political forces. This competent summary is complemented by a description of the Indian intervention in 1987 and a capsule survey of the events in the period 1987–89, the immediate background to the UNHCR relief efforts.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, IDP camps, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, NGOs, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, world events & processes

HRW in Syria and Sri Lanka: Moral Fervour generating Political Blindness and Partisanship

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is different and reads as “The Political Bankruptcy of the Western Human Rights Lobby: Their Stance in Syria & Sri Lanka in Juxtaposition.” I anticipate lively blog-comments therein –with the usual quota of disparaging ‘assassinations’.  Highlighted emphasis in RED in the version below is my work.

 A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled “What Trump Should Do in Syria,” Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas” with Russian backing. In his reading the enormous civilian death-toll is the product of the regime’s deliberate strategy, Besides generating an outflow of refugees, he says that the consequence will also produce an escalation of Islamist extremism. 

As an outsider with a limited knowledge of the extremely complex Syrian and Middle-Eastern ground situation, what strikes me about Roth’s declamation is its one-sidedness and its simplifications. It slides over the impact of US and NATO bombing runs. It implies that the extremism of ISIS, Al Qaida and other forces who are challenging the Syrian dictator is an outcome of the latter’s policies and says little about (a) the Sunni-Shia rivalries that are one aspect of the complex politics in Syria and the Middle East and (b) the repercussions flowing from the American dethronement of Saddam via invasion.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under american imperialism, arab regimes, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, gordon weiss, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, Middle Eastern Politics, military strategy, nationalism, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

How USA got into bed with the LTTE

aadaya-gAbout Daya Gamage”s Book “Tamil Tigers’ Debt to America”

aa-ltte-and-usa   ISBN: 1537053485 …

ISBN 13: 9781537053486…..Library of Congress Control Number: 2016913508 … Copyright © 2016 Daya Gamage

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under american imperialism, centre-periphery relations, foreign policy, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, world events & processes

Disappearances and Torture in Lanka, 2009-16: A Bibliography

Michael Roberts

 a-z-torture  t-for-temperature

In reviewing the blog comments on my short memo on “Sinhala Mind-Set” during the years 2009-15,  I was induced to place a claim by one “Flloyd” before about eighty of friends and others in my email address list in order to evaluate his assertion in April 2013 that “the Tamils continue to be tortured, raped, and killed by the state.” Though reading this particular charge as far too sweeping, I set out to test my reading. In my thinking this claim gained weight from the fact that the rest of Flloyd’s commentary suggested that he was not an extremist.

Some 23 individuals – including 5 Tamils, 1 Irishman,1 Colombo Chetty and 2 Indians — have responded, albeit briefly in several instances (with a few endorsing  my suggestion that it is a sweeping exaggeration).. This item is now on web. One of those who commented, the Telugu Indian journalist Muralidhar Reddy has been kind enough to send me a private note from his location (now in India) that runs thus: “This turned out to be a very good exercise. Productive, useful and frankness from the heart of real people who were or are still on the ground.”

In pursuit of further value, I now present a BIBLIOGRAPHY on the topic of disappearances that amplifies previous efforts – one that has been assisted by the recent exercise. Note that I have not embraced items that focus specifically on rape in this exercise. Ii is a standard practice in agit-prop action from anti-state activists[1] as well as foreign reporters on brief excursions to the island to bracket “disappearances, torture and rape” together. Such an ‘alliance’ brings feminists on board and illuminates the halo around any writer’s head. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under accountability, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, doctoring evidence, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, NGOs, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, trauma, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

Gems and Nuggets within the Commentary on SINHALA MINDSET: Reflections

Michael Roberts

A chance event led me to study the comments responding to “Sinhala Mind-Set,” one of the signature ‘tunes’ introducing my web-site thuppahi.wordpress.com – the other being WHY THUPPAHI. The present collection of responses has been cast in spasmodic fashion between 2009 and 2013. They are from Sri Lankans for the most part, with Mel Glickman, Jane Russell and one “Duque” being the only personnel outside this specific ‘embrace’ of nationality. Several facets of the information and thinking inscribed in these comments are pertinent to the situation facing Sri Lanka in the 2010s. I have therefore presented them again with significant segments highlighted to assist or stir readers, while proceeding to add reflections of my own in this companion piece. The aim is to promote provoke debate.

1364002696fea9-4 ssinhala-ness

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, communal relations, devolution, discrimination, economic processes, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, island economy, language policies, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, racist thinking, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes