In addressing the serious issues raised by some of the Western media reportage of the events unfolding during the last phase of Eelam War IV and several seemingly deliberate obfuscations, I recently sent a short set of questions to some Indian journalists who were in Sri Lanka then and also to a few Sri Lankan reporters/cameramen who had been taken to the war front – guided here by an official list available. I have only received responses from a few, but it is enough to set the reflections rolling.
Journalists in plane en route to war front, circa 27 January —Pic by Kanchan Prasad
These responses throw light on the difficulties faced by journalists in reporting the war and I see them as important appendages to an analytical review that I have already penned in draft form (in progress). Those studying Eelam War IV should pay heed to these recollections, while also visiting the Al Jazeera You-Tube presentations provided by Tony Birtley & David Chater and marveling at the capacities revealed by Sergei de Silva Ranasinghe in deciphering the ups-and-downs of the SL Army progress from distant shores far better than Birtley or those in Colombo who visited the front on conducted tours on some occasions. Continue reading
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The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden reveals the interests of two recent Fellows at IIAS who have been delving into Sri Lankan issues in recent times. Herewith some summaries
Giacomo Mantovan is of Italian lineage:
“My research in social anthropology, which focuses on individuals and their relations with their social milieu, and in particular with state authorities, aims to grasp how certain critical times, such as civil war, exile, and illness, become moments of construction of subjectivity and memory.” Continue reading
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During the ceasefire period after Eelam War III some leading members of the cricketing world in Colombo reached out in reconciliatory mood to Jaffna by organising a high-profile cricket match.[i]
Enthusiastic Jaffna Fans mob Murali
Chandra Schaffter: The Jaffna Match, 1 September 2002
With Ranil Wickremesinghe becoming Prime Minister in 2001, a ceasefire agreement was negotiated with the LTTE and the A9 was opened after many years. Janashakthi took the opportunity to open its Jaffna branch in August Because of our association with cricket, we felt that the best way would be to stage a cricket match which would bring the enthusiastic cricket fans in Jaffna out of their homes. It was a major rush but my son Ramesh,who was adept at such events, began organizing the match as well as the opening of the branch. I had just returned to Sri Lanka after managing the cricket team in the UK and I had agreed with a team of about 15 of the cricketers to go up to Jaffna in a special bus and play a match – not so much for cricket per se but in order to create an impression in Jaffna.
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Michael Buerk, in the The Telegraph, 5 September 2017, where the title is “The war is history: Michael Buerk returns to Sri Lanka” ** Note Editorial Comment at End
The Tigers’ lair was deep in the jungle. It was difficult to find and tough to get to; two hours jolting, semi-prone, in a trailer dragged by a tractor, watching for mines. This was a war zone for decades. The paddy fields were abandoned long ago to the peacocks and their perpetual courtship, dozens of them everywhere, each male made fabulous by desire. The man-made lake that once fed the fields was covered in lotus flowers. A crocodile basked on a rock in the shallows, jaws gaping as if in wonder at the lonely beauty of it all. Well into the thicker brush, down a maze of paths and tunnels through the thorn trees, we came first to what was left of the Tigers’ guard post. Just rubble now where 30 fighters held part of the perimeter of what was, in effect, a separate state. Their latrine, the only recognisable structure left, was now home to a 15ft Indian rock python.
Buerk was in Sri Lanka for the BBC at the beginning of the war, in the Eighties
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