Category Archives: terrorism

Tamil Tigers: Dead Body Politics and Sacrificial Devotion

Michael Roberts, reproducing here an article  entitled “Tamil Tigers:  Sacrificial symbolism and ‘dead body politics’,” that was first presented in  Anthropology Today, June 2008,  vol.  24/3: 22-23. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla.

Scholars and journalists often mistakenly treat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) as a ‘secular organization’ at a time when stereotypes of the Islamic ‘terrorist’ or ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ dominate popular thinking about political extremism. Political scientists devote space to the Tamil Tigers in their global surveys of what they term ‘suicide terrorism’.[1] Recently, Roland Buerk of the BBC presented a similar view: ‘They are not religious and believe that there is nothing after death. Their fanaticism is born of indoctrination from childhood.[2]

Tiger fighters relax in camp but retain their kuppi with cyanide in chainsaround neck-Pic by Shyam Tekwani c.1989 whne embedded among the LTTE

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Suicide Missions as Witnessing: From Self-Immolation to Assassination and Mass Strike

Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30:  857-88.with the titleSuicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts” and is reproduced here with its original American English spelling. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla. The pictorial images are embellishments that were not part of the original essay. I have also added highlighting emphasis in orange as well as a few hyperlinks to other standard sources of information. The bibliographical references are within the End Notes as in the original format.

ABSTRACT: Studies of suicide missions usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assassination, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Sadat as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such extensions. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. Norman Morrison in Washington in 1965 and Jan Palach in Prague in 1969 did not have such beneficial settings and the immediate ramifications of their protest action were limited. Morrison’s story highlights the significance of a societal context of individuated rationalism as opposed, say, to the “pyramidical corporatism” encouraging martyrdom operations in the Islamic world.

Jan Palach…19 Jan. 1969 Nathuram Godse vs Mahatma Gandhi .. 30 Jan 1948

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Lessons for Joe Root, Dauris and the British: Minefields, Terrorist Hits and the Miliband Intervention in 2009

Shamindra Ferdinando, Island, 27 November 2018:

Having visited one-time LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) dominated Periyamadu on Nov 19, morning, Englishman Olly Stone tweeted: “GREAT DAY UP IN NORTH SRI LANKA VISITING THE MINEFIELDS WITH MAG (Mine Advisory Group), AN AMAZING JOB THEY ARE DOING WITH THE LOCAL PEOPLE TO HELP MAKE THE PLACE SAFE AGAIN AND GROW THE COMMUNITY!”

Periyamadu, Nov 19, 2018: Some members of the England cricket team accompany Mine Advisory Group (MAG) personnel to an area cleared of explosive devices. From Left : Joe Root, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Olly Stone and British High Commissioner Dauris (partly covered) at the back (pic courtesy BHC, Colombo)

 

Twenty five-year-old Stone is a right-arm fast bowler and right-handed batsman of the visiting English team. Stone was one of the four members of the English team to experience the life in former battlefield east of the Kandy-Jaffna A9 road. Captain of the team Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Keaton Jennings, too, visited an area declared cleared of mines.

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The Role of Religion in Tamil Militancy in Sri Lanka

Iselin Frydenlund, …..  which reached me via the University of Adelaide circuit and where the title is Tamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion”. It is presented here against the wishes of the author, with a change of title, modifications in the hyphenation style, the addition of illustrative photographs from my own stock and the use of coloured  highlighting to mark significant passages….. The Editor, Thuppahi

From the late 1970s to its defeat by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for Tamil independence in Sri Lanka. The ultimate aim of what was often considered to be one of the world‘s most disciplined and efficient insurgency groups was to create an independent Tamil homeland (which they called Tamil Eelam) in the northern and eastern parts of the island. The LTTE based itself on a unique mix of Tamil nationalist, socialist, and feminist visions of a new future for the marginalized Tamil communities of Sri Lanka.

Tiger fighters

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Rivetting Data on the Jaffna Peninsula and Tamil Politics, 1929-1970s

Handy Perinbanayagam 

This is a reproduction of COMMENTS  in a previous Thuppahi Item from 2012 — which presented an article by Rajan Philips in the Sunday Island of 26 February 2012. This unusual step is taken because the information therein: (1) about caste oppression in the Jaffna Peninsula even in the 1970s; (2) data on the politics of the Jaffna Youth congress and its boycott campaign against the Donoughmore Reforms and the 1931 elections in  the north; (#) a reading of GG Ponnambalam (4) the contributions to the discussion from R, Sid Perinbanayagam and Nalliah Thayabharan — with Thayabharan’s slashing criticisms of the LTTE and Tamil diasporic supporters evincing a remarkable courage.  

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An Ode in the Face of The Terrorist Liberation-Fighter

  Jane Russell

“[This poem was presented] a small pamphlet called “Ganga” published in Colombo in 1978: it was aimed at the boasting men of violence everywhere – the Warriors of Terror whom in the guise of Freedom Fighters were inflicting further violence on already violated communities:

To Aloysius-Ludovico (The Terrorist)

I am tired of hearing you sing
the anthems of Freedom and War…
How joyously you crack the whip
and bellow out the tune above the drums!
But the faces of my friends haunt me
in the mornings when I see Death’s Armada
With its pirate’s flag of torture trailing….
what does it matter, your Freedom?
They are dying, my friends and their children…

Nalliah Thayabharan, thank you for reminding me of this poem written in despair in Colombo 30+ years ago. A whole generation has grown up since then but the same (better) poem is probably being written today in Syria by some unknown idealist…..as the song goes “When will we ever learn?”

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Confronting Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Q & A in 2018 – Swedish Journalist Mikaelsson

Johan Mikaelsson, in Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, 5 November 2018, where the title is Impunity Island: Sri Lanka’s “predator emeritus” on rebound,”

Many local journalists feel discomfort when they hear the name Gotabaya Rajapaksa[1]. He is seen as a ruthless person, who was behind the murder wave that took the lives of their colleagues. They see it as unthinkable to contact him and ask critical questions. The few foreign journalists who tried to put some pressure on him when he held his powerful position 2005–2015 were met with anger. After 2015, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been almost invisible in international media.

 

‘Gota’, the nick-name under which he is usually known, is now often surrounded by a glow, a shimmering luster. Many want to see more of ‘Gota’, they regard him as a wonder maker. Most editors avoid challenging him. A few journalists in the domestic English-language press have asked difficult questions, but ‘Gota’ appears to be ready to move on, possibly as a candidate in the presidential election in 2020.

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