Category Archives: terrorism

Experiencing Terror in the Heart of New York: 9/11

Palitha Kohona, courtesy of Ceylon Today

It was another sunny September morning. The sky was a brilliant blue. As I gazed out of my kitchen window while having breakfast, in Midtown Manhattan, the Twin Towers were glistening in the morning sun. I noted, as I often had, that they were still there, a familiar reassuring sight. The cute young blonde in the apartment across the street was drying her wet hair, as usual, by her plate glass window. The walk to the United Nations (UN) and my office on the 32nd floor of the Secretariat was uneventful.

Kent Kobersteen, former Director of Photography of National Geographic

“The pictures are by Robert Clark, and were shot from the window of his studio in Brooklyn. Others shot the second plane hitting the tower, but I think there are elements in Clark’s photographs that make them special. To me the wider shots not only give context to the tragedy, but also portray the normalcy of the day in every respect except at the Towers. I generally prefer tighter shots, but in this case I think the overall context of Manhattan makes a stronger image. And, the fact that Clark shot the pictures from his studio indicates how the events of 9/11 literally hit home. I find these images very compellingÑin fact, whenever I see them they force me to study them in great detail.”

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Filed under accountability, Al Qaeda, atrocities, foreign policy, jihad, life stories, meditations, military strategy, photography, politIcal discourse, security, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

Sea Battle off Kalpitiya Coast: An Orca Pod versus A Sperm Whale Pod

Philip Hoare,  in The Guardian, 29 March 2017,  “An extraordinary battle between sperm whales and orcas – in pictures”

While observing sperm whales off the Sri Lankan coast, Philip Hoare came face to face with eight hunting orcas who had no fear of the 100-strong sperm whale pod.

I spent last week on a six-metre fishing boat in the Indian Ocean off Kalpitiya, on the west coast of Sri Lanka with the photographer Andrew Sutton and the marine biologist Ranil Nanayakkara. Andrew and I were diving in a marine conservation area under special licence from the Sri Lankan wildlife department. Here, I met a pair of young, sexually mature male sperm whales – cetacean teenagers. Photograph: Andrew Sutt

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Anguish!! Reading Mike

 Image from http://sangam.org/sachis-files-chapter-4-2/ by Sachi Sri Kantha, 16 October 2015,

When the essay “Anguish as Empowerment …A Path to Retribution” was presented on the 22nd March 2017, I received several private email comments from good friends. My recent little essay on Ëxtremist Cricket Fans” has led me to look over this set of remarks and a tirade of sorts directed at me by an embittered Tamil nationalist named Kathiravan espousing the cause of Eelam in February 2011 in the Blog Comments within Colombo Telegraph (and rehashed by me in Thuppahi = see ……………………….……………. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/an-angry-tamil-kathiravan-confronts-roberts/).

The unsolicited readings are too valuable to lie in the cupboards and I am waxing bold by presenting them to the world without the permission of my friends within the present reflections on EXTREMISM. Continue reading

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Solheim and Sri Lanka: Q and A Today

Padma Rao Sundarji  courtesy of Asian Tribune, 20 August 2017, where the title reads Ërik Solheim : “Regret we could not spend more time with Prabhakaran”

Erik Solheim, Norwegian peace mediator in the 30-year-long Sri Lanka civil war breaks his silence on his controversial role to Padama Rao Sundarji.

If we had spent more time with him (Prabhakaran), we would probably be able to influence him more,’ said Solheim

Padma Rao Sundarji: How and when did the government of Norway decide to mediate in Sri Lanka and why did they pick you?

Erik Solheim: We were invited in absolute secrecy by the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga. At the time, only two people in Colombo knew — she and foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar. It stayed like that for one-and-a-half years. Only later, it became public. I believe we were invited because we could potentially be acceptable to India as a small nation. And, we were invited because we had, at that time, seen some successes in the Middle East. They were small successes. But as a small, faraway nation it was felt that we could not really mess up Sri Lanka and could be acceptable to both the Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka at the same time. Continue reading

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Revisiting Jaffna and the LTTE in mid-1999 guided by Mark Corcoran and the ABC

Michael Roberts

 

In mid-year 1999 during the ongoing Eelam War III, Mark Corcoran of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) visited Sri Lanka and composed three film documentaries of fascinating breadth. They were

Sri Lanka. A Close Encounter with Arthur C. Clarke …. 6 June 1999
Sri Lanka Tigers at the Gate …… 29 June 1999

Sri Lanka. Extreme Surfing ……… 13 July 1999

I have yet to see the first and third of these film documentaries, but find the topics chosen very much in my line of interest. It so happened that I watched TIGERS AT THE GATE in Adelaide then.[1]  I then had the temerity to send a Letter to the ABC and Corcoran with some criticisms of the coveragedeploying an University of Adelaide letterhead so as to secure attention. This exercise had completely slipped my mind till I came across my typescript and Mark Corcoran’s reply (dated 5th July) among my manuscripts when indulging in some archival sorting. In reproducing my Memo and placing this exchange within the inter-net ‘bar,’ I stress that my memories of the documentary NOW are zilch and that i have not been able to study it again. However, I suspect that it would be very useful for analysts to revisit this documentary. Continue reading

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Dangerous Signs and Disturbing Precedents

Island Editorial,where the title is “Nightmares and flashbacks

What is unfolding on the political front reminds us of the J. R. Jayewardene era when trade union struggles, including the 1980 general strike, were brutally crushed and the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and draconian laws foisted on the public while national assets were sold for a song. However, the present-day rulers have gone a step further; they have surpassed JRJ who could only toy with the idea of rolling back the electoral map. He held a referendum in lieu of a general election in 1982 however rigged it may have been. But, today, elections have been put off indefinitely on some flimsy pretext in blatant violation of people’s franchise. The Old Fox promised us a righteous society, of all things, and his followers in the present dispensation have pledged to usher in good governance (yahapalanaya).

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Fire-Storm Images, IV: Tamil Commitment to Their Cause

A road junction memorial for Annai Poopathi in Batticaloa District, Annai Poopathi, a mother of ten  children and aged 55, fasted unto death in protest against the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka, breathing her last on 19th April 1988.  –thereby backing Thileepan’s fast-unto-death earlier in Jaffna in 1987. A permanent memorial in her homage was also constructed at Kiran … but the tsunami  destroyed it. Her memory is evoked to this day.  Her sacrifice is remembered and hallowed today among Tamils in many lands –Germany, Netherlands, UK et  cetera –see http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/annai-poopathy-remembered?articleid=4700.

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