Category Archives: trauma

Reflections on the Violent Buddhist Responses to Islam in Lanka and Burma

Stephen Labrooy

Ravi Velloor’s  article in THUPPAHI drew a private comment from Stephen Labrooy in Sri Lanka which is food for thought in itself, but carries particular value because it comes from Sri Lankan Burgher of some seniority[1] who has travelled abroad and presently serves as President of the Dutch Burgher Union. I have queries on several points and raised just two hurriedly (see below); but the “memorandum” has useful ethnographic information, while running several inter-related arguments. Hence its airing here.

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US vs THEM…. Animosities…. and the Horrors Arising Therefrom

Rajmohan Gandhi, from Daily News, 7 October 2017, where the title is “The other as foe History is replete with the horrors of us-vs-them narratives” …. with highlighting emphasis in blue being the work of the Editor,Thuppahi

Currently being watched by riveted and shaken viewers across the US, Ken Burns’ 10-part documentary, The Vietnam War, is relevant for places and issues far removed from the America and Vietnam of the 1960s and 1970s.[http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/home/%5D

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The Rohingya Issue: Bangladeshi Diplomat in Q and A with Ratnawalli

Darshanie Ratnawalli,  from The Island, 23 September 2017, where the title reads “The Rohingya future generations in danger of radicalization”

When the attractive and affable High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka, called the editor of this newspaper to discuss the Rohingya issue, he was engaging with the people of Sri Lanka in a refreshing act of non-traditional diplomacy.  He was doing for Sri Lanka what the Kofi Annan Report was urging Myanmar and Bangladesh to do, engaging in “dialogue that promotes better mutual understanding, both at the level of the country’s leaders and people-to people ties” because “Myanmar and Bangladesh have different narratives on the challenges along their shared border. Despite the large numbers who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, the popular perception in Myanmar is that the problem is illegal immigration into Myanmar. There are also different historical narratives about the origin of communities and their population growth. These differences can only be narrowed by dialogue.”

 High Commissioner Riaz Hamidulla

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A Crocodile kills British tourist Paul Maclean off East Coast

A Financial Times journalist was killed by a crocodile whilst washing his hands in a lagoon in Sri Lanka during a holiday with friends. Paul McClean, 24, an Oxford University graduate, is believed to have wandered off from friends in order to go to the toilet, before being ambushed by the reptile as he dipped his hands in the water. He is said to have been seen “waving his hands in the air” in desperation before being dragged under water at a lagoon known as Crocodile Rock, located just just minutes from a popular surfing beach.

Paul McClean, right, with his brother Neil on his graduation day in August 2015

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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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Optimism in the Rajapaksa Camp in Early 2017

SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda,  courtesy of The Diplomat, 20 January 2017 , where the title runs thus: “Sri Lanka: The Rajapaksas Rise Again”

“We’re not the same guys who used to tell you various things and then forget about it three days later… We want the world to know that we’re different—that we’re going to do what we say we’re doing.”

–Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, to National Geographic (November 2016)

Disillusionment with the Sirisena regime is running high, giving the Rajapaksa clan a chance to reclaim lost glory Politics is shaped by leaders’ ability to deliver. It is all about doing and achieving, “doing what you say what you say you are going to do,” to paraphrase Dr. Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s current deputy minister of foreign affairs. It is not about good intentions; it is about getting results. It is not about pleasing outsiders; ultimately it is about keeping your own people happy, satisfying their aspirations, reassuring them, protecting them, and advancing their interests. This is the fundamental truth that is beginning to dawn on Sri Lanka’s body politic.

Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa (C) waves at his supporters at the end of the five-day protest march against the incumbent government in Sri Lanka -August 1, 2016)-Pic-Reuters dinuka Liyanaaratchchi

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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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