Category Archives: truth as casualty of war

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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Chandraprema on Gnanasara Thera in 2014

C. A. Chandraprema, in …5 July 2014,  with the title “Gnanasara Thera & the UNP” — a repetition of this article from 2014 in the light of Dayan Jayatilleka’s recent intervention and the clutch of news items and articles on hate-speech and Sinhala Buddhist –Muslim tensions

Last week, the cat jumped out of the bag when the US Embassy in Colombo cancelled Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera’s US visa. When this writer asked the US embassy in Colombo in a previous column how this monk had gone to the USA after he had begun this campaign of hatred and incitement of violence, we assumed that he had entered the USA on the kind of single entry visitor’s visa that ordinary mortals like us get after answering a whole string of questions and producing copious documentation. Now it turns out that he had a five- year multiple entry visa which had been granted to him in 2011 and had not yet expired. The US authorities appear to have panicked that if this monk made another visit to the USA on this visa in the middle of all this controversy, their role in all this mayhem would be badly exposed.

 Gnanasara Thero Continue reading

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Target Incitement to Violence – Deploy Gota’s Capacities

Dayan Jayatilleka, courtesy of The Island, 21 June 2017, where the title is  The issue is incitement: The BBS, Champika & the Gota factor” … with highlighting being the work of The editor, Thuppahi

The entire discussion or debate about the BBS, Gnanasara Thero and extremism is missing something. The discussion confuses ultra-nationalism, chauvinism, Islamophobia and extremism with the real issue: incitement to violence. Whether an ideology is extremist or not is one issue, but it is an issue that is difficult to resolve. What is far easier to resolve, legally and morally, is the issue of whether or not an action or statement constitutes an ‘incitement to violence’ against an individual or a collective.

 Gnanasara Thero Ranawake

It is morally slippery to avoid the central issue that is present before our very eyes, namely incitement, and instead to shift attention by merely equating all forms of chauvinism and denouncing them all equally. Continue reading

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Nirupama reviews A Powerkeg in Paradise

 Nirupama Subramanium, courtesy of http://www.sangam.org/2010/08/Powderkeg.php?print=true

Disappointingly for an “insider account”, there are no major revelations in the book; it is a faithful narrative of what is already in the public realm about the ceasefire and written carefully, striking a balance between the government and the LTTE, with the decisions/actions of both sides called into question.

A POWDERKEG IN PARADISELost Opportunity for Peace in Sri Lanka… by …  Jon Oskar Solnes; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., A-149, Main Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092. Rs. 750.

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Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/deciphering-religious-rivalries-in-south-and-southeast-asia/

 Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi) 

The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading

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Kepel’s Koranic Expertise renders him a Prime Target for Assassination

Matthew Campbell, in The Times, 28 May 2017, where the title is Islamists vow to murder academic who know Koran better than them”

Gilles Kepel is waiting for a taxi on a London street corner. The roads are gridlocked, the cab is late and France’s foremost expert on Islam is starting to look nervous. He has every reason to be. Isis has placed this polished, polyglot professor on a death list, calling on its followers to kill him without delay. In France he has round-the-clock police protection. Yet here he is, alone and unprotected in the British capital – “Londonistan” was the term he coined for it years ago – barely two days after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a Manchester concert.I have just interviewed him and he has ordered a cab to get to another meeting. But it is nowhere to be seen. Ushering him into the Underground, I ask him what it feels like to be threatened by a group that specialises in beheading its victims in front of a camera.

 Gilles Kepel’s expertise has unsettled Islamic extremists.

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Al-Jazeera and Laksiri Highlight Rise in Anti-Muslim Mayhem in May

ONE: Al-Jazeera Item, “Sri Lanka; Buddhist leader stokes anti-Muslim tension,” May 2017, 

A manhunt is on in Sri Lanka for a hard-line Buddhist leader after a series of attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses that authorities accuse him of encouraging.  President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim hate crimes after assuming power in 2015, however, attacks have escalated over the past two weeks. Another Muslim shop in the town of Kahawatte was reportedly burned to the ground this week by unidentified attackers.

Galaboda atththe Gnansaara Thero

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General-Secretary Galagoda Atte Gnanasara has encouraged his Buddhist supporters to lead another campaign against Muslims following the deadly Aluthgama riots in June 2014, which attempted to create disunity between Buddhists and Muslims.  Less than 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s population of 20 million are Muslim. The majority are Sinhalese Buddhist, while most Tamils are Hindu.

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