Category Archives: unusual people

A Catering Kitchen in Mannar: Mothers 4 Mothers

An Appeal for Donations from BRIDGING LANKA

Dear Michael, … As we edge nearer to Mothers’ Day, we are trying to raise funds for a project which is close to our hearts — the building of a catering kitchen and cafe for our widows to enable their financial survival: https://chuffed.org/project/mothers-4-mothers

This project focuses on vulnerable women who’d been affected by the war Many are widows, some were deserted, some are disabled and some have been victims of rape and assault, many have children to care for.  They are a bunch of survivors, admirable people, wonderful cooks and carers.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, charitable outreach, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, life stories, reconciliation, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tolerance, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Douma: Terror from Many Sides and Confusing Tales. Hypoxia not Gas?

Robert Fisk, in The Independent, 15 April 2018with this titleThe search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack”

This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.

an image from another source -viz. The Guardian

War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

April 19, 2018 · 2:03 pm

Remembering Oswin Silva: St. Aloysius College, Galle …. Lions …. and US Aid

Johnny de Silva

Aloysius Oswin Silva ……Born  = June 21, 1937 …..  Called to Rest  = March 2 2018

Oswin joined St. Aloysius College in January 1947 when he was 9 years old. At that time his parents Mr and Mrs A Moses Silva lived in Peliagoda, Kelaniya. He continued at SAC till he had reached the HSC form when in 1958 he left to join Aquinas University College in Colombo. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under charitable outreach, cultural transmission, education, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people

Gregory Peck in “Purple Plain” in Sri Lanka …. and Elsewhere

ITEM in Thinkworth  = https://thinkworth.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/when-gregory-peck-had-flu-in-sri-lanka-during-purple-rain/

Gregory Peck’s flu was cured by ginger-coriander tea when filming in Ceylon (Original Title)

TW has embedded a 7+minute Utube clip of the film “Purple Rain” shot in Sri Lanka …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjOmbJK_4-k

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-the-purple-plain-1954-gfdtwo-cities-film-with-gregory-peck-19484850.html from 

The ‘Spotlight’ column returns after a lengthy interval. The focus this time is on American actor Gregory Peck. There is no particular reason other than nostalgia for writing about this former Hollywood idol at this time. Born in 1916, Peck passed away in 2003. So this year 2015 does not mark any significant anniversary in his life or of his death. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, commoditification, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, meditations, performance, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, World War II

Saving Tamil Civilians by Sea: More on the ICRC-cum-SL Navy Operations: Admiral Travis Sinniah Speaks

Michael Roberts

I sent my article “Gash Files III” to Admiral (Retired) Travis Sinniah as soon as it was placed on web and was able to conduct an extended Skype-Chat with him on 12th April.[1] He had no major quarrels with the gist of that article. However, he stressed that the whole exercise was an extremely difficult one – involving difficulties that words cannot quite capture.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under charitable outreach, disaster relief team, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, Rajapaksa regime, refugees, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

TIGERS AT THE GATE from ABC: Mark Corcoran reads Prabhakaran in Mid-1999

After seeing the ABC production in the FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT SERIES entitled Tigers at the Gate” in mid-1999 I had the temerity to criticize the ABC and its producer Mark Corcoran. I should have attended to the blurb which presented this documentary on the ABC web site. This note ran: “The truth is a political solution is as impossible as a military breakthrough because for the (Tamil) Tigers its all or nothing– a homeland or glorious death.” (signed Mark Corcoran).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, australian media, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, devolution, foreign policy, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, TNA, unusual people, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

The Gash Files II: LTTE’s Strategic Design

Michael Roberts

In Despatch COL/2/08 of12 March 2009 Lt. Col Anton Gash has this summary appraisal for his superiors: The LTTE has been forcing the civilian population to move in accordance with their tactical requirements. The NFZ is rigorously policed and patrolled by LTTE cadres, who control access to food and medical facilities, ensuring that their own needs are met before any capacity is allowed for civilians.”

This is a critical observation pointing in the right direction. Nevertheless, it falls short of the mark. The mass of Tamil civilians was not merely a tactical element. They were a central pillar in the LTTE’s grand strategy. For one, they constituted a defensive formation: just so many sandbags restraining the full deployment of the government forces’ military weaponry. While the standard description of the civilians as “hostages” in HR and Western circles does point in this direction, the terminology is “weak” and does not fully capture the overarching strategic purpose of the corralled civilian mass. In addition to serving as a restrictive ‘bund’, the civilian mass provided an active incentive for Western intervention in favour of a ceasefire and some sort of “political solution.

 a tent citty in the Tigers’ last redoubt –-Pic from UNPoE circa February 2009

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, discrimination, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, refugees, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, wikileaks, world events & processes