Category Archives: vengeance

Mantovan and Ambos: Two Young European Scholars researching Sri Lankan Issues

 Mantovan  Ambos

The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden reveals the interests of two recent Fellows at IIAS who have been delving into Sri Lankan issues in recent times. Herewith some summaries

Giacomo Mantovan is of Italian lineage:

“My research in social anthropology, which focuses on individuals and their relations with their social milieu, and in particular with state authorities, aims to grasp how certain critical times, such as civil war, exile, and illness, become moments of construction of subjectivity and memory.” Continue reading

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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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Tamils Yesterday, Rohingyas Today: Rohingya Issue and Its Wider Ramifications in a Nutshell

Ravi Velloor,, in The Island, 15 September 2017where the title reads “Rohingya issue and the danger to South-east Asia” … with highlighting being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Not since the landlocked Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan swept out its Nepali-speaking Hindu population in the late 1980s has Asia witnessed as relentless an action against a minority group as seen lately in Myanmar. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called the sustained drive to push Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Continue reading

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Three Historical ‘Journeys’ into the Colonial Past

Geedreck Usvatte-Aratchi, in Sunday Island, 1 October 2017, where the title reads “War, Doom and Re-generation”………………. A Review of three books

  • W.I.Siriweera and Sanath de Silva (2017):Warfare in Sri Lanka
  • Gananath Obeyesekere (2017): The Doomed King
  • Sarath Amunugama (2016): The Lion’s Roar

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John Holt rebuts Gerald Peiris: A Focus on Buddhist Extremism

John Holt, A Short Memorandum addressing Gerald Peiris, 28 September 2017

It is 3 years since I gave the keynote address at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (Kandy) conference on Buddhism in relation to other religions.  My presentation was revised an subsequently published as the lead article in the book that was a by-product of the conference.  My thesis was simple:  to illustrate how recent social, economic and political changes in Theravada-dominated countries have had an effect on their respective religious cultures.  My argument about Sri Lanka was also quite simple:  that 26 years of civil war had contributed to the emergence of Buddhist militancy–the BBS being the classic example.  Immediately following that conference, Gerry Peiris sent out sharply critical e-mails about my presentation to an extended group of his like-minded friends.  When I came to know about his rather personal attacks through some of my own Sri Lankan friends, I quietly exchanged several detailed e-mails with Peiris engaging him quite thoroughly and, as I thought at the time, putting the matters to rest in a civil manner.

Muslims stand next to a burnt shop after a clash between Buddhists and Muslims in Aluthgama June 16, 2014. At least three Muslims were killed and 75 people seriously injured in violence between Buddhists and Muslims in southern Sri Lankan coastal towns best known as tourist draws, with Muslim homes set ablaze, officials and residents said on Monday. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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Buddhist Monks on Violent Paths. How Come? An Essay in Mid-2013

Alan Strathern, in BBC News,  on 2 May 2013, ….  repeat 2013, with the title being  “Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims?”

Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

At the annual Ananda Harvest Festival in Bagan, Myanmar, thousands of monks from all over Myanmar came to receive alms. While walking around the vast temple grounds, I chanced upon this boy monk who was playing with his toy gun. Even though it was only a toy gun, I found this image a disturbing juxtaposition of the peace that Buddhism embodies and the violence that guns symbolise.

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How the Sinhala Chauvinists are Ruining Reconciliation as well as Sri Lanka

Kusal Perera, in Daily Mirror, 22 September 2017, where the title reads “Chaos, corruption covered by ‘Sinhala Patriotism” … with highlighting in Blue added by the editor, Thuppahi, while that in purple is Kusal Perera’s

“Save this Sinhala Buddhist country, not from those who rob their economic benefits, but from Tamil separatists and Muslim fundamentalists”

I have been given many epithets for trying to promote a decent and a civilised “North-South” dialogue for a common and a shared future with due respect to each other’s cultural identities.  This week began with epithets like “Voice of (Tamil) Diaspora” and “A dollar paid Traitor”. Another called me a “Sinhala Buddhist basher”.

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