Category Archives: violence of language

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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Filed under accountability, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, Buddhism, communal relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, ethnicity, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, life stories, Muslims in Lanka, religiosity, religious nationalism, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, violence of language, world events & processes

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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Religious Zealots: Mashal Khan killed by Fellow-Uni Students for Blasphemy

Reuters,  14 April 2017 with the title Pakistani student beaten to death by peers in latest ‘blasphemy killing’

The ransacked university hostel room of slain Pakistani student Mashal Khan has posters of Karl Marx and Che Guevara still hanging on the walls, along with scribbled quotes including one that reads: “Be curious, crazy and mad.” The day before, a heated debate over religion with fellow students broke out at the dorm and led to people accusing Khan of blasphemy against Islam. That attracted a crowd that grew to several hundred people, according to witnesses. The mob kicked in the door, dragged Khan from his room and beat him to death, witnesses and police said. The death in the northwestern city of Mardan is the latest violence linked to accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan.

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The Collective Consciousness of the Sinhalese During the Kandyan Era: Manichean Images, Associational Logic

Michael Roberts, being a reprint of an article with the same title in Asian Ethnicity, Volume 3, Number 1, March 2002

ABSTRACT:  An analysis of the form of the dynastic state known today as the Kingdom of Kandy provides a backdrop for an exploration of the sentiments that directed its resistance to the imperial expansion of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in the period from the 1590s to 1818. Known in its day as Sinhalē, a concept that could embrace the whole island of Lanka, the state and its cakravārti king served as the focus for a Sinhala collective consciousness that was embodied in epic tales, war poems and onomastic folklore, while also being promoted by the sacred topography associated with pilgrimages. These sentiments embraced both the ruling elements and the ordinary people. Within this body of thought, two threads stand out: first, the demonisation of Threatening Others; and, secondly, an associational logic that merges present with past, old enemies with new. This logic is akin to the atidēsa function identified by Ranajit Guha. In its ethnographic specifics among the Sinhalese, it merged the ‘vile-cum-fierce Tamils’ with the disordering Portuguese, English, et al. All were para rupu, ‘alien enemies’. The imagery is Manichean.

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Narrating Tamil Nationalism: Subjectivities and Issues

 Michael Roberts,  being a reprint of a review article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, s., Vol. XXVII, no.1, April 2004 …… with a review of this essay by Bandu de Silva having appeared earlier Thuppahi. The version here has highlighted emphasis to aid the reader –clearly a ‘work ‘in 2017.

     ONE

Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, now regrettably with his maker, remains Sri Lanka’s leading political scientist, with numerous books associated with his name. He had secured eminence as early as the 1970s, when attached to Peradeniya University, and this reputation enabled him to move to a Professorship at the University of New Brunswick around 1972. It was his considerable scholarly reputation that encouraged the president of Sri Lanka and leader of the right-wing United National Party, J. R. Jayewardene, to utilise his consultative services in the political negotiations and constitutional engineering that occurred in the period 1978–83. His participation was facilitated by K. M. de Silva, a confidante of the president as well as Wilson’s long-time friend.

 Wilson     KM dde Silva Continue reading

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July 19, 2017 · 3:39 pm
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