Category Archives: violence of language

Tamil Demonstrations and Thommo’s Thunderbolts: Sri Lanka at Kennington Oval at the 1975 World Cup

Michael Roberts

While some of these striking photographs have been presented before in Cricketique or in Thuppahi, they have not been assembled under one roof before. They are significant both for political and cricketing reasons.  

In cricketing terms we had a talented troupe of players back home so that the final choice of fourteen left very competent players out of scene. The preparations were quite remarkable. The larger pool of players was sent to Nuwara Eliya in order to acclimatize themselves while practicing at Radalla.

Standing left-to-right: David Heyn, Roy Dias, Sarath Fernando, Neil Perera (Asst Manager), Raja Wickremasinhe (Fitness Trainer( and KMT Perera (Manager)  Squatting left-to right: Duleep Mendis, Bandula Warnapura jit deSilva, Anura Ranasinghe, Lalith Kaluperuma, Dennis Chanmugam, DS de Silva, Ranjit Fernando, Tony Opatha, Anura Tennekoon, HSM Pieris ….. Missing because traveling to Nuwara Eliya by car:  Michael Tissera and Sunil Wettimuny

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Dharmapala, Banda and Gunadasa as Central Figures in Dissection of Nationalist Authenticity

Harshana Rambukwella

Let’s begin with the book title. Why is it called ‘The politics and poetics of authenticity’? 

The title refers to the central theme of the book. It is primarily about why we think certain cultural practices are more authentic than others. How do such ideas come about? And what are the political implications of such notions of authenticity and what are the cultural and aesthetic implications of these notions as well? The poetics in the title refer to the second aspect of culture and aesthetics.

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Discriminatory Police Action at MCG: Ben Colby’s Reasoned Protest in Support of Indian Fans

Text of Letter from Ben Colby to Melbourne  Cricket Club, 30 December 2018 … see with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi and Colby bio-data at end

Dear Melbourne Cricket Club,

I am writing in relation to the Crowds Complaint Process at the MCG and the maladministration of it by Victoria Police that I witnessed in Bay M21 during the afternoon of Saturday 29th of December 2018. Indian cricket supporters were threatened with eviction and fines by a police sergeant, allegedly following the Crowds Complaint Process, for no apparent reason other than that they were supporting the Indian men’s cricket team. Supporters of the Australian men’s cricket team behaving in the same manner in Bay M21 were not targeted by police. Continue reading


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Internet Assassins: Deciphering Their World

 Michael Roberts

On different occasions friends have indicated that I should not bother to address personalized and vituperative attacks. In this instance I am disregarding this well-meant advice. For one the instances I am addressing are those arising from an essay in Colombo Telegraph which was inspired by Bill Deutrom’s observation that my analysis in another article “[would] not convince people who have already made up their mind based on emotion, ethnicity or with a hatred for Rajapaksa.”

Several of the comments provide ample evidence for Bill’s summing up. But we can decipher them more closely to read the lines of thought driving some of these individuals (mostly guys). That is my inquiry here – deciphering hardcore prejudice in what is necessarily a conjectural manner. I stress that I am addressing the Colombo Telegraph comments that reached the world up to 16th December (Dayan Jayatilleka’s note being the last embraced — one not pertinent to this essay).[1]


Vanderpoorten  Sankaralingam

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Suicide Missions as Witnessing: From Self-Immolation to Assassination and Mass Strike

Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30:  857-88.with the titleSuicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts” and is reproduced here with its original American English spelling. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla. The pictorial images are embellishments that were not part of the original essay. I have also added highlighting emphasis in orange as well as a few hyperlinks to other standard sources of information. The bibliographical references are within the End Notes as in the original format.

ABSTRACT: Studies of suicide missions usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assassination, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Sadat as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such extensions. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. Norman Morrison in Washington in 1965 and Jan Palach in Prague in 1969 did not have such beneficial settings and the immediate ramifications of their protest action were limited. Morrison’s story highlights the significance of a societal context of individuated rationalism as opposed, say, to the “pyramidical corporatism” encouraging martyrdom operations in the Islamic world.

Jan Palach…19 Jan. 1969 Nathuram Godse vs Mahatma Gandhi .. 30 Jan 1948

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A Merry-Go-Round in Sri Lanka …. No Blood

Michael Patrick O’Leary, in Private Eye, where the title is “A Letter from Colombo: Blood Bath in Sri Lanka- not Many Dead”

There is much talk of the second coming of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. It seems that he may have come prematurely, without the potency he had presumed. He says he is prime minister of Sri Lanka. Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the UNP (United National Party), says he is prime minister. There have been ugly scenes in parliament as ugly politicians punch each other and throw things about, including a bible (or possibly Erskine May).


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Sri Lanka’s Political Story from 1948-2018 in a Slash-and-Burn Nutshell

Qadri Ismail, in Groundviews, 3 November 2018, where the title is “WHAT, to the minority, is democracy?” ….with emphasis insertedby the Editor, Thuppahi

Maithripala Sirisena violates the constitution, stands to destroy democracy itself. Liberals, overwhelmingly Sinhalese, are aggrieved, appalled, aghast.

As a minority, I laugh. Not the happy laughter of someone enjoying a good joke. But the bitter, mirthless cackle of someone forced to read this script many times before – like every full moon, when the temple speakers blare its bana and you can’t blot out the noise with sleep because the liquor stores are closed.

All postcolonial Sri Lankan heads of government, all of them Sinhalese, have consistently violated the constitution and/or “threatened” democracy – usually by practicing it – and/or oppressed minorities. One could deem it a job requirement.

Just a few months after independence, Don Stephen Senanayake denaturalized, then disenfranchised ‘Indian’ Tamil citizens, already alienated from this country by their naming. Constitutional? Probably not. Democratic? Absolutely – passed by a majority of Parliament. Continue reading

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