Introductory Note from Michael Roberts
The public event organised by Chatham House to discuss recent events in Sri Lanka on 17th January was chaired by a University Lecturer at University College London whose specialty is “human rights,” rather than any one of the Sri Lankan specialists teaching at British Universities (for e.g. Rajesh Venugopal, Asanga Welikala, Sujit Suvisundaram, Zoltan Beidermann and Alan Strathern). The combination of ignorance, distortion and prejudice that guided the organisation and direction of the debate was exposed in the opening lines of this Chairperson, one Kate Cronin-Furman. “[We are meeting today some ten years after the “final push” of the Sri Lankan Army in a war that ended in May 2009 – “a final phase where the UN estimates said that more than 40,000 civilians were killed by that military [action].”
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Chatham House Public Notice: “A Divided Island: Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Crisis” … 17 January 2019 1:00pm to 2:00pm ……………….Chatham House | 10 St James’s Square | London | SW1Y 4LE ….. NB: “Chatham House” is The Royal Institute of International Affairs
Overview: …… A decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war, the country has recently been plunged back into turmoil. A constitutional crisis created by the sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe by President Maithripala Sirisena, and a plan to replace him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, paralysed the country’s legislative and executive branches as both Wickramasinghe and Rajapaksa claimed the office of prime minister. Against this background, the panel considers how Sri Lanka’s opaque domestic politics is reflected by the government’s slow progress toward its pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to address accountability and political reconciliation emerging from the country’s 26-year civil war. Looking forward, will Wickramasinghe pursue reconciliation, and accountability for past abuses? And what will Rajapaksa’s disputed return to frontline politics mean for a nation still reconciling the violence of its recent history?
LONDON, UK – Apr 19, 2017: Metropolitan police officers on duty at 10 St James’s Square The Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House
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Darshanie Ratnawalli’s Pithy Translation of President Sirisena’s Speech to His Present Cabinet … with some asides on the reception among his captive audience
Associated with our victory in 2015 there were many aspirations, hopes, wishes of the people. During the past three and half, almost four years, there were many victories and positive achievements we engendered as a government. At the same time there were harmful, inauspicious, undisciplined, wretched and lawless things that happened as well (Ranil W shrugs shoulders with impatient look of hauteur on face). While we can celebrate the good things, we must also join the people in bemoaning the lost opportunities. The pledges of our manifesto started getting violated from the moment the first Cabinet was appointed after the victory. The manifesto said the subjects and ministries should be assigned on a scientific basis, and a board of experts were appointed for that purpose. However, I don’t know if that file was even glanced at in making appointments. (Champika smiles contemptuously, like a civilised and noble leader forced to listen to driveling of an uncouth cur, who doesn’t maintain the decencies of polite society.)
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Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30: 857-88.with the title “Suicide 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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Jonathan Miller of Channel 4 reporting from Sri Lanka, 27 November 20 — with title “Tamils hold provocative remembrance services for fallen Tiger fighters”
Amid continuing political turmoil in Sri Lanka, the Tamils in the north of the country have tonight held ceremonies commemorating fallen fighters of the Tamil Tiger insurgent army which was summarily defeated nine years ago. The remembrance events are highly controversial, particularly among ethnic Sinhalese nationalists.
Despite international outrage over alleged atrocities committed by Sri Lankan armed forces, there has been little progress towards accountability. We report from the former Tamil Tiger capital, Killinochi. A warning: the report contains images that some viewers might find distressing.
This snap is from 27 November 2015
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Iselin Frydenlund, ….. which reached me via the University of Adelaide circuit and where the title is “Tamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion”. It is presented here against the wishes of the author, with a change of title, modifications in the hyphenation style, the addition of illustrative photographs from my own stock and the use of coloured highlighting to mark significant passages….. The Editor, Thuppahi
From the late 1970s to its defeat by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for Tamil independence in Sri Lanka. The ultimate aim of what was often considered to be one of the world‘s most disciplined and efficient insurgency groups was to create an independent Tamil homeland (which they called Tamil Eelam) in the northern and eastern parts of the island. The LTTE based itself on a unique mix of Tamil nationalist, socialist, and feminist visions of a new future for the marginalized Tamil communities of Sri Lanka.
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