Category Archives: war reportage

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, devolution, disparagement, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, rehabilitation, security, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, devolution, discrimination, economic processes, education policy, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, JVP, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, NGOs, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, security, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, tolerance, vengeance, war reportage, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

Nirupama reviews A Powerkeg in Paradise

 Nirupama Subramanium, courtesy of http://www.sangam.org/2010/08/Powderkeg.php?print=true

Disappointingly for an “insider account”, there are no major revelations in the book; it is a faithful narrative of what is already in the public realm about the ceasefire and written carefully, striking a balance between the government and the LTTE, with the decisions/actions of both sides called into question.

A POWDERKEG IN PARADISELost Opportunity for Peace in Sri Lanka… by …  Jon Oskar Solnes; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., A-149, Main Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092. Rs. 750.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, devolution, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

A Blanket over India’s Dirty War in Kashmir

Rajeeva Jayaweera,  in The Island, 4 June 2017, where the title is Army fighting dirty war in J&K need be innovative – Indian Army Chief”

Indian Army Chief of Staff General Bipin Rawat, during a recent ceremony to award Chief of Army staff (COAS) commendation card to Major Leetul Gogoi, has strongly defended his soldiers currently involved in counter terrorism operations and quelling rioting Kashmiris. Major Gogoi is accused of using an arrested stone pelting protestor as a human shield. The protestor was tied to the front of an army jeep on April 9 before moving his unit together with a dozen local Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) employees, ten ITPB Jawans, several constables from J&K police and a bus driver trapped inside a polling booth, to safety. The group was surrounded by a large number of violent protestors who had also taken up position on surrounding roofs. After reaching safety, the protestor used as a human shield was handed over to local police. The incident which was videoed went viral within hours.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, historical interpretation, human rights, indian armed forces, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

“Demons in Paradise” at Cannes: Jude Rutnam in Firing Line

Hindustan Times,  http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.htmlhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/film-breaks-silence-on-madness-of-sri-lanka-civil-war/story-s9DP6d5Owq4SrySIlbDOpL.html

 Jude Ratnam is worried how his film might go down with his fellow Sri Lankan Tamils. And he has a point. Demons in Paradise, which is premiering at the Cannes film festival, tells of the bloodbath that drove some Tamils to take up arms in the three decade-long insurgency that tore the island apart. But the documentary also shatters a taboo by insisting that some of most horrific violence the minority endured was at the hands of their supposed defenders, the Tamil Tigers.  And the “hard truth” comes from the mouths of former Tamil fighters   themselves.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, anton balasingham, atrocities, communal relations, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Honouring Sri Lanka’s Dead Servicemen

Pramod De Silva, from Daily News, 19 May 2017, where the title is They still live on” … Note Queries at the end from Editor, Thuppahi

A soldier never really dies. He lives on in our hearts. A soldier’s mission never ends, not even in death. One of my favourite war anecdotes has a 10-year-old boy asking a World War II veteran “how does it feel to be a hero?”. His reply: “Oh, son, I am not a hero. We buried all the heroes, I am just a survivor”.  No surviving soldier can ever forget his or her comrades in arms who perhaps died right next to them. Their devotion to friends and colleagues who made the Supreme Sacrifice is simply indescribable. Yet, soldiers fall in every battle. Others make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain. They charge ahead and win the battle. They do not seek glory, nor do they seek fame.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, ethnicity, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, war reportage, world events & processes

Poles Apart on May 19th: Tamil and Sinhala Voices of Power

Lamentation vs Pleased Affirmation …. The Power of Polarity! That is in capsule form the  story of Sri Lanka from the 1940s to the present day. No better illustration can be provided today than the reading of the May 18/19th anniversary of the LTTE’s defeat and the death of talaivar Pirapaharan by intellectuals on both sides of the divide.

A family member of one of those who disappeared during the civil war with the LTTE, mourns in Colombo–AFP

“A Day of Grief” said Chief Minister Wigneswaran on 18th May.

“Lest we Forget”  said a Sinhala Australian in evoking the sacrifices and the victory of Sri Lanka’s armed forces in the vocabulary of Australian patriotism

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under art & allure bewitching, Australian culture, australian media, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes