Category Archives: war reportage

Under Fire: Pictorials of Sri Lanka’s Cricket Team facing Duress at Lahore, 3 March 2009

Michael Roberts …. aided by varied cameramen mostly unnamed

The stark reality of near-death and its trauma are reflected in the aftermath by Eranga Jayawardena’s image of Mahela and his wife at Katunayake Airport when the team arrived safely on 3rd March 2009 ….. What follows below is a sequence of dramatic images depicting the scenario in Lahore that preceded and precipitated this moment (several courtesy of AFP in Hong Kong) Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, war reportage, world events & processes

Revisiting Jaffna and the LTTE in mid-1999 guided by Mark Corcoran and the ABC

Michael Roberts

 

In mid-year 1999 during the ongoing Eelam War III, Mark Corcoran of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) visited Sri Lanka and composed three film documentaries of fascinating breadth. They were

Sri Lanka. A Close Encounter with Arthur C. Clarke …. 6 June 1999
Sri Lanka Tigers at the Gate …… 29 June 1999

Sri Lanka. Extreme Surfing ……… 13 July 1999

I have yet to see the first and third of these film documentaries, but find the topics chosen very much in my line of interest. It so happened that I watched TIGERS AT THE GATE in Adelaide then.[1]  I then had the temerity to send a Letter to the ABC and Corcoran with some criticisms of the coveragedeploying an University of Adelaide letterhead so as to secure attention. This exercise had completely slipped my mind till I came across my typescript and Mark Corcoran’s reply (dated 5th July) among my manuscripts when indulging in some archival sorting. In reproducing my Memo and placing this exchange within the inter-net ‘bar,’ I stress that my memories of the documentary NOW are zilch and that i have not been able to study it again. However, I suspect that it would be very useful for analysts to revisit this documentary. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, anton balasingham, atrocities, australian media, authoritarian regimes, devolution, ethnicity, Fascism, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, TNA, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, ethnicity, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, violence of language, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Fire-Storm Images, IV: Tamil Commitment to Their Cause

A road junction memorial for Annai Poopathi in Batticaloa District, Annai Poopathi, a mother of ten  children and aged 55, fasted unto death in protest against the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka, breathing her last on 19th April 1988.  –thereby backing Thileepan’s fast-unto-death earlier in Jaffna in 1987. A permanent memorial in her homage was also constructed at Kiran … but the tsunami  destroyed it. Her memory is evoked to this day.  Her sacrifice is remembered and hallowed today among Tamils in many lands –Germany, Netherlands, UK et  cetera –see http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/annai-poopathy-remembered?articleid=4700.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under cultural transmission, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Saivism, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, zealotry

Fire-Storm Images, III: LTTE Leaders

 

Velupillai Pirapaharan in his presentation of self in Che Guevara mode

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, historical interpretation, island economy, language policies, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

Fire-Storm Images, II: The Indian Intervention, 1987

Naval rating Wijemuni Rohana de Silva attempts to hammer — deliver guti, so to speak — Premier Rajiv Gandhi for the humiliation imposed on Sri Lanka Through the insertion of an Indian Peace Keeping Force  as the main pillar of the Indo-Lanka Accord.  This incident occurred during the guard of honour on his arrival  to finalize the Accord.  Note that after serving his period of imprisonment for this act WR de Silva contested parliamentary elections under the JVP banner in his home area down south. I have been reliably informed that The cameraman was Sena Vidanagamage — what a camera strike!

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under historical interpretation, indian armed forces, Indian Ocean politics, LTTE, military strategy, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Rajiv Gandhi, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes

Introducing FIRE AND STORM by Michael Roberts

Anonymous Reviewer in Sunday Times, 21 July 2013,  where the title runs “Important contribution towards a dialogue on Lankan polity. Book facts”

When Michael Roberts left Peradeniya in the late seventies, he was part of an exodus of intellectuals from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, arguably one of the best universities at that time. The exodus of academics at that time was compelled by the economic difficulties faced by university dons. It was the second wave of such emigration that diminished the intellectual life of the university and country.

  Pirapāharan and leading Tiger Commanders at the Indian sponsored training camp at Sirimalai in 1984

The Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya never regained its prestigious academic status after that. Today the University of Peradeniya cannot take pride in intellectuals of the eminence of E. F. C. Ludowyck, E. R Sarachchandra, H. A. de S. Gunasekera, Fr. Ignatius Pinto, Ian Van den Driesen and many others. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, communal relations, devolution, discrimination, education policy, Eelam, electoral structures, female empowerment, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, IDP camps, indian armed forces, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Rajiv Gandhi, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, welfare & philanthophy, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes