Category Archives: women in ethnic conflcits

Composing THE BROKEN PALMYRAH: Rajani Thiranagama’s Rigorous Oversight … and Her Insights

Rajan Hoole, whose chosen title is “Thirty Years After: Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama’s Lasting Impact”

Text of Speech delivered by DR. Rajan Hoole at Trimmer Hall, Jaffna, on 21st September 2019 to mark the 30th anniversary of Dr.Rajini Thiranagama’s assassination [by the LTTE] …. presented first at http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/65690

Ever since Rajani was killed, on 21st September 1989, many around the world have seen her as a heroic figure that stood for human values, not in a legalistic sense, but in the full-blooded sense that evokes an emotional and intellectual response; that moves those around her to commitment and action that is contagious. Accepting that we are living in a world that is not pacifist, her activism was towards solutions that avoided violence. The other view of Rajani was simply that she is a traitor. For those who felt helpless when the Tigers carried all before them, she inspired them as a symbol of resistance to the emerging fascist order, where to dissent was to court death.

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Narendran’s Evaluation of the IDP Camps in August 2009

Narendran Rajasingham, in TamilWeek, 30 August 2009** … where the title is “Internally displaced persons: The new front of an old war in Sri Lanka”

Since the defeat of the LTTE on 18th May’ 2009 at Nandikadal, the issue of the 300,000 ‘Internally Displaced persons (IDPs)’ has become the new front to fight an old war.  People who have not been to the IDP camps in Chettikulam have been very vociferous in condemning the conditions and the very existence of these camps.  Objective reports based on contextual realities by those who have visited these camps and talked to a cross section of the IDPs are dismissed as propaganda on behalf of the government. Other reports of those who visited these camps, but have highlighted problems that fit in with the agenda of those fighting in the new front, are gobbled up with glee. The reports of those who have not visited these camps and are relying on second hand information and photographs, are accepted as the gospel truth. The desire to condemn and use the situation as an opportunity to continue the old Eelam agenda under a new guise is overwhelmingly obvious.

Rajasingham et al with General Gunaratne  young IDPs at school –Pic deployed in TamilWeek

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A Testing Issue: The Nadesalingam Murugappan Asylum Claim

ONE = Simon Benson & Rosie Lewis, in The Australian, 4 September 2019, where the title runs “Tamil asylum case sets path for 6000 others”

Scott Morrison has vowed to send home more than 6000 illegal immigrants who have had their refugee claims rejected, as he brushed off Labor attempts to drag his religious faith into the debate over the deportation of a Sri Lankan family. The Australian revealed on Wednesday that those 6000 asylum-seekers are engaged in similar legal ­appeals to that of the Tamil family who will learn today whether their ­eleventh-hour Federal Court bid to prevent their ­deportation has succeeded.

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UN Aid Workers in the Crucible of War, 1989-92: William Clarance’s Fascinating Account

Michael Roberts, in SOUTH ASIA¸ Sept 2008, 31: 394-96 reviewing Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.

This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field. 

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The Force of the Moors. Reflections Historical and Ethnographic

Wilfrid Jayasuriya

“The Portugese, the Saviours of our Culture?” = This is the title of a scholarly article written in the Ceylon Historical Journal in the 1950s by B. J. Perera BA (History) University of Ceylon who was our teacher in the University Entrance class. It was of course “dead against” the version given by nationalist historians after independence. However his interpretation simply put was that the Mughals had conquered Hindu India and ruled it for a couple of centuries and converted a large part of the Hindu population to the Muslim religion as had happened in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and the Maldives, which had been either Hindu or Buddhist. The evidence in Bali and Java of the existence of Buddhist and Hindu relics supports this view.

Mattayaas in the Gal Oya and Eastern Province interior

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Fighting LTTE Women …. Looking Back from 2016

Kim Wall and Mansi Choksi, in Longreads, May 2018 where the title is “A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers” …… How during a brutal, 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers failed the women soldiers who sacrificed everything to fight for a sovereign state for the Tamil minority [with a NOTE from the Editor, Thuppahi at the end]

“We went on our first reporting trip together to write about an emerging Chinatown in Kampala in 2015,” says Mansi. “And then the next year, I moved to New York, where she was living, so we would spend our afternoons working together.” Mansi and Kim traveled to Sri Lanka in 2016. Mansi recalls Kim’s dedication to telling the story of the women who fought with the Tamil Tigers during Sri Lanka’s brutal, 25-year civil war. “Kim genuinely fell in love with the women we were writing about,” says Mansi. “You can hear it in her voice, in the tapes of our interviews.”

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Sharpening Politico-Religious Divisions in Sri Lanka

Dear Rohan,

Your thoughtful note has provoked this set of comments — comments that range far and wide. I will. of course, welcome your reactions and hope that others will chip in with both comments and data.  Michael

One:  Note this segment in Ameer Ali’s important essay: ” The Islamist creep was manifested in several ways. For example, the cry Allahu Akbar announced the opening and close of every public gathering organised under the banner of SLMC. Quotations from the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s Hadiths added a tone of religiosity to political speeches. Even hand clapping in some instances was substituted by shouting Allahu Akbar to appreciate a speaker’s oratory.”  One can speculate that Ameer Ali is writing as a Sri Lankan Australian first and a Muslim second ….. But the point is the inside information conveyed by that observation — data which our Muslim MPs and others have not conveyed to their non-Muslim colleagues — perhaps not having grasped the implications of Wahhabism for inter-communal life in Sri Lanka.

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