Category Archives: working class conditions

Albert Namatjira emerges from the Copyright Dungeon

AAP-SBS News, October 2017,    where the title is Albert Namatjira’s copyright deal: Rewriting a historical wrong”

An injustice has been righted more than 30 years on with the family and clan of famed Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira recovering the copyright to his work.  A 15-minute phone call and the princely sum of $1 have resolved what has been the country’s longest copyright battle for the rights to the works of Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira. It is a victory for his family and clan who have been denied any rights or revenue from his work for more than 30 years, The Weekend Australian reported.

Namatjira, an Arrernte man from Central Australia, is recognised as Australia’s greatest indigenous painter and the first to work in the western tradition. He is best known for his watercolour paintings of the outback and created about 2000 artworks during his life.

**FILE** A Oct 19 2006 file photo of Albert Namatjira’s first painting is displayed at a Sotheby’s preview in Sydney. The auction of the Aboriginal art including Albert Namatjira’s first painting will be on in Melbourne today, Tuesday Oct. 31, 2006. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

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Tamils Yesterday, Rohingyas Today: Rohingya Issue and Its Wider Ramifications in a Nutshell

Ravi Velloor,, in The Island, 15 September 2017where the title reads “Rohingya issue and the danger to South-east Asia” … with highlighting being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Not since the landlocked Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan swept out its Nepali-speaking Hindu population in the late 1980s has Asia witnessed as relentless an action against a minority group as seen lately in Myanmar. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called the sustained drive to push Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Continue reading

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Optimism in the Rajapaksa Camp in Early 2017

SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda,  courtesy of The Diplomat, 20 January 2017 , where the title runs thus: “Sri Lanka: The Rajapaksas Rise Again”

“We’re not the same guys who used to tell you various things and then forget about it three days later… We want the world to know that we’re different—that we’re going to do what we say we’re doing.”

–Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, to National Geographic (November 2016)

Disillusionment with the Sirisena regime is running high, giving the Rajapaksa clan a chance to reclaim lost glory Politics is shaped by leaders’ ability to deliver. It is all about doing and achieving, “doing what you say what you say you are going to do,” to paraphrase Dr. Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s current deputy minister of foreign affairs. It is not about good intentions; it is about getting results. It is not about pleasing outsiders; ultimately it is about keeping your own people happy, satisfying their aspirations, reassuring them, protecting them, and advancing their interests. This is the fundamental truth that is beginning to dawn on Sri Lanka’s body politic.

Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa (C) waves at his supporters at the end of the five-day protest march against the incumbent government in Sri Lanka -August 1, 2016)-Pic-Reuters dinuka Liyanaaratchchi

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The Traumatic and Devastating Partition of Indian and Pakistan, 1947

Yasmin Khan,  courtesy of  The Guardian, 6 August 2017, where the title is “Why Pakistan and India remain in denial 70 years on from partition” 

On 3 June 1947, only six weeks before British India was carved up, a group of eight men sat around a table in New Delhi and agreed to partition the south Asian subcontinent. Photographs taken at that moment reveal the haunted and nervous faces of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian National Congress leader soon to become independent India’s first prime minister, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, head of the Muslim League and Pakistan’s first governor-general and Louis Mountbatten,the last British viceroy

  A convoy of Sikhs travels to Punjab after the partition of India in August 1947. Photograph: Margaret Bourke-White/The Life Picture Collection/Getty

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Imminent Disasters? Exploiting Sri Lanka’s Mineral Resources

Ashley de Vos, in The Island, 16 August 2017, where the heading runs thus: “The exploitation of minerals of Sri Lanka”

If there is an asset, should it be exploited to the fullest in the shortest period of time? The traditional view would be based on very careful and controlled use. Today, in the global market place an asset is viewed very differently. As most investors in a business are interested in an ever increasing the bottom line question of eventual sustainability raises questions that need answers. Unfortunately, all exploitation has limits and if profit is the only criteria, whatever the pontification, it cannot and is not sustainable in the long term. It will always be a short term solution, to what could be a long term disaster.

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Barron’s Mss History of British Planters via Three Case Studies

Tom J. Barron … a typed Manuscript I discovered in my study; …. an article drafted in 1972/73 [see below]; …..an essay that does not seem to have appeared in print [see elaboration at the end] …Highlighting emphasis is the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

The history of British plantation enterprise in Ceylon is a relatively neglected topic. Most historical works on 19th and 20th century Ceylon mention the estates, but few have troubled to give them any special attention. In some ways the neglect is rather surprising for by the 1870’s. if not earlier, Ceylon was celebrated throughout the world as one of the most progressive and enterprising centres of tropical agriculture. The reputation of the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and of its most distinguished director, Dr. G. H. K. Thwaites, extended far beyond Ceylon, and Ceylon’s contribution to the science of botany and to the study of agricultural economics was widely regarded as second to none. But, for reasons that are not difficult to detect, the planters have never greatly appealed as heroic figures to the historians of independent Ceylon. For the most part the estates were situated in the hills of the central highlands, remote from the affairs of the mass of her people; the capital and business organization which supported these enterprises were largely imported from Europe; the proprietors, superintendents and assistants who ran the estates were mostly British by birth; and the labour force was recruited principally from South India. There is another difficulty, too; considered from the standpoint of independent, nationalist Ceylon, the planters, who relied upon and openly supported the imperial political and economic systems, are not very sympathetic individuals. Dr. Bastiampillai speaks for many people in Ceylon when he refers to the planters, in his book on Sir William Gregory’s administration, as ‘petulant and peevish,’ ‘self—interested’ and ‘unreasonable.’ It is interesting to note, however, that recently some local historians (of when Dr. Lal Jayawardena and Dr. Michael Roberts are principal) have begun to challenge the notion of the ‘dual economy,‘ to question the theory that most Ceylonese were unaffected by the changes introduced by large-scale plantation agriculture, and to re-examine the achievements which the planters made. Continue reading

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Fashioning Sri Lanka’s Development: A Retrospective Overview

Godfrey Gunatilleke, being the final chapter entitled  “Hindsight and Retrospect – A Brief Commentary” in a new book Towards a Sri Lankan Model of Development, 2017 Marga Institute, ISBN 978-955-582-134-6 ….publications@margasrilanka.org

 

Introduction

“History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors”  This line from Eliot’s Gerontion is a good  starting  point to begin reflecting on Sri Lanka’s development after independence .  Retracing the development path that Sri Lanka took and pausing at every twist and turn to ask “What if we took another turn?” is always a fascinating  exercise . How useful it is in guiding us in our future actions is another matter. There are always lessons to be drawn from the successes and failures of the past. But when this is done we need to recognize the inherent limitations of an effort to learn from the past and project past trends to the future.  Eliot as a poet and Schumpeter as an economist found knowledge derived from past experience to be of limited worth in predicting how the future would unfold and enabling us to take control of it.  Eliot pointed out  that the past imposes a pattern and can falsify one’s vision of the emerging future as  “the pattern is new in every moment and every moment is a shocking valuation of all that we have been”   Schumpeter perceived how innovations and discoveries which were not  foreseen led to historic and fundamental changes  and  based his model of growth on the “creative destruction”of the past . Their insights about the “unpredictability” of the future has important implications and challenges for development policy and planning. Continue reading

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