Category Archives: world events & processes

Buddhist Zealots in Sri Lanka and Myanmar stir the Cauldron

Hannah Beech, in New York Times, 8 July 2019, where the title runs “Buddhists Go to Battle: When Nationalism Overrides Pacifism” …. A call to arms for Sri Lankan monks. Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar. A Buddhist faith known for pacifism is taking its place in a new age of nationalism

GINTOTA, Sri Lanka — The Buddhist abbot was sitting cross-legged in his monastery, fulminating against the evils of Islam, when the petrol bomb exploded within earshot. But the abbot, the Venerable Ambalangoda Sumedhananda Thero, barely registered the blast. Waving away the mosquitoes swarming the night air in the southern Sri Lankan town of Gintota, he continued his tirade: Muslims were violent, he said, Muslims were rapacious. The aim of Muslims is to take over all our land and everything we value,” he said. “Think of what used to be Buddhist lands: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Indonesia. They have all been destroyed by Islam.”

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French Revolutionary Songs …. Marchons! Marchons!

 Satyajith Andradi, in Island, 12 July 2019, with this titleLa Marseillaise And L’internationale – Revolutionary Songs From France”

 “How many on our flesh eat their fill?
But if the ravens, the vultures, One morning disappeared,
The Sun would shine still.” …..
L’Internationale; trans; Michell Abidor

the Storming of the Bastille

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Addressing the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists: Where Fervour Trumps ‘Deep Throats’

Michael Roberts

When one of my articles on the jihadist network that perpetrated the 21/4 attacks in Sri Lanka referred to the inspirations behind the 9/11 attacks in USA, I was surprised to receive vehement rejections of the latter contention from two good friends and one distant  ‘aide’ in Canada – challenges sent independently of each other.

These challenges have been rejected by other friends – at times quite bluntly. But Jeremy Liyanage,[1] Jean-Pierre Page[2] and Chris Black[3] are individuals with whom I have interacted fruitfully and whose commitment to the pursuit of truth and reform in this world are not in doubt. So, this revisiting of 9/11 and its perpetrators on my part is a personal journey that addresses my three friends, while yet seeking to raise significant issues in today’s world – especially embracing the ramifications of the ideological currents known as “Wahhabism” and “Salafism” (terms that seem to be deployed interchangeably).[4] Continue reading

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Sinhala Extremists eye Uyghur Solution for Muslims

ACL Ameer Ali, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title runs Moulding Muslim Culture’ echoes Chinese Uyghur experiment’

The hidden agenda of the far-right and extremist groups like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Mahoson Balakaya, Sinha Le and so on, in respect of the Muslim community needs be understood in light of what was announced in that rally by BBS secretary, Gnanasara. From the beginning, and at least since the Alutgama riots of 2015, the BBS and its obstreperous secretary, were vociferous in demanding the expulsion of all Muslims to Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country, reinventing a 19th century argument advanced by Anagarika Dharmapala and Co. in a different context, that Muslims were ‘aliens’ in Sri Lanka. The fact that this community, like the Sinhalese and the Tamils before, were also foreigners but arrived last and that they were indigenised over one thousand years ago did not matter in the BBS’ twisted [readings of] history. Its ultimate goal is to make this island one hundred percent Sinhala Buddhist. It was this aspiration that was once again reinforced in Kandy, when Gnanasara announced that, “every home must have an owner and Sinhalese are the owners of Sri Lanka.” When saying that he quite naively expected the Tamils also to accept their status as tenants and live until they too would be ejected one day.

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Anti-Muslim Violence Present and Past

Shamara Wettimuny, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title is “A brief history of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka”

The recent Easter attacks targeting a number of churches and hotels devastated Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed, and many more injured. Within days of the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators of the attack were affiliated to radical Islamist groups in Sri Lanka. However, the identification of the perpetrators as ostensibly adherents of the Islamic faith opened the floodgates of discrimination and violence against the broader Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

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The VVT Thonies and Their Mastery of the Oceans Past

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 July 2019, with this title “VVT, Tahiti, and the ghost of the Bounty. The ship from Valvettithurai which sailed the seven seas” and this dedication “Dedicated to the late Mr. Kumaraswamy of Oxonia Institute, Colombo, proud son of Valvettithurai, with whom I was to co-author a work on our northern nautical culture. On him, be Peace.”

article_imageA traditional Thoni showing the backward-coiling Surul and nailed-on occulus.

The story begins …

In 1937 an adventurous ‘Yankee’ sailed a small yacht round the world – the smallest to do so, at that time – stopping awhile in Ceylon. After many adventures, he returned to Ceylon in search of a Jaffna-built ship whose elegant lines had caught his eye. He found her, bought and refitted her in Colombo and sailed for Boston, with an all-Jaffna crew. Boston was as overwhelmed by the vision of this ‘ghost’ of the legendary Bounty, as by its dusky crew and of the voyage itself. But a couple of months later she was sailed again, this time with an all-American delivery crew, to Tahiti. And then, like the Bounty, she disappears.

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Afghanistan Cricket Team does a War-Ravaged Country Proud. Hurrah!

F. S. Aijasuddin, in Dawn, July 2019

If there is any country in the world that is entitled to adopt the phoenix as its national symbol, it is Afghanistan.

Consider. It has suffered a history of gratuitous devastation, ever since the ill-fated foray by the British Army of the Indus in 1839. Despite the ravages caused by the British during the 19th century, by 1900 its Amir retained enough authority to treat the British Agent at Kabul with humiliating condescension. My ancestor Fakir Iftikharuddin served as British Agent at Kabul from 1907-1910. He complained to his Government that his life was ‘very unpleasant and uncomfortable…no-one is allowed to meet him or to talk to him’. ‘In fact,’ he concluded, ‘the life of a British Agent is no better than a political prisoner.’ Continue reading

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