Famous 20th Century Personalities … and One Awful Assassin

 Albert Einstein at Long Island beach in 1939  

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Glossing over the Atrocities

Sanjana Hattotuwa,  courtesy of The Island, 20 May 2017, where the title is “Eight years hence” ... followed by Jehan Perera

These violent delights have violent ends,

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,

Which, as they kiss, consume. Shakespeare

 CTF report being handed in 

There are 71 mentions of ‘Army’ in the 491-page final report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF), released earlier this year. One paragraph is worth flagging in full. “The Army representatives also stated that although they had achieved the Government’s objective under its political direction and in difficult and challenging circumstances, they felt a lack of solidarity and support at present. They stated their support for a truth-seeking process and if there is any evidence of criminal activity, for the prosecution of the guilty. Given that as far as they were concerned, no criminal activity had been undertaken, they saw no need for amnesty either. Whilst they insisted that civilians were not deliberately targeted and that a policy of zero-civilian casualties was followed, they conceded the possibility of civilian deaths on account of civilians being caught in the crossfire. They also denied that sexual violence was used as a weapon of war. The Air Force reiterated that no crimes were committed and no illegal weapons used.”

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Revisiting the Sins of Leslie Gunawardana (Part lll)


 Darshanie Ratnawalli. Q & A from  Saturday, 21 March 2015 … with emphasis by highlighting being  impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia goes down in history as mounting to date, the only direct, authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the third and last installment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 08 March, 2015.    


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When Violence is inscribed into Everyday Politics in Lanka

Gananath Obeyesekere, a reprint of his 1984 article “The Institutionalization of Political Violence,” from James Manor (ed.)  Sri Lanka in Change and Crisis (Ed. James Manor, 1984 …   courtesy of  Kathika Sanvāda Mandapaya .. where it is presented in two Parts

In Colombo on 26 July Air Lanka, the country’s only airline, put out its usual television advertisement, ‘Visit Sri Lanka: A Taste of Paradise’. This commercial, with pictures of brand new hotels with expanses of beach and ocean and tables overflowing with lobsters and tropical fruits, routinely appears, but on this occasion the advertisement was not in the best taste. The paradise isle was in flames, the houses and business establishments of the minority Tamil community were being systematically burnt and looted by well-organized mobs belonging largely to the lumpen proletariats of the cities and small towns of Sri Lanka. The brutality was unbelievable: homes and shops were set alight, cars were doused with petrol and lit, sometimes with the occupants inside; some people were hacked to death, others burnt alive. Thirty-five political prisoners were killed by irate regulars in the country’s maximum security prison. The next day, 17 more were slaughtered in the same manner. There was a total breakdown of law and order in the nation that had been touted by foreign governments as the model of stability, the apogee of free enterprise. A few days and the illusion was shattered: the house of cards had crumbled.

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Nuvara Yugayē Sinhala Bava reaches the Bookshelves

  bearing ISBN 978-955-665-161-4 in the year 2016 … with the translation being the result of the labours of Anura Hettiarachchi and Ananda Wakkumbura. The original work is entitled Sinhala Consciousness in Kandyan Period, 1590s-1815, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004

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The Forgotten People: Malaiyaha Tamils of the Plantations and Hill-Country

Meera Srinivasan, from The Hindu, 18 May 2017, where the title runs The long journey of a forgotten people”

“Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils want to be seen as rightful citizens, not passive beneficiaries”

 Estate workers in late 19th century

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally on May 12 with Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils, on the second day of his two-day visit to the country, was a success, if you went by conventional markers such as the crowd he drew or the cheers that arose from it. But its real outcome is rather limited compared to the wide-ranging needs of the historically neglected community. That an estimated 35,000 people from in and around the central highlands converged on the small town of Norwood – many walking over 5 km since buses clogged the narrow roads — partly reflects the affinity the Tamils feel for India, from where their ancestors moved to Sri Lanka about 200 years ago. Moreover, hill-country politicians put in their might to mobilise workers, campaigning widely across the tea estates that employ a fourth of the over one million-strong community.

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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.

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