Tag Archives: Tamil-Sinhala conflict

Symbolic Postscript: A Terrible Violence

Michael Roberts

 Courtesy of http://www.transcurrents.com. This essay was first drafted on 23 Dec. 2009, as a sequel to the short note on “The Eelam Struggle,Tamil Tigers and Their Commemoration of Māvīrar (Great Heroes)” under the thuppahi cover.

The photographic images that have been deployed on web in my essay on “The Tamil Tigers and Their Practices of Homage” (httt://thuppahiwordpress.com) as well as a host of less accessible academic articles convey the importance placed on the commemoration of the fallen by Pirapāharan and the Tiger leadership. The institutionalisation of mortuary rites of burial for their fallen from circa 1989 – in a radical move away from the cremation for those of Saivite faith[i] – was a way of sustaining meaningful bonding between Tiger personnel and those who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of Eelam.[ii]

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Filed under cultural transmission, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, war crimes, world events & processes

Tamil Tigers and Their Practices of Homage

Michael Roberts on the Eelam Struggle, Tamil Tigers and Their Commemoration of Maaveerar (Great Heroes)

In response to a request from two friends I post a list of my academic writings on this subject for the benefit of those with the capacity to access such resources and the patience to read long essays.

Photo kindly provided by Ravindiran Vaitheespara of Canada.
Bodies that Fight On
This icon was built in 2004 and commemorates the Tigers who fell in recapturing the Kilinochchi locality from the Sri Lankan army a few years previously. The title is my invention and is intended to capture the sense of empowerment and defiance embodied by its signs, notably the black power symbol with gun. Note however that, in a fusion of ‘tradition’ with modernity, this icon is encircled by the karthigapoo or glory lily (the LTTE’s emblematic flower) in the manner of a Hindu rite of ārati. Vaitheespara remarked that it conveyed the idea of a ‘resurrection,’ a perceptive reading that is supported by one of the themes – that of renewal and regeneration — coursing thorough LTTE poetry studied by Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam (South Asia 2005).

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Dayan Jayatilleka’s pragmatic politics


by Dayan Jayatilleka

Courtesy of http://www.transcurrents.com,  where it appeared first on 13 Dec. 2009 and continues to excite comments. It is repeated here because it is as cogent as pertinent and serves as a means of reflection.

For their part, Tamil leaders have not yet made anticipated conciliatory gestures that might ease government concerns and foster a genuine dialogue”- Sri Lanka: Re-charting US Strategy after the War, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Dec 7, 2009

Sri Lanka is a work in progress, a jigsaw puzzle that we have never been able to complete because the pieces haven’t been fitted together correctly.

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Crude reasoning, False Images in Sri Lanka’s Refugee Camps


Michael Roberts

This article was presented under a shortened title in ABC UNLEASHED on 7 November 2009 and is reproduced here with acknowledgement of this privilege. There were 36 COMMENTS entered in response to this article and I myself responded to four.I append a selection of these comments at theend of the article, dividing them into twosegments, those deemed Dinkum Australians and those deemed Migratnt Australians.

For the original set of comments, see http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2736651

Ever since the war in Sri Lanka moved towards a devastating climax early this year the propaganda war hotted up. With many arms all over the world the pro-Tiger elements have easily bested the government of Sri Lanka in this rhetorical game. If one spins lies, it is wise to take up half-truths, and then embellish and mix them with a couple of enormous fabrications. Then repeat these tales ad nauseam. Reiteration is the modus vivendi of sharp advertisement.

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Filed under asylum-seekers, australian media, IDP camps, LTTE, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration

Analytical Anthology: CONFRONTATIONS by Michael Roberts



Amended and abbreviated version or article in Frontline, Vol. 26, No. 20, 26 Sept 2009

Michael Roberts’s latest book assembles thirteen of his recent academic essays on the cultural and ideological roots of the majority Sinhala and minority Tamil nationalisms in Sri Lanka. It includes a study of the pogrom against the Muslims in 1915 and a remarkably detailed analysis of the projects of Anagārika Dharmapāla (1864-1933), a staunch Sinhala Buddhist who launched a full-throated campaign against British rule and Christian missionaries.

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Filed under cultural transmission, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, life stories, LTTE, power sharing, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism