In admonishing me in an email letter written as a friend concerned for my welfare (on Sunday 23rd October 2022), Richard Simon wrapped my knuckles. The best way of presenting his lines of thought is by presenting his letter in full (presented below at the end). While undoubtedly well-meaning, the pontifical moral tone is quite evident. This thread has alienated me totally and firmly.
But where he reveals the most astounding intellectual failing is in his reading of the item taken from Quora on “Skin-Colour in Sri Lanka: The Prevalence of Pitch-Black” and presented in Thuppahi on 1st June 2022 with a qualifying note that reads “with a warning from Thuppahi: have an antidote handy to cure the splitting of your sides.”
The item had drawn a wide range of comments in Quora – comments with the usual variety of the imbecile, the comic and the common-sensical. Richard takes extreme umbrage at this article and tells me that “It is very likely that someone will see the skin colour post and report you to Facebook. It is probably more than enough to get you thrown off the platform [i.e. Facebook].”
Thus, we see, here, Richard Simon the Moral Policeman Up Above: seeking to reform Michael Roberts after admonishing him, but then considering the presentation of a report that will prohibit entry to that marvelous site Facebook!!
One of the four friends whom I consulted on this issue, a Trotskyite from Peradeniya days, — who I shall identify as AB — had this to say about the email letter which Richard sent to me:
“Is this real?
I have found that anyone who attempts to be objective about China, takes a balanced, fact-based view and doesn’t go along with the China bashing narrative of the evil China vs the democratic West, is immediately denounced (as by this person) as an apologist for China. So, I think on this issue, your friend has a sharp pen. Not quite convinced the person has a sharp mind. Seems he has a pretty closed mind.
On the skin colour post, for heaven’s sake, how hypersensitive and totally lacking in any sense of humour can one be not to see that it was tongue in cheek. Sadly, these days everything is seen through such a narrow race, colour, gender lens …….. I pity your friend.
All I can say is with friends like this….!!
Just let the dogs bark.”
Another Lankan friend in USA, and who shall be presented here as BCD, was less condemning and had this to say
“I assume that Richard is writing in good faith. I would advise you to write back to him and assure him that you are trying to run a blog and to provide a forum to present research and opinions and room for debate. All authors of contributions are identified clearly. You could point out that you are not the author of the article on Sri Lanka creating a dungeon for itself (although this would be obvious to anyone who reads it. You could also point out that the charge of being ‘ a propagandist for China, the Rajapakses and Sinhalese supremacism, with a clear and blatant anti-Tamil bias.’ does not hold if Richard looks at other blogs posted recently on thuppahis — such as
I personally thought that the discussion on skin colour was quite interesting. You might point out to Richard that the blog he objects to was not the first in thuppahi on skin colour and ask him to look up https://thuppahis.com/2021/11/30/entering-australia-from-ceylon-burghers-and-amahs-first-to-penetrate-white-australia/”
So, good folk, the die is cast. Richard Simon’s crazy reading of the Skin-Colour post, his pontifical approach and his political position on world affairs have totally alienated me.
So be it.
PS: HIS EMAIL LETTER in Full, with emphasis added at some points, so that you can assess the totality …
“Hi, Michael. This may very well be my last-ever communication with you. Whether it is or not will depend on what response, if any, it elicits.
Ever since your email was hacked, I have seemed to discern a difference between the Michael Roberts I know and the one who lives online. I know you as an intelligent, learned and decent man. The Michael Roberts I meet online appears to be a propagandist for China, the Rajapakses and Sinhalese supremacism, with a clear and blatant anti-Tamil bias. This makes me wonder whether you’re still being hacked and misrepresented online.
I was particularly concerned to open Facebook this morning and find two posts sharing Thuppahi articles:
I would like to assume that you had nothing to do with these. Or at worst, that you put them up in the hope of ‘provoking debate’. Unfortunately, it does not look like that. It looks as though you espouse those points of view.
That is how the internet works; it has no truck with subtlety. These posts make you out to be a China-loving anti-democratic propagandist as well as a racist – and above all, a fool, because those articles you have shared are transparently intended to create ill feeling. On the internet we call this shitposting. That is how you will be perceived by anyone who bothers to pay attention – as a shitposter.
It is very likely that someone will see the skin colour post and report you to Facebook. It is probably more than enough to get you thrown off the platform.Well. Such are my concerns. They are, you will note, disinterested; I gain nothing from expressing them, or from trying to advise you against your current behaviour. My concern is purely with your welfare.
This mail is to ask whether
- you are well;
- you are still in control of Thuppahior whether it, too has been hacked. If someone stole your email they would find it very easy to bump you off Thuppahi and pass themselves off as you. I am willing to believe you are not the author of those Thuppahi posts – if you tell me so.
- if you are still in control of Thuppahi, what is your personal position in regard to the subjects of the above two posts. I am genuinely curious to know where yourhead is at.
I value you as a person and, I hope, a friend, even though your recent treatment of me has been somewhat ill-mannered. You seem to have conceived an animus against me for telling you a few home-truths about your online behaviour. Tough; they needed to be told, and that is how I interpret the mandate of friendship. If we remain friends, I shall continue to tell you what I think you need to know and would count on you to do the same for me. If you don’t like the sound of that, don’t reply to this message, and I will cease to count you as a friend.
 This friend is in poor health and I cannot name him.