“Truth is like the Sun, one can shut it off for sometime, but it will not go away.” …. Elvis Presley
Afghanistan has done it again! A country, where her geography was her destiny, made her push towards repeated trysts with history- Alexander’s Greeks, Mongols, Mughals, the Brits, Russians, Americans. She, redoubtable to foreign invaders, specialised in making her country, micro- Kanattestans for these invading hordes. These done-in foreign forces now out-done, were not small fry but superpowers.
Troops from Britain- the Rotweiller in her time slot of Empire building- were decimated three times,bleaching this arid landscape. Undaunted, Sysyphean Britain ventured on the fourth, though now a metamorphosed American poodle: same wipe-out. Russia, in her own time slot of imperial hope, was similarly sent scurrying home. Smaller European countries- Australia, Germany, France Italy, Canada, wishing to taste PetiteGloire but lacking oomph, hitch hiked on the NATO bandwagon: the same degrading exit.
David Von Drehle, in Washington Post, 8 August 2021, with this title … “Sherlock holmes & Winston Churchill: Cautionary tales on Afghanistan”
I learned of a place called Afghanistan as many Americans used to do: by reading one of the most famous opening chapters in literary history. I was 11 years old, and my new book introduced a young English doctor. Sent to an outpost of the Empire, he was hurried ahead to the front lines of a persistent war. He united with his assigned unit in Kandahar, and nearly died in combat when his shoulder was shattered by a bullet. Recuperating back in London, seeking an affordable apartment, he met a potential roommate — a strange fellow amongwhose first words to him were:
BBC News Item, c. 21 August 2021c with this title “Zaki Anwari: Afghan footballer falls to death from US plane in Kabul”
Afghan authorities have confirmed that a young footballer fell to his death after trying to stow away on a US military plane leaving Kabul airport. Zaki Anwari, 19, had played for Afghanistan’s national youth team. Further details of when he died have not been disclosed.
Since the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan, thousands of people have scrambled to Kabul’s airport as Western countries rush to evacuate their citizens and Afghan colleagues. Images emerged on Monday showing hundreds of people running alongside a US air force plane as it moved down a runway. Some people were seen clinging to its side.
I can remember a time back in the early years of this century when the age of cosmopolitanism was in fashion. It was a beautiful time. One of the great benefits of cosmopolitanism is that it allowed us to throw off the shackles of nationalism. We could take on different identities of our own choosing at any time in our lives with an absolute sense of freedom. We could travel anywhere and engage with cultures and peoples around the world without political interference. We could build partnerships in business and trade that benefited all of us. Nationalism was in decline, and it was a positive direction for humanity.
While traveling around Sri Lanka for over 22 years I always expected someday the situation would change for the better”, says the veteran British photographer Stephen Champion. However, after nearly two decades since he first set his foot on the island the country is still battling, he says. “We are still looking at the very similar scenario. History seems to be repeating itself,” Mr. Champion told BBC Sandeshaya at the launch of his latest book on Sri Lanka.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road, is based on a 2,100-year-old trade route between the Middle East and Eastern Asia, called the Silk Road. It wound its ways across the huge landmass Eurasia to the most eastern parts of China. It favored trading based on the Taoist philosophy of harmony and peaceful coexistence –trading in the original sense of the term, an exchange with “win-win” outcomes, both partners benefitting equally.Continue reading →
In order to better understand what motivates Australian radical islamists to join or support a terrorist group it is first necessary to get a better understanding of who they are. This working paper examines data sets from 173 Australian citizens and residents to paint a picture of our own cohort of radical Islamist terrorists, including how likely they are to be rehabilitated. For the accompanying infographic feature accompanying this report, click here.
Since 2012 several hundred Australians have travelled to Syria and Iraq to undertake jihad with Islamic State, al-Qaeda or other radical Islamist groups. Dozens more provided financial support to them or other jihadis, or planned, conducted or supported terrorist attacks in Australia on behalf of Islamic State.
The Library of Congress made public a rare 2,000-year-old text of early Buddhism on Monday, and it offers a glimpse into early Buddhist history during its formative years. The scroll originated in Gandhara, an ancient Buddhist region in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Only a few hundred Gandharan manuscripts are known to scholars worldwide, and each is vital to understanding the early development of Buddhist literature. For instance, using linguistic analysis, scholars study these manuscripts to chart the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia.
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, Jean-Pierre Page and Chris Black 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).Continue reading →
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.