Samanth Subramanium, in New York Times, 2 July 2020, where the title reads “Two Wealthy Muslim Brothers became suicide Bombers, but Why?”
There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither. Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering? But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.
Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, communal relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, martyrdom, Middle Eastern Politics, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, power politics, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, tourism, unusual people, violence of language, world events & processes, zealotry
Hilal Suhail in Facebook
If you have invested in Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industry, then it would serve you well to keep up with the international media coverage of Sri Lanka in recent weeks. The island nation’s reputation has taken a massive beating and it’s unlikely tourism will pick up any time soon. There is no point blaming the foreign media and claiming there is some conspiracy against Sri Lanka, and puff pieces promoting tourism by the Ministry of Tourism and other social media campaigns are pointless and won’t convince many outsiders to take the risk in visiting.
The international media is highlighting the terrible actions of some in the Sinhalese majority, and the violence and discrimination unleashed by Buddhist extremists for decades. The Easter bombings aren’t being solely blamed on Muslim extremists by the international media, they are focusing on the incompetent Sri Lankan police and military who failed to prevent the attacks, despite possessing intelligence beforehand to do so, and also for having caused a situation in Sri Lanka where religious and ethnic minorities are not protected.
Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, chauvinism, communal relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, ethnicity, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, martyrdom, politIcal discourse, power politics, religious nationalism, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, Sri Lankan scoiety, terrorism, tolerance, tourism, travelogue, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes
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.”
A 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.
Filed under arab regimes, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes
“The Portugese, the Saviours of our Culture?” = This is the title of a scholarly article written in the Ceylon Historical Journal in the 1950s by B. J. Perera BA (History) University of Ceylon who was our teacher in the University Entrance class. It was of course “dead against” the version given by nationalist historians after independence. However his interpretation simply put was that the Mughals had conquered Hindu India and ruled it for a couple of centuries and converted a large part of the Hindu population to the Muslim religion as had happened in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and the Maldives, which had been either Hindu or Buddhist. The evidence in Bali and Java of the existence of Buddhist and Hindu relics supports this view.
Mattayaas in the Gal Oya and Eastern Province interior
Filed under arab regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, colonisation schemes, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, irrigation, Islamic fundamentalism, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, Muslims in Lanka, population, sri lankan society, travelogue, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes
General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is “Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”
While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.
1 What went wrong?
At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, Al Qaeda, arab regimes, communal relations, cultural transmission, electoral structures, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, island economy, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, Rajapaksa regime, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, tourism, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes
Asiri Fernando, in Sunday Times, 12 May 2019, “Easter Sunday bombers used high-tech communication: Army Chief”
The terrorists who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings used a Swiss developed, highly encrypted mobile communication App named “Threema”, Army Chief Lt. General Mahesh Senanaayake told the Sunday Times. The mobile phone App boasts ‘best in the class’ end-to-end encryption and allows a user to generate a random Threema ID, thereby giving anonymity to the user, the product website claimed. The level of encryption used by the said App makes intercepting or decrypting such communications very difficult for Sri Lankan authorities with available technologies.
Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes