Michael Roberts … Content of His Talk on this topic at the National Trust in Colombo in June 2018
The National Trust’s brief was for me to present motifs from the book People Inbetween. The Burghers and the Middle Class in the Transformations within Sri Lanka, 1790-1960s,(Ratmalana, Sarvodaya Book Publishing Services, 1989) and more specifically its first chapter viz. “Pejorative Phrases: the Anti-colonial Response and Sinhala Perceptions of the Self through Images of the Burghers”
Many think People Inbetween is a history of the Burghers. Not so. It is multi-faceted. It describes (a) the rise of the middle class in British times, an influential force within which the Burghers were a critical element and a vanguard in the questioning of British rule; (b) the initial strands in the development of Ceylonese nationalism and (c) the development of Colombo into a metropolitan hub that became the island’s hegemonic centre.
Serge De Silva Ranasinghe, in The Diplomat, 20 May 2010,*** where the title runs thus “Reflections on the Tigers”
A year after the LTTE’s defeat, evidence shows criticism of Sri Lanka’s army is misplaced, says Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe.
Tamil civilians reach safety across Nandhikadal Lagoon —Pix by SL army
A year ago this week, the Sri Lankan government officially declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in one of the most extraordinary counter-insurgency campaigns in recent times.
Chandani Kirinde, in Sunday Times, March 2023. where the title runs thus: “Pride and tears of Uva Wellassa”
200 years after what is considered one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of colonial rule here, Chandani Kirinde visits the area that saw an uprising by its people that was brutally crushed by the British
A British cannon recovered from Wellassa. Pix by Indika Handuwala
The awe-inspiring cloud covered mountains, lush forests, formidable waterfalls and clear streams of Uva Wellassa bear little testimony today to the darkest and bloodiest chapter in the country’s history under British rule. There is little sign of the burnt hamlets, scorched paddy fields, broken tank bunds, felled trees and the skeletons of the thousands of men, women and children killed or starved to death when the military might of the coloniser was turned on the population of the Kandyan provinces to put down a rebellion against British rule.
Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 10 March 2023, where the title reads “A visit to Marga” …. and where the highlighting embodies editorial intervention by Thuppahi
Sri Lanka’s oldest development think-tank, Marga Institute was formed in 1972, at a time of deep social unrest.
“The ideological direction of the journal will be radical in that it will unremittingly question the values and systems that hinder development. It stands for an equitable and humane social order which will eradicate social and economic privilege and which will leave no room for the concentration and arbitrary exercise of power in any form.” ………. “About Marga”, Marga Journal, Volume I, 1971
photo by Uthpala
A random jaunt in Borella took me and my research assistant to Marga Institute, in my old hometown at Kotte. Sri Lanka’s oldest development think-tank — and Sri Lanka’s oldest such institution — Marga was formed in 1972 to promote and facilitate research into the island’s socioeconomic problems. That its founding coincided with the first JVP insurrection is not fortuitous: as Gamini Samaranayake would point out, the insurrection proved for the first time that an armed group could threaten the State. Among other commentators, Gamini Keerawella, Gananath Obeyesekere, Fred Halliday, and Hector Abhayavardhana grappled with the JVP’s origins, what it was doing, and where it intended to go. It was in the midst of these often-fiery debates and discussions that Marga came to be. This essay is an attempt at framing and understanding these debates, and how Marga emerged from them.
“X” commenting on a Telling Interview served up by SERGEY LAVROV in India, ……. with the highlights being impositions by Thuppahi
FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Moscow, Russia February 10, 2022. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
This is a very good interview in English with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the G20 in India on 4 March 2023, though the Indian interviewee was annoying in the way he kept cutting Lavrov off before he could finish answering a question.
Lavrov sets out the context and history of Russia security concerns that led to the war in Ukraine, how the US does business with countries in the Global South by bullying these countries to vote in support of the US in the UN. He also raises the big challenge for the Asia-Pacific, which is not China, but the US, QUAD and AUKUS.
One “Mr Z” has sent me the news items below and added his thoughts at the end
A = Ruan Zongze: “China seeks peace in Ukraine crisis,” The Weekend Australian, 1 March 2023
On February 24, as the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis reached its one-year mark, were leased China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. Overall, the response of the international community toward the document is positive.
Many countries welcome and support the document, acknowledging China’s constructive role. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, says: “The plan put forward by the Chinese government is an important contribution.” However, some Western countries suspect China’s position and purpose, claiming China can’t be an “honest co-ordinator” due to its close relations with Russia.
ABSTRACT: This study highlights the Tantric threads within the transcendental religions of Asia that revealthe commanding role of encirclement as a mystical force. The cyanide capsule (kuppi) around the neck of every Tamil Tiger fighter was not only a tool of instrumental rationality as a binding force, but also a modality similar to a thāli(marriage bond necklace) and to participation in a velvi(religious animal sacrifice). It was thus embedded within Tamil cultural practice. Alongside the LTTE’s politics of homage to its māvīrar(dead heroes), the kuppi sits beside numerous incidents in LTTE acts of mobilization or military actions where key functionaries approached deities in thanks or in preparation for the kill. These practices highlight the inventive potential of liminal moments/spaces. We see this as modernized ‘war magic’—a hybrid re-enchantment energizing a specific religious worldview.
Muttukrishna Sarvanandan,** whose preferred title reads thus: “Chinese Lending to Sri Lanka: A Factual cum “Reality” Check. A Rejoinder to Umesh Moramudali and Thilina Panduwawala”
Abstract: This is a response to the Briefing Paper entitled Evolution of Chinese Lending to Sri Lanka since the mid-2000s – Separating Myth from Reality, written by Umesh Moramudali and Thilina Panduwawala published by the China-Africa Research Initiative of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the John Hopkins University, USA. This response identifies a few factual errors (both quantitative and qualitative) and provides alternative data, and contests the interpretations of the data and conclusion drawn therefrom by Moramudali and Panduwawala by providing concrete examples to the contrary. We characterise Chinese lending to Sri Lanka between 2007 and 2022 as quasi-predatory lending, having defined the characteristics of predatory lending………….Keywords – China, Hambantota Port, Predatory Lending, Sovereign Default, Sri Lanka
Introduction: This is a response to a Briefing Paper (No.8 dated November 2022) written by Umesh Moramudali and Thilina Panduwawala entitled Evolution of Chinese Lending to Sri Lanka since the mid-2000s – Separating Myth from Reality published by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the John Hopkins University (JHU) in the United States of America (USA).
“Every time one country gets something, another soon has it. One country gets radar, but soon all have it. One gets a new type of engine or plane, then another gets it. But the Japs have got the kamikaze boys, and nobody else is going to get that, because nobody else is built that way.” …. John Thach
Near the end of 1944, almost 10 months before the end of the 2nd World War, the Japanese had already realized that their military effort would lead them to defeat. Their weapons and armaments were short, the stock of soldiers was dramatically decreasing and morality was low. Their precious bombs, other than being too few, were missing their targets and their pilots could not contest the Americans. So, in a desperate last effort to revive the army, the Kamikaze Special Attack Unit was formed. The aim was to obstruct enemy planes from taking off from aircraft carriers. The conversion of pilots themselves into bombs would surely mean the decrease of the failed bomb attacks.
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.