Category Archives: communal relations

Struggles in Geneva … with Yakku within the Rajapaksa Officialdom

Uditha Devapriya, in The  Island, 11 December 2021,reviewing Rajiva Wijesinha’s Representing Sri Lanka  (S. Godage & Brothers, 2021, 189 pp. Rs. 750) …. where the title is “Downhill All The Way”

I met Rajiva Wijesinha for the first time four years ago, at the Organisation of Professional Associations in Colombo. At a seminar on English language learning and teaching there, he handed me a book he had published a few days earlier. Titled Endgames and Excursions, it was an account of his official travels, friendships, and associations. I remember promising to review it, reading it, and then laying it aside. It was an unforgivable lapse, but one I now feel was justified: I was simply not qualified for the task.

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Pressures on Lanka: Machinations in Washington

Fair Dinkum, responding to developments in Washington involving the US State Department and SL Tamil representatives outlined by Daya Gamage recently

Michael,  I read Daya Gamage’s article published in the Colombo Telegraph (4/12/2021) with considerable interest. It raises red flags for Sri Lanka, and I’ll touch on three in this short memo.

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/u-s-congress-state-department-to-bring-fresh-pressure-on-sri-lanka-for-devolution-accountability/

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Honouring and Grieving Sam Samarasinghe: Academics in USA

 

 

JOHN HOLT, 24 November 2021

Very sorry to hear of Sam’s demise.   haven’t seen him much in the past several years, but Sam and Vidya were very key to my education about Sri Lanka and, in addition to inputs from C.R. and Kingsley, to the early success of the ISLE Program. We managed to bring Sam and Vidya to Swarthmore College for a year circa 1990 or so, and from then and there they creatively parlayed their experience to move permanently to the US, though Sam stayed with ICES periodically for many years and encouraged our cooperative presence with that venerable institution.

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Fascist Strands in Australian Anti-Vac Campaigns?

Julia in Sydney… in MEMORANDUM to Michael Roberts, 

ONE: …..

Hi Michael, I have some very strong views about the  anti-vaxxer ‘freedom’ movements that are going on.” I think they are mostly comprised of people who are 1. afraid of the vaccine because they have no idea of what they don’t know (see: Dunning-Kruger effect) and/or 2. buy into too many conspiracy theories in their misguided search for making sense of the world around them and/or 3 hold very strong right-wing neo-libertarian ideology. 

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Dutch Burghers and Portuguese Mechanics: Eurasian Ethnicity in Sri Lanka

Dennis B. McGilvray, reproducing an essay presented in April 1982 within Comparative Studies in Society and History 24 (2): 235-263 –– an article that is wide-ranging and draws on ethnographic work as well as historical manuscripts. Note that the highlighting and pictorial insertions are the work of The Editor, Thuppahi.

 

 

 

 

 

I: PROLOGUE

Historians and anthropologists in Sri Lanka have tended to migrate in opposite directions, but away from the multiethnic confusion of the port cities. Typically, the heterogeneous, semi-Westernized, postcolonial urban society of Colombo and the larger towns has been only a transit point on intellectual journeys outbound to European archives or inbound to “traditional culture.” This was certainly my viewpoint as I arrived “inbound” in Sri Lanka for my first anthropological fieldwork. I took only passing notice of the clerks of mixed European and Sri Lankan descent who sold me stationery supplies at Cargill’s and mosquito nets at Carvalho’s. These people are given the official designation of Burghers in the government census: they are the racially mixed descendants of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British personnel who occupied the island during four and a half centuries of colonial rule.

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Continuation of Venom and Bias at the UNHRC

Malinda Seneviratne in his web-site MalindaWords where the title runs “Spit and venom in Geneva (same old, same old)”

 

 

 It’s Bachelet’s hour. That’s Michelle. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The second of her bi-annual Christmas-come-early party in Geneva. Time to get her kicks, probably. The grave countenance, deep tone and malice disguised as concern.  Yes, folks, it’s that time of year of regurgitating tired arguments based on tendentious claims made by unreliable sources with agendas that have little or nothing to do with human rights.

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“Anglo-Ceylonese”: A Missing Dimension in British Ceylon

Michael Roberts

The conquest of the island of Ceilao by the British between 1796 and 1818 was an outcome of their imperial conquests in India and underpinned by their sea power. The presence of their troops and other personnel in British India was so extensive that in time a new ethnic category-cum-group emerged in the localities (usually towns) with British personnel: namely, the Anglo-Indians.[i] By the late 19th century these people of mixed descent spawned by British personnel in India stood as a distinct community of Christians speaking Indian English as their mother-tongue and oriented to both India and the United Kingdom.

 

An Anglo-Indian being washed and coiffured

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Imaginative Explorations of Sri Lanka’s History on the Cards

ISLAND newspaper News Item, 18 November 2021

In a brand new initiative, under the working title ‘Project 72’, Roar Media and author Sarah Kabir are set to take a deep dive into Sri Lanka’s past since gaining Independence in 1948, entertainingly and educationally covering some of the most defining years in the nation’s history.

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Kokkadicholai: An Outpost in Wartime Batticaloa

This Item appeared in Dilshy Banu’s Facebook post and I have borrowed it and its photographs for circulation via Thuppahi – in part because it marks a little “outpost activity” in the course of the war and largely because I have met Dilshy and respect her courageous career choices and her lines of philanthropic endeavour….. Michael Roberts, 18 November 2021

Dilshy Banu: Kokkadicholai in Batticaloa: Traversing Tension during Eelam War IV”

 

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Chinese Canadian War Veterans Step Out from the Shadows

Rod Mickleburgh, in The Globe and Mail, 10 November 2021, where the title is  “Chinese Canadian Veterans celebrated at Vancouver Museum”

When the Second World War ended, Ronald Lee did what so many other returning veterans did. He shed his uniform, took up civilian life, married, had kids and never talked about what he did during the war. Mr. Lee maintained his silence for 70 years. Beyond a few medals found in his underwear drawer long ago, his six kids knew almost nothing about his wartime experience. Finally, in his mid-90s, he agreed to be interviewed by Catherine Clement, curator of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver.

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald Lee’s wallet contained tattered photos of himself in uniform and with his commando comrades…. RONALD LEE FAMILY/CHINESE CANADIAN MILITARY MUSEUM Continue reading

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