Category Archives: electoral structures

From The Eyes of a 103-Year Old Sri Lankan: 75th Year of Independence!

DL Sirimanne from Kohuwela has reached his century and proceeded another three years beyond. From the vantage of age, he is quite scathing in his concluding summary …. in the Sunday Observer 22 January 2023 … where the title is A bit of Ceylon History. Pass it on to you children”

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Sri Lanka’s Statistics Today: Demography, Parties, Et cetera

KK  de Silva** … responding to a Request from Michael Roberts (see Below for my Note to several pals)

 A = Ethnic Groups at latest census 2011, 2012 … https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sri_Lanka

Sinhalese 15, 250, 081                  74. 90%
Sri Lankan Tamils  2, 269, 266    11.15%
Sri Lankan Moors 1, 892, 638      9.30%
Indian Tamils  839, 504                 4.12%
Sri Lankan Malays 44, 130           0.22%
Burghers, Eurasians 38, 293         0.19%
Others 25, 527                                  0.13%
Total 20, 359, 439
……………………………….. Above figures are in line with figures provided by the Dept. Of Census & Statistics.

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Ranil’s Moves to Resolve Ethnic Issues in Rapid-Action Measures

DBS Jeyaraj, in Daily Mirror, 24 December 2022where the title runs thus: President Ranil’s initiative to resolve Tamil national question” …. & a kind-of sub-heading read  The All Party conference was a success of sorts with all participants agreeing on the need for a power-sharing solution”

The Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leader and Colombo District MP, Mano Ganesan received a telephone call from Ranil Wickremesinghe on 19 July 2022

It was a day before the Presidential election where the MPs were scheduled to vote and elect a new executive President to fill the vacancy created by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the then Prime Minister and acting as the interim President, was a candidate for the Presidential election.

 

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Crunchtime: Resolving Sri Lanka’s Political Dilemma

Chandre Dharmawardana, in The Island, 02 January 2023 where the preferred title runs thus: Using SORTITION to prevent electing of same crooks to parliament”

The terrorism of the LTTE ended in May 2009, and most Sri Lankans looked forward to a dawn of peace, reconciliation and progress.  Even Poongkothai Chandrahasan, the granddaughter of SJV Chelvanayagam could state that ‘what touched me the most that day was that these were poor people with no agenda ~ wearing their feelings on their sleeves~. Every single person I spoke to said to me, “The war is over, we are so happy”. They were not celebrating the defeat of the Tamils. They were celebrating the fact that now there would be peace in Sri Lanka’ (The Island, 23rd August 2009, http://archive.island.lk/2009/08/23/news15.html).

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The Hill-Country Tamils: Their Shitty-Situation Then … and NOW

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 21 November 2022, where the title reads “Hill-country Tamils and Crisis Times” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

When our country collapses before our own eyes with one of the deepest crises in historical memory, from what vantage point should we analyse our predicament? Sri Lanka’s political economy over the last two centuries is anchored in the travails and strivings of Hill Country Tamils. Their sweat and blood, that began with the horrifying journey from South India two centuries ago as indentured labour to work in the coffee and later tea plantations, were central to building the country’s modern economy under British colonialism. However, their position in society, and for that matter even the writing of their history, was marginalised. And despite the great democratic and social welfare advances in Sri Lanka with universal suffrage in 1931 and a powerful legacy of free healthcare and education, the social, economic and political life of the Hill Country Tamil community is characterised by struggle amidst persistent crisis times.

‘Ceylon tea’ gave Sri Lanka the recognition in the world map, but the plantation workers are still languishing in their ages-old abode, known as line rooms and continue to be marginalised in education, community wellbeing and healthcare.

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No Trust in Truss

Michael Patrick O’Leary, in his web column where the title runs thus: “Out of the Blue” being a review of thethe Liz Truss biography authored by Harry Cole & Richard Heale  ………. A shorter version of this article was published in the Sunday Island on November  6 2022 …. https://island.lk/?s=out+of+the+blue

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The Machinations of Vellala Lawyer Leaders that Deepened Tamil-Sinhala Divisions from the 1920s-to-the-1960s

Sebastian Rasalingam, reproducing an article presented in 2008 in The Sri Lanka Guardian in October 2008 with this title “An Excellent and Timely Feature on the Tamils” **

 Please permit me to make some comments on the recent article on the “Sri Lankan Identity” by R. M. B. Senanayake, continuing a discussion in a previous article by Anne Abeysekera. Both these articles, written by authors who are familiar with the English-educated Sinhalese point of view, deal very inadequately with the issues of Tamil Nationalism in Sri Lanka and in erstwhile Ceylon. In fact, the modern generation, even the Tamils, are on the whole unaware of the true nature of the present conflict and the role of Tamil nationalism. They are misled and mesmerized by simplistic histories concocted by the great political agenda set in motion by the Tamil leaders of the pre-1956 era. In fact, I will outline below how the battlelines were drawn in the Donoughmore days, by G. G. Ponnambalam (GGP) and others who followed.

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Religion within Tamil Militancy and the LTTE

  Iselin Frydenlund, presenting her article in Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion, May 2018, …. one entitledTamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion” …. https://sangam.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Religion.pdf  … OR … https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Frydenlund/4cbf5235611dd3407dfa3a2962e6ea635ac50674 … with highlights and pictures being impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Induction of Tiger recruits into fighter ranks with receipt of the kuppi containing cyanide

Tiger soldiers relaxing in camp with cyanide kuppi around their necks Pix by Shyam Tekwani

 

Historical Background

Understanding the role of religion in the Tamil insurgency requires an understanding of Sri Lanka’s cultural mosaic and of the development of modern nationalism before and after independence from British colonial power. Sri Lanka is a geographically small yet culturally rich and complex island, with numerous ethnic, linguistic, religious, and caste subgroups. The majority of the population identify as ethnically Sinhala, and they speak Sinhala, an Indo-European language. The great majority of the Sinhalese are Theravada Buddhists who live mostly in the south and central regions of the island. A small minority of Sinhalese are Catholics, and some also belong to evangelical Christian churches. The largest minority group in Sri Lanka is the Tamils, who speak Tamil (a South Indian Dravidian language) and comprise several subgroups. The largest of these are the so-called Sri Lankan Tamils, who traditionally have lived in the north and east. The so-called Indian Tamils are labor immigrants from India who were brought in by the British to work in the plantation sector in the highlands. The majority of Tamils are Hindus of the Śaiva Siddhanta tradition, but there are also a significant number who are Catholics and a few to smaller Evangelical denominations. The Tamil Muslims identify based on religious belonging, not on a common ethnic identity, and they speak Tamil. Historically, the Muslim communities are scattered throughout the island; they form a stronghold in urban trading centers in the south but are also farmers in the Tamil-majority Eastern Province. Social stratification based on caste and regional identities was strong in precolonial Lanka, and then the colonial classifications of the island’s inhabitants produced new identities with intensified religious and racial signifiers. These were reproduced in the emerging Tamil and Sinhala nationalisms of the late 19th century.

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Macron’s Speech marks Escalating Western Disasters

Kim Wilsher in Paris …. in The Guardian, 25 August 2022, with this title Macron warns of ‘end of abundance’ as France faces difficult winter,” … and with this qualifying sub-note: “sombre first cabinet speech after summer break criticised as snub to poor who have already made sacrifices”

Emmanuel Macron has warned the French they are facing sacrifices and what he called the ““end of abundance”, at his government’s first cabinet meeting after the summer holidays. The president, speaking before ministers at the Élysée, said the country was at a “tipping point” and faced a difficult winter and a new era of instability caused by climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

Emmanuel Macron, second from left, chairs his first cabinet meeting after the summer break. Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA

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From Banda to Gota

Laleen Jayamanne, in The Island, 20 & 27 July 2022 where the title runs thus: “Teargas cinema and Rukmani Devi”

“I have never found anything to excite the people in quite the way this language issue does”–– Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike to a journalist.

If true, this observation attributed to Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, is quite chilling in its cynicism. ‘Excitement’ is a political emotion here and SWRD appears to take a distance from it, observing somewhat clinically, how ‘this language issue’ stirs up ‘the people’. Politicians are especially crafty, cunning, when they know how to excite people with ideas that they themselves may or may not truly believe in.

A protester covering the eyes of the Bandaranaike statue at Galle Face

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