Category Archives: ethnicity

Chandre and Gus on Western Power High Jinks in Geneva and Worldwide

ONE: A Memo from Chandre Dharmawardana in Canada,  c. 24 February 2021,[i]

    Michael, I am afraid there are no niceties in war. War is brutal as is the detritus of war. Unlike in a conventional war where the behaviours of troops are defined by the ‘Geneva Convention,’ it is not applicable in a civil insurrection especially one that attacks a legitimately elected democratic government. No country is bound to tolerate a secessionist group especially one that utilises terror to achieve its ends. History is replete with examples of civil wars that were prompted by secession. The most glaring example is the United States civil war. We also have an example from Vietnam and currently ongoing is the Korean debacle.

Tiger dead collected by the SL Army  …. and Tamil civlians incl Tigers in civies leaving the final battle arena east  of Nandhikadal Lagoon see Roberts, Tamil Person & State. Pictorial, Colombo, 2014 for details and more Pix

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A German Scholar’s Incisive Review of the Western Powers’ Treatment of Sri Lanka, 2009-21

Mathias Keitle, a German scholar from Statalendorf ++

Sri Lanka eliminated a dreaded terrorist group, with intricate global links, but receives little credit for it! Unlike elsewhere in the world, Sri Lanka has succeeded in resettling 300,000 IDPs (Internal Displaced Persons). There are no starving children for the NGOs to feed but this gets ignored!

Sri Lanka has avoided mass misery, epidemics and starvation, but the West takes no notice of this. Sri Lanka has attained enviable socio-economic standards for a developing country while eliminating terrorism but gets no
acknowledgement.

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About the Kāberi in Colonial Ceilao and the Fort of Galle

Michael Roberts

Writing in the Daily News in March 2019 and deploying the affirmation of a South African diplomat, Jeevan Thiagarajah has lamented the alleged fact that the VOC Black African used slave labour to build the imposing Fort of Galle – even asserting that “an estimated 15,000 Africans brought from Portuguese and Dutch colonies” worked on this project.[1] Thiagarajah is a political scientist and not a historian. His essay is clearly riding on the back of the movement “Black Lives Matter.” But in this populist move to earn kudos (as I speculate), he displays abysmal historical background and has failed to consult the many personnel next door to him in Colombo who would have served up solid data on the topic – notably Ashley De Vos (who has subsequently, albeit briefly, questioned Jeevan’s claim).

The Fort of Galle in the late 19th century

Storming of Galle fort in 1640

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Shihan De Silva Jayasuriya’s Wide-ranging Work on Portuguese Creole and the Kaffir

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya of the University of London has been researching the Portuguese in the East for over twenty years and has generated a significant number of studies on Portuguese Creole peoples, their life-style ad  languages in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Her output of work has been as varied as commendable and I begin with a summary of one article dealing with “a nineteenth-century manuscript in Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole” because i am presently fashioning an article that refers to the work of Hugh Nevill on the Kāberi Hatana in order to ‘educate’ those who have touched on African slave labour at Galle without possessing any background information on the topic. This essay is in process and will appear soon….. Michael Roberts

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Tamara’s Biography from Her Pen in Answer to Wikileak Twists

Tamara Kunanayakam, with black highlights being her para headlines and the others my imposition as Editor, Thuppahi

Dear All,

This is in response to Hiran Cooray and extracts he posted about me from Wiki[eaks]. I would like to make the following corrections and clarifications.

On my family: I was born in Nuwara Eliya (not Colombo), where my father, as a government servant, had been posted. As an active member of the GCSU, he spent his working life as a government servant being transferred from one ‘punishment station’ to another for his trade union activities. In 1947, as Colombo leader of the GCSU (with TB Illangaratne as its President then), he led the Colombo walk-out that led to Sri Lanka’s first General Strike, (Sri Lanka was(then “Ceylon” and still under British colonial rule). Because of his eternal transfers (Polonnaruwa, Matale, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya …), until he took early retirement and began working full time training trade unionists, we all lived literally out of our suitcases with my brother and I in boarding school in Colombo. Continue reading

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Ethnic Categories in Sri Lanka: Issues

Chandre Dharmawardana — in a response directed at Michael Roberts’s Comment**

When we make a blood test, we don’t specify all the items found in blood. Depending on the objective, we may list sugar, triglycerides, Heavy cholesterol and light cholesterol. If our objectives were different, we may list ALT, ALP, AST, bilirubin, albumin and total protein. So, what one lists is based on the purpose.

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Split in Black Lives Matter Protest Movement?

VISIT https://leftoutmag.com/2021/02/04/breaking/

Today Black Lives Matter Inland Empire announced its departure from the Black Lives Matter Global Network, highlighting several grievances, and perhaps, calling attention to the need for movement leaders and members of movement organizations to have broader conversations of transparency, Collective organizing and accountability. The following is a statement from Black Lives Matter Inland Empire.

Ethiopia Berta, an activist and educator who has been fighting for a change for many years, marches in Washington, D.C., on June 6. Last year she worked to keep Democracy Prep Public Charter School in southeast Washington, D.C., from closing…. Pix by Dee Dwyer

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Snippets on the Fort of Galle … and Ashley’s Dire Warnings

A Question from one Sanjay Gunawardena, 12 February 2021:

“Thank you for this great article Dr Roberts.[i] Has anyone got a picture or a painting of the Old Windmill which has been in the Galle Fort. This has been mentioned E.F.C Ludowyk’s book Long Afternoons in Colonial Ceylon. If you can please share an image, it will be much appreciated. Thank you.

A Response from Hemantha Situge: “Lyn Ludo says the windmill was one of the five landmarks that crowned the Fort. It was erected during British times. I have seen two photographs which I have not copied.”[ii]

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Trauma and Joy in Cricket …. and Abusive Lankan Aussies

Ajit Jayasekera — Email Memo to Michael Roberts, 15 February 2021

When we went to Australia for the Tri Nations tournament with England and Australia in December 2002/January 2003, the team was captained by Sanath Jayasuriya and the Coach was Dav Whatmore. We were after a rather disastrous tour of South Africa, where we were roundly beaten in both formats of the game and started this tournament in similar disastrous manner getting smashed by both England and Australia in the opening games.

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Joe Hoad’s Paintings in Celebration of Sri Lanka’s World Cup Triumph 1996

Michael Roberts

One day in 1996 our doorbell rang at Woodlark Grove in the suburb of Glenalta in Adelaide . …. And there was Joe Hoad with two paintings he had composed in celebration of Sri Lanka’s triumph at the World Cup earlier in the year. These products had not been commissioned. They were self-inspired and emanated from his profound joy at the manner in which a little island nation – one that was not unlike his own birthplace of Barbados – had tamed a powerful cricketing force that was a bullyboy in the cricketing politics of the 1990s.

This photograph taken there and then in our back garden marks the moment of the gifting ….. appropriately within an Australian backdrop of the bushfire danger kind. But, unlike that landscape, the paintings are unique. To my mind they are heirlooms. In conjunction with Verite Research and Shamara Wettimuny, I have approached the National Library Services Board in Colombo with the suggestion that they should be placed within its portals in public display with a suitable plaque.[1]

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