Category Archives: human rights

Hurdling Back Home to Adelaide

Michael Roberts

SYDNEY to ADELAIDE:  Having been informed on Thursday night that I had no Covid and would receive CLEARANCE  I proceeded to pack and on FRIDAY the 1st October confirmed my ticket booking to Adelaide that afternoon on JETSTAR [an airline which permitted extra luggage].

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A Poignant Farewell at Vishvamadu in 2018: Rathnapriya Banda’s Work of Reconciliation

Shenali Waduge. in an article presented in June 2018 and entitled  “LTTE village & a Sri Lankan Military Officer show the world what Reconciliation & Peaceful Coexistence is all about” …. ith highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

It was a farewell that has shocked & left plenty of critics speechless. It has put to rest & completely nullified the lies that have been spread against Sri Lanka’s Army. The culprits include foreign governments/envoys, INGOs/NGOs, UN & even the present government in particular the Tamil leadership & the LTTE diaspora who must be startled at the pictures emerging of an entire village weeping as they bid farewell to a military officer who had played the role of their mentor, their father, their brother, their advisor & virtually their leader. Col. Rathnapriya Bandu has done what Prabakaran, Wigneswaran, Sivajilingam, Sumbanthiran, Sambanthan or even Tamil Nadu politicians could not do & do not want to do. In a world that plays divisive politics of divide & rule he has shown that it takes a hero to unite & Col. Bandu is one hero that we must all salute. No former LTTE village would ever carry a Sri Lankan Military officer on their shoulders & weep as he bid goodbye if he was no hero in their eyes.

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Outreach ECSAT: Aid for the Totally Impaired

Michael Roberts

There are children who cannot walk and are totally dependent on family and others. When such families are encased in poverty as working-class people, their lot is that much harder. ECSAT assists a few of these families in the locality of Galle Town. I joined Roshan and Kumari Kariyawasam on one of their outreach visits (with Roshan’s daughter Padani as company) one morning in August 2020.

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Introducing ECSAT and the World of Disabled People around Galle

Michael Roberts

 In late 2018 I met Roshan Samarawickrema at Flinders University via my daughter Maya who is a senior staff officer there. Roshan had arrived to further studies in Disability Teaching. Via the vagaries of the covid endemic both of us found ourselves in good old Lanka in the second quarter of the year. A visit to my home beat of Galle Fort[1] in July-August enabled me to explore and ‘experience’ the work of ECSAT at its HQ in the old “Serasinghe Walauwwa” building at Wackwella [albeit in covid circumstances whereby school attendance was drastically low]. My readings via picture and tale will follow. I begin here with Roshan’s introduction to ECSAT with due emphasis on the initial impetus provided by Catherine Liyanage (nee Mole become Macleod).[2] …. Michael Roberts

ECSAT staff in 2020

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Encountering and Experiencing ESCAT in August 2020

Michael Roberts

Apart from experiencing life in my old beats of Galle Fort when I sojourned there in late July-early August 2020, I took in the work at ECSAT. This was during an abnormal period when the handicapped personnel attending classes at the ECSAT centre in Wackwella, Galle, were miniscule because of the covid-pandemic and government regulations. My amateur photographs (some in other Thuppahi postings) will nevertheless provide readers with some sense of place, scale and personnel.

A teaching session (which happened to have as many teachers as students) displayed the practiced vigour and unison with which the teaching staff engaged the students with lessons via song. Elsewhere there were one-on-one teaching processes. I was particularly impressed by the totally engaged joy with which an autistic young man (a tinker by trade as I gathered) was pursuing his tasks at a table whenever I visited that arena.

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Hong Kong Activists’ Boat Flight Foiled by China

Glen Owen, in Mail Online, 29 August 2020, with a different title

A British democracy activist has been captured by the Chinese after trying to make a dramatic seaborne escape from Hong Kong to Taiwan. Andy Li, 30, who has worked with former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and other politicians on pro-democracy campaigns, was intercepted in international waters, along with 11 other activists, as they tried to navigate the perilous South China Sea in a small boat.

British democracy activist Andy Li (pictured) has been captured by the Chinese after trying to make a dramatic seaborne escape from Hong Kong to Taiwan

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Dunkirk Different! Migrants penetrate England by Small Boat

Sophia Sleigh & April Roach in Evening Standrard 10 August 2020, where the title is RAF plane patrols English Channel after nearly 700 migrants cross”

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The Rajapaksa Reshaping of the Sri Lankan Polity

Asanga Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne, in Groundviews, 25 August 2020, with this title “The Past and the Present in the (Re)Constitution of the State”  … 

The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November 2019 marked the beginning of a new era of a Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist ascendancy in Sri Lanka. The Covid-19 pandemic provided an early opportunity for the government to establish an authoritarian governing style, helped by Parliament standing dissolved, and the Supreme Court’s refusal to subject the government to the constitution. In the delayed parliamentary election earlier in August, the government and its allies sought and obtained a two-thirds majority mandate.

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Fighting Death and Covid: Mike Ryan of WHO in Straight Talk … and More

Mike Ryan of WHO interviewed by Melissa Fleming

The info-demic can be just as damaging as the pandemic itself, because if people aren’t getting the right information, if they’re not able to trust that information, and then we have a problem. There’s no point having solutions to offer people if they don’t hear about them, or they don’t believe in them,” said Michael (Mike) Ryan in this latest episode.

https://www.un.org/en/awake-at-night/S3-E4-we-need-to-save-more-lives

 

2 January 2019 – A helicopter transports a wounded health worker with their team including Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme for WHO (far right) and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General (second from right). Dr. Ryan helped attend to the health worker, who had been wounded in an attack against the Ebola vaccination team in Komanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Evacuated for advanced care, he later recovered from his injuries – Photo: ©WHO/Lindsay Mackenzie

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Erudite Voices seeking Limits on Election Landslide

I = Rajan Philips: “On your marks, get set – for the weakest parliament to face the gravest crises” 2 August 2020, https://island.lk/on-your-marks-get-set-for-the-weakest-parliament-to-face-the-gravest-crises/

II = Lucien Rajakarunanayake: “save Democracy froma Two-Thirds Majority,” 3 August 2020,  https://island.lk/save-democracy-from-a-two-thirds-disaster/

III = Sumedra S  Amarasekera: “Reality of two-thirds power in parliament,” 3 August 2020, https://island.lk/reality-of-two-thirds-p: ower-in-parliament/

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