In dealing today with the outrageous prejudices displayed by the American political analyst Robert Kaplan in mid-2009, I realised that I should reaffirm the essays devoted to the services to mankind provided by a doctor indomitable and discerning.That medico was Dr. Susiri Weerasekera, who, alas, had deteriorated to a state non compos mentis when I made inquiries at his home in Nugegoda a few years back.
Susiri [with tie] is standing on the extreme left from the viewer’s eyes — this Pix being the Board of Management of the Friend-in-Need Society
Susiri Weerasekera was a person you would want to have alongside you in adversity: a person pragmatic, observant, down-to-earth and relatively unprejudiced. I got to know him when I dropped in on the Friend-in-Need Society in Colombo in 2010 to look into their work in support of the disabled and their speciality in assisting personnel who had lost a limb to obtain and then utilize a prosthetic leg.When I embarked on journeys to the northern reaches Susiri provided me with names and introductions to key personnel in Vavuniya and Jaffna as well as an introduction to Dr Hemantha Herath who was in charge of medical relief for the IDP camps. These recommendations were invaluable.
Robert Kaplan is a well-connected Jewish American author and journalist. As one he travels widely and chose to visit Sri Lanka as a newshound in mid-2009 just after the Sri Lankan government forces had vanquished the Tamil Tiger forces and rescued about 280-290,000 Tamil ‘civilians’ who had been deployed as a defensive barrier and bargaining chip for about 15-17 months by the LTTE as they, the Tigers, were forced into a west-to-east retreat in the northern Vanni.
Situation Map on 23rd December 2008 & then on 8th March 2009
House of Lords: The Rt Hon Lord Michael Naseby spoke in the Queen’s Speech Debate on Wednesday May 19, 2021 …. [with highlighting emphais here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi]
My Lords, I welcome the gracious Speech. My comments will be on global Britain, specifically the Indo-Pacific tilt. My own background is that I have lived and worked in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and I know the rest of ASEAN quite well. I will specifically address Sri Lanka, and I declare an interest as joint chair of the All-Party Group (on Sri Lanka).
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
Since I had been introduced to the British peer Lord Michael Naseby in the surrounds of the House of Lords in March 2018, I assumed that he had been born into the aristocratic upper layer of British society. Wrong. It required his book Sri Lanka for me to learn that he was from the upper middle class and had contested parliamentary seats from the late-960s on behalf of the Conservative Party in what were Labour strongholds – with his peerage being of 1990s vintage. As vitally, his early career as a marketing executive had seen him working in Pakistan and Bengal in the early 1960s before he was stationed in Sri Lanka as a marketing manager for Reckitt and Colman in the period 1963-64.
A chance finding of an old article that I had written on “dedicated medical work” on both sides of the battlefront during the last stages of the war brought vibrant memories of Dr Susiri Weerasekera into my mind. Getting to know him well after I visited the Friend-in-Need Society opposite the Gangarama at Colpetty in mid-2010, I can assure all readers that he was a man to have alongside one in adversity. We became warm friends over the years. My admiration for his dedication towards humankind, his industry, patriotism and sagacity is unbounded. He is alive still I believe; but I write in the past tense because he lapsed into a state non compos mentis about two years back and I find it distressing even to seek information on his state of body and mind.
This is a valedictory memorial in several parts.
Dr Weerasekera standing 2nd from right facing us with a visiting dignitary at the FINS buildng
Narendran Rajasingham, in TamilWeek, 30 August 2009** … where the title is “Internally displaced persons: The new front of an old war in Sri Lanka”
Since the defeat of the LTTE on 18th May’ 2009 at Nandikadal, the issue of the 300,000 ‘Internally Displaced persons (IDPs)’ has become the new front to fight an old war. People who have not been to the IDP camps in Chettikulam have been very vociferous in condemning the conditions and the very existence of these camps. Objective reports based on contextual realities by those who have visited these camps and talked to a cross section of the IDPs are dismissed as propaganda on behalf of the government. Other reports of those who visited these camps, but have highlighted problems that fit in with the agenda of those fighting in the new front, are gobbled up with glee. The reports of those who have not visited these camps and are relying on second hand information and photographs, are accepted as the gospel truth. The desire to condemn and use the situation as an opportunity to continue the old Eelam agenda under a new guise is overwhelmingly obvious.
Rajasingham et al with General Gunaratne young IDPs at school –Pic deployed in TamilWeek
This tiny cluster of Tamil personnel came from Australia, Germany, UK and Dubai and were clearly not enmeshed in the tales predominant in the LTTE networks abroad. Though Dr Narendran Rajasingham was working in Saudi Arabia at this point of time, note that he had a house in Colombo and stronger roots in the island than the others (as far as I can work out). This report, it seems, appeared first in German in ”LTTE watch” (see the Google reference — https://lttewatch.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/ltte-ist-immun-gegen-internationalen-druck/). To stress this flavour’, the last section is also repeated in Deutsch.
Most issues that have plagued Tamils thirty years ago have become irrelevant. Security, law and justice are the most important issues now. The people of the north are ready for political change. If you talk to people in Jaffna, they will tell you that they no longer want the LTTE in their vicinity.
Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, 13 September 2019, where it has a different title
This NOTE is a felicitation of Dr Rajasingham Narendran – a presentation that is long overdue. Narendran was a graduate from Peradeniya University’s Agriculture Faculty, a food scientist with international expertise who was also a fearless advocate for the Sri Lankan Tamil peoples circumscribed within a firm Sri Lankan perspective. He stood for truth in reportage and brought a clinical mind to the appraisal of horrendous circumstances – among them the decomposition of dead bodies in war-torn locales. Continue reading →
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.