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 →
Michael Roberts, in SOUTH ASIA¸ Sept 2008, 31: 394-96 reviewing Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.
This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field.
TAMIL PERSON and STATE. PICTORIAL appeared in 2014 in Colombo under the imprint of Vijitha Yapa Publications. …. ISBN 978-955-665-231-4. The biliography probably covers most of the articles in the companion piece, TAMIL PERSON and STATE. ESSAYS; but it is possible that there are other bibliographical items listed at the end of each article in ESSAYS. Though new material on Eelam War IV continues to turn up all the time, my present research led me to consult the works listed in these volumes and reminded me of material I had forgotten about. I believe that assiduous readers and investigators will find it useful to have the listing at their digital fingertips: hence its reproduction here.
Michael Roberts, Courtesy of Colombo Telegraph , October 2018
This is a provocative piece on the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 and on its aftermath of Reports and You Tube cut-and-thrust. It makes specific claims in assertive style. These assertions are founded on lengthier articles with their supporting evidence. So, it is by assertion that I proceed. 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.