For what they are worth, here are three “imperatives for preventing conflict and terrorism” (from the 10 that conclude Paradise Poisoned) that seem particularly relevant to this discussion. These are excerpted from “elevator talk” I gave to Board members of the US Association for the Club of Rome a year or so ago.
This article from my pen was probably drafted in 2004. It appeared in Studies in Conflict & Terrorismvol. 28 in 2005 after the usual refereeing process. Some of the details and arguments have, in fact, been obliterated within my fading memory. For this reason, it was a refreshing READ for me and brought up specific details that are pertinent to any debate surrounding the motivations that induce self-immolation, jihadist killings of a suicidal nature, et cetera… The Bibilography will also aid present investigations though, of course, other writings have appeared since then on Islamic jihadists and other martyrdom operations…. Michael Roberts, 8 November 2020 … The photographs are fresh additions … and so too the highlighting within the text.
It is common for governments to issue travel warnings to their citizens. Australia does it frequently. Australia’s travel warnings to its citizens have sometimes annoyed other countries such as Indonesia and Jordan, to name a few. So, it should come as no surprise that China has issued travel warnings to its citizens over concerns about a surge in racist attacks against Chinese and Asians in Australia.
Daya ….. Rohan…. Shyam…. Riaz ….. what a South Asian spread! …………………. a dinkie-die curry’
I = Michael Roberts: An Explanatory Preamble Cast in May 2020
By 2004 I had retired from teaching in the Anthropology Department at Adelaide University and was proceeding with the pursuit of my research interests at my own pace within my limited resources. Sri Lanka and my connections therein was one such resource. When researching in Colombo in late November 2004 I flew to Jaffna on a wing and a prayer with the intention of exploring the Tamil Tiger “cult of suicide.” Previous contacts with two Tamil Canadians and a visit to the University of Jaffna as soon as I landed assisted me no end: partly via the invaluable support provided by the Krishnaswamy family and the readiness of their medical student son Chenthan to become my aide and guide during peregrinations within the Peninsula.
Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studiesin Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30: 857-88.with the title “Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts” and is reproduced here with its original American English spelling. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla. The pictorial images are embellishments that were not part of the original essay. I have also added highlighting emphasis in orange as well as a few hyperlinks to other standard sources of information. The bibliographical references are within the End Notes as in the original format.
ABSTRACT: Studies of suicide missions usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assassination, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Sadat as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such extensions. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. Norman Morrison in Washington in 1965 and Jan Palach in Prague in 1969 did not have such beneficial settings and the immediate ramifications of their protest action were limited. Morrison’s story highlights the significance of a societal context of individuated rationalism as opposed, say, to the “pyramidical corporatism” encouraging martyrdom operations in the Islamic world.
Jan Palach…19 Jan. 1969 Nathuram Godse vs Mahatma Gandhi .. 30 Jan 1948
What drew you to the study of War Magic & Warrior Religion? Initially I was drawn to the study of war magic through my doctoral research into a Sufi warrior cult, where the Malay martial art (silat) was employed as a means to attract and secure local and international followers and converts. A wise informant, Dato Penggawa Tua Zaharah Mokhtar, recommended that I start with Winstedt  (1993), Shaw (1976), and Skeat’s  (1993) books on Malay magic to begin my research on silat. At the time I was lecturing on Weber at the National University of Singapore, so the chiasmus between warrior religion and war magic came naturally: of course, the connection also appears in Deleuze and Guattari’s  (2004) Treatise on Nomadology—The War Machine, among other sources. Continue reading →
Berghahn Q & A for War Magic & Warrior Religion: Sorcery, Cognition & Embodiment
What drew you to the study of War Magic & Warrior Religion?
Initially I was drawn to the study of war magic through my doctoral research into a Sufi warrior cult, where the Malay martial art (silat) was employed as a means to attract and secure local and international followers and converts. A wise informant, Dato Penggawa Tua Zaharah Mokhtar, recommended that I start with Winstedt  (1993), Shaw (1976), and Skeat’s  (1993) books on Malay magic to begin my research on silat. At the time I was lecturing on Weber at the National University of Singapore, so the chiasmus between warrior religion and war magic came naturally: of course, the connection also appears in Deleuze and Guattari’s  (2004) Treatise on Nomadology—The War Machine, among other sources. Continue reading →
The recent bomb outrage in Boston has sent tidal ripples along the media networks around the world. It appears that the bombs were hidden in pressure cookers packed with nails/ball bearings and put in backpacks which were placed on the pavement among onlookers. “Similar easy-to-make roadside bombs are used in Iraq and Afghanistan” (Stewart 2013). But such bomb-making techniques are also clarified on internet sites. Among the first readings one headline in The Australian said: “Stamp of lone wolf more than al-Qa’ida” (Maley 2013). The contention here was that “in recent years, so-called “lone wolf” attackers — people who acquire radical ideology and weapons skills online — have become the greatest concern for counter-terrorism officials, who have virtually no way of detecting the activities of these people” (Stewart 2013).The absence of “chatter” on internet among jihadi circles after the event is one reason for this suspicion. suspected bomb packContinue 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.