Category Archives: insurrections

The SBS: Marine Commandos of the Sri Lankan Navy

Michael Roberts

A recent article by Dishan Joseph (see below) has marked the role of a commando outfit known as the SBS, or Special Boat Service, that was developed within the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) during the Eelam Wars.  The story is complex and demands an elaborate ‘companion piece’ that is attentive to time, combat locations, initiatives and the lessons derived from a remarkable and formidable enemy, namely, the Sea Tigers. In war one becomes like one’s opponent in order to survive. The innovativeness of the LTTE was monumental and its sea-faring capacities were one reason why it outdid-and-outbid the other Tamil militant organisations in the fight to lead the claim for independence for Thamililam during the 1980s/1990s.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under education, Eelam, ethnicity, female empowerment, historical interpretation, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, war reportage, women in ethnic conflcits, working class conditions, world events & processes

Boom! 3rd May 1986: Air Lanka’s Tristar 36 blown up on Runway by LTTE

Menaka Ashi Fernando, whose chosen title is “The Deadly Flyaway Kit: Explosion in AirLanka Tristar, Part 1 –The Explosion and Its Immediate Effects”

Johann Chunchee

Every 3rd of May, for the past 34 years, like a bunch of anxious surfers, we catch the rising wave of grief, glide on the intensifying emotions for a while and fall back to our senses as the wave of reality breaks. Although words can never remove the ache, I have worded this in memory of our dear friend Johann Chunchee who was killed that fateful day, and in honour of all my colleagues and other Air Lanka staff who survived the carnage” 

Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under accountability, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, historical interpretation, insurrections, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, tourism, transport and communications, trauma, vengeance, war crimes, world events & processes

A Critical American Reading of Lord Torrington’s Colonial Administration in 1851

Anonymous Author The English in Ceylon” … in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review, Vol. XXVIII, No. CLV,  1851 May, pp. 409-12.

From https://www.alamy.com/lord-torrington-british-colonial-administrator-and-courtier-1851-engraving-image60158321.html

BRITISH policy, or that system which the British Government has for ages systematically pursued, and by which it has acquired its vast colonial empire, is hut very imperfectly understood by the mass of the American people. Deriving our knowledge of English affairs, for the most part, from English sources, we are too apt to he dazzled by the contemplation of an empire upon which the sun never sets, and to ascribe to Divine destiny, that which, in reality, is the result of a system, more fiendish, and more detestable, because more extending and more extended in its operation, than that of Machiavelli. The conquests of old Rome were attended, at least, with glory; and, in modern times, those of our own country were laden with fruits, not alone of glory and renown to the conquerors, but better far, of freedom, of happiness, and of civilization to the conquered. England alone, of all the nations, ancient or modern, is the only one whose sword, while entwined with wreaths of cypress for the vanquished, has failed to reap one pure laurel to deck the victors brow. Survey her colonial empire; glance your eye athwart those boundless plains made fruitful by the young embraces of the god of day and point, if you can, to one rood of territory, whose acquisition was not conceived in selfishness and iniquity, and consummated in treachery, in perfidy and fraud. As the subject, however, of England’s colonial empire is one which could not properly be treated within the limits of a review article, we shall confine ourselves, for the present, to a condensed expose of certain occurrences of which the island of Ceylon has recently been the theatre and which have startled the propriety even of that most fastidious assembly, the British House of Commons.

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, insurrections, island economy, land policies, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

The Making of Wahhabi Zealots in Sri Lanka, 1980s-2019

Michael Roberts

All those addressing the fervour that promoted the killing work of the Zahran Hashim jihadist network in Sri Lanka in April 2019 must come to grips with the modern currents of Wahhabi political thinking that go back to the outpourings of the Egyptian intellectuals Sayyid Qutb[1] and Al-Zawahiri[2] in the latter half of the 20th century. This step will then take investigators to the Al-Qaida movement[3] and thence to the more recent brand of Wahhabism embodied within ISIS.

Sayyid Qutb  al-Zawahiri

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, Al Qaeda, arab regimes, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, chauvinism, communal relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, disparagement, Eelam, ethnicity, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, insurrections, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, Middle Eastern Politics, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, racist thinking, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, world events & processes, zealotry

The Murder of Lional Silva by the JVP in 1984

Sanjeewa Karunaratne, whose favoured title is  “Stories from Sri Lanka’s Civil War – Lional Silva

During 1984-89, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (“JVP”) or People’s Liberation Front launched a clandestine attack against the Government of Sri Lanka. Since its fighters were mingling among the public, the military and its militia groups were struggling to cope with this invisible enemy. As a result, spies were everywhere—one wrong word, move or contact may bestow a gruesome death on top of a burning tire. It may be an “in-kind” response to the JVP, whose piece of paper was enough to close down an entire city; and who did not hesitate to execute a school principal, government servant, singer, politician, or an ordinary person who disobeyed their orders, in front of their loved ones. It was a crisis of epic proportions and a very uncertain time in the country.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under atrocities, authoritarian regimes, education, historical interpretation, insurrections, island economy, Left politics, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, asylum-seekers, atrocities, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, democratic measures, devolution, economic processes, Eelam, ethnicity, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, IDP camps, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, unusual people, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes

From Facing Elara to Vanquishing the Tamil Tigers at Nandikadal

Lynn Ockersz, in The Island. reviewing Siriweera’s Sinhala book Vijithapura Sita Nandikadal Thek Sri Lankeya Sangrama Ithihasaya’  ….

This book by one of Sri Lanka’s most eminent historians, Senior Professor Indrakeerthi Siriweera, gets into the hands of the public at a time when there is an urgent need for a clear, concise, and above all, enlightened understanding of Sri Lanka’s wars and their underlying causes. From Sri Lanka’s wars of antiquity, including the legendary Vijithapura armed conflict, to the contemporary landmark and decisive battle on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon in northern Sri Lanka in May 2009, ‘Vijithapura Sita Nandikadal Thek Sri Lankeya Sangrama Ithihasaya’  provides us a detailed chronicling of Sri Lanka’s major armed conflicts and confrontations over the centuries and thereby proves a treasury of knowledge.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, communal relations, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, population, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

Turbulent Times & Anxious Moments in Sri Lanka in 1988

John R Richardson**

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, education, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, teaching profession, travelogue, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

Honouring ALL the Dead in War. Somasiri Devendra’s Ecumenical Epitaph

Somasiri Devendra 

It’s a hundred years since the World War One ended.

It was called “the war to end all wars”, a war “to preserve Democracy”. It was, in fact, fought for nothing more than the needs of a handful of European countries wanting yet bigger pieces of the global pie, fighting each other for it or to deny it to others.

a war cemetery in Europe

British Garrison Cemetery Kandy

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, charitable outreach, historical interpretation, insurrections, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, trauma, unusual people, world events & processes, World War II, World War One

Ethnic Knots Today: The How

Javid Yusuf, in Island, August 2020, and also PRESSREADER where the title is “Resolving the Ethnic Conflict-  making a difficult task that much more difficult”

One of the most complex problems faced by the country after independence has been the “ethnic conflict” that resulted in a civil war that consumed the country for over three decades.  Although the conflict was not between two ethnicities (the Sinhalese and Tamils) but in reality between the State and the Tamil community, the label “ethnic conflict” has become the common parlance used to describe the events around this long drawn out conflict. Basically it has been an attempt by the Tamil politicians to persuade successive Governments to restructure the State so as to address Tamil concerns.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, insurrections, language policies, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, world events & processes