Introduction: Remembrance Day ceremonies in Australia and Europe led to the recuperation of items on the “Will to War” which I had presented way back in time and Dr Richard Koenigsberg in New York has chipped in by sending me copies of some of my articles in the Library of Social Science (his outfit). At a time in 2020 when sporadic jihadist assassinations in France and Australia in 2020 have reminded us forcefully of the recurring phenomenon of the force of Allahu Akbar in the Middle East as well as such outposts as Sri Lanka (witness the 21/4 strikes in 2019) as well as Australia (see below).
I recently watched a good part of Stephen Sackur’s dialogue with a French lady politician [whose name I have forgotten]. Sackur pursued his usual hard-line aggressive and bullying mode of questioning – posing vigorous criticisms of the French government’s position on secularism and its hostility to the carving out of sacred domains by French Muslim peoples. The implicit suggestion was that the British system’s tolerance of religious sensibilities was a better line of policy.
Muslim protests … and the selfie proudly posted by the Islamic terrorist who was responsible for the killings in Nice in October 2020
An Invitation. Your Thoughts from Michael Roberts …. sent to SELECT PALS on 31 October 2020
I just caught parts of THE HARD TALK grilling of a French lady politician [by Stephen Sackur]. One problem with journalism is its wholly presentist focus//limits. In my view the recent jihadist attacks in France cannot be comprehended without looking at the motivations and goals of, say
My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.
Muslims of Sri Lanka, after more than a millennium of integrated and peaceful coexistence, have become a hated, or to put it mildly, highly-suspected minority at least in the perception of ultra-Sinhala Buddhist supremacists, led by Bodu Bala Sena and a coterie such movements supported by influential political monks.
“It is a strange irony that it is from the hated Muslim community that a Minister of Justice has been picked before the election, brought to the Parliament through the back door and entrusted amidst opposition with the task of amending the Constitution to empower and disempower the President and Prime Minister respectively and simultaneously, all in the name of easing the path for developmen.”Continue reading →
Samanth Subramanium, in New York Times, 2 July 2020, where the title reads “Two Wealthy Muslim Brothers became suicide Bombers, but Why?”
There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither. Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering? But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.
Jehan Perera, in Island, 30 June 2020, with this title “The Need For Better Representation In Divided Societies”
There has been a trend of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa making senior appointments in which those who are outside the established administrative systems are being brought in to provide leadership and ensure effective and non-corrupt practices. As a large number of these appointments have been from the security forces this has given rise to a perception that the country is heading towards eventual military rule. There is a concern that the forthcoming general elections will be followed by constitutional changes that will entrench the military in governance as in some other countries such as Myanmar. This is unlikely to be the case in Sri Lanka as democratic traditions upholding civilian control of government are deeply ingrained in the fabric of political society.
In a previous study of the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket entourage at Lahore in 2009 I was guided by several news reports and chats with a few players in marking the resolution and actions of the bus driver Mohammed Khalil, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Broad during the initial ordeal and the resolute work of Lal Thamel in aiding the injured at the stadium and in hospital. Our thanks now to Rex for revealing Mahela’s firm leadership when moves were afoot to keep the two injured players Paranavithana and Samaraweera back in the air force hospital. Those who play together stick together….Michael Roberts
Rex Clementine, in The Island. 27 June 2020, where the title runs thus:“Paranavithana and Warnapura recall Lahore attack”
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.