This Item appeared in Dilshy Banu’s Facebook post and I have borrowed it and its photographs for circulation via Thuppahi – in part because it marks a little “outpost activity” in the course of the war and largely because I have met Dilshy and respect her courageous career choices and her lines of philanthropic endeavour….. Michael Roberts, 18 November 2021
Dilshy Banu: “Kokkadicholaiin Batticaloa: Traversing Tension during Eelam War IV”
Michael Roberts,reproducing here an expanded version of article printed inLanka Monthly Digest, September 1999, Vol 6:2, pp. 56-57…. with citations added.
A Kurd in Germany immolates self in protest vs Ocalan’s fate
ONE : In February 1999 a Kurdish nationalist leader, Ocalan, was caught by the Turkish authorities. Kurdish refugees in the Western world erupted in protest. In London a young girl Neila Kanteper set herself alight. In Sydney a young lad was caught on camera with petrol can and cigarette lighter as he threatened similar action. As I walked into the local news-agency in Adelaide that week the proprietor waved the picture of Kanteper in flames in front of me and in considerable alarm inquired how anyone could take such an extreme measure. He could not ever take such a step, he said. His remarks gain in significance from the fact that they were unsolicited and had not been preceded by prior conversation. I was in a hurry and did not explore matters further, but I conjecture that his bewilderment stemmed not only from the method of death by fire, but also from such terminal commitment to a collective cause. The question, therefore, is whether in similar circumstances an act of martyrdom involving death by hand-gun would produce the same level of astonishment. Relatively speaking, death by gun seems to be so much more acceptable to the Western world than death by flame.
“Truth is like the Sun, one can shut it off for sometime, but it will not go away.” …. Elvis Presley
Afghanistan has done it again! A country, where her geography was her destiny, made her push towards repeated trysts with history- Alexander’s Greeks, Mongols, Mughals, the Brits, Russians, Americans. She, redoubtable to foreign invaders, specialised in making her country, micro- Kanattestans for these invading hordes. These done-in foreign forces now out-done, were not small fry but superpowers.
Troops from Britain- the Rotweiller in her time slot of Empire building- were decimated three times,bleaching this arid landscape. Undaunted, Sysyphean Britain ventured on the fourth, though now a metamorphosed American poodle: same wipe-out. Russia, in her own time slot of imperial hope, was similarly sent scurrying home. Smaller European countries- Australia, Germany, France Italy, Canada, wishing to taste PetiteGloire but lacking oomph, hitch hiked on the NATO bandwagon: the same degrading exit.
David Kilcullen, in The Australian,31 July 2021,. [and The Inquirer, 31 July ]where the title reads “Making sense of the Afghan fiasco, and how to fix it” … 2021and with this byline : “there are four moves that could stabilise the situation long enough to get talks back on track.”
If a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, US President Joe Biden committed one a few weeks ago, answering a question about Afghanistan, when he said “the mission hasn’t failed, yet”. That “yet” contains multitudes: a tangle of military and humanitarian factors refracted through political spin and a hyper-partisan US media.
Afghan militia gather with their weapons to support Afghanistan security forces against the Taliban, in Afghan warlord and former Mujahideen Ismail Khan’s house in Herat on July 9. Picture: AFP
ONE: Scott Atran: “The Devoted Actor Unconditional Commitment and Intractable Conflict across Cultures,” ... as introduced to Thuppahi by The Library of Social Science,in New York, … with this abstract at journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/685495
Uncompromising wars, revolution, rights movements, and today’s global terrorism are in part driven by “devoted actors” who adhere to sacred, transcendent values that generate actions dissociated from rationally expected risks and rewards. Studies in real-world conflicts show ways that devoted actors, who are unconditionally committed to sacred causes and whose personal identities are fused within a unique collective identity, willingly make costly sacrifices.This enables low-power groups to endure and often prevail against materially stronger foes. Explaining how devoted actors come to sacrifice for cause and comrades not only is a scientific goal but a practical imperative to address intergroup disputes that can spiral out of control in a rapidly interconnecting world of collapsing and conflicting cultural traditions. From the recent massive media-driven global political awakening, horizontal peer-to-peer transcultural niches, geographically disconnected, are emerging to replace vertical generation-to-generation territorial traditions. Devoted actors of the global jihadi archipelago militate within such a novel transcultural niche, which is socially tight, ideationally narrow, and globe spanning. Nevertheless, its evolutionary maintenance depends on costly commitments to transcendental values, rituals and sacrifices, and parochial altruism,which may have deep roots even in the earliest and most traditional human societies. Fieldwork results from the Kurdish battlefront with the Islamic State are highlighted.
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 and Al-Zawahiri in the latter half of the 20th century. This step will then take investigators to the Al-Qaida movement and thence to the more recent brand of Wahhabism embodied within ISIS.
Churches observed Black Sunday yesterday in protest over the terror attacks on 2019 Easter Sunday, calling on the government to deliver justice by prosecuting those responsible for the attacks. Protestors led by the two Colombo Auxiliary Bishops Rt.Rev. Anthony Jayakody and Rt.Rev.Maxwell Silva held placards pleading for justice in Negombo in front of the Katuwapitiya Church which was bombed on April 20, 2019 while others led by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith gathered in front of the Kochchikade St. Anthony’s Church yesterday.
In moving from a pictorial depiction of the parental and local urban background where Kumar Sangakkara has been nurtured, to a photographic ‘sketch’ of his cricketing endeavours, it will be easy for readers to forget the dangerous Sri Lankan circumstances hanging over the cricketing scenario within Sri Lanka in the period when Kumar strode on to the field in Sri Lankan colours – from the mid-1990s. These were the sporadically continuous dangers hanging over the urban and rural byways around Colombo and Kandy as a result of the Eelam Wars and the capacity displayed by the Tamil Tigers in mounting suicide assassinations as well as massive blasts directed at high-profile urban targets.
Tiger Bombing of the Central Bank in the Fort, Colombo, 31 January 1996
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.