When the family of the Czar Nicholas, children and women included, were brutally killed by the Bolshevik revolutionaries, that was justified by a throng of intellectuals who were ready to defend anything done in the name of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. Clever dialectical arguments were presented as to why even the children had to be killed. More sensitive souls presented excuses rather than justifications. A favorite one was that “it is inevitable” that some bourgeois sentiments will be upset when a little extra blood is let – but all that is justified in the quest to reach the coveted end.
John Richardson, whose title in this article conveying diary notes runs thus: “Ordinary Living” in the Midst of Civil War Notes to Family and Friends“ … with highlighting and pics inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi
February 1988: After getting settled in our home at number 5 Bagatelle Terrace, within walking distance of Colombo University, we have begun to fit into our neighborhood and the city. Already we have made a number of Sri Lankan acquaintances. Emily knows the city better because she is an inveterate walker. She covers three to five miles each day on foot; more than any expatriates and most Sri Lankans, except the very poor. She feels quite safe walking about during the day. We walk about at night, too, but are more careful as the streets are poorly lighted. “Homeless” people do live on the streets here. They are about as visible as they are in Washington, D.C., but I think the culture here is more accepting; the gap between rich and poor is much less than in America. In fact, what strikes me about the majority of Sri Lankans, both rich and poor, is their unfailing honesty, courtesy and decency. (The principal exception appears to be some of those who deal regularly with foreigners). They are a considerate, friendly people – and for many, life is arduous.
Rajan Philips, in The Island, 26 May 2018, where the title is“The Shangri La tamasha: Neither presidential nor parliamentary, it’s Port City politics now
After a week in Cuba, I am late in gate-crashing the Shangri La party, the onset of the newest political tamasha in town. Calling it a tamasha is not to belittle the political potency of the event, but to highlight its ideational bankruptcy. No one took Donald Trump seriously when he slid down his gilded Trump Tower escalator, in January 2016, and announced his candidacy to become President of the United States of America. Look where he landed before the year was over and where he is dragging by its nose the world’s so called sole superpower. The Sri Lankan contrast is glaring.
The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.
“The decision taken by the nine senior members of the JVP when they met at the Sangaramaya Temple of the Vidyodaya University on April 2, 1971, was to capture State power by attacking all the police stations in the country on the night of April 5, 1971.”– “Rohan Gunaratna: Sri Lanka: A Lost Revolution? The Inside story of the JVP”
The plan was simple, the orders had come and all they had to do was to execute it. Rohana Wijeweera, the charismatic leader of the JVP was in prison in Jaffna, and via a message sent through Lal Somasiri, he had asked that, “Posters should be published and leaflets distributed calling for his release, and in the case of an attack, 500 comrades should be sent to Jaffna to secure his release.” He had also stated, “If you cannot obtain my release legally, you may create an island-wide struggle throughout the country and then send 500 men”. Continue reading →
Gerald Peiris, being Chapter 7 from his book Political Conflict in South Asia(2013, University of Peradeniya) — a chapter based on his previous writings
The survival of the principle of representative government based upon universal adult franchise since its introduction to the constitution more than eighty years ago while ‘Ceylon’ was still a colony of the British Empire is a feature often accorded prominence in scholarly discourses on the political history of Sri Lanka. Over the first three decades after independence (1948) the regularity of peaceful transfers of power from one regime to another, based upon the will of the people as expressed at national elections, was also widely acclaimed as a feature that made Sri Lanka unique among the emergent nation-states of the post-colonial era. The radiance of that achievement has, of course, dimmed considerably in the more recent past, due mainly to the violation of democratic norms in affairs of governance, and the intense rivalry that features the sub-national disputes which often find expression in confrontational violence.
Scenes in Colombo from 1958 riots after OEG led crackdown
Reproduced below are the first three paragraphs of Jeffrey Lunstead’s “Introduction” within his “Executive Summary” in the official document The United States’ Role in Sri Lanka’s Peace Process, 2002-2006 (Asia Foundation, 2007). Its authors conceived of this survey as “A Supplementary Study to the Sri Lanka Strategic Conflict.” Lunstead himself was a career Foreign Service official from 1977-2006 who had been US Ambassador to Sri Lanka from August 2003 to July 2006 before moving to the position of Assistant Vice President of International Affairs at American University in Washington D. C. So, what one sees within these covers is a significant document.Michael Roberts
Executive Summary: The United States has been deeply involved in the current phase of the Sri Lanka peace process since it began in late 2001. This is in distinct contrast to U.S. engagement in earlier phases of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict since it erupted into armed conflict in 1983. While the U.S. was supportive of peacemaking efforts in the 1980s and 1990s, it played a relatively low-key role, deferring to India as the lead outside actor. With the end of the Cold War, U.S. interest in Sri Lanka waned. As recently as 2000, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was planning for significantly reduced development assistance levels. Continue reading →
Jayadeva Uyangoda, courtesy of The Hindu, 19 August 2015
There are two significant political consequences following Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections. First, the majority of voters have given a verdict in favour of completing the partial political change that began with the presidential election of January 8 this year. Secondly, and no less important, it has dashed the hopes of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to return to power as Prime Minister.
Parliament was dissolved on June 27 under some peculiar circumstances, although it could continue till April 2016. President Maithripala Sirisena and the coalition that backed him had promised during the election campaign to call fresh parliamentary elections after 100 days of assuming office. In any case, the new coalition was a minority government, with only about 65 members in the 225-member legislature. Regime stability required a parliamentary majority through fresh elections.
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.