Category Archives: Left politics

In Defence of a Voice from the Grave, That of Sunila Abeysekera

Jane Russell presenting “a reply to unjustified criticism ” …. * …. [see endnote]

Foreword: I first met Sunila Abeysekera at a joint exhibition of sculpture and poetry which my Sri Lankan partner, sculptor Malathie de Silva, and I held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in 1976. Sunila was twenty-four; I was two years older. She brought her father along and he purchased one of my poems which I‘d produced as wall-posters.:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under chauvinism, cultural transmission, disparagement, education, female empowerment, gender norms, heritage, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, women in ethnic conflcits

Lakshman’s Hambantota Diarrhoeas

Lakshman Gunasekara … with highlights being the intrusion of The Editor, Thuppahi

I recall reading both these articles,[1] or at least parts of these articles just a few weeks ago sent by you.

1) China:- I am an admirer of China (just as much as I am an even bigger admirer of India, simply because of cultural and geographical affinity) and I am specifically an admirer of China’s role in the world today as a relatively civilised and certainly civilisational (in terms of Difference) counter to the old, beginning-to-fade Western imperialism. This is not to say that I do not have problems with China’s internal, unnecessarily repressive, political system. While I am a long-time Communist and I continue to watch with interest the successes and failure of the single-party system (the Communist Party is not at all the typical western-liberal-style ‘political party’), I am surprised at the lack of more dedicated practice of electoral politics within that one-party system, especially at the higher levels of national structures. Theoretically, I prefer the Communist one-party state than the bourgeois-liberal multiparty competitive electoral system as the best way toward greater democracy and consolidating social democracy.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, commoditification, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes

In Appreciation of Professor Lakshman Jayathilake, Committed Engineering Professor & Patriot

Lionel Bopage, in The Sri Lankan Guardian,  Septmber 2021, where the title reads “My Indelible Memories of Professor CLV Jayathilake” …. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

I am extremely saddened by the news I heard this morning, that Emeritus Professor CLV (Lakshman) Jayathilake, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka, has succumbed to Covid and passed away. He has impacted my life in many ways on several occasions.

 When I was studying at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, he was a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department. I was studying for a Mechanical and Electrical combined degree in engineering, a rare combination at the time.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, discrimination, education, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, insurrections, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

A Puny Seed that a Giant Oak Became: The Chinese Communist Party

Kamal Nissanka, in The Island, 11 July 2021, where the title runs as “Hundred Years of the Communist Party of China” …. with highlighting added by The Editor Thuppahi

The Chinese Communist Party was formed on July 1, 1921 at the top floor of a private school for girls in Pubalu Street, Shanghai, the industrial city of China. The building was deserted except for a watchman who was on the ground floor. Students and teachers of the school were on summer holidays. Originally nine men gathered at this place. They were from various Marxist study groups in China who wanted to form a Communist Party. A little later three other Chinese and two foreigners joined the nine.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, China and Chinese influences, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

Captain Cook Symbolically Demolished in Canada

A Pseudo-Filipino named “Sir” Roger O’Neil

I can well understand why some Canadians knocked Captain Cook’s statue of its perch into a harbour in British Columbia.  

The only reason the Canadian PM has given a token apology about colonial crimes against indigenous peoples in Canada is because Canada has just been caught with its hands in the cookie jar with the discovery of mass graves. The Canadian government pursued a genocidal policy against indigenous peoples for 150 years — depriving them of language, forbidding the use of their indigenous birth names, medical neglect, sexual abuse, to name a few of their crimes. The government knew of it and were responsible for it for 150 years.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under atrocities, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, education, ethnicity, heritage, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, meditations, performance, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, racist thinking, self-reflexivity, social justice, the imaginary and the real, trauma, unusual people, vengeance, working class conditions, world events & processes, zealotry

Laki Senanayake As I Knew Him

Ismeth Raheem: An Appreciation of Laki Senanayake (1937–2021)

Given Laki Senanayake’s stature and personality, I am confident that there will be a fair share of obituaries and appreciations that will attempt to capture something of the man and his work. This is a more personal account of my encounters with Laki, which span over half a century. By no means is this an overview of his life or work. For the most part this account is anecdotal, but it does strive to convey aspects of his personality, his passions and the work he created and inspired.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, performance, plural society, Royal College, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, teaching profession, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Meaningful Appreciations of Qadri Ismail from the University of Minnesota

From the Department of English, with this heading  “In Memoriam: Professor Qadri Ismail: Brilliant thinker, inspiring teacher, loyal friend”

With deep sorrow, we note the death of our esteemed colleague Professor Qadri Ismail, who died in May at home of natural causes. He was 59. A noted scholar of cultural studies, postcolonial literature, literary theory, and gender and sexuality, Ismail joined English at Minnesota as Assistant Professor in 1997 and served the department in numerous capacities, including Chair of the department’s first Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Director of Graduate Studies.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, education, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, teaching profession, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

Addressing A Criticism of DS Senanayake’s Dry Zone Colonization Schemes

Chandre Dharmawardana, 28 May 2021, with this title “Criticism of D.S. Senanayake’s Dry Zone colonization schemes”

Would Sri Lanka have been better off if not for the fetishization of rural peasant life and its connexion to the Sinhalese Buddhist nation-myth?

Why do people talk of “colonization schemes” when a government  facing bulging population growth, for one reason or another, opens up land for its people to settle?

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, architects & architecture, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, growth pole, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, patriotism, politIcal discourse, population, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Political Crisis and Ethnic Conflicts in Sri Lanka: A Rejoinder to Michael Roberts

K. M. de Silva, being an article published in the Ethnic Studies  Report, Vol. 6/1, January 1988 …. a riposte to a Review of his book Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Sri Lanka, 1880-1985, (1985)

                                          I 

I have long believed that the author of a book under review should not bother to write replies to reviewers however perverse he believes the latter to be. After all he has had his say at greater length than the reviewer. My present departure from this practice, and the response I write to Michael Roberts’s review of my book Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Sri Lanka 1880-1985 stems from two considerations. Invited to write a short review (1,500 words or so) in the style of the present journal Michael Roberts writes a review essay of 20,000 words. It has been reduced to about 2/3rds its length for our journal but it is still the longest review we have published. Secondly, he proceeds to write two reviews of the same book, one for this journal, and one for another [see p. 61 above, Michael Roberts 1987 (a)]

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, disparagement, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, island economy, language policies, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, parliamentary elections, patriotism, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, trauma, truth as casualty of war, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

The Ethics of History: Discussion to be built upon Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington’s Lecture

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington to speak on THE ETHICS of HISTORY and thus promote a Live Discussion, 14 April 2021, courtesy of Merton College, Oxford

Since the pandemic began, we have adapted our events programme to move online, and we are pleased to announce that our next 40 Years Series online lecture, a part of our Merton Women: 40 Years celebrations, will be airing live at a time more suitable for our alumni in Asia, Australasia and the Pacific.

Hughes-Warrington & Irene Tracey

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, australian media, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, female empowerment, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, teaching profession, unusual people, world events & processes