It has been over a decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted conflict, but what we have today is ‘negative peace’ – which is the absence of overt violence. Limited understanding of Sri Lanka’s history, politics, democracy, ambition, intent, and the refusal to acknowledge acts of intolerance and discrimination that destroyed lives and led to bloodshed makes it increasingly difficult to avoid the recurrence of violence and we risk repeating the same mistakes. Today, we are confronted with choices that could lead to positive peace or a resumption of cycles of violence. Even now, the difficulties of dealing with COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout could lead to social unrest that may morph into inter-communal violence if manipulated. Continue reading →
Dennis B. McGilvray, reproducing an essay presented in April 1982 within Comparative Studies in Society and History 24 (2): 235-263 –– an article that is wide-ranging and draws on ethnographic work as well as historical manuscripts. Note that the highlighting and pictorial insertions are the work of The Editor, Thuppahi.
Historians and anthropologists in Sri Lanka have tended to migrate in opposite directions, but away from the multiethnic confusion of the port cities. Typically, the heterogeneous, semi-Westernized, postcolonial urban society of Colombo and the larger towns has been only a transit point on intellectual journeys outbound to European archives or inbound to “traditional culture.” This was certainly my viewpoint as I arrived “inbound” in Sri Lanka for my first anthropological fieldwork. I took only passing notice of the clerks of mixed European and Sri Lankan descent who sold me stationery supplies at Cargill’s and mosquito nets at Carvalho’s. These people are given the official designation of Burghers in the government census: they are the racially mixed descendants of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British personnel who occupied the island during four and a half centuries of colonial rule.
Waruni Kumarasinghe & Dinithi Dharmapala, from the Strategic Communications Unit, LKIIRSS, … whose preferred title i “Amnesty International Report on Sri Lanka: Far from the Truth”
Amnesty International’s latest report on Sri Lanka, titled “From Burning Houses to Burning Bodies: Anti-Muslim Violence, Discrimination and Harassment in Sri Lanka” (October 2021) levels very serious accusations against this country. The overall argument of the report is that Muslims in Sri Lanka are an oppressed minority subjected to state-sponsored violence and systematic discrimination. The argument, as will be explained in a moment, is deeply flawed.
I present several comments from Sri Lankans in New Zealand and Sri Lanka
A NOTE from SM in Colombo, 7 Sept 2021
It is high time for countries to cut hard on organisations promoting and practicing extremist ideologies whether they be religious, ethnic, separatist, or nationalist. The UK extended its ban on the LTTE a few days back which is a welcome development. Canada should practice what they preach. With an election round the corner, the Liberal Trudeau govt soft peddles the LTTE issue in order to garner Canadian Tamil votes. The Canadian government’s sponsorship of TGWA is a case in point.
Countries that ignore, or aid and abet violent extremism will reap what they sow.
My name is Mohamed Qadri Ismail. Mohamed Qadri Ismail is not my name.
The statements may prompt a wtf. (The acronym, btw, of the World Taekwondo Federation.) Surely one cannot affirm a position and its contradiction. Yet I do. The second sentence doesn’t necessarily negate the first.
Michael Roberts ... presenting a refereed journal article from the year 2001** as a foundation for reflection and fresh pursuits because it addresses the work of Edward Said, a renowned social theorist-cum-political scientist.
Edward Said Leslie Gunawardena
Abstract: Disenchantment with the excesses of nationalist and ethnic claims in recent decades has directed the analysis of ethnicity presented in academic writings in recent decades. Ethnicity is seen as pernicious, “primordialist” and “essentialist.” Other scholars as well as nationalist spokespersons are castigated for reading the present into the past. This line of criticism has entered the scholarship on the Indian subcontinent and been extended to surveys of the literature on the pre-British and British periods of Sri Lankan history. Yet these critics themselves are governed by the either/or epistemology of 20th century rationalism. They are unable to decipher the worldview and the political ideology that organised the socio-political order of the Kingdom of Sihale, better known as the Kingdom of Kandy. Their bias is “presentist” and “modernist.” With little patience for historical puzzles, their readings of the pre-British period are simple-minded. For the most part they rely on the severely flawed interpretation presented in Leslie Gunawardana’s “People of the Lion.” This dependence marks their ignorance.
**presented in Ethnic Studies Report, Vol XIX/1, 2001 … ICES and kindly supplied by Iranga Silva
Basil Fernando: A Short Abstract re the book Body, Mind, Soul, Society: An Autobiographical Account
This book (176 pages) is an attempt to contribute towards an understanding of the impact of violence on human persons and the society. It is based on the direct experience of living and working in Sri Lanka and Cambodia. However, references are also made to several more developing countries in Asia with which I have been engaged in working after the experiences in Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The book is written from the perspective of a victim who is also an observer.
We hadn’t seen him in years, ever since he left to work abroad. So, on the day of his return, his mother invited the extended family to lunch. As he walked through the door we reacted collectively, gasped audibly. He wore a sharp suit but sported one of those long, unkempt, rowdy beards. Perhaps, I thought, there are no barbers in Saudi Arabia. (You never know, it’s a weird place).
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.