Category Archives: nationalism

Charting Anagarika Dharmapala’s Many Pursuits

Nandasiri Jasentuliyana, reviewing  Bhadrajee S. Hewage’s book A NAME FOR EVERY CHAPTER: Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism”

‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’s “Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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From Trump to Hitler …. and Populist Mahinda Rajapakse

Richard A. Koenigsberg

Abstract: All the nonsense about “diagnosing” Donald Trump: calling him a “malignant narcissist,” for example: The delusion that giving identifying or naming Trump’s pathology–somehow constitutes an “explanation.”

I understand 70 million people voted for Trump in the recent election. The question is WHAT WAS TRUMP SAYING AND/OR DOING THAT APPEALED TO SO MANY PEOPLE?

I’ve analyzed Hitler for years. There are things one might say about Hitler’s “personality.” However, the central question is: What was Hitler saying–that the German people found so appealing?

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Bonapartist Autocracy in Sri Lanka from 1977 Onwards

Uditha Devapriya who notes that the article that followw here was published in two parts by “The Island” in its “Midweek Review” of December 2 and December 9, 2020. It has since  been edited to incorporate information which at the time of writing the author was not able to add.

 Napoleone di Buonaparte

I: Viewed in retrospect, the yahapalanaya regime seems almost a bad memory now, best forgotten. This is not to underrate its achievements, for the UNP-SLFP Unity Government did achieve certain things, like the Right to Information Act. It soon found out, however, that it couldn’t shield itself from its own reforms; that’s how 2015 led to 2019. Despite its laudable commitment to democratic rule, the yahapalanists reckoned without the popularity of the man they ousted at the ballot box. November 2019, in that sense, was a classic example of a populist resurrection unparalleled in South Asia, though not in Asia: a government touting a neoliberal line giving way to a centre-right populist-personalist.

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The ROHP in Ceylon, 1966-70: Interviews and Select Transcriptions

Michael Roberts

The Roberts Oral History Project involved many stages and a range of tasks. The interviewing process has been clarified in two items –embracing personnel in Britain and thereafter in “Ceylon” (yet to become “Sri Lanka”): https://thuppahis.com/2020/12/04/the-roberts-oral-history-project-in-the-1960s-origins-outcomes/#more-47446 AND https://thuppahis.com/2020/12/06/adelaide-university-initiatives-a-michael-roberts-oral-history-project-1965-68/#more-47494.

While this work was in progress a partial consolidation was pursued by transcribing the spoken word into written typescript. The ‘engine’ for this process was my wife Shona Roberts. Looking at some dates I find that some of this work began at Bath Place Oxford itself. The bulk of the work, however, was undertaken in Sri Lanka when we were living in an annexe at Siebel Place off Peradeniya Road in Kandy.  I could not type then, so the task was wholly Shona’s — a difficult job managing the spools and demanding rewinds often. I chipped in by listening and correcting the typed scripts [which then had to be re-typed]. All this was seen to in the period April 1966 to mid-1970 – a stage that saw the birth of our second child Maya Samantha in February 1967 and also involved child-minding and housekeeping tasks.

It would not be amiss to cast Shona as the “Heroine of Siebel Place.” The Adelaide University records indicate that there are a total of 1720 pages of transcripts!

Shona with Kim and Maya

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The Samaraweera-Yahapālana Induction of Tony Blair in support of their “Reconciliation Programme” in August 2015

Michael Roberts

A chance finding during my sojourn with Moninna and Ranjit Goonewardena in Galle Fort in July/August 2015 introduced me to the visit of Tony Blair’s family to Sri Lanka in August 2015 ….. See https://thuppahis.com/2020/11/22/tony-blair-and-family-in-galle-mid-august-2015/ As we all know, in 2015 the Yahapālana govt indulged in an about/turn (with US backing) and joined the HR lobbies by saying ‘mea culpa’ at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva in March/April that year. This programme overturned the presentations pursued earlier by Dayan Jayatilleke and Tamara Kunanayakam under the Mahinda Rajapakse dispensation. Kunanayakam’s competent representations in 2011 earned the undiluted ire of Eileen Donahue (the American ambassador at the UNHCR) who even threatened Kunanayakam verbally on the phone: “we will get you!”.[1] Internal machinations within the Rajapaksa camp, apparently involving Sajjin Vaas Gunawardena and a Ministry staffer Kshenuka Seneviratne, led to Kunanayakam’s displacement a little later.

Donahoe  Samaraweera at UNHCR sessions in 2015

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USA vs China in the Indian Ocean, 1950s-2020

Tony Donaldson. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

In 1943, the US tried to establish a military base in Sri Lanka when OSS chief William Donovan invoked a ruse to railroad it into existence. The details of the ruse and how it was played out is a subject for another occasion. The point to be made here is Donovan’s ruse was quickly exposed by Colin Mackenzie, the Head of Force 136 – the name given to the Special Operations Executive organisation in Asia during World War II. As a result, the British rejected Donovan’s proposal for an OSS military base. Had the US established a military base in Sri Lanka in 1943, it would very likely still be there today, asserting US influence over Sri Lanka, its culture, and inflicting great social damage on local communities.

 Banda welcomes Zhou Enlai soon after he steps off the Air India flight at Ratmalana on 31 January 1957.

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Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tamil Tiger: Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Lens

Michael Roberts, reprinting an essay drafted in 2007 and since presented in Fire & Storm in 2010 (chapter 19: 131-38)

  • Gandhi tried for years to reduce himself to zero” (Dennis Hudson 2002: 132).
  • Hitler: “You are nothing, your nation is everything” (quoted in Koenigsberg 2009: 13).
  • LTTE: “the martyr sacrifices himself for the whole by destroying the I…” (Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s interpretation of a Tamil Tiger supporter’s poem; 2005: 134).
  • Spokesman for Al Qaida after the Madrid bombing: “You love life and we love death”
  • Col. Karuna, ex-LTTE: “Death means nothing to me….”
  • The Hagakure is “a living philosophy that holds that life and death [are] the two sides of the same shield” (Yoshio Mishima in his The Way of the Samurai, quoted in Moeren 1986: 109-10).
  • Bushido means to die” (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 117).
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpbl0azdFM …. Kamikaze strike

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The Muslim Commitment to Allah: Desultory Thoughts

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

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Confronting Tamil Distortions: Webinar in Their Face Sunday 27th September

Global Webinar to Combat Baseless Propaganda of Tamil Tiger Agents

A group of Sri Lankan professionals have teamed-up for a two-hour Webinar on Sunday, 27 September at Sri Lanka time 7:30 in the evening which will go globally live for a presentation of cogent facts and data to combat the still-prevailing misinformation campaign undertaken by the former Tamil Tiger agents now operating within the Tamil Diaspora worldwide.

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The Democratization Process in Ceylon, 1832-1948

Michael Roberts: “The Democratization Process in Sri Lanka,”  being the text of an Illustrated Lecture on Video presented to The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Korea in early September 2020 …. as part of a series encompassing several countries — organised by Professor Inrae You. The Lecture was, as I understood it, for highschool students.

The democratisation process began in the period of British rule in the 20th century. It would however be unwise to start with the early 20th century. One should look at the prehistory of the island of Ceylon before that. Ceylon, Ceilão, Sihalē had forms of autocratic kingship well before the European colonial powers came to Asia and set up their colonies.

Rajasinghe II of Sihale ruling from Mahanuvara and receiving homage (dakuma) from the Dutch

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