Category Archives: photography

Scott Atran on Unconditional Commitment draws Reflections from Thuppahi Roberts

  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.

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Dissecting Robert Kaplan’s Jaundiced Reportage: “Orientalism” Savaging Lanka

Michael Roberts 

Robert Kaplan is a well-connected Jewish American author and journalist. As one he travels widely and chose to visit Sri Lanka as a newshound in mid-2009 just after the Sri Lankan government forces had vanquished the Tamil Tiger forces and rescued about 280-290,000 Tamil ‘civilians’[1] who had been deployed as a defensive barrier and bargaining chip for about 15-17 months by the LTTE as they, the Tigers, were forced into a west-to-east retreat in the northern Vanni.

Situation Map on 23rd December 2008 & then on  8th March 2009 

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The Old and Sturdy Dutch Fort in Galle

“Everyman” writing for The World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka, with this title “The Old Dutch Town of Galle” 
  Cricket in the 1980s –Pix by Nihal Fernando
Volleyball, it is claimed, is our national sport. However there is no doubt that Cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka. That popular West Indies calypso ‘Cricket, lovely cricket.’,’ will always be ringing in our ears. From the villages where youngsters from around 16 to 26 or maybe even older, use ‘polpithi’ bats, to the towns where more sophisticated young men use willow bats, it is cricket, cricket and more cricket. Little wonder then that we have been correctly described as ‘ a cricket crazy nation.’ And when it comes to grounds for international matches the Galle International Stadium is the most favored by our cricketers, our coaches and our spectators. The reason is that as at today (03. 05 .21), 34 Test Matches [have been] played on these grounds of which Sri Lanka won 19 and lost only eight. In addition to this, in a press release datelined June 8, 2020, Yash Mittal an avid lover of cricket has listed five of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. And yes – you have guessed it – the Galle cricket grounds, cradled between the Galle Fort and the Indian Ocean, heads the list!

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Leopards For Sri Lanka

Chathuranga Dharmarathne, in Sunday Observer, 21 June 2021 where the title reads “Toursim, Economy and Sri Lankan Leopards”

Ecotourism, usually a form of nature-based tourism, is often known to be one of the fastest developing segments of the tourism market globally. In the last couple of decades, the authorities have begun to view ecotourism as a kind of economic key for supporting nature conservation although in general, this type of tourism is focused on nature. To be considered ecotourism, it must be environmentally conscious.

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Confronting Ethnic Violence and Its Roots in Vengeance

Michael Roberts

In presenting Basil Fernando’s book to the public, I have been led back in time to critical data he presented to me in the early 1990s re the “riots of July 1983.” As an act of condemnation THEN, my essay on those events depicted the MOMENT as a “pogrom.”[1] This label was guided by my awareness that in Russian usage this label meant “destruction” and thus went beyond the English dictionary translations of that word. Though I have been rapped on the knuckles by Kingsley M. de Silva for this nomenclature,[2] I remain adamant. What occurred in late July 1983 was a horrific set of events that cannot be buried inside that relatively mundane label “riots.”

 

Jubilant {Sinhala) rioters celebrate their mayhem at Borella Junction in Colombo on the 24/25th July night 1983

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Deadly Blows: Horrendous Onfield Events in Cricket

When Steve Waugh & Jason Gillespie crashed into Each Other at Asgiriya in 1999 at Kandy ….

COL01:SPORT-CRICKET AUSTRALIA:KANDY,SRILANKA,10SEP99 – Australian fielders Jason Gillespie (left) and captain Steve Waugh collide in attempting to take a catch from the bat of Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardena on the second day of the first cricket test at the Asgiriya stadium in central Kandy September 10. Jayawardena survived with his score on 34 but the two fielders were taken to hospital with Gillespie rushed on a stretcher with a broken leg and Waugh with an injured nose. Jayawardena swept a ball from Colin Miller and Gillespie came in from long-leg while Waugh rushed down from short fine-leg to take the catch. Sri Lanka went in for lunch at 181 for 5. al/Photo by Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi REUTERS

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Hollywood Films made in Sri Lanka

Courtesy of Dawn Gunasekera 

Elephant Walk –Bridge on the River Kwai — Tarzan the Ape Man  et cetera

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Oh Mein Gott! Lanka’s West Coast suffocated by Plastic!

News Item in The Island, 30 May 2021: “Sri Lanka battles waves of plastic waste from burning ship”

Tonnes of plastic pellets from a burning container ship swamped Sri Lanka’s west coast Friday, prompting a ban on fishing as international efforts to salvage the vessel dragged into a ninth day.

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Percy Colin-Thomé and the Composition of the Book People Inbetween

Michael Roberts

Percy Colin-Thomé was born in Galle and his initial learning roots were at Richmond College. His genealogical roots derived from the Swiss personnel of the de Meuron Regiment in the service of the VOC in the 1790s who stayed on in Sri Lanka in British times when the colonial lands on the coast of Ceilao were taken over by the expanding imperial power known as Britain. These lineages became one strand in the mixed/race “Burgher” ethnic group in the island once the whole arena had been unified as colony by Britain between 1815 and 1818. Largely urban in background and increasingly English-speaking at home, these Burgher people became an influential segment of the local “middle-class” fulfilling intermediary roles in the British colonial service.[1]

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Sri Lankan Tamil Rally in London: Protest in Commemoration

Tamil Guardian News Item, 18 May 2021

British Tamils rallied in London today to commemorate the tens of thousands of lives lost in Mullivaikkal in 2009. Protesters demonstrated at Parliament Square, demanding justice for the atrocities perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state in Mullivaikkal 12 years ago.

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