Category Archives: propaganda

The Far Eastern Bureau and Its News Reels during World War II

Tony Donaldson

I enjoyed reading Michael Roberts’s short essay titled “Michael’s Testimony for VE Day in Britain, 8th May 1945,” published at Thuppahi on 10 May 2020. But I felt the story ended too quickly, leaving me to ponder where the story goes next. It would be good if Michael could continue this story. In the meantime, the following short note was triggered by Michael’s comment about the “insidious impact of Movietone News or Pathe News.”

After 3 September 1939, when Britain went to war with Germany, the British Ministry of Information (MOI) began arranging with numerous companies the release and distribution of their newsreels. One example was The Battle of Tobruk which was sent by plane to Colombo in March 1941. It was cleared through customs and distributed to cinemas in Colombo in time for screening at the evening shows on the same day the film arrived in Ceylon.

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The Making of Wahhabi Zealots in Sri Lanka, 1980s-2019

Michael Roberts

All those addressing the fervour that promoted the killing work of the Zahran Hashim jihadist network in Sri Lanka in April 2019 must come to grips with the modern currents of Wahhabi political thinking that go back to the outpourings of the Egyptian intellectuals Sayyid Qutb[1] and Al-Zawahiri[2] in the latter half of the 20th century. This step will then take investigators to the Al-Qaida movement[3] and thence to the more recent brand of Wahhabism embodied within ISIS.

Sayyid Qutb  al-Zawahiri

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Gus Mathews on Western Power Jinks Worldwide

An Email Memorandum from Gus Mathews in London, c. 24 February 2021[i]

Michael, I am afraid there are no niceties in war. War is brutal as is the detritus of war. Unlike in a conventional war where the behaviours of troops are defined by the ‘Geneva Convention,’ it is not applicable in a civil insurrection especially one that attacks a legitimately elected democratic governmentNo country is bound to tolerate a secessionist group especially one that utilises terror to achieve its ends. History is replete with examples of civil wars that were prompted by secession. The most glaring example is the United States civil war. We also have an example from Vietnam and currently ongoing is the Korean debacle.

 Tiger dead collected by the SL Army  …. and Tamil civlians incl Tigers in civies leaving the final battle arena east  of Nandhikadal Lagoon 

 see Roberts, Tamil Person & State. Pictorial, Colombo, 2014 for details and more Pix

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Foregone Conclusions from the UNHRC’s Forthcoming Charade in Geneva

Chandre Dharma-wardana – responding to a vibrant EMAIL DISCUSSION among Sri Lankans re what should be done at the forthcoming human rights charade at the UNHRC in Geneva

I personally think it doesn’t matter who Sri Lanka sends to Geneva. This whole thing is NOT based on facts. It is NOT based on what was said, is said or will be said. They KNOW the facts. The UNHRC’s commissioner is not a fool, but a seasoned politician. If she wants, she can get at the facts.

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The LANKA COURIER takes off …

https://www.lankacourier.com/

Sri Lanka’s Neutral Foreign Policy

LANKA COURIER   FEB 08, 2021

 The following article has been adapted from the address by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the general debate of the 75th Session of the United…

Features  ….. Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka

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Maaveerar Homage in London: Virtual Reality

Photographs and ‘sights’ courtesy of a Muslim Friend

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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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Robert Pape’s Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on ‘Suicide Bombers’ in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, reprinting here an article which appeared initially in November 2007  as Working Paper No. 32 November 2007 in the Heidelberg Papers on South Asian PoliticsISSN: 1617-5069 …. edited by Subrata Mitra. Insofar as this essay is being reproduced in 2020, I cannot overstress the point at which it appeared in the public realm — in 2007 well before the LTTE was defeated… [noting that, with the exception of the emblematic Picture at the start, all other illustrations appeared in the Heidelberg publication. These pictorial scenes, I stress now in 2020, are valuable data in themselves].

No study of the LTTE can afford to neglect Sri Lanka’s cultural, historical, and geographical backdrop, The lack of existential awareness of religious cross-fertilisation, the either/or foundations of Western reasoning and the absence of local knowledge bedevil the scholarship that incorporates Sri Lanka within the global surveys of suicide attacks. Pape’s Dying to Win is an example. Here, in Pape’s article, the LTTE’s multi-pronged capacities are poorly evaluated. Too much significance is attributed to the coercive success of SMs in bringing the government to the negotiating table at various moments. Religious persecution has not been the main reason for the Tamil struggle. Comparative references to SMs elsewhere are occasionally interspersed in this review of the Sri Lankan scene.

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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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