Category Archives: racist thinking

Encountering Extremism: Biographical Tracks and Twists

Michael Roberts reproducing an article that originally appeared on the 19th March 2010 in https://sacrificialdevotionnetwork.wordpress.com/

One’s academic trajectories and journeys are invariably subject to vagaries and contingencies. The events and researches leading to my interest in “communal violence” and “zealotry” in the 1990s, and thereafter to what I have called ‘sacrificial devotion” (embracing the topics of “terrorism,” suicide bombers and Tamil Tigers),[i] were shaped by such contingencies. Since my web site will present some short essays on both these topics in the course of this month, let me detail some moments during my research work that resulted in the journeys that produced such outcomes.

In 1986-87 I spent about 14 months in Sri Lanka on research work during my sabbatical year. I was completing my research and writing on the history of Colombo in British times and the associated rise of a Westernized middle class-cum-bourgeoisie – work that resulted in the book People Inbetween (Sarvodaya, 1989).[ii] The island was still under the clouds cast by the attacks on Tamils in the southern parts of the island in July 1983. Following the British colonial lexicon this momentous and tragic set of events was generally described as the “1983 riots.” But such politically-aware scholars as Newton Gunasinghe and Shelton Kodikara were among those who depicted the event as a “pogrom.” This was a sensitizing revision that I accepted.

 Riots May 1958 – A Tamil passenger was taken out of the vehicle and beaten up

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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.

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Basil Fernando’s Searing Protest against Violence in All Its Forms

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.

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Ceylonese in the Indian Independence League in Malaysia during World War II

Kumar Kirinde, drawing largely on work by PK Balachandran, in ana rticle he has titled as “fighting for Freedom from the British in the 1940s: …,”

Introduction: When the Japanese occupied Malaya and Singapore in 1942, a large number of Indians joined the Indian Independence League (IIL) and the Indian National Army (INA) headed by Subhas Chandra Bose*, the Indian freedom fighter who was striving to free India from the British, in collaboration with the Japanese armed forces.

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Dujuan’s History Lesson for Non-Aboriginal Australians All

Vibeke Venema of BBC News, 6 May 2021, where the title reads “The ‘smart and cheeky’ Aboriginal boy teaching Australia a lesson”

A documentary about a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy’s experience in school, In My Blood It Runs, has reignited a debate about Australia’s failure to give indigenous children a good education and a fair start in life.

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A Chinese Tale: From Surviving the Titanic to Racial Hate in USA

Liu Mengqiu and Cai Xuejiao, in The Sixth Tone, 18 April 2021, where the title runs thus: The Six’ Recounts Tragic Tale of China’s Titanic Survivors,”

The story of how the survivors received a racist response in the U.S. is prompting viewers to reflect on China’s rise. During the editing of “Titanic,” the 1997 blockbuster about the ship’s fated maiden voyage in April 1912, a scene of a Chinese man laying on a door, floating in the ocean and awaiting rescue, was left on the cutting room floor.

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Facing Religious Zealots: Easter Sunday 21/4 Placed in a Global Conetxt

  Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, in .. where the ttile runs thus “Geopolitics Of The Easter Attacks: The Weaponization Of Religion Amid Hybrid War”

“We have met the enemy and he is us” — Walt Kelly from Pogo Comics, quoted in “The ISIS is US: the shocking truth behind the Army of Terror”[1]

“Crime is a form of communication that is both complex and fascinating as it is always characterized by a relationship that can be established between elements present and something absent, or yet to be discovered…Investigating a crime and trying to prevent recurrence means evaluating every possible voluntary and involuntary message left by an author..”[2]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/7/sri-lanka-catholics-demand-justice-for-easter-bombing-victims

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Trump and Hitler in Same Bed? Generating Love and Hate?

A NOTE from Richard Koenigsberg, March 2021 …. in an Item presented four years back and headed thus: “Is Trump Stealing Hitler’s Playbook? How does One Test the Truth of a Hypothesis: Predictive Validity.” 

Hitler addressing rally in May 1937 — Associard Press Photo …https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/books/review/the-nazi-menace-benjamin-carter-hett.html  

  Donald Trump  speaking at Phoenix on 23rd June 2020 (https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-06-24/trump-phoenix-speech-demagogue)

A wonderful Internet radio program, Howard Bloom Saves the Universe, is hosted by Chad Dougatz. Howard invited me to join the show to explore the question, “Why does Donald Trump stir us (either negatively or positively).”

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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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Muslim-Sinhala Relations in Kandy: An Ethnographic Note

Gerald Peiris in Kandy, in Email Note dated 25th January 2021:**

“Yes, Michael, ……………… I agree. There is a lot of overlap between what I have been trying to convey [in public and/or govt forums] and what young Shukra is supposed to have said (though I didn’t see her perform).

You are probably aware that downtown Kandy has a fairly large Muslim presence. I got to know some of them in the course of my fieldwork for ‘Planning for the Future of Kandy’ (2019). They were very cordial and cooperative, and fluent in Sinhala. A few of them are grandchildren (now in middle age) of my contemporaries at Kingswood in the ‘50s. Their clientele consists almost entirely of Sinhalese.

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