The Jaffna Divisional Secretary informed the public, well in advance, that St. Anthony’s Feast in the Kachchativu island had been cancelled this year due to the Covid- 19 pandemic. The decision was well understood by devotees of both Sri Lanka and India.
The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979)
Memory does not explicitly feature among the four pillars of transitional justice: truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. Hence the precise role memory plays within a transitional justice process is often left to those negotiating the contours of the process. Memory is a vital ingredient in ascertaining the truth and in securing evidence to ensure justice for victims and survivors. Moreover, memorialisation of loss has a place in the symbolic initiatives owed to victims and survivors under the reparations pillar. Meanwhile, public memorials commemorating man-made tragedies contribute towards a society’s collective commitment to non-recurrence. Thus memory often becomes the lifeblood that preserves and binds the traditional pillars of transitional justice.
Chandre Dharmawardana, 30 March 2021, in Email Memo entitled “Alleged Human Rights Abuses of the Sri Lankan Army” ……….. a memo commenting on responses to his previous Essay[i] … with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
Ramesh Somasundaram, (commenting on the Thuppahi website) is absolutely right in saying “that the Sri Lankan governments and the Sri Lankan military personal have been correctly accused of human rights abuses. “Sri Lankan Soldiers have been accused of grave crimes, and they should be investigated and brought to trial. Many of the soldiers were simply carrying out orders, and so the high command must bear the final responsibility except in cases where the soldiers exceeded their acts as soldiers and acted even more inhumanely than needed.
Situation Map 2 February 2009 — an excellent work by, I think?, the Daily Mirror
Sarath Gamani De Silva, in The Sunday Island, 26 February 2021, where the title runs “Problems in Geneva: Facts that brought us here””
The annual patriotic taunts and the laments of the majority are heard as the day of reckoning approaches in Geneva. We are shouting ourselves hoarse, complaining that the whole world is ganging up against the brave Sri Lankans, to punish them for eliminating the most brutal terrorist outfit the world has ever seen. It is true that what was achieved in 2009 is something that no other country could do in eliminating terrorism. But does that guarantee peace when the basic grievances that led to civil unrest over the years have not been addressed?
This article is not an attempt to justify violence, untruth or deplorable and unprincipled activities of other countries. Nor is it to devalue the achievements up to 2009. The intention is to open the eyes of my own countrymen to the reality of the hopeless situation facing the nation.
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 government. No 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
Fair Dinkum in Email Message: “Michael, Have you seen this? Do you think it is a fair assessment? Or is this about making India look good and China bad? In other words, propaganda.”
India’s main propaganda obsession is to persuade the people of Sri Lanka that China will not be the friends they claim to be. The wave of xenophobia sweeping the western world today (which India and Japan draw on) is being fanned into an angry flame by Western propagandists. The “Neighbourhood First” concept is stolen from Pompeo’s America First mantra, and adapted to suit India’s national interests.
Email Letter from Tamara Kunanayakam, 20 February 2021 … with highlighting emphais from The Editor, Thuppahi
Dear All, To set the record straights about my time in Geneva. I was there from August 2011 to June 2012.I covered 2=sessions, September 2011 session and March 2012.
In September 2011 there was a US-Canada draft to put Sri Lanka on the Agenda of HRC’s March 2012 session. The US also tried to have the informal Darusman Report made an official UN document by getting the President of HRC to submit it the Council.
Rajan Philips, in Colombo Telegraph,14 February 2021, where his chosen ttitle is “Geneva Odyssey: More Confrontation Or New Approach?”
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who made the surprising call for the government cancelling the ECT deal with India and Japan, has made another surprising and really a gallant announcement giving the green light for allowing burials for Muslim and Christian victims of Covid-19. If the Ministry of Health has been caught unawares by the PM’s statement in parliament, well, they had better get used to it. But no sooner had the government appeared to have cremated the burial issue than Cardinal Malcom Ranjith raised a new headache for the government – threatening to take his case for justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks to international courts, if there is no assurance of justice through domestic investigations. That is a shocker even though it is no more than a threat for now.
I want to bring to your notice what Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Colombage told the Daily Mirror to interviewer Kelum Bandara.
Here’s the quote in response to the QUESTION “How do you see the political change in the United States on this matter?”
“Right now, I don’t think any bearing on Sri Lanka. The US is not a member state of the UNHRC. It left the UNHRC calling it a cesspool of political bias. Yet, they influence through their proxies. I guess the US needs a lot of time to rebuild its image of America, to rebuild the democratic institutions, to bring back law and order and to battle Covid-19. I think they will be focusing on making corrections and things better for America.”
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.