Category Archives: riots and pogroms

Experiencing Denigration in Sri Lanka: The Muslims Yesterday and Today

Shamara Wettimuny, in History Workshop, 7 September 2020, where the title runs “The Colonial History of Islamophobic Slurs in Sri Lanka”**

Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith island. Yet despite centuries of physical coexistence, ethnic, religious and linguistic differences continue to bring communities into conflict. Muslims in Sri Lanka (comprising around 9.7% of the population) are often vilified by both the Sinhalese majority (who are either Buddhist or Christian) and Tamil minority (either Hindu or Christian) for their religious beliefs, practices, and dress. Following the Easter Sunday suicide attacks in April 2019 – carried out by a group of extremists linked to the Islamist group, the National Thowheed Jamaat – the wider Muslim community faced a discriminatory and sometimes violent backlash. In 2020, as COVID-19 spread in Sri Lanka, Muslims were blamed for ‘spreading the disease’, and for wanting to bury their dead in line with traditional Islamic burial practices (as opposed to cremation as stipulated by the Sri Lankan government).

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Canadian Tamil Agitation against Sri Lanka and Canadian Sinhalese

Chandre Dharmawardene, in Island, 26 July 2020, with this title “Ontario’s Bill on Alleged Genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils”

It was interesting to read Lynn Ockersz’ posting in The Island titled “UN Genocide Convention and Social Peace”. What should rise to the top of the minds of most Sri Lankan readers when the word “genocide” is mentioned, is the allegation against the Sri Lankan state. The columnist states that “As is known, some sections have been flinging the allegation of genocide against the Sri Lankan state in matters arising from its 30-year war against the LTTE, but it is clear that, going by the UN definition, the Lankan state has not committed genocide“.

C.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka, addresses members of the Tamil community in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on January 15, 2017. During his trip to formalize a friendship agreement between the City of Markham and district of Mullaitivu, Northern Province in Sri Lanka Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran spoke about the importance of issues of transitional justice and post-war development to diaspora Tamils in Canada……..Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Gotabaya’s Governance in Groundviews Gunsights

Borella Junction 24.25 July 1983  —Pix by Chandragupta Amarasinghe –here juxtaposed with the Pix deployed by GV which, in my reading, may not be from the July pogrom but from other moments of violence

COLOMBOPEACE AND CONFLICTPOLITICS AND GOVERNANCE

Sri Lanka And The US: A Pogrom And A Black Death At The Hands Of A White Policeman: Salutary Lessons

The Scene The morning of July the 25th 1983 is etched in my brain. I saw a group of people running or walking very fast away from the environs of Colombo. On…

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Honeycombed with Societal and Political Fissures: Sri Lanka Now & Ever Before

Michael Roberts, reiterating the original draft sent to a few on 10 June 2020

Recent forum discussions on the topic of “Reconciliation” and correspondence with concerned friends have prompted me to essay an analysis of Sri Lanka’s societal problems over the last 150 years. This is a tendentious quest.

This Map showing districts served by Regional Malaria Officers happens to suit the metaphor “Riddled” and/or “Honeycombed” in my title

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Besetting Problems in the “Battle for Harmony” in Sri Lanka

“Battle for Harmony” in Sri Lanka was a Zoom Discussion organized by the Youth Rotary of Colombo East on the evening of 28th May 2020 … https://www.facebook.com/RotaractColomboEast

Opening Statement by Michael Roberts

  Let me begin with the closing statement voiced by Kumar Sangakkara in his Cowdrey Lecture at the MCC in 2011: “My loyalty will be to the ordinary Sri Lankan fan, their twenty million hearts beating collectively. They are my foundation. They are my family. I will play cricket for them….. With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim,[1] Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am, today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan.Continue reading

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Imagining Minneapolis Elsewhere

Karen Attiah in  Washington Post, 30 May 2020, where the title runs “How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country”

If we talked about what is happening in Minneapolis the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how the Western media would cover it. The quotes and those “quoted” in the piece below are fictional.

In recent years, the international community has sounded the alarm on the deteriorating political and human rights situation in the United States under the regime of Donald Trump. Now, as the country marks 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, the former British colony finds itself in a downward spiral of ethnic violence. The fatigue and paralysis of the international community are evident in its silence, America experts say.

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LH Mettananda assessed by DB Dhanapala in 1962

DB Dhanapala on LH Mettananda in his book Among those Present, 1962

OF COURSE, L.H. Mettananda is a fanatic. Anybody who dares to talk of Buddhist’s rights in a Buddhist country is bound to be called a fanatic bent on disturbing the peace and rousing up religious feelings.

Mettananda seated alongside Banda

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In Appreciative Memory of Karen Roberts, 1965-2018

Michael Roberts

It has been something of a shock for me to discover that the Sri Lankan authoress Karen Roberts[1] had passed away in USA in 2018 while only in her middle-aged fifties (about the same age as my daughters). What a tragedy!

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An Act of Consciousness Raising: The Concept ‘Pogrom’ and its Extension to Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts

ONE: An Explanatory Note in 2019

My recent use of the term “pogrom” to mark the constellation of events in mid-1915 that were (are) commonly referred to as “riots”  has been challenged on Facebook by a Sinhalese ideologue named Amare Kodikara[1] (who has not taken the trouble to read the original articles in 1994 on which this usage was based).[2] I am therefore placing the relevant segment from the pertinent article in the web-domain once again as Segment Two in this article.

pluenderung der Judengass, c. 1614

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Essays on Sinhala Buddhist Extremism towards the Muslims in Sri Lanka

 Iselin Frydenlund** presenting a review article in the Journal of Religion and Violence, Vol. 6, No. 2, 201830 … reviewing Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities: Religious Conflict in Contemporary Sri Lanka. Edited by John Clifford Holt. Oxford University Press, 2016. 254 pp. Hardcover $105.00 /ISBN: 9780190624378. Paperback $35.00 / ISBN: 9780190624385.

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