Category Archives: Sinhala-Tamil Relations

The Wikipedia Tale of the Murugappans of Biloela … Today, Mid-2021

Murugappan family asylum claims  .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murugappan_family_asylum_claims

Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingam (Priya) and Nadesalingam Murugappan (Nades)[1] are two Sri Lankan Tamils seeking asylum in Australia. The couple married in Australia and have two Australian-born children. Until their detention by Australian Border Force in March 2018, the family was resident in the central Queensland town of Biloela, and consequently referred to as the Biloela family by some media.[2][3] The cause of the couple and their children has been supported by some residents of Biloela as well as asylum-seeker advocates.[4]

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High Noon in Mid-Air, August 2019: For the Murugappans of Biloela

ABC Account on 30 August 2019, with this title “Who are the Tamil family from Biloela and why are they being deported?” ……  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-30/who-are-tamil-family-from-biloela-why-are-they-being-deported/11463276

Last-minute injunctions have stalled the deportation of a Tamil family who have spent years fighting to stay in Australia. The plane carrying the Sri Lankan couple and their Australian-born daughters had already left the tarmac at Melbourne Airport when a judge granted a reprieve over the phone. Here’s what we know about the family’s case:

Dozens of people rushed to Melbourne Airport in a bid to stop the family being deported on Thursday night..   … Supplied: @HometoBilo)

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Debating Modern Ceylon History with Daggers Drawn: Roberts vs De Silva, 1986-91

Two Peradeniya colleagues from yesteryear, Professor Kingsley de Silva and Michael Roberts, took sharply different positions on facets of the island history in British colonial and post-1948 times in hardhitting essays in local journals and newspapers in the period 1986 to 1991. The series began with Michael Roberts’s article-length review of KM De Silva:  Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Sri Lanka, 1880-1985  (Lanham, University Press of America) ….. and continued with KM De Silva’s hard-hitting review of the book, People Inbetween (Colombo, Sarvodaya, 1989) where Roberts was the principal author in a triumvirate that included Percy-Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem.

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A Sturdy Voice That We Miss: Rajeewa Jayaweera on India’s Looming Politics

Dr, D. Chandraratna in The Island, 11 June 2021, where the title reads An Appreciation: Rajeewa Jayaweera: A Void Hard to fill” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

On 11 June, 2020, when we heard the distressing news of Rajeewa Jayaweera’s untimely death, I wrote an appreciation from afar that he was a public intellectual who had contributed immensely to public debate, mostly on our relations with India and to a lesser extent with the Western countries. Coming from a fortunate background, and immersed in the diplomatic life of his father he took a scholarly interest in foreign affairs. Few in Sri Lanka has contributed so much to the subject recently as much as Rajeewa, to bring into public discussion our relations with the world community. His accounts were a  ‘learned and incisive appraisal of events’ particularly during the turbulent times of the threat posed by separatism. In this article on the first death anniversary I wish to justify my assertion about Rajeewa by way of an appreciation with a difference.

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Grim Realities: Encountering Battlefield Casualties

Dr Gamani Goonetilleke, whose chosen title is “Treating war victims: a learning experience” ….. https://drgamini.org/2020/07/13/first-exposure-to-war-injuries/

As a medical student or as a doctor, I was never taught about War injuries, their implications or the principles of their management. Nor did I study the topic. We grew up and learnt medicine and surgery during peaceful times when these were not seen. The initial exposure to these gruesome circumstances was dreadful and horrendous. It was my duty to attend to these casualties as they were brought to hospital.

Legs amputated by blast

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Sri Lanka’s Course, 1948-2020: Missed Opportunities, ONE

Sugath Kulatunga

At independence we had a stable democracy, a sound economy, and an effective public service and external assets equal to 100 percent of annual import value. We were second to Japan on almost all social indicators and above South Korea as late as in the mid-sixties. Singapore’s per capita income was just a little bit higher than Sri Lanka at that time. It is now over USD 64,000 whereas ours is USD 3852. The immediate looming question is why Sri Lanka with better physical resources failed to advance like Singapore.

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A Searing Wide-Ranging Critique from Qadri Ismail after 21/4 in 2019 ……. Now a Requiem

Qadri Ismail, in Groundviews, 5 May 2019 after the 21/4 Atrocities

Photo by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post

We hadn’t seen him in years, ever since he left to work abroad. So, on the day of his return, his mother invited the extended family to lunch. As he walked through the door we reacted collectively, gasped audibly. He wore a sharp suit but sported one of those long, unkempt, rowdy beards. Perhaps, I thought, there are no barbers in Saudi Arabia. (You never know, it’s a weird place).

 

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A Diehard Empiricist Responds

KM De Silva, in Daily News, 8 April 1991

Michael Roberts’s response to my review of his book (the Daily News 19 and 20 September 1990) published in the Daly News of 27 March 1991 is at once characteristic and unusual. It is characteristic because my one-time student and erstwhile colleague at Peradeniya has never been known to do things by halves.

He writes two responses to the review in two separate newspapers (the Daily News of March 27 and the Sunday Observer of 31 March), only one of which, the Daily News, published the original review.

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Addressing A Criticism of DS Senanayake’s Dry Zone Colonization Schemes

Chandre Dharmawardana, 28 May 2021, with this title “Criticism of D.S. Senanayake’s Dry Zone colonization schemes”

Would Sri Lanka have been better off if not for the fetishization of rural peasant life and its connexion to the Sinhalese Buddhist nation-myth?

Why do people talk of “colonization schemes” when a government  facing bulging population growth, for one reason or another, opens up land for its people to settle?

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The Power of Poetry: Learning from Ashley Halpé

Aparna Halpé, in The Island, 23 May 2021, where the title reads  “Learning from My Father, Five Years After his Passing”

I was mingling with the audience at a poetry reading in Toronto, where I had been reading some of my new poems, when I was approached by an audience member. He asked me a question that I’ve encountered before in some form or another throughout my entire artistic and professional career… “Excuse me, are you by any chance related to Professor Ashley Halpé?” When I answered that I was his youngest daughter, the gentleman proceeded to tell me this story.

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