Category Archives: slanted reportage

Investment in Sri Lanka Today: Questionable Steps and Looming Influences

Dr. Sarala Fernando, in The Island, 10 January 2021, with this title Selling the Family Silver” and India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations

A remark attributed to the US Congress that “Sri Lanka is a valuable piece of real estate” had made the news here hinting at the strategic value of our island location. while some had connected the remark to the MCC, an economic project integral to the US pivot to the Indo Pacific. This sudden interest in Sri Lanka’s land assets made the headlines after Harvard economists in 2016 advised on the incorporation of a land project under the MCC to address constraints to national growth by a re-survey, re-valuation and deed grants on lands around the country. Local experts argued that such a programme would lead to pressure on smallholders to sell land to more powerful entities for commercial exploitation increasing rural poverty, environmental and wild life destruction and water scarcity.

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Aubrey Collette’s Satirical Work — An Appreciation

Neville Weeraratne, being Chapter IX in his opus, entitled Collette’s Cullings. The satirist’s fine line”

COLLETTE: Cartoon comment in the Observer following a ‘43 Group exhibition.

Everybody enjoyed Aubrey Collette’s work though he would not have satisfied every political aspiration. You turned to him for your reading of the day, originally in the Times of Ceylon, later in the Observer, and then as ‘Spur’ in a series he did for the Daily News as well. He gave a sharp edge to his drawing which, indeed, was capable of cutting deeply but never maliciously. Collette had the rare and splendid gift of observation: to remember a foible, to swiftly size up a characteristic, and enjoy having summed up the hapless one who had fortuitously wandered into his sights. To have been noticed by Collette was itself honour enough, and those who had been so distinguished by a portrait, as in Collette’s 1954 FACES – a collection of seventy-three pastel studies – soon bought them up, more for the immortality it conferred on them than for the fear of what their enemies might make of the caricatures. Collette very simply had the gift of showing some how others saw them, bestowing upon them the poet’s wish. You might have rejected these insights as subjective had you not yourself been drawn inevitably into the process of assessing the subject.

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Tilly’s Beach Hotel at Mount: Burnt-Out in July 1983

Ajay Kamalakaran, from Bombay on 26 February 2016, in http://ajayinbombay.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-gutted-building-near-mount-lavinia.html …. with this title “The gutted building near the Mount Lavinia beach”  …. see Note by Michael Roberts at the end

A gutted building that is near the beach on Mount Lavinia has been an eyesore for the last 33 years. It was once the Tilly’s Beach Hotel, which was owned by a Tamil businessman. The hotel was a favourite among residents of Colombo as well as German and Russian tourists. Colomboites would enjoy the Sunday Lunch Table Buffet, while many tourists had a mad crush on the handsome head chef, a culinary genius who understood Russian and German besides his native Tamil, Sinhalese and English.

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Naseby decimates Tariq Ahmed’s Statement for Its Inaccuracies

Island, 7 December 2020, where the title reads “Lord Naseby: UK policy statement on Lanka riddled with factual inaccuracies”

Lord Naseby, the Honorary President of The All Party Parliamentary British Sri Lanka Group has, on the basis of assurances received from the heads of ICRC, Colombo, on three occasions; denied torture was taking place in post-war Sri Lanka. In a letter addressed to Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, [Naseby] reminded the Minister how some Tamils caused self-harm to gain entry into the UK.

 

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The Samaraweera-Yahapālana Induction of Tony Blair in support of their “Reconciliation Programme” in August 2015

Michael Roberts

A chance finding during my sojourn with Moninna and Ranjit Goonewardena in Galle Fort in July/August 2015 introduced me to the visit of Tony Blair’s family to Sri Lanka in August 2015 ….. See https://thuppahis.com/2020/11/22/tony-blair-and-family-in-galle-mid-august-2015/ As we all know, in 2015 the Yahapālana govt indulged in an about/turn (with US backing) and joined the HR lobbies by saying ‘mea culpa’ at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva in March/April that year. This programme overturned the presentations pursued earlier by Dayan Jayatilleke and Tamara Kunanayakam under the Mahinda Rajapakse dispensation. Kunanayakam’s competent representations in 2011 earned the undiluted ire of Eileen Donahue (the American ambassador at the UNHCR) who even threatened Kunanayakam verbally on the phone: “we will get you!”.[1] Internal machinations within the Rajapaksa camp, apparently involving Sajjin Vaas Gunawardena and a Ministry staffer Kshenuka Seneviratne, led to Kunanayakam’s displacement a little later.

Donahoe  Samaraweera at UNHCR sessions in 2015

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Samantha Power on USA’s Interventionist Mission in 2002

Stephen Wertheim

Reproduced here is a sub-section from Wertheim’s review article in the 4th quarter edition[1] of the Journal of Genocide Research in 2010 (without re-deploying his footnotes). This section focuses on the Pullitzer Prize winning book by Samantha Power (2002) and argues that its programme resembles shades of the “civilizing mission” associated with European and Evangelical agencies during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Here, with and within Samantha Power, the mission of “humanitarian intervention” was vested solely in US arms and feet ……..…. thus, not in the UN or any other agencies.

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Easter 2019 Killings in Lanka: Stark Reactions in Ireland

Sarah Macdonald, on 30 April 2019 in https://www.catholicireland.net/sri-lankans-ireland-grieve-loss-life-loss-freedom-religion/

“Further militarisation has been called for in a country where the density of soldiers to civilians is one of the highest in the world” – Sri Lankan academic Dr Jude Lal Fernando of the Irish School of Ecumenics.

Darina Allen, Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka to Ireland, at the Mass to remember the victims of the Sri Lanka bombings in the Pro Cathedral in Dublin. Pic John McElroy.

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Insights into Victorian Ceylon’s Westernized Bourgeoisie via the Jeronis Pieris Letters

Yomal Senerath-Yapa,“Family sagas and a peek at Victorian Ceylon’s westernised bourgeoisie” in  www.elanka.com.au/tag/yomal-senerath/ AND https://www.pressreader.com/sri-lanka/sunday-times-sri-lanka/20201108/282222308278502 …. 12 November 2020 = a REVIEW of the second edition of Facets of Modern Ceylon History -Through the Letters of Jeronis Pieris by Michael Roberts

Few voices of the early 19th Century bourgeois Ceylonese have survived straight from the horse’s mouth to-date. Who were this new elite? What were those first English-educated generations like? How did Macaulay’s “class of people who can act as intermediaries between us and the millions we govern — English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and intellect” fit in?

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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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Mahindapala on Trump and USA after Trump with Kamala Harris in the Biden Team

H. L. D. Mahindapala, in LankaWeb, November 2020, where the title reads: “Post-Trump America with Biden – not to mention Kamala Harris”  …. highlighting by Editor, Thuppahi

Say what you like against Donald Trump, the man was a phenomenon. Whether the legacy he leaves behind is good or bad is a judgement that will be determined finally by those who will feel the impact of his regime in the years to come. Win or lose, (he is losing at the time of writing) he will be remembered as the leader who articulated and released the underlying undercurrents that had been dormant in the political landscape, awaiting a leader to take up the challenge. Trump is the leader that represented the subterranean forces which the pundit class had never expected to rise to levels raised by Trump. Though Trump seems to be doomed at the polls (now its midday – Friday) the Trumpism he generated has the force to haunt US politics in the foreseeable future. One of his ambitions has been to make his  mark in history. He would achieve that place as the most  unorthodox, controversial and unpredictable president ever who bucked the system and won. In short, he has changed the style, the substance and the contours of American politics with  the arrogance of an outsider spitting into the inside.

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