Category Archives: Sri Lankan scoiety

Qadri Ismail’s Challenging Essay: An Iconoclastic Hurrah!

Qadri Ismail, in Groundviews in 2015 with this title “The Import Of Sri Lankan Muslim Names”

My name is Mohamed Qadri Ismail. Mohamed Qadri Ismail is not my name.

The statements may prompt a wtf. (The acronym, btw, of the World Taekwondo Federation.) Surely one cannot affirm a position and its contradiction. Yet I do.  The second sentence doesn’t necessarily negate the first.

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Autobiography of a Sri Lankan Priest: Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando

Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando

I was born in November 1943 and baptized by Fr. F.M. Goonetilleke who was responsible for the Holy Hour Prayer book. It was in Nuwara Eliya Church as my father was then working in the Stafford Estate Ragala.  My hometown is Moratuwa and I was a parishioner of the Parish of Willorawatte.

I was ordained as a Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Colombo in January 1970. I had my priestly studies in the National Seminary Ampitiya in Kandy from 1962 till 1969. While I had my secular studies at St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa till 1957 and joined St. Aloysius Minor Seminary in Borella in 1958.

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Two Horrendous Assassinations

THUPPAHI darkens our entry into The YEAR 2021 and its Cumulus Cloud of COVID with two pictorial memories of two horrendous acts of political assassination by Pirapaharan and the Tamil Tigers ….. that of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Neelan Tiruchelvam in 1999 …. with the roadside memorial painting at the junction of Rosmead Place and Kynsey Terrace where the LTTE’s female suicide killer ended Neelan’s life on earth (as he headed for his office) marking the moment …. albeit in temporary modality …. WHILE conveying an everlasting message.

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Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tamil Tiger: Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Lens

Michael Roberts, reprinting an essay drafted in 2007 and since presented in Fire & Storm in 2010 (chapter 19: 131-38)

  • Gandhi tried for years to reduce himself to zero” (Dennis Hudson 2002: 132).
  • Hitler: “You are nothing, your nation is everything” (quoted in Koenigsberg 2009: 13).
  • LTTE: “the martyr sacrifices himself for the whole by destroying the I…” (Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s interpretation of a Tamil Tiger supporter’s poem; 2005: 134).
  • Spokesman for Al Qaida after the Madrid bombing: “You love life and we love death”
  • Col. Karuna, ex-LTTE: “Death means nothing to me….”
  • The Hagakure is “a living philosophy that holds that life and death [are] the two sides of the same shield” (Yoshio Mishima in his The Way of the Samurai, quoted in Moeren 1986: 109-10).
  • Bushido means to die” (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 117).
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpbl0azdFM …. Kamikaze strike

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Ravana Fables penetrate Sri Lanka’s Historical Terrain

PK Balachandran

When the media reported that the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has issued a newspaper advertisement in Sinhala urging people to share documents, books, and research material on Ravana, the legendary king of Lanka, it was not a surprise for students of Sri Lankan nationalism. Far from being a villain (as portrayed in Valmiki’s Ramayana), Ravana has been celebrated by the majority Sinhalese in Sri Lanka as a cultured and creative icon and a defender of the island against a foreign invader.

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Pushing the British out of Ceylon, 1918-1956: Issues

Michael Roberts

My essay on “The Basis of British Power” (July 2020) was instigated by articles from Prabath de Silva and Leelananda de Silva on aspects of the Donoughmore Reforms and subsequent developments. Vinod Moonesinghe has seized on secondary dimensions to press some hoary old strands of Trotskyist thinking and to laud (A) the intervention of SWRD Bandaranaike and  the MEP forces for getting rid of British military bases in the 1950s and (B) the radical political messages of the young LSSP politicians who burst onto the scene in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[1] This is linked to the standard Marxist belittling of the achievements of DS Senanayake and associates in the interpretation of the island’s path to independence.

.Vinod RG Senanayake

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Irangani Serasinghe: A Beacon for Her Times …. Versatility Unconfined

Madapatha Uditha, in The Island, 17/18 June 2020, with this title “Searching for Irangani” …. while highlighting is an imposition from The Editor, Thuppahi

Irangani Serasinghe turned 93 on Tuesday, June 9

If the reputations of actors can be compared to shares in a company, there’s no doubt that Irangani Serasinghe’s has always been oversubscribed: public interest in her career in not just the cinema and television, but also the theatre, has never been matched by an adequate level of quality in coverage by the media. There’s never been a shortage of articles, of course, and Kumar de Silva’s sketchy yet comprehensive portrait of her does establish the links between several aspects of her life and family and the career she eventually chose.

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Rama Somasunderam’s Administrative Career

Anonymous, in Island, 7 June 2020, with this title “The Last Mandarin”

This is the story of a professional civil servant who believes that he made a contribution to a society and an administrative service, that in the first instance made him what he is and enabled him to achieve his full potential as a person, a professional and a citizen. It is the autobiography of a vanishing coterie of bureaucrats who strived for excellence, believing that they had responded to a high calling.

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Malinda and Shenali tilt at SOFA and MCC Schemes

Editor: I have not had the time to study the SOFA and MCC proposals or the several conflicting reports on this set of topics; while I have reservations about my own deciphering capacity on economic issues. An academic with a broad span of experience across several countries indicated to me this month  that the discussions surrounding these two issues has been marked by writings that “[ignore] facts that are unfavorable to the case that is being made or willfully distorting facts or using outright lies”.

He added: : ‘Unfortunately, this kind of unacceptable commentary is now common practice the world over and that includes some people in the highest levels of US government and academia.”

To this caution I add Sam Samarasinghe’s[i] cautionary email note to me a few months back where he indicated that the USA’s governing order is complex and its various arms do not always work with one mind.[ii]

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Mangala’s Show at Geneva in 2017 lauded by Dharisha Bastians

As the annual witch-hunt mounted by the UNHRC in its role as an arm of the Western world’s foreign policy approaches in March 2020, it is worthwhile reflecting on the ‘triumphant’ public performances in Geneva orchestrated by the Yahapaalana government and one of its driving forces, namely, Mangala Samaraweera — as presented by one of his proteges, Dharisha Bastians….. Editor, Thuppahi.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera heading the Sri Lankan Government delegation to the UNHRC’s 34th Session addressing a side event at the Palais des Nations last week. The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva and chaired by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha. Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms Mano Tittawella, MP and Constitutional expert Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne and Ariyasinha are also present – Pic by Sunanda Deshapriya

BASTIANS:  Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s masterful diplomacy is winning over a world eager to keep believing in Sri Lanka’s political transformation story, but the Government faces a deepening disconnect with activists and war-affected constituents at home who are losing faith in its promises to heal the wounds of a long and violent conflict.

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