Category Archives: Tamil civilians

Addressing Jehan Perera’s Recent Piece on Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Lakshman Gunasekara …. with highlighting and a cartoon imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

What ‘re-conciliation’ ??

Jehan Perera, a very good friend and long-time colleague, at least uses the term “re-conciliation” which was intelligently adopted by the Mahinda regime at the end of the military phase of the ethnic conflict (with a resounding defeat for the LTTE). That regime conveniently picked up that word from among local liberal activists who had begun using it — taking it from South African post-Apartheid peace-building parlance.

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Mevan Pieris: From Cricket Ball to Books, Phials & Paintbrush

MEVAN PIERIS has recently turned his mind to artwork with paintbrush, while yet sustaining his commitment to the academic disciplines in which he has devoted his endeavours during the past few decades by reproducing and/or renovating portraitures of eminent scientists; while also creating paintings of hisown — both portraits and scenarios.

This is  a photograph of the restored painting of Professor Juan Pedige Charles Chandrasena who joined the University College in 1923 and was Professor of Chemistry in 1932 and retired or died soon afterwards. This Portrait is unsigned and the  guess is that it is the work of David Paynter. The painting was in a very bad state with certain areas of the canvas having deteriorated and sprinkled all over with wall paint through neglect.The frame was also damaged and here and there the paint had begun to peel off.

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Jehan Perera on the Requisites for Political Reconciliation

Jehan Perera, in The Island, 3 August 2021, with this title “Restoring reconciliation process cannot be piecemeal”

 

The government is making a resolute effort to turn Sri Lanka around and put it in the direction of rapid economic development. The systematic manner in which it has been conducting the Covid vaccinations has earned recognition by WHO as well as the international community. The value of the military in getting things done on a large scale with minimum of delay has been manifested in the partnership that they have struck with the health authorities. The memory is fading of how some of the government leaders dabbled in alchemy and the spirit world to find an antidote to the COVID virus, despite being vested with the responsibility to strengthen the health of the country’s people. There is also increased space being given to civil society to engage in protests, such as the protracted teachers’ strike and the agitation against the expanding mandate of the Kotelawala Defence University.

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The Sri Lankan Government and the Media within the Crossroads of War 2006-09

Palitha Kohona ,in The Sunday Observer, 28 June 2020, with this title Managing the media on the road to Nandikadal – Part 1″ ….http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2020/06/28/news-features/managing-media-road-nandikadal-part-1

The conflict with the terrorist LTTE dragged on for over two decades causing widespread death and destruction with no obvious end in sight. The Government, after the election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, recognised, perhaps for the first time, that carefully managing the media, both domestic and international, was an important factor if this endless struggle were to be ended successfully. President Rajapaksa, a consummate politician, accepted the profound value of a non-antagonistic media and carefully orchestrated initiatives to secure this objective. As the world knows, the bloody conflict was eventually ended on the banks of the Nanthikadal Lagoon on May 18, 2009, through the colossal efforts and sacrifices of the security forces.

Tony Birtley of Al Jazeera at the warfront in late 2008 and Ranil Wijayapala in ??

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A Death-Bed Declamation in Grief from Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe in September 1983

Text of the final Pastoral Letter written by the Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, Rt. Rev. L Wickremasinghe, in September 1983 after the July 1983 Violence ……  [Bishop Lakshman passed away some weeks after this on October 23rd 1983] ………….. from http://dbsjeyaraj.com 28 July 2021, 9:28 pm

“The Tragedy is that it is Becoming Harder in 1983 for Sinhala Christians to Acknowledge that what was done is a GREATER Moral Crime than in 1958” …………….. Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe

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Encountering Extremism: Biographical Tracks and Twists

Michael Roberts reproducing an article that originally appeared on the 19th March 2010 in https://sacrificialdevotionnetwork.wordpress.com/

One’s academic trajectories and journeys are invariably subject to vagaries and contingencies. The events and researches leading to my interest in “communal violence” and “zealotry” in the 1990s, and thereafter to what I have called ‘sacrificial devotion” (embracing the topics of “terrorism,” suicide bombers and Tamil Tigers),[i] were shaped by such contingencies. Since my web site will present some short essays on both these topics in the course of this month, let me detail some moments during my research work that resulted in the journeys that produced such outcomes.

In 1986-87 I spent about 14 months in Sri Lanka on research work during my sabbatical year. I was completing my research and writing on the history of Colombo in British times and the associated rise of a Westernized middle class-cum-bourgeoisie – work that resulted in the book People Inbetween (Sarvodaya, 1989).[ii] The island was still under the clouds cast by the attacks on Tamils in the southern parts of the island in July 1983. Following the British colonial lexicon this momentous and tragic set of events was generally described as the “1983 riots.” But such politically-aware scholars as Newton Gunasinghe and Shelton Kodikara were among those who depicted the event as a “pogrom.” This was a sensitizing revision that I accepted.

 Riots May 1958 – A Tamil passenger was taken out of the vehicle and beaten up

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Murderous Mayhem at a Rural Junction in North Western Lanka, 1983-1989

Liyanage Amarakeerthi, whose chosen title is “A Fatal Intersection: Three Small Shops in North  Western Sri Lanka that No Longer Exist” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor Thuppahi

I was born and raised in a little community in Kuliyapitiya, a typical agricultural area with three small tanks (wewa), which watered paddy fields, within walking distance on three sides of my house. Of course, there were also three Buddhist temples, almost within walking distance from each other. It was a typical village in the North-Western province, a part of which is known as bath kooralee or ‘rice province’. Where there were no tanks or paddy fields there were coconut plantations, big and small. Not surprisingly, much of the ‘coconut triangle’ is also in this province.

Stephen Champion’s cover photo has been deployed here  by Thuppahi as an external intervention to highlight the scenario of the 1980s 

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Columbathurai School for Disadvantaged Tamil Children

A THANK YOU NOTE addressed to MOHAN SAMARASINHE, 27 July 2021

Dear Respected Sir

I would like to extend my sincere thanks for coming forward to establish a Pre-school in our place and begin for the poor and needy. I highly appreciate your great service towards our people especially it is how important to see that a Sinhala  person has come forward to help Tamil  who have suffered so much since 1983. Even though we tried to get help from many people they didnt give us proper reply. Then only I requested Mr.Mohan Samarasingha. You accepted our request without any hesitation to support us to begin the school succesfully. You have already given nearly four hundred thousand rupees to renovate the building. Now the building has come up  yet we have to do little work to finish. So we hope to receive  your support in future too. Once again I extend my sincere thanks to your love and grate service towards us.

Thank you
Amitha
Colombuthurai
Jaffna.

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Dr Susiri Weerasekera: A Sturdy Servant of Humankind

Michael Roberts

In dealing today with the outrageous prejudices displayed by the American political analyst Robert Kaplan in mid-2009, I realised that I should reaffirm the essays devoted to the services to mankind provided by a doctor indomitable and discerning.[1] That medico was Dr. Susiri Weerasekera, who, alas, had deteriorated to a state non compos mentis when I made inquiries at his home in Nugegoda a few years back.

Susiri [with tie] is standing on the extreme left from the viewer’s eyes — this Pix being the Board of Management of the Friend-in-Need Society

Susiri Weerasekera was a person you would want to have alongside you in adversity: a person pragmatic, observant, down-to-earth and relatively unprejudiced. I got to know him when I dropped in on the Friend-in-Need Society in Colombo in 2010 to look into their work in support of the disabled and their speciality in assisting personnel who had lost a limb to obtain and then utilize a prosthetic leg.[2] When I embarked on journeys to the northern reaches Susiri provided me with names and introductions to key personnel in Vavuniya and Jaffna as well as an introduction to Dr Hemantha Herath who was in charge of medical relief for the IDP camps. These recommendations were invaluable.

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Dissecting Robert Kaplan’s Jaundiced Reportage: “Orientalism” Savaging Lanka

Michael Roberts 

Robert Kaplan is a well-connected Jewish American author and journalist. As one he travels widely and chose to visit Sri Lanka as a newshound in mid-2009 just after the Sri Lankan government forces had vanquished the Tamil Tiger forces and rescued about 280-290,000 Tamil ‘civilians’[1] who had been deployed as a defensive barrier and bargaining chip for about 15-17 months by the LTTE as they, the Tigers, were forced into a west-to-east retreat in the northern Vanni.

Situation Map on 23rd December 2008 & then on  8th March 2009 

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