Category Archives: tamil refugees

Australia’s Response to the Refugee Problems generated by Sri Lanka’s Civil War in the 2000s and 2010s

Betts & Higgins address the “Migration Policy” pursued by Australia in the context of the refugee problems arising in the context of Sri Lanka’s “Civil War.” [i.e. what most refer to as the “Eelam Wars.”]. The full title is noted below and their “Abstract” is presented.

The infamous Alex Kuhendarajah on the Sumatran(?) coast witha boatlad of Tamil refugees  …. and other pictorial illustrations of refugees and their boats

 

For the benefit of those not familiar with the scenario, the refugees were mostly SL Tamils, but there was a ‘supply chain’ of agents and smuggler boats from Sri Lanka, India and the Indonesian islands that also catered to Sinhala and Muslim personnel seeking “eldorado” in the West via Australia. See some bibliographical items listed at the end which will lead one to even more literature…. Michael Roberts with thanks to Johnny De Silva in Melbourne for converting the file containing the Betts & Higgins article.

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Caste in Jaffna

Prashanth Kuganathan** whose title runs thus: “Social Stratification in Jaffna: A Survey of Recent Research on Caste”

A SYNOPSIS: Since 1983, war has dominated the perception of Sri Lanka. This has affected scholarship on the country, such that the subjects of an overwhelming number of research proposals and publications have been on the war and the prospects and prescriptions for peace. This survey paper is an attempt to locate the system of caste in transition in the Jaffna Peninsula by reviewing recent literature written after the commencement of the war. While detailed ethnographies of caste in Jaffna may have temporarily come to a halt, caste practices have not and remain a salient part of everyday life among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. As the war ended in 2009, it is therefore important that social scientists on Sri Lanka revisit the topic of caste, that is an integral part of not just Tamil culture or society, but being Tamil itself. As the study of caste is dominated by research in India, a microanalysis of Jaffna and Sri Lanka, particularly the nuances of this system in transition due to war and militancy, could contribute to the macro-study of caste at a sub-continental perspective.

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The Machinations of Vellala Lawyer Leaders that Deepened Tamil-Sinhala Divisions from the 1920s-to-the-1960s

Sebastian Rasalingam, reproducing an article presented in 2008 in The Sri Lanka Guardian in October 2008 with this title “An Excellent and Timely Feature on the Tamils” **

 Please permit me to make some comments on the recent article on the “Sri Lankan Identity” by R. M. B. Senanayake, continuing a discussion in a previous article by Anne Abeysekera. Both these articles, written by authors who are familiar with the English-educated Sinhalese point of view, deal very inadequately with the issues of Tamil Nationalism in Sri Lanka and in erstwhile Ceylon. In fact, the modern generation, even the Tamils, are on the whole unaware of the true nature of the present conflict and the role of Tamil nationalism. They are misled and mesmerized by simplistic histories concocted by the great political agenda set in motion by the Tamil leaders of the pre-1956 era. In fact, I will outline below how the battlelines were drawn in the Donoughmore days, by G. G. Ponnambalam (GGP) and others who followed.

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In Memoriam. The War Dead … within “A Clear Blue Sky”

Elmo Jayawardena, in The Island4 March 2021, where the title reads “A Clear Blue Sky” … bearing this ’emphasis’…. I publish this article just so that we can remember how sad the times were during the war for both sides. Let us hope and pray such will never happen again)

The one unforgettable memory that Selva always carried within himself was the colour of the vast Jaffna sky, spotless and shimmering in brilliant blue. It appeared as if the Gods had decided to spread a sheet and tucked it taut to the corners of the horizon as if to show off how perfectly they could do things. Off and on there would be fluffy white clouds, being sheep-dogged by winds aloft, harmless cartoons scattered in the sky, men and dogs, trees and castles or whatever a child wanted to imagine them to be. The clouds were seldom grey and laden with rain. That’s how the dry climate came about to roast the soil where Selva’s family toiled under the merciless sun, for generations, to grow chilli on. The kochika as they called it, were the thin and long kind, blood red, extremely hot and mouth-burning. Selva’s people sold the chilli harvest at the week-end market in the closest town. That was Vaddukodai, located an hour’s distance away, by bullock cart, from their nameless village of nowhere and no one; just blood red kochika and blue skies.

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Religion within Tamil Militancy and the LTTE

  Iselin Frydenlund, presenting her article in Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion, May 2018, …. one entitledTamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion” …. https://sangam.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Religion.pdf  … OR … https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Frydenlund/4cbf5235611dd3407dfa3a2962e6ea635ac50674 … with highlights and pictures being impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Induction of Tiger recruits into fighter ranks with receipt of the kuppi containing cyanide

Tiger soldiers relaxing in camp with cyanide kuppi around their necks Pix by Shyam Tekwani

 

Historical Background

Understanding the role of religion in the Tamil insurgency requires an understanding of Sri Lanka’s cultural mosaic and of the development of modern nationalism before and after independence from British colonial power. Sri Lanka is a geographically small yet culturally rich and complex island, with numerous ethnic, linguistic, religious, and caste subgroups. The majority of the population identify as ethnically Sinhala, and they speak Sinhala, an Indo-European language. The great majority of the Sinhalese are Theravada Buddhists who live mostly in the south and central regions of the island. A small minority of Sinhalese are Catholics, and some also belong to evangelical Christian churches. The largest minority group in Sri Lanka is the Tamils, who speak Tamil (a South Indian Dravidian language) and comprise several subgroups. The largest of these are the so-called Sri Lankan Tamils, who traditionally have lived in the north and east. The so-called Indian Tamils are labor immigrants from India who were brought in by the British to work in the plantation sector in the highlands. The majority of Tamils are Hindus of the Śaiva Siddhanta tradition, but there are also a significant number who are Catholics and a few to smaller Evangelical denominations. The Tamil Muslims identify based on religious belonging, not on a common ethnic identity, and they speak Tamil. Historically, the Muslim communities are scattered throughout the island; they form a stronghold in urban trading centers in the south but are also farmers in the Tamil-majority Eastern Province. Social stratification based on caste and regional identities was strong in precolonial Lanka, and then the colonial classifications of the island’s inhabitants produced new identities with intensified religious and racial signifiers. These were reproduced in the emerging Tamil and Sinhala nationalisms of the late 19th century.

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Queen Elizabeth and the Sri Lankan Cricketers, June 1975

Mevan Pieris

I thought it would be interesting for people to see a photograph taken at Buckingham Palace just before the Prudential World Cup matches began in June 1975. Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, hosted for tea all eight teams which participated. This photograph, which is only the right section of the full photograph (selected as all the Sri Lankans are in it), was taken on the flight of steps of the rear of the palace, overlooking a garden.

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A Tamil Saivite Temple in Australia: Sustaining Community Amidst Linguistic Diversity

A Notice re a NEW BOOK on the negotiation of language and identity in a Tamil Saivite Temple in Australia by NILRUKSHI PERERA

Diversity is a buzzword of our times and yet the extent of religious diversity in Western societies is generally misconceived. This ground-breaking research draws attention to the journey of one migrant religious institution in an era of religious superdiversity.

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Tamil Civilians as Sandbags in 2008/09 & Blinding Ignorance in Geneva

Lucien Rajakarunanayake in An Article on 11th September 2014 entitled “Sandbags of Humans” in strategy to woo the West” …. with the highlighting being the present impositions of The Editor, Thuppahi

“I come across new evidence regularly in the midst of misinformation and dis-information that is a facet of the propaganda war that has been sharpening since the LTTE began to retreat in 2008. Since the volume of data is huge, a thorough investigation calls for assiduous work by a team which includes those who are culturally competent and able to discern manipulation.”

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Channa Wickremesekera’s Books on Sri Lanka’s Past …. & Beyond

Channa Wickremesekera’s Publications

Channa Wickremesekera is the son of the late Percy Wickremesekera, an acquaintance of mine from Peradeniya Campus days and a ‘Trot’ activist who migrated to Australia. Channa lives in Melbourne. I got to know him when I was working on my book on Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period¸1590’s-1815 (which came out in 2003  …………………… https://www.amazon.com/Sinhala-Consciousness-Kandyan-Period-1590s/dp/9558095311).

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Asylum Australia for Sri Lankans? THEN and NOW

Michael Roberts 

Through the first decade of the 21st century fishing trawlers attempted to breach the Australian borders with illegal migrants and this process continued even after Eelam War IV ended in May 2009 …. indeed, even receiving a boost because of the circumstances of considerable segments of the SL Tamil populace in Sri Lanka and in refugee camps in southern India.

In July 2012 I presented a BIBLIOGRAPHY on this topic in Thuppahi and I call attention to it here: …………. ………………………………………. http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/a-flourishing-bibliographical-tree-tamil-migration-asylum-seekers-and-australia/

epa03396379 A young girl from a group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers as they arrive at Bungus port, near Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia 13 September 2012. At least 40 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka were transferred from Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra to the Immigration Detention Pekan Baru, Riau. Total number of migrants for 2012 is close to 10,000, with many of them Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians who have paid people-smugglers to ferry them from Indonesia to Australia. EPA/STRINGER

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