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.
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.
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).
House of Lords: The Rt Hon Lord Michael Naseby spoke in the Queen’s Speech Debate on Wednesday May 19, 2021 …. [with highlighting emphais here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi]
My Lords, I welcome the gracious Speech. My comments will be on global Britain, specifically the Indo-Pacific tilt. My own background is that I have lived and worked in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and I know the rest of ASEAN quite well. I will specifically address Sri Lanka, and I declare an interest as joint chair of the All-Party Group (on Sri Lanka).
Sudharshan Seneviratne, in Sunday Observer, 16 May 2021, where the title reads“Whitewashing LTTE genocide”
A recent announcement featuring the news, Tamil Genocide Education Week by Scarborough MPP Vijay Thanigasalam’s Bill 104, received third reading at Queen’s Park on May 6th. Let us look at the “messenger” first and his credibility and secondly, the nature of the Canadian State i.e. hidden political agenda Canada has for the dependent Diaspora as a cat’s paw. The man himself has a dubious history and was a one-time LTTE sympathiser even after the Elaam war ended in 2009.
A recent article by Dishan Joseph (see below) has marked the role of a commando outfit known as the SBS, or Special Boat Service, that was developed within the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) during the Eelam Wars. The story is complex and demands an elaborate ‘companion piece’ that is attentive to time, combat locations, initiatives and the lessons derived from a remarkable and formidable enemy, namely, the Sea Tigers. In war one becomes like one’s opponent in order to survive. The innovativeness of the LTTE was monumental and its sea-faring capacities were one reason why it outdid-and-outbid the other Tamil militant organisations in the fight to lead the claim for independence for Thamililam during the 1980s/1990s.
The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979)
Memory does not explicitly feature among the four pillars of transitional justice: truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. Hence the precise role memory plays within a transitional justice process is often left to those negotiating the contours of the process. Memory is a vital ingredient in ascertaining the truth and in securing evidence to ensure justice for victims and survivors. Moreover, memorialisation of loss has a place in the symbolic initiatives owed to victims and survivors under the reparations pillar. Meanwhile, public memorials commemorating man-made tragedies contribute towards a society’s collective commitment to non-recurrence. Thus memory often becomes the lifeblood that preserves and binds the traditional pillars of transitional justice.
Chandre Dharmawardana, 30 March 2021, in Email Memo entitled “Alleged Human Rights Abuses of the Sri Lankan Army” ……….. a memo commenting on responses to his previous Essay[i] … with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
Ramesh Somasundaram, (commenting on the Thuppahi website) is absolutely right in saying “that the Sri Lankan governments and the Sri Lankan military personal have been correctly accused of human rights abuses. “Sri Lankan Soldiers have been accused of grave crimes, and they should be investigated and brought to trial. Many of the soldiers were simply carrying out orders, and so the high command must bear the final responsibility except in cases where the soldiers exceeded their acts as soldiers and acted even more inhumanely than needed.
Situation Map 2 February 2009 — an excellent work by, I think?, the Daily Mirror
All those addressing the fervour that promoted the killing work of the Zahran Hashim jihadist network in Sri Lanka in April 2019 must come to grips with the modern currents of Wahhabi political thinking that go back to the outpourings of the Egyptian intellectuals Sayyid Qutb and Al-Zawahiri in the latter half of the 20th century. This step will then take investigators to the Al-Qaida movement and thence to the more recent brand of Wahhabism embodied within ISIS.
Lord Michael Naseby, in Island, 5 March 2021, where the title is “Lord Naseby asks why Adele not prosecuted in UK for child recruitment”
Lord Naseby President of the UK all party British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary group, has questioned the failure on the part of the UK to prosecute senior LTTE leader Adela Balasingham, wife of the outfit’s late theoretician Anton Balasingham. Lord Naseby said that Adele, who had been involved with the LTTE for several decades, was responsible for recruitment and deployment of child soldiers.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.