It has been over a decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted conflict, but what we have today is ‘negative peace’ – which is the absence of overt violence. Limited understanding of Sri Lanka’s history, politics, democracy, ambition, intent, and the refusal to acknowledge acts of intolerance and discrimination that destroyed lives and led to bloodshed makes it increasingly difficult to avoid the recurrence of violence and we risk repeating the same mistakes. Today, we are confronted with choices that could lead to positive peace or a resumption of cycles of violence. Even now, the difficulties of dealing with COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout could lead to social unrest that may morph into inter-communal violence if manipulated. Continue reading →
Julia in Sydney… in MEMORANDUM to Michael Roberts,
Hi Michael, I have some very strong views about the anti-vaxxer ‘freedom’ movements that are going on.” I think they are mostly comprised of people who are 1. afraid of the vaccine because they have no idea of what they don’t know (see: Dunning-Kruger effect) and/or 2. buy into too many conspiracy theories in their misguided search for making sense of the world around them and/or 3 hold very strong right-wing neo-libertarian ideology.
Expressing opinions on the unspoken side of the coin, taking any circumstance of life in to consideration, is always a risk that a writer may encounter. The truth be spoken, the opinion and perspective that you and I may share can be contrastingly distinct depending on the circumstance and experiences that one may have encountered. There may be some of us who have courageously fought for ourselves conquering against the injustice. Yet, amidst the presence of these brave warriors, how many voices may have been overpowered, unable to voice out the injustice that they may have encountered in sport? How many of you may have silently suffered and engaged in silent battles for the fear of being penalized, degraded or being considered an outcast? Therefore, my motive here is to be the voice for the ones that fear to speak out loud. I wish to pen this thought down so that you may be educated and that courage may find itself, for you to be your own voice and fight for yourself and for your children someday against injustice of prejudiced coaches in the field of sports.
Rod Mickleburgh, in The Globe and Mail, 10 November 2021, where the title is “Chinese Canadian Veterans celebrated at Vancouver Museum”
When the Second World War ended, Ronald Lee did what so many other returning veterans did. He shed his uniform, took up civilian life, married, had kids and never talked about what he did during the war. Mr. Lee maintained his silence for 70 years. Beyond a few medals found in his underwear drawer long ago, his six kids knew almost nothing about his wartime experience. Finally, in his mid-90s, he agreed to be interviewed by Catherine Clement, curator of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver.
Ronald Lee’s wallet contained tattered photos of himself in uniform and with his commando comrades…. RONALD LEE FAMILY/CHINESE CANADIAN MILITARY MUSEUMContinue reading →
A monument constructed at the ninth kilometer post on the *Ella–Wellawaya Road near the village of Randeniwela is a unique obelisk to commemorate the Battle of Randeniwela (Battle of Randeniya or Sinhalese – Portuguese War), a battle fought on August 25th 1630. The battle was fought between Portuguese forces commanded by the *Governor Constantinu De Saa de Noronha and King Senarath’s (1604–1635) youngest son Prince Maha Astana (pre coronation) who was later crowned as King Rajasinha II (1635–1687), the second ruler of Kandyan Kingdom and his brother Prince Vijayapala.
Michael Roberts,reproducing here an expanded version of article printed inLanka Monthly Digest, September 1999, Vol 6:2, pp. 56-57…. with citations added.
A Kurd in Germany immolates self in protest vs Ocalan’s fate
ONE : In February 1999 a Kurdish nationalist leader, Ocalan, was caught by the Turkish authorities. Kurdish refugees in the Western world erupted in protest. In London a young girl Neila Kanteper set herself alight. In Sydney a young lad was caught on camera with petrol can and cigarette lighter as he threatened similar action. As I walked into the local news-agency in Adelaide that week the proprietor waved the picture of Kanteper in flames in front of me and in considerable alarm inquired how anyone could take such an extreme measure. He could not ever take such a step, he said. His remarks gain in significance from the fact that they were unsolicited and had not been preceded by prior conversation. I was in a hurry and did not explore matters further, but I conjecture that his bewilderment stemmed not only from the method of death by fire, but also from such terminal commitment to a collective cause. The question, therefore, is whether in similar circumstances an act of martyrdom involving death by hand-gun would produce the same level of astonishment. Relatively speaking, death by gun seems to be so much more acceptable to the Western world than death by flame.
Rajan Philips, in Sunday Island, 31 October 2021, where the title reads “One Country, One Law. What is it? Why now?”
The gazette announcement that Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera will be heading a new Presidential Task Force to study “the implementation of the concept, One country; One law, and prepare a draft Act for the said purpose,” was more befuddling than it was shocking or infuriating. “It defies comprehension,” said The Island editorial on Thursday. Many also found the announcement somewhat hilarious while mindful of its ominous implications. The hilarity stems from this government’s seemingly unlimited capacity to be ridiculously irrational in political tactics, even as it is utterly incompetent on matters of policy. Comprehending the government’s actions is not the problem. Fathoming how far the consequences of those actions will go and how damaging they will be to the public good is the challenge.
On 9/11 I was at my desk at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA. We had just started our morning meeting when the planes hit the World Trade Towers in NYC. We sat in stunned silence, trying to absorb the catastrophe before our eyes; then we shifted to frantic action. Overnight, my professional world changed. I was now front and center in our fight against terrorism. The walls outside our embassies only got higher as the world saw the U.S as a target and a threat.
A veteran war correspondent recalls the ignorance, poor judgement, exceptionalism, and hubris in all of [USA’s] interventions.
Nearly half a century ago I watched the South Vietnamese army, an army that had been trained and equipped by the United States, simply melt away before a less well equipped but better-motivated army of North Vietnam. The South Vietnamese fled in panic before the North’s final offensive. I saw soldiers taking off their uniforms and fleeing in their underwear. Cities were falling before the North Vietnamese had time to get there.
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.