Category Archives: truth as casualty of war

Pyrrhic Defeat: Seven Days which shattered the Great Game of Smashing Afghanistan

Jolly Somasundaram

            “Truth is like the Sun, one can shut it off for sometime, but it will not go away.” …. Elvis Presley                  

Afghanistan has done it again! A country, where her geography was her destiny, made her push towards repeated trysts with history- Alexander’s Greeks, Mongols, Mughals, the Brits, Russians, Americans. She, redoubtable to foreign invaders, specialised in making her country, micro- Kanattestans for these invading hordes. These done-in foreign forces now out-done, were not small fry but superpowers.

Troops from Britain- the Rotweiller in her time slot of Empire building- were decimated three times, bleaching this arid landscape. Undaunted, Sysyphean Britain ventured on the fourth, though now a metamorphosed American poodle: same wipe-out. Russia, in her own time slot of imperial hope, was similarly sent scurrying home. Smaller European countries- Australia, Germany, France Italy, Canada, wishing to taste Petite Gloire but lacking oomph, hitch hiked on the NATO bandwagon: the same degrading exit.

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The Internal Tussles, Vagaries and Scheming that Hindered the Development of the Hambantota Port Project

An Insider

Jonathan E. Hillman, 26 August 2021, whose title runs thus: “The Secret History of Hambantota” …. Starts his write up If Chinese loans were cigarettes, Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port would be the cancerous lung on the warning label. Some observers have pointed to the underperforming port and alleged that China is using “debt trap diplomacy,” This statement reflects Hillman’s intention of using Hambantota port to discredit China. Taking a similar line Fair Dinkum in his “American Schemes of Global Bifurcation behind Hillman’s story on Hambantota Port” is critical of the messenger rather than being responsive to the message.+++

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No Debt Trap at Hambantota: False Picture on China’s Role

Deborah Brautigam & Meg Rithmire,  in The Atlantic, 6 February 2021, where the title is The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Is a Myth “

The narrative wrongfully portrays both Beijing and the developing countries it deals with. China, we are told, inveigles poorer countries into taking out loan after loan to build expensive infrastructure that they can’t afford and that will yield few benefits, all with the end goal of Beijing eventually taking control of these assets from its struggling borrowers. As states around the world pile on debt to combat the coronavirus pandemic and bolster flagging economies, fears of such possible seizures have only amplified.

Ben Shmulevitch

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American Schemes of Global Bifurcation behind Hillman’s Story on Hambantota Port

Fair Dinkum

I am unfamiliar with the work of Jonathan E. Hillman. So, I spent time researching his background before reading this article. I wanted to read the article with an open mind. With this type of article, it is important know who the author is; what his relationship is with Sri Lanka, China and the US; the organisation he is affiliated with and what their goals are; and why did he decide to write this essay and for what purpose?

Greece may be on the fringe of the EU geographically, but it has become a key focus in the intensifying scramble for global influence. Sri Lanka could go the same way.  Illustration by Henry Wong

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The Story behind the Rise of Hambantota Port: An American Twist

Jonathan E. Hillman, 26 August 2021, whose title runs thus:The Secret History of Hambantota” ….  while the presentation here is marked by the imposition of highlights, let me prefigure the prospect of critical commentary from knowledgeable specialists sought out by Thuppahi.

If Chinese loans were cigarettes, Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port would be the cancerous lung on the warning label. Some observers have pointed to the underperforming port and alleged that China is using “debt trap diplomacy,” loading countries up with loans and seizing strategic assets after they cannot repay. Others have argued that Sri Lanka, not China, is responsible for its debt woes. The debate is important for understanding the risks lurking in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, especially as the pandemic pushes more of China’s borrowers to the brink.

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Auckland Atrocities: Grounded Appraisals from Sri Lankans

I present several comments from Sri Lankans in New Zealand and Sri Lanka

A NOTE from SM in Colombo, 7 Sept 2021

It is high time for countries to cut hard on organisations promoting and practicing extremist ideologies whether they be religious, ethnic, separatist, or nationalist.  The UK extended its ban on the LTTE a few days back which is a welcome development.  Canada should practice what they preach. With an election round the corner, the Liberal Trudeau govt soft peddles the LTTE issue in order to garner Canadian Tamil votes.  The Canadian government’s sponsorship of TGWA is a case in point.
Countries that ignore, or aid and abet violent extremism will reap what they sow.

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In Appreciation of Professor Lakshman Jayathilake, Committed Engineering Professor & Patriot

Lionel Bopage, in The Sri Lankan Guardian,  Septmber 2021, where the title reads “My Indelible Memories of Professor CLV Jayathilake” …. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

I am extremely saddened by the news I heard this morning, that Emeritus Professor CLV (Lakshman) Jayathilake, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka, has succumbed to Covid and passed away. He has impacted my life in many ways on several occasions.

 When I was studying at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, he was a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department. I was studying for a Mechanical and Electrical combined degree in engineering, a rare combination at the time.

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Turmoil & Transformation in Afghanistan: A Sri Lankan Writer’s Assessment of the situation NOW

Lynn Ockersz, in The Island, 2 September 2021, where the title is  “Power and sovereignty issues come to the fore in Afghanistan”

“More and more strength to those women and other vulnerable groups that are mustering for their rights in Afghanistan right now.” This is likely to be the wish of progressives everywhere. The enormity of their courage could be gauged from the fact that they are in direct confrontation with the Taliban who are no champions of fundamental rights. Now more than ever before, women’s organizations the world over and international progressive opinion need to rally round these protesting sections in Afghanistan.

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Western Imperialism in Retreat …. and in Vain

Well ! What do you know!

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Sherlock Holmes & Churchill: Their Lessons on Afghanistan

David Von Drehle, in Washington Post, 8 August 2021, with this title … “Sherlock holmes & Winston Churchill: Cautionary tales on Afghanistan”

   

I learned of a place called Afghanistan as many Americans used to do: by reading one of the most famous opening chapters in literary history. I was 11 years old, and my new book introduced a young English doctor. Sent to an outpost of the Empire, he was hurried ahead to the front lines of a persistent war. He united with his assigned unit in Kandahar, and nearly died in combat when his shoulder was shattered by a bullet. Recuperating back in London, seeking an affordable apartment, he met a potential roommate — a strange fellow among whose first words to him were:

“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Thus Dr. Watson met Sherlock Holmes.

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