Michael Roberts, inSri Lanka Guardian, 12 September 2011
Early in September  I circulated an item describing efforts mounted by private enterprise in cooperation with the Sri Lankan state (military as well as government agents) to alleviate the life world of Tamil people being re-settled in the northern Vanni – a continuation of efforts in the IDP camps at Menik Farm in 2009 – through the establishment of psycho-social units working on the mental health of children in particular. Clearly, this note and its documents were part of the empirical terrain relevant to the propaganda war raging since early 2009.
My focus was on the ideologies permeating the thinking of Sinhala-speaking people over the centuries. It is my speculation that similar deep structures permeate the thinking of Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka and India; and for that matter, mutatis mutandis, most of the people in India. It will call for a brave Tamil scholar to investigate and disclose this phenomenon today.
“Further militarisation has been called for in a country where the density of soldiers to civilians is one of the highest in the world” – Sri Lankan academic Dr Jude Lal Fernando of the Irish School of Ecumenics.
Darina Allen, Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka to Ireland, at the Mass to remember the victims of the Sri Lanka bombings in the Pro Cathedral in Dublin. Pic John McElroy.
I recently watched a good part of Stephen Sackur’s dialogue with a French lady politician [whose name I have forgotten]. Sackur pursued his usual hard-line aggressive and bullying mode of questioning – posing vigorous criticisms of the French government’s position on secularism and its hostility to the carving out of sacred domains by French Muslim peoples. The implicit suggestion was that the British system’s tolerance of religious sensibilities was a better line of policy.
Muslim protests … and the selfie proudly posted by the Islamic terrorist who was responsible for the killings in Nice in October 2020
An Invitation. Your Thoughts from Michael Roberts …. sent to SELECT PALS on 31 October 2020
I just caught parts of THE HARD TALK grilling of a French lady politician [by Stephen Sackur]. One problem with journalism is its wholly presentist focus//limits. In my view the recent jihadist attacks in France cannot be comprehended without looking at the motivations and goals of, say
Samanth Subramanium, in New York Times, 2 July 2020, where the title reads “Two Wealthy Muslim Brothers became suicide Bombers, but Why?”
There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither. Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering? But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.
Anonymous Oriel College Collective …….The letter (below) is a response from [one part of] Oxford University to black students attending as Rhodes Scholars who demand the university removes the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.
Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on precisely the same topic. The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”. Lord Patten commented: “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice.”
Rihaab Mowlana, in Lifelk, 19 June 2020,where the title runs thus“Are We Erasing History?”
The statue of Thomas Jefferson, the founding father who also enslaved more than 600 people, was toppled in Oregon, while the statue of navigator and coloniser Christopher Columbus was ‘spray-painted, set on fire and thrown into a lake’. In England, the Statue of Edward Colston suffered a similar fate, resulting in ‘the boarding up of the Cenotaph in Whitehall and Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square’. In many parts of the world, the predicament will befall many such monuments.
David Kilcullen, in The Inquirer, 30 May 2020 and the Australian,4 June 2020, with this title “Home of the hateful, fearful, heavily armed” …..
Coronavirus is threatening to ignite a tinderbox of grievances in the US. The growing parallels with Iraq, Lebanon and Somalia are real and disturbing.
The rise of militias and armed protesters across the US is sometimes seen as a fringe right-wing issue, but it is much broader. Armed groups have formed across the political spectrum, worsening divisions the coronavirus has exposed in American society.
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.