Category Archives: violence of language

In Defence of a Voice from the Grave, That of Sunila Abeysekera

Jane Russell presenting “a reply to unjustified criticism ” …. * …. [see endnote]

Foreword: I first met Sunila Abeysekera at a joint exhibition of sculpture and poetry which my Sri Lankan partner, sculptor Malathie de Silva, and I held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in 1976. Sunila was twenty-four; I was two years older. She brought her father along and he purchased one of my poems which I‘d produced as wall-posters.:

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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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The Sri Lankan Government and the Media within the Crossroads of War 2006-09

Palitha Kohona ,in The Sunday Observer, 28 June 2020, with this title Managing the media on the road to Nandikadal – Part 1″ ….http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2020/06/28/news-features/managing-media-road-nandikadal-part-1

The conflict with the terrorist LTTE dragged on for over two decades causing widespread death and destruction with no obvious end in sight. The Government, after the election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, recognised, perhaps for the first time, that carefully managing the media, both domestic and international, was an important factor if this endless struggle were to be ended successfully. President Rajapaksa, a consummate politician, accepted the profound value of a non-antagonistic media and carefully orchestrated initiatives to secure this objective. As the world knows, the bloody conflict was eventually ended on the banks of the Nanthikadal Lagoon on May 18, 2009, through the colossal efforts and sacrifices of the security forces.

Tony Birtley of Al Jazeera at the warfront in late 2008 and Ranil Wijayapala in ??

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Sinhalaness in Pre-British Ceylon: Issues and Pathways

A Review Essay by Alan Strathern** dissecting a Book by Michael Roberts published in 2004

This item was located by Thuppahi in the web-site Colombo Telegraph on 26 December 2012 (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-royal-we-sinhala-identity-in-the-dynastic-state/). However, it appeared initially in 2005 in the prestigious journal Modern Asian Studies,  39: 1013–1026.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Michael Roberts, 7 August 2021

This item is a review essay not a standard review. Alan Strathern is an accomplished historian who happens to be the son of a leading social anthropologist, viz., Marilyn Strathern of ANU and Cambridge University. You will find that his prose is as refined and clear-cut as demanding. After some hesitation, I decided to adhere to my normal policy of highlighting some parts of the text with blue colourfor the benefit of readers facing the difficulties posed by complex issues in historical sociology. On occasions I have also imposed a break in extra-long paragraphs. The illustrations too are my impositions intended to promote reader interest.

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Encountering Extremism: Biographical Tracks and Twists

Michael Roberts reproducing an article that originally appeared on the 19th March 2010 in https://sacrificialdevotionnetwork.wordpress.com/

One’s academic trajectories and journeys are invariably subject to vagaries and contingencies. The events and researches leading to my interest in “communal violence” and “zealotry” in the 1990s, and thereafter to what I have called ‘sacrificial devotion” (embracing the topics of “terrorism,” suicide bombers and Tamil Tigers),[i] were shaped by such contingencies. Since my web site will present some short essays on both these topics in the course of this month, let me detail some moments during my research work that resulted in the journeys that produced such outcomes.

In 1986-87 I spent about 14 months in Sri Lanka on research work during my sabbatical year. I was completing my research and writing on the history of Colombo in British times and the associated rise of a Westernized middle class-cum-bourgeoisie – work that resulted in the book People Inbetween (Sarvodaya, 1989).[ii] The island was still under the clouds cast by the attacks on Tamils in the southern parts of the island in July 1983. Following the British colonial lexicon this momentous and tragic set of events was generally described as the “1983 riots.” But such politically-aware scholars as Newton Gunasinghe and Shelton Kodikara were among those who depicted the event as a “pogrom.” This was a sensitizing revision that I accepted.

 Riots May 1958 – A Tamil passenger was taken out of the vehicle and beaten up

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Vicious Victimization of Dr Danielle by the Western Cabal and THE AGE

Fair Dinkum

For telling the truth about Wuhan as she knew it, this Australian virologist Dr Danielle Anderson has been  attacked, smeared and had her life threatened because her statement did not align with American Australian narratives about the origins of covid19. She was sent a threatening email that read, “Eat a bat and die, bitch.” The threatening emails continue and the Singapore police are taking it seriously  The anti-China campaign has become hysterical, insane and extremely dangerous as it spreads around the world,  with the help of Western governments.

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Origins of Sri Lankan Nationalism

Upali C Wickremeratne, presenting a critical review of  Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period: 1590s to 1815, by Michael Roberts, (Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2003)…. originally presented in Ethnic Studies Review, vol. XXI,  No. 2, July 2003, pp. 207-20…. with pictorials imposed by Roberts against the grain of this article. NOTE: the title is that chosen by Wickremeratne … and is in fact a misnomer.

It is hard to think of a book, amongst those written by those affecting to be scholarly, which is based more on conjecture than this. The criteria for evidence should be considered. It is not a question of whether the sources are oral or documentary.  After all the evidence in a law court is mainly oral.  It is a question of considering the arguments for and against any particular point of view.  It is a question of weighing the evidence. A civil case is decided on a balance of probabilities and a criminal case on whether there is a reasonable doubt.  It is not a question of facts or the truth. Law draws a distinction between hearsay, opinion and evidence based on cross-examination.  Collingwood wanted an army of questions led into the sources. They would enable one’s own biases and predilections to be questioned.  It would supply the place of cross-examination.

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Lessons Derived from the Anti-Muslim Riots of 1915 …. For Today

Walter Wuthmann, in Daily News, 7 May 2018, where the title runs: “Revisiting 1915: Lessons from A Violent Past”

The recent mob attacks[ against Muslim families and property in Kandy is another sad chapter in Sri Lanka’s history of ethnic violence. Now, many are re-examining the past, looking for reasons for why this ugly strain of communalism will not subside, and for ways to fight it for the future. Because before Digana in March, and before Aluthgama in 2014, there was 1915.

  An old photo of the Mosqueat Castele Street inKandy where the initial spark for the “1915 riots”originated

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Confronting Ethnic Violence and Its Roots in Vengeance

Michael Roberts

In presenting Basil Fernando’s book to the public, I have been led back in time to critical data he presented to me in the early 1990s re the “riots of July 1983.” As an act of condemnation THEN, my essay on those events depicted the MOMENT as a “pogrom.”[1] This label was guided by my awareness that in Russian usage this label meant “destruction” and thus went beyond the English dictionary translations of that word. Though I have been rapped on the knuckles by Kingsley M. de Silva for this nomenclature,[2] I remain adamant. What occurred in late July 1983 was a horrific set of events that cannot be buried inside that relatively mundane label “riots.”

 

Jubilant {Sinhala) rioters celebrate their mayhem at Borella Junction in Colombo on the 24/25th July night 1983

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Basil Fernando’s Searing Protest against Violence in All Its Forms

Basil Fernando: A Short Abstract re the book Body, Mind, Soul, Society: An Autobiographical Account

 This book (176 pages) is an attempt to contribute towards an understanding of the impact of violence on human persons and the society. It is based on the direct experience of living and working in Sri Lanka and Cambodia. However, references are also made to several more developing countries in Asia with which I have been engaged in working after the experiences in Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The book is written from the perspective of a victim who is also an observer.

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