Category Archives: war reportage

Sangakkara at Cricket: Pictorials

Michael Roberts

In moving from a pictorial depiction of the parental and local urban background where Kumar Sangakkara has been nurtured, to a photographic ‘sketch’ of his cricketing endeavours, it will be easy for readers to forget the dangerous Sri Lankan circumstances hanging over the cricketing scenario within Sri Lanka in the period when Kumar strode on to the field in Sri Lankan colours – from the mid-1990s. These were the sporadically continuous dangers hanging over the urban and rural byways around Colombo and Kandy as a result of the Eelam Wars and the capacity displayed by the Tamil Tigers in mounting suicide assassinations as well as massive blasts directed at high-profile urban targets.

Tiger Bombing of the Central Bank in the Fort, Colombo, 31 January 1996

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Ceylonese Elephants and Labour in Wartime Airfield Construction, 1941-45

Group Captain Kumar Kirinde (SLAF, Retd)

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Turbulent Times & Anxious Moments in Sri Lanka in 1988

John R Richardson**

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Samantha Power on USA’s Interventionist Mission in 2002

Stephen Wertheim

Reproduced here is a sub-section from Wertheim’s review article in the 4th quarter edition[1] of the Journal of Genocide Research in 2010 (without re-deploying his footnotes). This section focuses on the Pullitzer Prize winning book by Samantha Power (2002) and argues that its programme resembles shades of the “civilizing mission” associated with European and Evangelical agencies during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Here, with and within Samantha Power, the mission of “humanitarian intervention” was vested solely in US arms and feet ……..…. thus, not in the UN or any other agencies.

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The Horrors at Gallipoli: Killing One’s “Whaler”

The “Whaler” is the shorten-form Aussie term for a breed of horses in New South Wales that  served as the stead for the famed Lighthorsemen Brigades in Egypt, the Middle East and Gallipoli during World War One. I thank Brigadier Sri Mudannayake** for bringing this somebe dimension of the disastrous Gallipoli and other Middle Eastern campaign to our attention.

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Gallipoli, the Disastrous Attack on the Ottomans – A BBC Review in 2015

On the 11th November 2020 BritaIn and its former colonies marked REMEMBRANCE DAY to honour the dead in their 20th century World Wars. On 25th April every year AUSTRALIA and Britiain too remember the dead at Gallipoli … Anzac Day as it is called in Ausralia and New Zealand. In the year 2015, one hundred yeas after the event, the BBC clarified the course of events at Gallipoli with a documentary: ….. including this NOTE =

“Casualties are hard to estimate due to conflicting reports, but here are some approximate numbers …..

    • Around 21,000 British empire troops were killed
    • Some 8,000 Australians
    • 2,500 New Zealanders
    • 55,000 to 85,000 Ottomans

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Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tamil Tiger: Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Lens

Michael Roberts, reprinting an essay drafted in 2007 and since presented in Fire & Storm in 2010 (chapter 19: 131-38)

  • Gandhi tried for years to reduce himself to zero” (Dennis Hudson 2002: 132).
  • Hitler: “You are nothing, your nation is everything” (quoted in Koenigsberg 2009: 13).
  • LTTE: “the martyr sacrifices himself for the whole by destroying the I…” (Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s interpretation of a Tamil Tiger supporter’s poem; 2005: 134).
  • Spokesman for Al Qaida after the Madrid bombing: “You love life and we love death”
  • Col. Karuna, ex-LTTE: “Death means nothing to me….”
  • The Hagakure is “a living philosophy that holds that life and death [are] the two sides of the same shield” (Yoshio Mishima in his The Way of the Samurai, quoted in Moeren 1986: 109-10).
  • Bushido means to die” (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 117).
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpbl0azdFM …. Kamikaze strike

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Combatting Terrorism Today: Three Imperatives

John Richardson

For what they are worth, here are three “imperatives for preventing conflict and terrorism” (from the 10 that conclude Paradise Poisoned) that seem particularly relevant to this discussion. These are excerpted from “elevator talk” I gave to Board members of the US Association for the Club of Rome a year or so ago.

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The Ideology of Sacrificial Death and Australian Nationalism during World War One

ALSThis short essay appeared  in the year K????K within the Website run the Library of Social Science headed by Richard Koenigsberg and he has sent it to me this month (November 2020) — presumably inspired by the recent jihadist attacks in Europe and by Thuppahi’s determined pursuit of the comparative literature on martyrdom pursued in a variety of contexts by diverse forces (not merely Islamic).

Michael Roberts

Addressing the practices of remembrance in Australia, Richard Koenigsberg has noted the irony that a battlefield defeat at Gallipoli in World War One, 1915, served a people as an emblem of nationhood: the “Australian nation, came into being on the foundations provided by the slaughter of its young men.”

Burying the dead at Gallipoli in 1915 ,,,and The Last Post

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Tamil Tiger ‘Martyrs’: Regenerating Divine Potency?

This article from my pen was probably drafted in 2004. It appeared in Studies in Conflict  & Terrorism vol. 28 in 2005 after the usual refereeing process. Some of the details and arguments have, in fact, been obliterated within my fading memory. For this reason, it was a refreshing READ for me and brought up specific details that are pertinent to any debate surrounding the motivations that induce self-immolation, jihadist killings of a suicidal nature, et cetera… The Bibilography will also aid present investigations though, of course, other writings have appeared since then on Islamic jihadists and other martyrdom operations…. Michael Roberts, 8 November 2020 … The photographs are fresh additions … and so too the highlighting within the text.

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