Michael Roberts,reprinting here an article which appeared initially in November 2007 as Working Paper No. 32 November 2007 in the Heidelberg Papers on South Asian Politics … ISSN: 1617-5069 …. edited by Subrata Mitra. Insofar as this essay is being reproduced in 2020, I cannot overstress the point at which it appeared in the public realm — in 2007 well before the LTTE was defeated… [noting that, with the exception of the emblematic Picture at the start, all other illustrations appeared in the Heidelberg publication. These pictorial scenes, I stress now in 2020, are valuable data in themselves].
No study of the LTTE can afford to neglect Sri Lanka’s cultural, historical, and geographical backdrop, The lack of existential awareness of religious cross-fertilisation, the either/or foundations of Western reasoning and the absence of local knowledge bedevil the scholarship that incorporates Sri Lanka within the global surveys of suicide attacks. Pape’s Dying to Win is an example. Here, in Pape’s article, the LTTE’s multi-pronged capacities are poorly evaluated. Too much significance is attributed to the coercive success of SMs in bringing the government to the negotiating table at various moments. Religious persecution has not been the main reason for the Tamil struggle. Comparative references to SMs elsewhere are occasionally interspersed in this review of the Sri Lankan scene.
My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.
In following up on my article clarifying the context of a Letter sent by my sister Norah Roberts in April 1995, I am saying “Mea Culpa, Norah, I did not realise what a repository of knowledge on Sri Lankan society you were during your lifetime. Neither did I recognise your commitment to this land and its people.”
Yesterday (29/07/20) in the House of Lords, Lord Naseby spoke in the debate on Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020: “My Lords, I have no problem at all with the financial aspects of this SI. I think there is a big challenge with individuals and human rights; I remember Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Assad, all of whose communities we interfered in at huge human cost to those communities. I want to focus, though, sadly, on the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers—LTTE—which we proscribed in 2001. It was succeeded by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam—TGTE—itself proscribed in Sri Lanka. It is staffed and organised by former LTTE people and yesterday it started a legal action in the courts here in the UK to lift the proscription on the Tamil Tigers.
Madapatha Uditha, in The Island, 17/18 June 2020, with this title “Searching for Irangani” …. while highlighting is an imposition from The Editor, Thuppahi
Irangani Serasinghe turned 93 on Tuesday, June 9
If the reputations of actors can be compared to shares in a company, there’s no doubt that Irangani Serasinghe’s has always been oversubscribed: public interest in her career in not just the cinema and television, but also the theatre, has never been matched by an adequate level of quality in coverage by the media. There’s never been a shortage of articles, of course, and Kumar de Silva’s sketchy yet comprehensive portrait of her does establish the links between several aspects of her life and family and the career she eventually chose.
Let me begin with the closing statement voiced by Kumar Sangakkara in his Cowdrey Lecture at the MCC in 2011: “My loyalty will be to the ordinary Sri Lankan fan, their twenty million hearts beating collectively. They are my foundation. They are my family. I will play cricket for them….. With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim, Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am, today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan.” Continue reading →
Jane Russell ... with highlights imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi
These are the scratched graffiti of Sinhalese soldiers and policemen abandoned by their government . They are uncertain of their future. Some believe they will be airlifted to safety. Others have realised that they are about to be overrun by Tamil Tigers camped outside the perimeter walls of the Fort in Jaffna which they have been tasked to defend, and that no-one will come to save them. Whatever their hopes and fears, they are all doomed to die. These graffiti are etched into the rock walls of the entrance to the Dutch built Fort (photo top right). They were carved not so long ago. 1991, 29 years, just a generation since.Continue reading →
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.