24 February, 2024


Secular Fundamentalism In One-Eyed Overkill

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Because of such incidents as the Charlie Hebdo killings in January 2015 and the recent assaults in Paris in November 2015 those living in Western countries today are only too aware of the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists.[1] A tiny minority from within a specific strand of Islam known as Salafi has etched its fundamentalism within world consciousness.[2]

Ironically, but in fact meaningfully, the term “fundamentalism” took root in the English language from its Christian expressions in USA from the 1920s.[3] Such religious inspirations should not blind us to the existence of many forms of fundamentalist extremism, including those of a radical liberal kind. This is a tendentious claim.

It is for this reason, its tendentious character, that I pen this essay. The radical liberal strands of fundamentalism in the modern world are secular in leaning and constitute a fascinating field of study. My focus here is on a range of well-meaning enterprises: those marching forth to cleanse the world of “evil” in the form of carbon pollution, and smoke inhalation for instance;[4] and those pursuing – selectively in most instances — paedophiles, war criminals and sexual predators (e. g. Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Bill Cosby[5]).

I read these currents of exposure and judicial trial as a form of secular fundamentalism. Currents of self-righteous moralism and a black-and-white epistemology motivate and thread the work of the accusers, hunters and media reporters at the leading edge of such efforts. Their projects can often be worthy. Having seen the film version of a true story in Spotlight, which details how a team of journalists from the Boston Globe uncovered the systematic paedophile activities of frocked elements in the Catholic Church, activities that were then covered up in ways that meant a re-cycling of the miscreant priests, it is far from my intention to discard such endeavours wholesale.

However, my interest is in unpacking the motivating spirit of righteousness and its wider implications – including excess and blindness arising, as it seems to me, from that spirit itself.

For this reason, my opening illustration is a gambit extracted from a surprising arena — a gambit drawn from the cricket field, one arising from Australian umpire Ross Emerson’s recent resuscitation of the tale surrounding his no-balling of the star Sri Lankan bowler Muralitharan on 23rd January 1998. For the benefit of those unfamiliar with this moment let me stress that the story begins in 26th December 1995 when Muralitharan was first called for “throwing the ball” by Darrell Hair at the MCG in Melbourne.

Righteous Fundamentalism in the Field of Cricket

Emerson’s recent return (2016) to the public limelight has been through the good offices of a sports reporter named Simon King and includes explicit charges of racist prejudice towards the White cricketing nations on the part of the Black and Brown nations acting in cohort. Not surprisingly, there is a suggestion of White prejudice inscribed within Emerson’s outpourings – prejudice of the type that underpinned the Christian forms of fundamentalism in those localities in USA where the very concept “fundamentalism” originated.

But that is to digress. What I wish to stress is the force of righteousness directing and empowering those Australians in the cricket world who decided to no-ball Muralitharan as a beachhead in their campaign to clean cricket of those throwing the ball, that is “chucking” in disparaging Aussie parlance. The actions taken by Darrell Hair, Ross Emerson, Tony McQuillan and their backers behind the scenes from 1995-98 were not primarily directed by White racism.[6] They were concerned about the number of suspect bowling actions figuring in the cricket world, with many (e.g. Warnaweera, Dharmasena, Muralithran) happening to be from the Asian scene.

Since Australia was the kingpin in international cricket circles in the early 1990s, this coterie of Aussies took upon themselves the task of cleansing the green fields of cricket. In their earnest view, the evil of “chucking” had to be exorcised. They were determined to draw a line in the sand, so to speak, and sustain cricket in its pure form. That they chose to target Sri Lanka’s best bowler was, perhaps, no accident; but it was a secondary dimension within a righteous fundamentalist operation.[7]

The no-balling of Muralitharan by Darrell Hair at the MCG on the 26th December 1995 was a pre-planned act to which several influential figures in the Australian Cricket Board were privy.[8] Hair even broke with convention by executing this damning act from the unusual position of head-umpire.[9]

I was watching the match at the MCG that day and immediately explored the ideological circumstances leading to this intervention, a cause celebre if ever there was one. On returning to Adelaide I penned an essay in some anger on the 1st January 1996. It was entitled “Fundamentalism in Cricket: Crucifying Muralitharan.” Appearing initially in a Sri Lankan newspaper, this article is available in print in Roberts & James, Crosscurrents. Sri Lanka and Australia at Cricket, Sydney, Walla Walla Press, 1998, pp. 124-25.

That article attends to the ambiguities in the law on “throwing,” but attaches the greatest weight to Muralitharan’s peculiar anatomy in order to reach this conclusion: “Hair [and his backers] … have not attended to Muralitharan’s unique anatomy: a plasticine wrist and a 32 per cent deficiency at the elbow.[10] Their epistemology is based on either/or assumptions: every phenomenon is either black or white; there are no grey areas…. The Book reigns.” Today, in the light of subsequent developments in the cricket world in regard to bowling actions,[11] I reiterate this assessment, but place even greater weight on the righteous desire on the part of these scheming Australians[12] to eradicate what they considered to be a blight on cricket.

Human Rights Fundamentalism

A similar tendency towards excess has characterized the campaigns of the moral crusaders directing the liberal/radical human rights agencies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in their watch-dog interventions during the last stages of Eelam War IV. The readings of the Sri Lankan situation in the West were informed in part by the assessment of the causes for the Sinhala-Tamil divide that was particularly influenced by the outrageous pogrom directed against Tamils in July 1983. Thus, the liberal/radical currents of thinking in the West saw the Sri Lankan Tamils as victims of Sinhala chauvinism. This was an oversimplified part-truth[13] that continued to sway thinking in the 2000s despite changed circumtances.

This partiality dominated evaluations of Eelam War IV in the West despite the definitive evidence (for instance: Hoole 2001, Padraig Colman 2016) that Pirapaharan and the LTTE were a fascist regime and despite the LTTE’s repeated use of a ceasefire as a platform for refreshing itself before reviving its singular goal: namely, an independent state of Eelam (Thamilīlam).

There is good reason to surmise that USA and its allies were displeased by the extent to which the Sri Lankan government under Mahinda Rajapaksa leaned on China for loans and military gear from the year 2007 onwards.[14] This hostility was deepened when the dirty underground war that is integral to most warring contexts saw elements in GSL resorting to the killing and abduction of local journalists, with the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge in early January 2009 causing the greatest furore (Kurululasuriya 2013 & Roberts 2009).

Needless to say, the killing of Wickramatunga incensed journalists in many parts of the world and the Western media machines in particular, while consolidating the jaundiced evaluation of the Sinhala-dominated Rajapaksa regime already reposing in liberal/radical circles in the West – circles that embraced Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch as well as the International Crisis Group and the Greens Party in Australia.

The Wickramatunga killing occurred when Eelam War IV had reached a climactic moment and the LTTE war machine was in a bad way in early 2009 – having lost control of the arterial road A9 and been forced to abandon its administrative capital at Kilinochchi. Here, we must backtrack several months in order to gain some understanding of the evolving battle theatre and the LTTE’s grand strategy in defence – a strategy that included a highly effective propaganda campaign directed at winning over forces in the West.[15]

By late 2007 the LTTE had lost its rogue warehouse ships due to the enterprise of the SL Navy in the preceding year. So its means of replenishing munitions and weaponry was limited. This was further restricted in early 2008 when the Sri Lankan Army began a slow march forward along the western coast of the island that curtailed the LTTE’s supply chain from India. At this point, circa March-April 2008, the Tiger leadership encouraged the local population to move eastwards ahead of the slowly advancing GSL forces, while deploying bunds, ditches and mines to defend their territory and/or slow down the SL Army which outmanned and outgunned them.[16]

Thus, in mid-2008 the Tiger high command developed a grand propaganda strategy: they presented a picture of “an impending humanitarian catastrophe” – namely, mass civilian deaths. As the Tiger political leader Pulidevan told European friends: “just as in Kosovo if enough civilians died in Sri Lanka the world would be forced to step in” (Harrison 2012: 63). In other words, the Tamil citizens encased within their declining battle theatre served as a raison d’etre and bargaining tool for Western interventions that would keep the LTTE state afloat.[17]

This spectre of a “calamity” was not a fiction. But it was a situation, a context, which the LTTE had engineered. Thus, from mid-2008 the geo-political parametres of the war were of Tamil Tiger making. The people, in fact, were more than “human shields” or sandbags set up by the LTTE. In the context of declining terrain in their hands, the mass of people was a central defensive formation and a potential lifeline.

The LTTE propaganda machinery abroad was extensive and now had the support of many Tamils who were not necessarily Tiger supporters, but were deeply agitated by the fate that could befall friends and relatives trapped in the declining space of LTTE territory.[18] The LTTE command in Lanka deployed the medical doctors and Tamil functionaries in INGO and NGO agencies working among the Tamil people to circulate reports of increasing deaths, injuries and malnutrition among the three lakhs of people that the LTTE had corralled within their declining territory.[19] These reports, crafted by the LTTE, were part-truth, part-exaggeration and part wholesale fabrication.

This reportage was massively and widely effective — providing grist for the picture of “impending catastrophe.” The impact of Western media coverage was sharpened by the partialities of key media personnel. Marie Colvin, the intrepid American war reporter attached to The Times of London, was nothing less than a Tiger voice. She had been injured on 16th April 2001 when returning to government controlled territory after slipping into Thamilīlam and securing a journalistic coup through interviews with the Tiger political commissars. She peddled some lies on that occasion about the circumstances of her injury (Roberts, “Truth Journalism,” 2014). Now, in 2009, she regurgitated the tales conveyed by TamilNet or calls from her friends in LTTE territory as ‘definitive’ news items to an audience which may conceivably have believed that she was reporting from the front.[20] In Colombo Ravi Nessman, the Bureau Chief for Associated Press, was driven by considerable animus towards the GSL.[21] He also seems to have interacted closely with the Media Officer attached to the UN, one Gordon Weiss. In early May 2009 Weiss went on air in an Associated Press report to arouse alarm bells about the “bloodbath” that was on the cards in the coastal stub remaining under LTTE control. [22]

In sum, while some facets of the Sri Lankan government’s bad press in the West were of the government’s own making, the Tiger and Sri Lankan Tamil campaign was overwhelming in its force and success. This does not mean that its claims were valid, either in whole or in all of its parts. The dubious and fake dimensions of the Channel 4 ‘documentaries’ constitute one arena for serious questioning,[23] but that knotty issue is not my focus here. My interest is in the manner in which self-righteous and seemingly ethical organisations have consistently by-passed empirical data and arguments that undermine several of their conclusions. Such prima facie evidence of blatant dishonesty should normally result in their denunciations being disqualified – in cricketing terms their specific acts of ‘bowling’ should be debarred as “wide,” “no-ball” or “throw.” This has not occurred. Such an outcome highlights inequalities of power in the media world as well as the world’s institutional configurations.

Nevertheless, let me conclude with a picture of this potential Achilles heel.

An Achilles Heel? Empirical Distortions and Outright Blindness

The UN in Sri Lanka had set up a “Crisis Operations Group” and one can assume that Gordon Weiss was a key figure in this work. This team “estimated a total figure of 7,721 killed and 18,479 injured from August 2008 up to 13 May 2009, after which it became too difficult to count.”[24] Then, after the fighting ended on the 19th May, the various aid agencies in Sri Lanka acted in concert to make a rough count of the wounded civilians in camps and hospitals in late June: a “preliminary calculation [showed] 15,000-20,000 wounded civilians, including roughly 200 children with amputatiions” (Weiss, The Cage, 2011, pp. 320-21). This was an important initiative.

It is a universal outcome among armies at war that their wounded outnumber the dead, sometimes resting at seven wounded to one dead, but varying according to circumstances. A comparative studies of casualty ratios in wars from 1940 to 1988 in the British Medical Journal in 1999 showed that the “number of people wounded is at least twice the number killed and may be 13 times as high” depending on the conflict type, weapons used and other factors (Mango 2013). At the Gallipoli Peninsula in 2015/16, however, 8,709 Australians were killed (KIA) and 19,441 were wounded (WIA). So the ratio of Australian wounded to dead was 2.23.

The Tamil people and Tiger personnel[25] were locked within a restricted space-cum-battle-theatre in the north eastern corner of Lanka that was not unlike the compacted Gallipoli Peninsula between the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles. The compilation of the numbers with wounds in May-June 2009 by aid agencies therefore suggests that the death toll of Tamils (including some Tigers as well as civilian conscripts in the category “belligerents”) would have been around 9,000-10,000. This figure is in step with the guesswork computation of 10-15,000 dead for both Tigers and civilians together that has been provided by the grounded reasoning of Narendran Rajasingham.[26] The computations of Citizen Silva, however, are higher: reckoning that as many as 18,000 civilians died from crossfire, shellfire and Tiger killings of people escaping (IDAG 2013). The latter figure does not sit comfortably alongside the compilations of the aid agencies in mid-2009 because it amounts to one/one ratio for KIA/WIA if we deploy the aid-agency figures for wounded.

Gordon Weiss in the meanwhile seems to have completely forgotten the aid-agency computation. Having resigned from the UN and returned to his native Australia, he hit the limelight in media and human rights circles. He commented on Sri Lankan affairs on TV for ABC on occasions, starred in launches of The Cage (2011a) and had a speaking spot at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival. His representation of the Sri Lankan war as the island’s “Srebenica Moment,” needless to say, was a sensational news headline (2011b).

Weiss was also recruited to a team of five by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Sydney in 2013/1114 to draw up a report on the Sri Lankan war, with the other four members being John Ralston, Professor Paola Gaeta, Professor William Schabas and Col. (Retired) Desmond Travers.[27] This committee’s report appeared in February 2014 as Island of Impunity? Investigation into International Crimes in the Final Stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War and served as the foundation[28] for a hard-hitting condemnation of the Sri Lankan government in a Senate speech by Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens. In tune with the report, Milne took the moral high ground.

However, two of her condemnatory claims were wholly fictitious and others carried some exaggeration. I have indicated these errors elsewhere, while birching Milne for “a blatant neglect of context” in her summary analysis of the events (Roberts 2016). What calls for emphasis here are two outstanding facts that Milne and PIAC team conveniently dowplayed: namely, (A) that the SL Armed Services operations in the five months of 2009 enabled some 295,000 civilians and Tigers (deserters and captives) to survive; and (B) the computation for injured civilians and Tigers worked out by aid agencies in Lanka and recorded by Weiss himself (stressed above).

The erasure of the latter is particularly astounding because of its occurrence in Australia. The Gallipoli campaign is etched in stone in the Australian firmament. The high casualty figures at Gallipoli and the fact that the wounded outnumbered the dead by two to one would also be widely known. So, one can raise more than an eyebrow in asking how this cohort of intellectuals bypassed the implications of the Gallipoli lessons of war for the death toll statistics on Sri Lanka they borrowed from the slipshod work of the UN Panel of Experts.

When a body of intelligent people pursuing an ethical course with fervour indulge in such blunders one is confronted with a puzzle.

The Puzzle

One’s resolution of this puzzle must necessarily be conjecture. We are dealing here with people of righteousness in powerful positions in the international firmament. That is why I commenced this analysis with the tale of Aussie men of power setting out in the mid-1990s to cleanse the world of cricket by erasing “chuckers” from the game. A sense of ethical rectitude blinded Simpson, Merriman, Hair, Emerson and company in 1995-98: they could not see that premeditated umpiring decisions prompted from committee rooms in conspiratorial manner were quite contrary to cricketing ethics and match-rules. In their righteous certitude from a position of power in the international cricket circuit, Muralitharan had to be thrown out to protect cricket from the evil of chucking.

Likewise, then, the human rights advocates of PIAC joined their brethren abroad in condemning the Sri Lankan government – with some secondary attention to the LTTE. They adopted dual roles as prosecuting agencies and judicial courts – a procedure that is quite opposed to natural justice and built on a conflict of interest. They stood figuratively on Mount Sinai in biblical vestments, quite blind to the empirical data and contextual circumstances that demand amendments in their evaluations. Like, but yet unlike, the religious fanatics of today, secular fundamentalists, it seems, can dictate and denounce in a one-eyed manner. There are none so blind as people of fervour who see only one horizon.

[1] See CSP, I November 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OfAJABOhxI

[2] See Roxanne Euben, Enemy in the Mirror, 1991; Abdul-Haqq Baker, Extremists in Our Midst: Confronting Terror, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011 and Roel Meijer, Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement. Columbia University Press. 2009, p. 34. ISBN 978-0-231-15420-8.

3 Note Susan Harding, “Representing Fundamentalism,” 1991.

[4] They seem to studiously ignore the excessive consumption of alcohol whether wine, whisky or beer. I do not think that anyone has demanded an end of the Bier Fest at Munchen or the wine festivals along the Rhine and the Moselle.

[5] See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/jimmy-savile-a-report-that-reveals-54-years-of-abuse-by-the-man-who-groomed-the-nation-8447146.html and http://www.etonline.com/news/154160_timeline_of_bill_cosby_sexual_assault_allegations/

[6] But, in surmise, I suspect that there was a thread of “Orientalism” among the conspirators in positions of power Orientalism refers to a body of thinking in educated western circles which sees people and places beyond the West (whether Nauru, PNG or India for instance) as less moral. less clean and less safe.

[7] Roberts, “Controversies,” and “Fundamentalism,” in Crosscurrents, 1998.

[8] Quintus de Zylva 2014. As I noted in my initial essays, Tim Lane on ABC Radio indicated that early that day he had been told that something would happen; while Graeme Halbisch (the ACB CEO told Owen Mottau – both being buddies from the Prahran CC – that a storm would break while the two were travelling to the MCG by car that 26th morning. Other grapevine reports (always problematic such tales) claim that a senior Aussie in the management (one can guess who) was seen in deep conversation with Hair previous to the match.

[9] A Head Umpire cannot watch where the bowler’s foot lands (to assess whether the delivery is a no-ball or not) and evaluate the bowling arm-action at the same time. Previous to this moment all umpiring calls for throwing the ball had come from the Square-Leg Umpire. Listen to the TV commentary at this moment: Tony Greig was quite puzzled as to what Hair was doing when the first no-ball call occurred.

[10] This note is based on a medical examination of Muralitharan in Melbourne that was carried out by Dr. Buddy Reid (a former Ceylon Cricketer) as reported in The Age. For subsequent studies, see the diagrams and images presented as figs. 24a, b and c; 25a and 25b and 28a, b and c in Roberts, Incursions, 2011 in association with my article “Saving Murali,” in that book. These illustrations point to the work done (separately) by a University of Western Australia team led by Dr. Bruce Elliot, that of Dr Ravindra Goonetileke at the University of Hong Kong and Dr Mandheep Dillon (an Indian) in Colombo.

[11] See Kamran Abbasi 2006; Peter Roebuck 2006 and Roberts, “Saving Murali,” 2011.

[12] More recently Quintus de Zylva has explicitly highlighted the Australian Cricket Board’s complicity in the whole enterprise. (see de Zylva 2014).

[13] The sharpening of the political conflict between 1948 and 1983 was due to a multiplicity of factors and included a structural cause associated with the demographic distribution in the context of an electoral system based on a first-past-the-post scheme (Roberts 1978). Again, the LTTE’s elimination of Tamil rivals in the 1980s and its policies towards the Muslims in the north and east were only the tip of an iceberg embodying its fascist character.

[14] The New York Times admitted this recently: “Mr. Sirisena … he has righted the Rajapaksa government’s tilt toward China, taking a balanced approach to Sri Lanka’s foreign relations that includes warmer relations with India and the United States” (NYT 2016).

[15] See Roberts, “Realities,” 2015 and “BBC Blind” 2013 in particular from the many essays on this theme.

[16] See the pictorial history in Roberts, Tamil Person and State. Pictorial, 2014.

[17] See Roberts, “Blackmail,” 2014 and “Realities,” 2015.

[18] See WSWS 2009 and Roberts, “One-Eyed Zealousness,” 2015.

[19] These reports were by satellite phone or in TamilNet. Embassy and NGO personnel as well as individuals in Colombo were also receiving tales from both Tiger sources and civilians in the embattled arena.

[20] Tammita-Delgoda 2014a and Roberts, “Truth Journalism,” 2014.

[21] Muralidhar Reddy: see his viewpoints and information on this in Roberts, Tamil Person, Pictorial, p. 13. Also see Roberts, “Ravi Nessman’s Slanted Story,” 31 Jan. 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-war-in-sri-lanka-ravi-nessmans-slanted-story-for-usa-on-the-tavis-smiley-show-18-february-200/

[22] See US Embassy Despatch 514 of 11 May 2009 which reports that GSL authorities were threatening to remove Weiss’s accreditation. Both Nessman and Weiss are of Jewish lineage and may have seen the Tamils as victims in the same situation as the Jews in the recent European past.

[23] See Siri Hewavitharana 2011a and 2011b. Also see IDAG 2013, Kath Noble 2013 and Ambassador Amza’s criticism of Channel 4 for “tampering” with the evidence provided by witnesses — http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=22675

[24] Quotation from the UNPoE report in The Island, “the Question of Civilian Deaths,” 27 April 2011, http://www.island.lk/index.php?code_title=23248&page=article-details&page_cat=article-details

[25] Several Tiger fighters were not wearing fatigues.

[26] Roberts, “Tamil Death Toll,” 2011 and Rajasingham 2011 “Harsh Ground Realities in War: Decomposing Bodies and Missing Persons and Soldiers,” 28 November 2011, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/11702/

[27] The ICEP report adds this: “ICEP has also benefited from the input of advisors, all similarly respected for their expertise in international criminal justice.”

[28] Also see PIAC 2014 at http://www.piac.asn.au/news/2014/02/new-evidence-war-crimes-sri-lankan-civil-war.


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Roberts, M. 2012 “Blackmail during the Endgame in Eelam War IV,” 12 April 2012, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/blackmail-during-the-endgame-in-eelam-war-iv/
Roberts, M. 2012 “Inspirations: Hero Figures and Hitler in Young Pirapaharnan’s Thinking,” Colombo Telegraph, 12 February 2012, rep. in TPS. Essays, 2014: 69-89.
Roberts, M. 2013 “BBC-Blind: Misreading the Tamil Tiger Strategy of International Blackmail, 2008-13,” https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/bbc-blind-misreading-the-tamil-tiger-strategy-of-international-blackmail-2008-13/#more-11221
Roberts, M. 2011 “Saving Murali: Action On-field and Off-field, 1995-2005,” in Roberts, Incursions & Excursions in and around Sri Lankan Cricket, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2011, pp.111-38.
Roberts, M. 2011 “People of Righteousness march on Sri Lanka,” The Island, 22 June 2011 and https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/people-of-righteousness-target-sri-lanka/
Roberts, M. 2011b “Amnesty International reveals its Flawed Tunnel-Vision in Sri Lanka in 2009,” 10 Aug. 2011, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/amnesty-international-reveals-its-flawed-tunnel-vision-on-sri-lanka-in-2009/
Roberts, M. 2011 “The Tamil Death Toll in early 2009: Challenging Rohan Gunaratna,” 1 December 2011, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/the -tamil-death-toll-in-early-2009-challenging-rohan-gunaratna/
Roberts, M. 2013 “Congestion in the “Vanni Pocket” January-May 2009: Appendix IV for “BBC Blind,” https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/congestion-in-the-vanni-pocket-january-may-2009- appendix-iv-for-bbc-blind/
Roberts, M. 2013 “Estimates of the Tamil Civilian Death Toll during the Last Phase of Eelam War IV in 2009: Appendix I for “BBC Blind”, 8 December 2013, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11226&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2
Roberts, M. 2014 “The War in Sri Lanka: Ravi Nessman’s Slanted Story for USA on the Tavis Smiley Show, 18 February 2009,” 31 January 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-war-in-sri-lanka-ravi-nessmans-slanted-story-for-usa-on-the-tavis-smiley-show-18-february-200/
Roberts, M. 2014 “Generating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels,” 10 April 2014, http://groundviews.org/2014/04/10/generating-calamity-2008-2014-an-overview-of-tamil-nationalist-operations-and-their-marvels/
Roberts, Michael 2014 “‘Beheading’ Murali,” 3 October 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/beheading-murali/
Roberts, M. 2014 “The Induction Oath of Tamil Tiger Fighters at their Passing Out Ceremony,” 23 June 1014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/the-induction-oath-of-tamil-tiger-fighters-at-their-passing-out-ceremony/
Roberts, M. 2014 “Truth Journalism? Marie Colvin hoist on her own Petard,” 5 November 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/triuth-journalism-marie-colvin-hoist-on-her-own-petard/
Roberts, M. 2014 Tamil Person and State. Essays, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publishers.
Roberts, M. 2014 Tamil Person and State. Pictorial, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publishers.
Roberts, M. 2015 “Targeting Sri Lanka by playing ball with Tamil Extremism,” 24 July 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=17127&action=edit&postpost=v2
Roberts, M. 2015 “The Realities of Eelam War IV,” 27 October 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-realities-of-eelam-war-iv/
Roberts, M. 2015 “Ambassador Blake in Never-Never-Land: Misreading LTTE Capacity in Early 2009,” 26 August 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/ambassador-blake-in-never-never-land-misreading-ltte-capacity-in-early-2009/
Roberts, M. 2015 “American Action and Inaction in Sri Lanka,2008/09: A Critical Evaluation,” 15 September 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/robert-blake-on-u-s-perspectives-on-sri-lanka-at-chennai-24-october-2008/#more-17684
Roberts, M. 2015 “A Drama in Four Acts: A Drama in Four Acts: Dishonest Reportage by Amnesty International and Aussie Journalists remains Unmasked,” 2 September 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=17560&action=edit&postpost=v2
Roberts, M. 2015 “One-Eyed Zealousness: Extremist Australians For and Against the Tamil Cause in Lanka,” 1 October 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/one-eyed-zealousness-extremist-australians-for-and-against-the-tamil-cause-in-lanka/
Roberts, M. 2016 “Crunched In-Between the Sinha-Le Activists and the Self-Righteous International Cabal,” 9 February 2016, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/crunched-in-between-the-sinha-le-activists-and-the-self-righteous-international-cabal/
Roebuck, Peter 2006 “Secret filming reveals Extent of Bowlers who Chuck,” in M. Roberts, Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo: Vijtha Yapa Publications, pp. 321-23.
SMH 2009 “Tamils protest outside Kiribilli House,” 27 April 2009, http://www.smh.com.au//breaking-news-national/tamils-protest-outside-kirribilli-house-20090427-aknf.html
Tamil Guardian 2009 “Diaspora Tamils protest, fast in increasing numbers; call for ceasefire,” 15 April 2009, http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=2281.
Tammita-Delgoda, S. 2009 “Sri Lanka: The Last Phase in Eelam War IV. From Chundikulam to Pudukulam,” New Delhi: Centre for Land Warfare, Manekshaw Paper No. 13, http://www.claws.in/administrator/uploaded_files/1274263403MP%2022.pdf
Tammita-Delgoda, S. 2014a “Reading Between the Lines in April 2009: Tammita-Delgoda takes apart Marie Colvin’s jaundiced propaganda article in British newspaper,” 26 September 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/rading-between-the-lines-in-april-2009-tammita-delgoda-takes-apart-marie-colvins-jaundiced-propanda-article-in-british-newspaper/
Tammita-Delgoda, S. 2014b “Crossing the Lines: Tamils Escapees from the Last Redoubt meet the Army,” 21 September 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wpadmin/post. php?post=13751&action  =edit&message=6&postpost=v2
Thuppahi 2012 “Government Census on War Deaths in 2009: Two Reports,” 26 February 2012 https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/government-census-on-war-deaths-in-2009-two-reports/
UN PoE 2011 Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts report on Accountability in Sri Lanka, March 2011….http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/ POE_Report_Full.pdf.
UTHR 2009 A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Meaning, Special Report No. 32. http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm
UTHR 2009 Let Them Speak: Truth about Sri Lanka’s Victims of War. Special Report No. 34, http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/Special%20rep34/Uthr-sp.rp34.htm.
Weiss, Gordon 2011a The Cage, Sydney: Picador.
Weiss, Gordon 2011b “Sri Lanka faces its ‘Srebrenica moment’,” The Australian, 23 April 2011, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/sri-lanka-faces-its-srebrenica-moment/story-e6frg6ux-1226043466322.
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Latest comments

  • 2

    Agree, the same concept need to be applied when pointing fingers at the dead LTTE.
    For even the fascist needs a conducive environment.
    It’s not that we are great and they are evil.
    Something never grows from nothing.
    Have you heard the sound of one-hand clapping?

    In SL’s case, Mahinda preferred to play the ‘Victim’ chordto the timing of his ‘Yes-Men’ band, playing the ‘Foreign Conspiracy’ tune, rather than letting the statistics bring us to the promised land.

    His ambitions put us in a big mess.

  • 1

    It is really not righteousness but smug self-righteousness that motivates and blinds these people.

  • 5

    The Tamil/Tiger/LTTE lobbies around the world don’t address any serious issues such as what Michael Roberts have outlined in his articles.

    Institutions such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Green Party in Australia etc and individuals such as Gordon Weiss, Christine Milne, Arundathi Roy and other weepers of the “Tamil Cause” never take on a scholar and a researcher like Roberts.

    Why? Because they have no answers and they only mouth what has been fed to them by Eelam lobbyists.

    It is the same if one were to ask the BIG QUESTION:


    Professor Roberts:

    There is a vast amount of material relating to Tamil Propaganda that needs to be researched, documented and publicized. There is a huge story to be told as to how the Tamil Eelam activists infiltrated the Media, political parties, Human Rights organizations, the church and other organizations in Western countries with the sole aim of spreading lies and half truths in support of their political objectives.

    • 3

      Ken Dharmapala

      “There is a vast amount of material relating to Tamil Propaganda that needs to be researched, documented and publicized.”

      There has been huge amount of Sinhala/Buddhist stupidity,
      self- destruction, hypocrisy, paranoia, bigotry, racism, corruption, nepotism, war crimes, habit of blaming the victims, confusion, …………. which are self evident, need no research, documentation nor publicity.

      It need fixing.

      They also need to deal with their 450 years of colonial anger.

      Will you consider doing something about it.

      • 2

        Agree totally.

        But that is a separate issue and which needs addressing. However, one cannot mask what Michael Roberts have mentioned, and I have mentioned in the comments, by asking another rhetorical question.

        I repeat:


        It is only if the Tamil community articulates these grievances in simple language, in point form, that the rest of the Sri Lankans would see what needs to be done to rectify them.

    • 3

      Ken Dharmapala

      One more important matter that needs urgent fixing is, the liberation of Buddhism from Sinhala/Buddhists.

      • 3

        Agreed in total here too.

        But don’t mistake Buddhism with “Sinhala-Buddhism”. The latter is a racist ethno-nationalist cult, an abomination of Buddhism, and not unlike that of the purveyors of Eelam ideology.

  • 2

    Dr. Michael Roberts

    There is another interesting research project – a comparison of the Zionist movement (including the International Jewish Lobby) and the Tamil Eelam Lobby. Some of the strategies of the two are very similar. It would be an interesting study for a PhD dissertation.

  • 0


    Oh Ken,
    Go, ask the women who lost their husbands.
    Go, ask the children who lost their parents.
    Go, ask the mothers looking for their children.
    Go, ask the peasants who cannot return to their fields.
    Go, ask the fishers who cannot got out to sea.
    Go, ask the people who cannot return home.
    Go, ask the families awaiting the release of the unjustly detained.
    Go ask across this land, across the seas
    to the North, to the West, to the East, to the South.
    They may not answer but may show you just the tip of an iceberg.

    Had the question been asked a half century ago in all earnest,
    you would have had a simpler answer then
    and hopefully your desired answer in the negative now.

    • 1

      Mr Sekera:

      These are all administrative and operational issues. Yes, these are serious issues that needs rectification. But these are not the “grievances” one would cite as requiring “devolution”.

      * When the “Sinhala Only” bill was enacted, yes, there was a justifiable grievance of Tamils being disadvantaged because of their language.

      * When university admissions were “standardized”, yes, there was a grievance of current Tamil students being disadvantaged for historic reasons.

      These are just two examples of what could be termed as “legislated” issues leading to genuine grievances. What you have listed are matters that have no legislated background but have come to pass due to deficiencies of administration.

      I’ll tell you what is the main grievance of Tamils. Ever since Independence, Tamils were not treated, in a responsive and qualitative sense, as equal citizens of the country. Although there was equality, to an extent in quantitative terms, qualitatively there were serious deficiencies. The pride of place was given to Sinhala-Buddhists. In fact, the term “Sri Lanka” was made synonymous with “Sinhala-Buddhists”. Sri Lanka’s culture, be it language, religion, history, art & architecture, etc were all about Sinhala-Buddhist and that of the Mahawamsa ideology. Tamils and Muslims were made to feel, not deliberately, as late comers and second-class.

      A Tamil going out into the world and claiming “I am a Sri Lankan” did not ring true, because the dominant culture in the country was Sinhala-Buddhist.

      This was made worse by constitutional changes of 1972 and 1978.

      Thus the “GRIEVANCE” is that lack of recognition. Only way that could be rectified is by devolution of power to a geographic region where Tamil Culture and Identity can be fostered – in short, a kind of Eelam.

      Successive Sinhala and Tamil leaders failed to identify the true grievance of the Tamil people. For decades the Tamil political leadership talked of “discrimination”. Which was true, at certain times, but as successive governments rectified these, the claim of “discrimination” turned to “grievances”, although no one really articulated it well. Nevertheless the sense of grievance remained.

      I do not believe “devolution” will ever solve the underlying dissatisfaction and the undeclared enmity between the two people. Devolution will only make it worse for all people and that it will only reinforce the separate identities and cultures forever. To be sure, there may be a temporary euphoria among the Tamils if a devolved North-East come to fruition. But it will not be a lasting solution. If one were to read history, for example that of Serbia, one would see how these things go on and on beneath a peaceful facade only to erupt in violent upheavals, even if it is centuries later.

      Ideally, if we had enlightened political leadership, what would have worked is reinforcing the “Sri Lankan” identity and diluting the Sinhala and Tamil identities. It should have happened 60 years ago. Now, it may be too late, but still worth a try if both Sinhala and Tamil political leaders have more concern for the future of the country and its future generations than attempting to advance their narrow personal political futures.

      Ranil Wickramasinghe, perhaps, have the vision; may be Maitripala Sirisena too, to a lesser extent. But certainly not Mahinda Rajapakse, who has no sense of history or that of destiny. Same negatives are true of Chief Minister Wignasewaran.

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