15 July, 2024


Sri Lanka’s Deep Divisions: A Visiting Burgher’s Insights

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Email Note from Bill Deutrom-in Lanka to Michael Roberts, 8 Dec 2018

Thank you, Michael for your amazing collection of articles on the Eelam War and its aftermath as well as the present political impasse. Alas, they will not convince people who have already made up their mind based on emotion, ethnicity or with a hatred for Rajapaksa.

Meeting Bill in 1998 …  and Then …

Bill Deutrom lives and works in Brisbane, Queensland, but happened to be in Sri Lanka on a work-related visit for several months when he penned these incisive lines to me. Bill is an old acquaintance, but our interactions have been intermittent. I got to know him initially in 1998 when Thilanga Sumathipala, then President of the BCCSL, assembled personnel from the main Australian cities in Melbourne in order to mount a protective screen for the SL cricket team during their Australian tour. I represented the Adelaide Friends of SL Cricket and shared a hotel room with Tilak Chandratilleka from Perth. Bill Deutrom represented Brisbane.

Bill and I maintained contact on cricket matters for a while, but then lost touch. It was when I sat down with a buddy, Justin Labrooy, watching the Indians play Australia at Adelaide Oval on Friday the 7thDecember that I learnt that Justin and Bill had been neighbours in Colombo in the 1940s/50s and was prompted to send an email to Bill with assorted ‘fare’ (some articles on cricket politics and SL politics).

Lo and Behold! Bill was not in Brisbane. He was at work in Lanka in his capacity as the President of the Sri Lanka Federation of Organisations Queensland participating in the supply of RO machines[1]that purify water to 100 villages in the North Central Province – a venture directed towards reducing kidney disease. From this vantage point he has been watching the island’s present constitutional/political imbroglio unfold. In my assessment Bill Deutrom has provided us with a concise and clinical evaluation of the complex DIVIDE in Sri Lanka that pits a combination of elements favouring the UNP combo around Ranil, Karu et alagainst a motley collection around Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

This confrontation is not merely a political one, but a field in which so-called legal ‘experts’ and political scientists have provided starkly opposed interpretations of the existing constitution in the form taken after the 19thAmendment of 2015 – a document that seems to be so long and so complex[2]that it is full of ‘landmines’ that shatter the verbiage of these ‘experts’ (e.g. Suri Ratnapala, Nihal Jayawickrema et al[3]).

These opposed interpretations of the Constitution, it is now clear, have been mostly directed by hard-line political positions. Those slashing the constitutionality of the Sirisena intervention are not confined to pro-UNP party stalwarts such as Sharmini Serasinghe and Shyamon Jayasinghe.[4]They include (A) those liberals committed to civil liberty and democracy (e.g. Asanga Welikala, Suri Ratnapala. SWR de Samarasinghe); (B) Marxist radicals such as Jayadeva Uyangoda (whose passionate and personalized tale[5]is a must-read); and (C) journalists who cannot forgive the Rajapaksa administration for their hand in the white-van phenomenon of the years 2008/09 and the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunga in particular.

Indeed, in my ethnographic experience the figure and face of Mahinda Rajapaksa generates apoplexy and emotional repulsiveness in the minds of several Sinhalese personnel, both men and women. Indeed, this reaction is immediately etched within their faces. It is a visceral reaction. Bill Deutrom has spotted this type of positioning on both sides whether in body posture, visage, speech or written text.

Let me elaborate on the incisive sharpness contained within Bill’s reading by providing ethnographic data of my own and setting the scene by travelling back in time to the 1990s.This journey, I warn you, includes a measure of conjecture as well as accounts of my personal engagements with the political struggles in Sri Lanka — including the efforts to forge a political via media launched by Godfrey Gunatilleka and the Marga Institute in the period 2000-2002.

At that point, in the late 1990s, I was teaching at the Department of Anthropology and heavily engaged in the study of “nationalisms” (note the plural) in Sri Lanka.[6]I was among the peaceniks of various political shades who were hopeful of working out a via media with the LTTE that would restore peace and enable the island-country to move forward in ways that satisfied Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim aspirations.I was therefore partial to the efforts being pursued by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, supported by my friend Neelan Tiruchelvam among others, to fashion a form of devolution that would garner Tamil nationalist favour.

I recall seeing the documentary film TIGERS AT THE GATEmoulded by Mark Corcoran of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation which was aired in June 1999, but I clearly did not ingest its frontispiece message (noted below). My chief recollection now about this video documentary is an appreciative amazement at the impressively brave views expressed by the psychiatrist Daya Somasundaram,[7]speaking in forthright manner from his position in Jaffna town then in 1999.

In the years 2000-01 I participated in the several round-table gatherings of scholars marshalled by the Marga Institute in Colombo on the topic entitled “A History of Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: Recollection, Reinterpretation and Reconciliation.” Godfrey Gunatilleka and Devanesan Nesiah were the key drivers of this programme, with the first gathering held at a hotel in Bentota and the rest in Colombo at the Marga building. While my own research work benefited from these encounters, my recollections of the specific exchanges are, alas, spotty and dim.

The general thrust of this Marga project, however, was towards seeking a via media at our academic level in the hope that we could foster a political détente of some sorts. It follows that we were in support of the cessation of war and the ceasefire that came into force in early 2002and the various peace talks involving Norwegian sponsorship in the years that followed.

So, I was a “peacenik” …. THEN.

By the end of December 2004 that position changed towards a more realistic appraisal. Two turning points in this re-appraisal can be marked. One was a cogent point presented by Dayan Jayatilleka in one of his many articles on the politics of the day.Dayan stressed that it was impossible to work a federal scheme in which one of the provincial units possessed an army and a navy.Touche, so to speak.

Alas, I cannot recall when this article entered my consciousness and where precisely it entered the public domain.[8] It set me thinking. That reading was consolidated when I flew to the Jaffna Peninsula on the 22ndNovember 2004 and spent four days in the Peninsula before traveling to Kilinochchi by road on the 26thin the company of two Canadian friends in ordder to observe the huge gathering paying homage to the LTTE dead at Kanagapuram Thuyilumilam on Saturday the 27thNovember 2004  ..… and then returning to Jaffna on the Sunday or Monday. That tale is now in the process of being written up as detailed story. For our purposes here the pertinent and devastating conclusion that arose from that visit was that it became crystal clear to me that the LTTE was gearing up for the renewal of war.

The first indications on these lines came from the feistiness and eagerness to take on the Sri Lankan government displayed by two English-speaking health officials in Kilinochchi with whom we (myself and the two Canadian Tamils) conversed over dinner one evening in the course of extended interaction during the course of that day; and a similar attitude displayed by Thiru Master, a senior LTTE official who taught English to the cadres and was one of the VIP speakers at the opening of the LTTE’s Media Centre on Friday 26thNovember. I took the trouble to visit Thiru Master at his home for a convivial chat with him and his wife –an amiability that was discarded when it came to references about the government in Colombo.

Those experiences were mere pointers. The clinching evidence arrived in December from one of my Canadian friends who had introduced me to “Ramesh,” the Head of the LTTE Propaganda Wing, at his official HQ in Kilinochchi on Sunday the 28thNovember. Writing from Kilinochchi in early December, he informed me that Ramesh had moved to Mullaitivu, the Tiger stronghold and HQ, “in order to prepare for war.”

So, the renewal of war was a foregone conclusion. The impact of the tsunami of 26thDecember 2004 on the Sea Tiger forces and the Tamil coastal regions delayed the LTTE’s capacities and thus their move to war. They did not move to war till August 2006 at Mavil Aru.

In summary, then, that trip to the north decimated my naïve peacenik inclinations.

When war commenced in mid-2006, I had no insights as to how the outcome would turn out. I was wholly ignorant about the reforms within the SL Army and the SL Navy which were transforming their fighting capabilities. My focus in the period 2004-09 was that which had taken me to the Tamil north in the first place: namely, the dissection of the patriotic commitment displayed by the Tamil nationalists serving the LTTE – a depth of devotion that induced many of them to participate as low-cost precision weapons in suicide attacks, or to swallow kuppi(cyanide capsules) to avoid capture that would potentially yield information to the enemy. “Sacrificial devotion” was at the centre of my researches.

When, therefore, the GoSL forces gained ascendancy over the LTTE by mid-2008 and then, by January 2009, squeezed them into the north eastern corner that has been labelled the “Vanni Pocket,” my writings in Groundviews[9] in early 2009 presented my concerns about the prospect of the Tamil civilian peoples participating in the devotion to cause pursued by the fighters and joining in acts of mass suicide.

My fears were disproven. But a seven-week visit to Colombo in April-June 2009 exposed me to the knitty-gritty of the war and the raging propaganda battle in the air-and-print waves of the world. Since then my research interests have diverted from “sacrificial devotion in comparative perspective,”[10]to an engagement with the lineaments of Eelam War IV and the worldwide propaganda struggles around its course and aftermath –including the human rights programme of vengeance orchestrated by USA via its UN handmaidens wielding ‘tunes’ that were on the same wavelength as those pressed by the wide-ranging networks of LTTE and Tamil supporters in many Western countries.

This alignment of forces also had the continuing rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa in its gunsights – gaining oxygen from (a) the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga in January 2009 and the assaults on some journalists associated with what is known as the “white van” phenomenon; (b) the widespread allegations that members of the extended Rajapaksa family were lining their coffers by corrupt or threatening measures;[11]and (c) the displeasure among a wide band of Western governments at the degree to which the Rajapaksa administration was turning to China for its loans and investment programmes.

These allegations, as we know, remain powerful claims today. They have been bolstered by a series of articles in powerful Western media engines serving up a picture of  a “Chinese debt trap.”[12]Such charges were among the ingredients marshalled in late 2014 when a combination of forces[13]persuaded one Maithripala Sirisena to lead a section of the SLFP away from the Rajapaksa camp and to forge an alliance with the UNP that led him to the Presidency in league with the UNP in early 2015 in a regime that flies the flag and slogan of “Yahapālanaya” (good government).

That flag has grown dull and full of holes since it came into the sunlight in early 2015. For reasons that remain unclear to me,[14]Sirisena has turned about face, ditched Ranil and the UNP and re-aligned himself with the Rajapaksa camp. It is this moment in the island history as it unfolded from late October 2018 that Bill Deutrom has been experiencing at close quarters in Sri Lanka.

He is closer to the action than I am. However, my regular visits to the island in the last few years and engagements via the website Thuppahi enable me to underline and elaborate upon the insights embedded within Bill Deutrom’s succinct summary.To repeat my affirmation above: the name Mahinda Rajapaksa generates visceral distaste in some minds and faces.These faces are not confined to the Colombo 7 elites and business world.   They include those with well-credentialled Marxist or radical backgrounds. Jayadeva Uyangoda’s earnest impassioned essay provides one sample of this body of thought – a broad front that admits of variations within the same theme. This loose çoalition includes  those of liberal democratic persuasion – among them my good friend Sam Samarasinghe in Washington whose several essays in the public domain provide readers with his reasoning.[15]Add Sinha Ranatunga, proprietor of the Times group of newspapers and the interests behind the Lake House group to this coalition, and you see a powerful local consortium strengthened further by the weight of the US and European governments as well as the insidious news items pedalled by the New York Timesand Financial Timesthat raise such concerns as the “Chinese debt trap” – a tale that is laid at the door of the Rajapaksa administration.

Most such alignments are unsurprising – just par for the course of right-wing thinking. It is the positioning of the radical voice of such individuals as Uyangoda and Lakshman Gunaskera in the period 1990s to 2018 that interests me. From way back their democratic leanings favoured a political bargain that provided space and recognition for the Tamil nationalists flying the LTTE flag. They were (are) ideologically hostile to Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism and/or Sinhala chauvinism. They have been one branch of the peaceniks. They reacted in stern opposition to the white van phenomenon. They began to hate the Rajapaksas … and the hate escalated in the 2010s, fuelled by the emergence of the Bodu Bala Sena and the Alutgama disturbances.

What fascinates me in this positioning of some liberals and radicals is the fact that this stance was in place even in the years 1995-2009.Sinhala chauvinism was regarded as the main enemy and principal obstacle to some workable political resolution of the Sinhala-Tamil divide. Devolution and autonomy in the northern and eastern provinces with the LTTE at the helm therein were regarded as workable.

Why? In my speculative conjecture the answer is geographical and configurational. They are living in the south west of the island where the Sinhala chauvinists reside as neighbours next door. The Sinhala extremists were (are) therefore the “NEAR ENEMY.” The Tigers, in contrast, were (are) the FAR ENEMY.[16]These labels and their placement in a spatial picture-configuration, I stress, are my analytical constructs. The radical Sinhalese are not likely to have looked on their positions introspectively in such terms.

In the result, the transgressions of the LTTE – their regular acts of assassination and their occasional acts of devastating bomb blasts in the southwest — were (are) passed over or glossed. In this my conjecture, the killing of Lasantha Wikramatunga loomed (looms) larger than the LTTE’s killing of Lakshman Kadirgamar (2005) and Neelan Tiruchelvam within the thinking of some Sinhala radicals. These radicals have simply blotted out the consistent pattern of rubbing out Tamil rivals or dangerous Sinhala personnel which Pirapāharan pursued so relentlessly and successfully over two decades,

If they ever saw Tigers at the Gate(which is unlikely), these radicals (as well as some liberal democrats I add) did not pay heed to the message spelt out by Mark Corcoran when he and the ABC released the documentaryto the world on 29thJune 1999:

“The truth is a political solution is as impossible as a military breakthrough because for the (Tamil) Tigers it’s all or nothing — a homeland or glorious death.”….. Mark Corcoran

The radicals have not been alone. I viewed that documentary in 1999, though, as it happens, I did not see the written blurb. Be that as it may, I say now that I was a bloody fool peacenik then not to discern the import of Corcoran’s film-making.

Moreover, I remained a bloody fool peacenik even when, one month later, my good friend Neelan Tiruchelvam was blasted to death by a female suicide bomber on 29thJuly 1999 at a spot with which I am intimately familiar – because it leads to the ICES offices in Colombo.

“When shall we ever learn … long time passing” – these poignant lines seem so apposite to register my comprehensive failings in comprehension THEN.

It was not until last year, year 2017, that I came across an exchange of letters with Mark Corcoran in 1999 which I had completely forgotten about.[17]That discovery led me to seek access to the ABC film. This search led me to the ABC website where the prospectus detailed above is set out.

In brief, Corcoran’s visit to Jaffna in 1999 had generated profound discernment and a depth of understanding that had passed me by. ……… And passed by all the good Sri Laankan peaceniks, whether liberal or radical.For Pirapāharan and his Tigers, ceasefire and negotiations were temporary stops on the path to independence that was to be wrested by war and power – sheer power.[18]Hitler and his Wehrmacht were his guiding light.[19] 


The power struggle that emerged in Sri Lanka in late October 2018 and which Bill Deutrom is referring to developed without gunfire of a life-threatening kind. However, the struggle has generated intense heat and visceral accusations – not only between political parties and factions, but also between leaders embodying the mantle of “Countryside” (Rajapaksa, Sirisena) against those embodying the “City” (Wickremasinghe, Karu Jayasuriya).[20]The rural hinterland represented by Rajapaksa and Sirisena,[21]I suggest, is populist in its thinking[22]and therefore contains ingredients that are potentially fascist – fascist in Sinhala chauvinist colours. Such strains will be encouraged by the Tamil forces who are also elements in todays’ parliamentary manoeuvres: Tamil political elements whose continued push towards “self-determination” (i. e. Thamilīlam in sheep’s clothing) will benefit from Sinhala extremism and any fascist-populist excesses.

These hostilities have been sharply expressed in word and visage, while the ‘reasoned arguments’ of some legal experts and political scientists seem to be directed by “emotion, ethnicity [and] with a hatred for Rajapaksa” — in Bill Deutrom’s reading.As with Mark Corcoran, it would seem that an intelligent  ‘outsider’ can discern the lineaments driving struggle better than those intimately within the fray.


ABC 1999 Tigers at the Gate, Video Documentary

Abi-Habib, Mari 2018:“How China got Sri Lanka to cough up a Port,”25 June 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/world/asia/china-sri-lanka-port.html

Bloomberg:    ‘China’s US$1 billion port in Sri Lanka where ships don’t want to stop,” 18 April 2018,  https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/inside-chinas-us1-billion-p”ort-in-sri-lanka-where-ships-dont-want-to-sto

BBC 1991 “Suicide Killers,” Documentary series.

Crossette, Barbara 1994 “Latest Killing of a Sri Lanka Politician Fits a Familiar Pattern,” 25 October 1994, http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/25/world/latest-killing-of-a-sri-lanka-politician-fits-a-familiar-pattern.html

Dugger, Celia W. 1999 Ä Leading Sri Lankan Moderate is Killed,” New York Times, 30 July 1999.

Gunasekara, Lakshman F. B.2018 Hambantota Port: Some Basic Facts from the Spot Today,” 13 December 2018, ………………………. …………….. ………… https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/hambantota-port-some-basic-facts-from-the-spot-today/

Hoole, Rajan2001 Sri Lanka:The Arrogance of Power. Myths, Decadence, & Murder, Nugegoda Wasala Publications for UTHR (Jaffna).

Iyer, Ganeshan2012a “Military Training in the German Nazi Mould amidst Internal Dissension in the early LTTE, late 1970s,” trans by Parames Blacker, in http://thuppahi. wordpress.com/2012/01/30/military-training-in-the-german-nazi-mould-amidst-internal-dissension-in-the-early-ltte-late-1970s/.

Narayan Swamy, M. R.2009 “Prabhakaran: from Catapult Killer to Ruthless Insurgent,” IANS, 18 May 2009 – see http://twocircles.net/node/148596[reprinted in The TigerVanquished, pp. 165-67].

Ragavan, 2009b “Prabhakaran’s Time Keeping. Memories of a Much-Mythologised Rebel Leader by a Former LTTE Fighter,” Sunday Leader, 24

Ragavan 2018 “Young Pirapaharan’s Inspirations and Ideology: Ragavan’s Incisive Memoria, May 2009,” 9 August 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/young-pirapharans-inspirations-and-ideology-ragavans-incisive-memorial-in-may-2009/#more-31113

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Hitler, Nationalism, Sacrifice: Koenigsberg and Beyond … Towards the Tamil Tigers,” in https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/hitler-nationalism-sacrifice-koenigsberg-and-beyond-%e2%80%a6-towards-the-tamil-tigers/

Roberts, Michael2014 “Hero figures and Hitler in Young Pirapaharan’s Thinking,” in Roberts, Tamil Person and State, Essays,Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2014, pp, 69-89.

Roberts, Michael  2017 “Revisiting Jaffna and the LTTE in mid-1999 guided by Mark Corcoran and the ABC”. 7 August 2017, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/revisiting-jaffna-and-the-ltte-in-mid-1999-guided-by-mark-corcoran-and-the-abc/

Roberts, Michael 2018  “Pirapaaharan’s Inspirations and Mind-Set, 10 August 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/pirapaharans-inspirations-and-mind-set/

Tekwani, Shyam 2009 ‘The Man who destroyed Eelam,” http://www.tehelka.com/home  /20090523/default.asp

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY on the Present Political Struggle

Samarasinghe, SWR de 2018   “Sam Samarasinghe’s Postscript to the Raging Debate in Colombo Telegraph on His Previous Essay,” 13 December 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/sam-samarasinghes-postscript-to-the-raging-debate-in-colombo-telegraph-on-his-previous-essay/#more-33057

Samarasinghe, SWR de A 2018“Sri Lanka’s democracy in Peril.” 10 November 2018, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lankas-democracy-in-peril/

Philips, Rajan2018 “Continuing uncertainty, conflicting claims and counter-claims,” lsland,3 November 2018

Hattotuwa, Sanjana2018 “Rajapaksa rising,”Island, 3 November 2019

Sasanka Perera, Interview with NEWSCLICK, 31 October 2018

Jayatilleka, Dayan: “The logic of the Republican Constitution and the relative autonomy of the Presidency: A political science perspective,” Colombo Telegraph, 31 October 2018

Gunasekera, Anura:  “The Return of a Spectre,”Island, 3 November 2018,

Nan “Betrayal,Island,3 Nov 2018,

Peiris, GL: GL explains how PM was removed and why Parliament was prorogued

Peiris, Gerald H:Peiris Confronts Samarasinghe and Other Pundits,” 19 November 2019,

Ratnapala, Suri:“Sacking … unconstitutional,” Colombo Telegraph, November 2019,…https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sacking-rw-appointing-mr-dissolution-of-parliament-are-unconstitutional-prof-suri-ratnapala/

Rajapakse, Ruwan:“Was President right in removing Ranil?” Island, 8 November 2018

Samaratne, Dinesha: “Losing a paradise that we never had?” 3 November 2018,

Serasinghe, Sharmini: ”Sharmini’s Appeal: Stand up for Democracy,” 1 Dec 2018,https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/sharminis-appeal-stand-up-for-democracy-on-december-6th/

Uyangoda, Jayadeva 2018 Political Is Personal – An Essay In Despair” Colombo Telegraph, 4 November 2018,

Vitharana,Tissa:“UNP flouting Constitution and democracy to pave way for foreign intervention – LSSP,’” Island, 10 November 2018

Welikala,Asang:aThe Maithrie-Mahinda Coup Stymied?” 16 November 2018,

Welikala,Asanga:IllegalSirisena Coup Indefensible insists Welikala,”

Wickramaratne, Jayampathy “On Dissolution Of Parliament,” Colombo Telegraph.


[1]RO = Reverse Osmosis

[2]The constitution has as many as “30,000 words  s Sam Samarasinghe has stressed with the note that it is not surprising that “such details often lead to inconsistencies that nobody can foresee at the time of drafting” See Samarasinghe,

[3]The items listed in my incomplete bibliography are indications of the plethora of opinions on the topic.’

[4]Shyamon Jaaysinghe iin Queensland is a participant in an email exchange ‘çollective’ (mostly in the diaspora as Far as I can work out) where a debate rages back and forth on this issue. His partiality to the UNP is clear-cut.

[5]See Uyangoda, “The Political is Personal: An Essay in Despair from Sri Lanka,” 4 November 2018

[6]This work was partly embodied in the two edited collections entitled Collective Identitieswhich appeared in 1998 and 1999; but I continued to study related issues  relating to both Tamil and Sinhala nationalisms

[7]Daya ‘s colleague in the Medical Faculty in Jaffna University, Rajani Thiranagama nee Rajasingham had been assassinated by the LTTE in 1987 and it was measure of Daya’s courage and commitment that he continued to live and work in the Peninsula -where the LTTE was an underground government. I gather that Daya’s commitment to service was recognised and he also visited the LTTE territory to treat patients there. I subsequently invited Daya to present a paper at a workshop on “Sacrificial Devotion” held in Adelaide circa 2006.

[8]I sent an email note to Dayan about five days ago seeking enlightenment. He is probably too busy in the diplomatic corridors to respond.

[9]Groundviews was my main outlet then and for several years afterwards. Over the last few years, however, Sanjana Hattotuwa has excluded all my offerings … so that I have ceased trying him out for quite some time.

[10]See https://sacrificialdevotionnetwork.wordpress.com/category/sacrificial-devotion-in-comparative-perspective/

[11]I have no reason to dismiss these allegations because I have not investigated the topic … and would in fact welcome info that point me to pertinent essays. But, of course, one must attend to the fact that these strands of embezzlement and corruption have bedevilled all governments in Sr Lanka for decades –if comments on these lines are valid.

[12]This spectre is still peddled (see Abi-Habib 2018 and Bloomberg 2018); but has been undermined by scholars who are not Rajapaksa handmaidens (see De Mel 2018 and Gunasekara 2018).

[13]I have not researched this topic and am not familiar with articles that clarify what happened in detail. I have been told that Chandrika Kumaratunga was one of the brokers and there is a whisper that indicates that Sirisena’s sponsored visit to USA in 2014(?) was a key turning point.

[14]I was too busy on other subjects to look over the literature on this issue in 2015-and-thereafter. Note Uyangoda’s passionate  personal recounting:“The Political is Personal: An Essay in Despair from Sri Lanka,””5 November 2018,https://thewire.in/south-asia/the-political-is-personal-an-essay-in-despair-from-sri-lanka

[15]At least three essays have been in the public realm within Sri Lankan newspapers and the Colombo Telegraph. Two have been presented in Thuppahi.

[16]With some radical Sinhalese, the Tigers may not have been an enemy. They were “liberation fighters” and thus fellow radicals.

[17]See my recognition of Corcoran’s insights and the details of my correspondence with him in 1999 at Roberts, 2017.

[18]On Pirapaharan, see Narayan Swamy 2009; Ragavan 2009 & 2018; Roberts 2014 and 2018 and Tekwani 2009.

[19]Re Pirapaharan’s deep admiration for Hitler and German military capacities, see Iyer 2012 and Roberts 20180, 2014 and 2018.

[20]My thanks to Arun Dias Bandaranaike for an email remark that sparked this idea.

[21The Rajapaksa hail from Hambantota District and continue to have strong interests therein (thóugh they have spread their wings); while Sirisena ‘s roots are in Polonnaruwa District. Born in September 1951 young Sirisena was a member of the outh wing of Shanmuagthasa Communist Party (Peking Wing) and was arested after the JVP insurrection of April 1971 but eventually released after 17 months incarceration without charges beeing presented. This is not mentioned in the bio-data in Wikipedia.

[22]These contentions are spelt out in Roberts, Mahinda Rajapaksa: Cakravarti Imagery and Populist Processes,” 2012. Also see my articles “Ideological Cancers within the Sinhala Universe” (2014) and “Where Majoritarian Part subsumes the Whole,”2016.

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Latest comments

  • 15

    Michael Roberts,

    In my eyes you have lost all credibility with the following,

    “Those slashing the constitutionality of the Sirisena intervention are not confined to pro-UNP party stalwarts such as Sharmini Serasinghe and Shyamon Jayasinghe……”

    I know you are mad with me because I told you that I don’t take your ‘friends’ – Vinod Moonesinghe and Dayan Jayatilleka – seriously as they are both stark raving mad.

    Cheap shot, Michael Roberts!

    • 14

      Michael Roberts epitomises all that those of us of “mixed blood” abhor – stooging to authority. If ever there were post colonial “collaborators” this is one of them.
      Simply put, his mealy-mouthed rubbish with a hundred “references” might impress some, but not those who choose not to kowtow to the rich and powerful.

      • 13

        There is high regard for Sharmin Serasinghe among educated intelligentsia than Michel Roberts who is nothing but a charlatan resorting to low level of journalism.

        • 10

          “pro-UNP party stalwarts such as Sharmini Serasinghe and Shyamon Jayasinghe”

          Michael Roberts,

          In a free world people are free to support whoever they wish; the same way you have the right to support the Rajapakses/SLFP/Bud! That’s the idea of a free society.

          What gives you the moral right to throw it as an insult at others (as if that’s something they shouldn’t be doing) ……… when you are in bed with monumental crooks, murderers and serial-killers?

          If your “higher education” has trained your mind to be rational, shouldn’t you also be throwing these insults at yourself? ………. a la “pro-Rajapakse stalwart Michael Roberts”

          Now, to come back to my eternal assumption ……… education changes very little in a Lankan adult mind …… only hardens their minds in the pursuit of their prejudices formed in childhood. Most Lankans would rather die than change their minds when confronted with reason/rationality/truth!

          The child makes the man! ……….. “education” amounts to zilch

      • 3

        SO, collaboration with colonisers is right, but with progressives is mealy-mouthed?

        Typical ‘poo’ reasoning of a left-over with vested (land) interests.

        • 2

          Cousin George:
          A little piece of advice: DO NOT try to make a living as a comedian because it’ll be the quickest route to dying of starvation ever devised by a human being (?)

  • 10

    Micheal Roberts, I have been reading your articles for a long time. You call yourself a Burgher but try to be Sinhala than the Sinhalayas themselves. Or, is it that you have Sinhala blood from down South where your father once worked? No wonder your Peradeniya colleague Laksiri Fernando called you an apologist for Sinhala nationalism/chauvinism (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/michael-roberts-as-an-apologist-for-sinhala-nationalismchauvinism/). Come on Micheal, reveal your maternal Sinhala ancestry. You should be proud of it.

    • 5

      Micheal Roberts, of all people, is half-Sinhala? Oh my foot! I too come from the deep South, well, Galle to be exact. So, Mike you may be my machang after all. Welcome to the Patharata Sinhala Club! We must make you a honorary member. What an honour.

    • 4

      When I was small and living in Galle, my grandfather told me that he had a female relative who worked for a man of South African origin working in Galle. The two fell in love (why not?) and produced a nice boy with African hair. I hope it is Good Old Mike now Down Under. Hello Mike Mama, how are you? You must visit us and partake a typical Galle meal with us- fish ambul thiyal, jadi, polos ambul and the rest. Bring a bottle of Australian wine, Mama.

    • 9

      You are spot on when people like the author who are only a hybrid, but try to be more Sinhala than Sinhalese. He has primarily an anti-Tamil agenda to please Sinhala racists, due to which he is making himself a fool by coming out with such rubbish.

    • 6

      What is a Burgher? I would have thought that the definition was, a Person of Dutch Burgher Origin!

      I believe that Michael’s Father originated from the West Indies!

      • 4

        It is an extremely intelligent and topicalquestion you are posing Hamlet.

        Burgher is an original Dutch term meaning ‘urban dweller’. It became the descriptive term for diasporic Jews who went to Western Europe from the East and what is now (wrongly) called the ‘Middle East’.

        It is these Jews who got in to Portuguese and Spanish pirate and invasion ships to venture further to Asia and Latin America out of economic necessity and looking for the ‘promised land’ according to the Jewish mythical belief. They struck gold in the colonised lands, grabbing land and raped women to produce a mixed breed called Mulattos. Some so-called Burghers in Sri Lanka still use the Burgher part and others have shortened it to Burgh and Burg.

        They are all original Jews, and serve as the main source of local information and gossip for the US, Canadian and Australian embassies who work in cohort to undermine Sinhala Buddhism. They are more potent than either the Tamils or Muslims due to their support from the international Jewry.

        • 4

          T. Devendra:
          I have NEVER heard such unadulterated piffle in my life. History is NOT supposed to be deliberate fabrication. But then this is a supposedly free society where it is “legal” to sow hate and discrimination ad infinitum as you seek to do.
          I await your tracing of my Jewish/Semitic?Hamitic roots next. After all, fabrication can do all kinds of wondrous things!

          • 1

            Tissa Devendra is nothing but a Sinhala Buddhist racist who is condemning Burghers without any substantive proof. I am sure that he would have never associated with Burghers at any stage of his life and belongs to racist segment of Sri Lanka society who were responsible for indirect ethnic cleansing of Burghers from the country by imposing Sinhala only, whereby they could not get any jobs. At Royal we had several Burgher classmates and we admired them for their care free life and being more advanced socially than Sinhalese or Tamils. We deeply regretted them leaving us. I personally lost eating authentic Lamprais from my next door Burgher family in Colombo. Now Tamils have suffered the same fate by racial discrimination and organised violence, being left with only Sinhala and Muslim class mates to remain in Sri Lanka.

          • 3

            Of course you haven’t heard ANY history. As someone had pointed out correctly, you have not seen the colour of walls of any educational institution. So how could you have? You are half-baked and it shows in your views.

          • 0

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

            • 0

              TD cannot afford to denigrate the Burghers. At any rate, Burghers have done nothing to be shamed about. They are a proud, decent people who served Sri Lanka usefully and for long. This country lost when over 50,000 Burghers left to enrich Australia, NZ, the UK and North America on the main.

              TD is of Burgher parentage.

              C.P. Bacon

  • 7

    Micheal Roberts, as far as I know is not a burgher, rather his father is a black man from the West Indies – hence the English name.

    Regardless, he has a point here about how even peace-loving Sinhalese have turned against the LTTE, because of their fascist nature, which became apparent finally after the forced-march of the Vanni populace to their death in 2009.

    It seems many CT commentators are choosing to turn a blind-eye to the mega-level financial corruption of Ranil W, Ravi K. and others, just so that they can avoid a government-led by Rajapaksa.

    This is sad. Supporting one corrupt faction to prevent a different corrupt-faction from coming to power WILL NOT help the country or the overwhelming majority of people of all ethnicities.

    In this effort to prevent the re-emergence of Rajapaksa, many CT commentators have resorted to classist slander against Sirisena – calling him “gamarala” (which in their minds is an insult).

    I find both these factions of Sri Lankans desplicable and hypocritical. Gamarala or not, a human being should be judged by his actions, not by his pedigree or ethnicity.

    Corruption hurts everyone – especially the poor in our island. One cannot be a peacenik AND support corrupt governments with crooks and thugs in the cabinet and in the parliament. Ranil W. is #1 in the corruption hierarchy.

    Shame on you CT commentators, shame!

    • 7

      I was reading your comment thinking here’s an unbiased comment …… until this,

      “Ranil W. is #1 in the corruption hierarchy.”

      Ranil never stole anything to enrich himself; his only crime is the bond-scam cover-up. While the Rajapakses became enormously wealthy in a comparatively very short time. So how can you say Ranil is #1 in corruption? Mahinda entrenched an unprecedented culture of corruption not just in the family but in the entire country and the judiciary ………. And to that should I also add that Mahinda, wife and the children are complicit in murder? And that the brother Gotabaya is a serial killer?

      Let truth prevail and be brought out in to the open. What say you buddy? I hope you answer …….. because I am curious as hell to know how an unbiased Lankan adult mind stops half way.

      • 1

        “Ranil never stole anything to enrich himself; his only crime is the bond-scam cover-up”

        A 1000 billion + of Public money?

        If friendship supersedes the duty to 21 million people is such a person fit to be the Prime Minister?

        Your excuse attempts to diminish the gravity of the Crime. The truth is Ranil aided and abetted in a massive robbery of the peoples money and should be called to account as much as Mahinda and the gang.

        Robbing the govt is a non bailable offense.
        Ask any govt servant.

        • 3

          My argument is not about any of that …….. but with this,

          “Ranil W. is #1 in the corruption hierarchy.”

          How can Ranil be #1 ?

          How is he on the top of the heap?

    • 3

      Sinhalese buddhist;
      You should be ashamed to use these words about a fellow Sri Lankan! …”his father was a Black man from the West Indies”

      How do you know what Irrelevant ‘Colour’ your Ancestors were! After all we Humans all evolved from Africa all those years ago!

      ref your remark about Sirisena, This is what the unbiased Englishman, Robert Knox had to say about ‘Gamaralas’ in his Book ‘A Historical Relation of Ceylon’:-

      ….”The inhabitants thereof are the chief and principal men: insomuch that it is a usual saying among them, that if they want a King, they may take any man, of either of these two counties (Udunuwara and Yatinuwara, around Kandy) from the Plough, and Wash the Dirt off him, and he by reason of his Quality is fit to be a King.”

    • 1

      Sinhalese Buddhist; re your comment:-
      “Micheal Roberts, as far as I know is not a burgher, rather his father is a black man from the West Indies – hence the English name.”

      S/B, Please check you facts before you make Racist comments like this!

      Michael’s Father, TW Roberts, was the Son of a Father from Barbados and an English Mother.
      I know for a fact, that he was an Oxford educated Civil Servant in the British Civil Service of Sri Lanka, and a Cricketer, who later retired as a Magistrate in Galle.

      TW Roberts, was first married to an English Lady and then to a Ceylonese lady of mixed race, (aka Burgher), who was the Mother of Michael. I believe Michael had several half Sisters and 3 Sisters of his Own, who all lived in Galle.

      • 2

        Which of us with a Black African ancestor will proudly announce it?
        We are a racist bunch, whatever we choose to call ourselves.

        • 3

          We all have ‘Black African’ Ancestors, whether we acknowledge it or not!
          Read about the Global Spread of Homo Sapiens, from the Depths of Africa, before you make statements like the One above!

          It is the Lack or Excess Hot Sunlight, that make us Pink, Brown or Black!

          • 1


            “Read about the Global Spread of Homo Sapiens, from the Depths of Africa, before you make statements like the One above!”

            SJ is a descendant of “Peking Man”.
            He believes Chinamen are the only “Homo erectus” presently living in the world as opposed to rest of the people being the crawlers.
            Chinese scientists believe the ancestors of Humans race commenced their journey right at the centre of middle kingdom and walked all the way to Africa.

            • 3

              Native Vedda;
              Are you stating that Homo Erectus, ‘aka Peking Man’, and Homo Sapiens Co-existed, separately?

              I have been led to believe that Homo Erectus, Like the Neanderthals, disappeared with the Spread of Homo Sapiens!

    • 1

      sinhalese buddhist ;

      “Micheal Roberts, as far as I know is not a burgher, rather his father is a black man from the West Indies – hence the English name.”

      How would you. who call yourself a ‘Sinhalese buddhist’ like to be referred to as a ‘Black Man from Sri Lanka’?

  • 2

    You can analyse the way you want. IF you had a burgher’s country, would you try to protect it. In that sense, are the sinhala buddhists wrong ? You are one who have read. I think in 1815, it began the new import and eat culture. The new Neo-liberalism began in 1948 or before make the American, Now British system is gone, Neo-liberalism. Maithripala a rural sinhala and is different. Ranil is anglican and neo liberal to the core. Mahimda Rajapakse is in between. Sri lanka is Singapore project befgan by REAGAN friend JRJ. Corruption is common. So, the LTTE project that began some time ago, is still running. Do you have insider information about how corrupt the Parliament. IT includes Drugs and women too. Bringing Ambassadors to the Gallery and they were clapping hands is the peak of losing sovereignity..

    • 3

      Are the Sinhala Buddhist wrong? The north east and the north west coast have from ancient times been Tamil country and Sinhalese Buddhist Fascists like you never had a peep into these lands until 1948. Even your Mahavamsa fable that is full of anti Tamil, anti Indian and anti Hindu venom , constantly refers to the lands to the north and east of the island as Tamil lands. , now Sinhalese Buddhist Fascists and their Burgher and other supporters living in the island and other parts of the world , like Australia are creating new stories and myths , that are backed all Sinhalese led governments to steal these ancient Tamil lands. Sinhalese were interested in peace my foot , there were never interested in peace of granting just rights to the Tamils. They mouth all these but all they have wanted from independence is to commit genocide , war crimes , ethnic cleansing on the island’s Tamils , destroy them as a people and steal their lands. This is the only thing they have done well whilst ruining the country. They have reduced Tamil population to half its number within 70 years of independence and stolen 30% of their land. The first people who were forced to leave the island on large scale due to Sinhalese racism , were the Burghers and yet ironically now from the distant western lands where they fled to , they support Sinhalese racism against the island’s Tamils , who have the same or more rights to the island than the Sinhalese , as most of the present day so called Sinhalese both low and high born are purely descended from South Indian immigrants and slave imports. The LTTE is dead and gone now 9.5 years but still there is no peace or equal rights but more suppression of Tamils , proving it is not the :LTTE that was the problem but the Sinhalese and their supporters.

  • 3

    There were a family of Roberts studying at St. Thomas’s college during my time. They had all migrated to Australia. They looked like Burghers, almost European and studied in the English Medium but called themselves Sinhalese. Even many Sinhalese were amused by this. May be this Michael Roberts is one of them.

    • 1


      Roberts has said his father was from Barbados. His mother is probably a mixture of Sinhalese and Burgher, so he has mixed blood, but his connections to Galle and Richmond College might have been the basis for this toadying for the Rajapaksas.

  • 4

    Doubtless Roberts is a man of learning who has done much valuable research in our ethnic conflict. Whether he is Burgher, Sinhalese or half-breed is immaterial. He has right to take sides. He indeed has. As an accomplished and serious researcher, he surely knows Kadirgamar was not killed by the LTTE. Yet he continues to propagate the lie. On and off this matter comes out when the question of PM under CBK is discussed. Kadirgamar, it is said, fell victim in the tussle as he was a serious prime candidate for the post – with the liberal CBK’s blessings.. LTTE’s name, like in many other instances, was used. I am no LTTEer. They have made many mistakes, committed gruesome killings and destroyed hundreds of innocent Tamils. But I suspect Neelan’s killing was a political assassination. Was the killer a woman – as Robert states?

    Nowhere in Roberts’ writings does he, even in passing, sympathise mildly with the Tamil struggle against enormous State-inspired discrimination including that of wholesale theft of their agricultural land the fishing opportunities. Neither does he feel adequately with the many pogroms against the Tamil Nation – 1958, 1977, 1981, 1983, 2009 – and many in between. What has he written about Namal Rajapakse’s recent mockery of a “favour” to the Tamils in releasing the hundreds of youths held for decades, Maitripala Sirisena’s bogus “possible” concessions to the Tamils. I have not read of Roberts writing of the about turn of that one time anti-Tamil cleric (the late) Sobita Thero who mellowed in favour of history and reason – somewhat belatedly before he “died” admitting the TamilNation was wronged.


    • 1


      “Kadirgamar, it is said, fell victim in the tussle as he was a serious prime candidate for the post – with the liberal CBK’s blessings.. “

      Who was behind it? Mahinda Rajapakasa and cronies?

      Who benefited? Mahinda Rajapaksa and cronies?

      Is there any truth to the story that even if Kadirgama was nominated by the President Chandrika Kumaratunga, he would not have got the full confidence of the Sinhala majority Parliament, because he was a Tamil? Just curious.

      • 0

        Kadirgamar may have, grudgingly perhaps, got the Sinhala MPs in Par;liament to support him. But the shrewd CBK did not want to earn the wrath of the Mahanayakas, the Sinhala extreme and even ultra nationalist sources within the armed forces by pushing for a non-Sinhala candidate and against an awowedly Buddhist Sinhala candidate. But much of the Sinhala electorate known that Kadirgamar only had a Tamil name. He neither spoke, read/write Tamil although I know, at the last stages, he made an effort to at least talk in Tamil. I am afraid he failed miserably.

        As to your other speculation in your comment, I’ll leave it there because I know you are well equipped to go beyond conjecture.


  • 2

    Nigel Roberts must read https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/15/sri-lanka-pm-mahinda-rajapaska-resigns-in-effort-to-ease-constitutional-crisis
    The article starts ~ “Sri Lanka’s prime minister has resigned, saying he wanted to end a long political crisis over his appointment and allow the president to form a new government”.
    One will swoon “What a statesman”.
    The article does not mention the going-ons in the few days for example
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sirisenas-casual-remarks-on-bribing-mps-in-parliament-sets-off-firestorm-on-social-media/comment-page-1/#comment-2233974 09Dc18
    Nigel can you see how deceptive it is if one selects what one wants to read.
    You did exactly than in your articles on the infamous Lankan civil war. You went along with that Lord Naseby who quoted what British HC dispatched which, in the context of the timeframe, were not at all dependable. You opted to ignore what victims say.
    And Nigel, you been rubbing shoulders with Thilanga Sumathipala. Says a lot!

  • 4

    Dear Michael, I made that point in three public interventions during the Norwegian peace effort under CBK and the CFA of RW. Firstly at a public lecture delivered by Peter Hain at the British Council. Secondly at a similar lecture delivered by Norway’s deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgessen. Thirdly during the visit of John Hume. I kept hammering away at this in my published commentaries of the same period (mainly in the Island but more importantly in the Ethnic Studies Report of the ICES-Kandy).

    In this superb mapping you have undertaken of the intellectual-ideological topography as it evolved over the decades, you might wish to recollect the contrasting and contending roles of the Berghof Foundation and Foreign Minister (later CBK’s international affairs advisor) Lakshman Kadirgamar.

    • 0

      Dr Dayan Jayatilleka uses this many words ~ “…….In this superb mapping you have undertaken of the intellectual-ideological topography……..”.
      My foot! There is one word for it Dayan “Bigotry”.
      By the way about Peter Hain at that Colombo British Council Lecture. When?
      Peter Hain, born in Nairobi, grew up in the then Apartheid South Africa. Because of his involvement in anti-Apartheid activities he was imprisoned, prevented from working and was made ‘banned person’. He arrived in the UK in late sixties and tirelessly campaigned against the then Apartheid regime in South Africa. He started the eventual dismantlement.
      If at the British Council meeting he mentioned the language/religion-divide, he would have looked at the ‘divide’ impartially. He was thorough with history.
      Peter Hain was at one stage in Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet. You remember Ed, do you not Dayan?
      And Kadirgamar was no Hain.

    • 0

      Michael is postulating the back the dead concept of “concept LTTE restated the war”. (War Crime is a War Crime It is neither a war nor terrorism. War Crime is defined there because war criminals not using to match war with war or terrorism with law and order. Because Michael is not a law graduate his understanding on these UN classifications is poorer than Channa Jayasumana).
      Michael question is how to save Old King from the War Crime accusation.
      Michael desperation and pretention of he a balanced journalist is because the recent failure of world history’s biggest effort of building a fortress to save the war criminals. Seeing the acid thrown face of Old King, even beyond the mask of the heavy makes up, in the recent media news, is bothering Michael. Old King and Chandrika saved Ranil from Batalanda. They all wanted Old King to be saved by Ranil. That is failing. So Michael trying to establish the war crime was needed because with the investigation he did (particularly their suicide mission which Western nations hated), LTTE had restated the war. Though he is trying to show that he was in a peace mission in North and accidently came to know LTTE’s hidden motive, but the gamer has not shown one original record from LTTE as they were planning to war before Old King paid them and came to power and immediately cheated them. We have seen in the past Michael referring to Dubious and Dubious referring to Thero and Thero referring as Michael the original. TNA lawyers have forced UNP to eat up their leftover while still sitting in opposition. Now UNP’s drama is failed. UNP had to take over the power.

    • 0

      Michael argument is Lasantha and other Sinhalese killing by government taken over Kathirgamar’s, a Tamil, killing a staged by Old Royals, but blamed as Tamil LTTE. Then Michael wants to call the Rapist Army and Old Royals as government, but prefer to condemn LTTE as terrorists. The poisons snake Michael, because he had chance to be in CBK’s project in North, call him a peacenik, but calling Prof. Uyangoda a extremist based on recent advocacy to sticking on to Constitution. Now CBK may understand why her projects couldn’t advance. She had placed her own Ehelepola’s in her projects.
      As for everybody’s understanding Michael has not touched Old King paying to LTTE to win election. This can be done only by UNPyer Tissaranee Gunasekara, at least to substantiate her opposite points. Michael is not ready to say a word here about Ponny. This is the same game Thero plays too. For them Ponny is as bad as Pirapaharan. This is what their position on China and West too. After the war, Kathirgamar programed West changed the side. But China is continues with commissions. So for Michael now Kathirgamar’s West is bad but China is good.
      Interesting thing is going to develop is Old Brother Prince is about to play what Ponny played to Old King. He sees the opportunity of dwindling popularity of Old King. He wants to take over dynasty from the Synthetic lawyer, the Son Prince. This is the news Sinhala Media is waying. New American Ambassador said that she would release the Citizenship noose on the Prince, provided Old King release his PM position. We want that time Michael to come back and start to write praising of Old Brother Prince and his victorious “Gotha’s War”
      Michael is a baba to think that his naive dramatization game will work better in UNHRC than Tilalk’s threat to withdraw in UNHRC.

  • 0

    UNP is back again there to play the game of which it played well in past 3 ½ i.e. to keep the West out of interfering in Lankawe’s murders and crime. Michel knows that much better than any commentator here.

    Ranil’s earlier unwillingness to continue on the post, after the foreign visits, has created serious doubtfulness in the mind of New King. He never talked about resigning because he never wanted to resign, but it was only Ranil. New King took it seriously and sincerely with many other leaders and asked them to fill up his position. There are many matters need to told that can’t be contained in comments. So New King didn’t find a candidate to release Ranil. Sharmini Serasinghe and Shaymon Jayasinghe write a lot and brag a lot of the Nazi racist Don Stephen’s UNP. But they are pawns positioned to counter Thero de Silva and Michael Roberts on the other side. These people’s job is the makeup man job for the Kasiyappas of the UNP and SLFP into look Dutugamunu of UNP and SLFP. They all are brutal murderers and looters, but the writer lawyers defend the cases in the mind of the Modayas courts and they blame the Modayas having voted for the wrong one.

    LawAsia watched the proceeding to prove the UNP is more inclined to protect judicial mechanisms than SLFP. So the drama ended as in this way: “the democracy is restored in Lankawe” – if it had ever existed in Lankawe after Don sat on the PM Chair and disenfranchised the votes of the people he racially hated. 10 years ago IIGEP came to watch the cases of 14 murders by Old Royals. They were chased out by Old Royals Modayas. UNP did not bar diplomats and Law Asia watching the case. But very technically fooled the entire world not investing any one of the 14 cases for which IIGEP came until now.

  • 0

    I could assure readers that Michael Roberts is of Afro-Caribbean stock on his paternal side.The father was a member of the minor judiciary. Anyone looking at him will see the distinct hair associated with his ethnicity. I noticed this myself,as a student @ Peradeniya.He was a member of the academic staff in the History Dept:

    Very interesting .SWRD was a descendant of Neelaperumal -A South Indian Tamil.
    JRJ was of Colombo Chetty stock.
    All of them at some point of time or another have become champions of the Sinhala cause!!!

    • 1

      Michael you know who I am, so I am not a pseudonym to him. This is in reply to comments about Michael’s ethnicity. If anyone wants to hear the racial/social/academic history of Michael in his own words, please watch his interview on https://vimeo.com/259131094.

      From a typically silly comment above- “You call yourself a Burgher but try to be Sinhala than the Sinhalayas themselves. Or, is it that you have Sinhala blood from down South where your father once worked?”

      Silly, the visiting Burgher of this article’s title is not Michael but Bill Deutrom. Michael indeed has Sinhala blood from down South as his mother was a Miss Perera from Matara. Miss Perera’s mother was a Bastians so she was a Sinhala-Burgher.

      But Michael had a very short lived connection with his mother. She eloped to England with a British soldier when Michael was around 5/6/7 and Michael was brought up by his full sisters (of the Perera-Roberts marriage). Michael’s father was T.W. Roberts from Barbados in the West Indies. He was a black man. Black is a term which used to be politically correct only recently, i.e Black American. Now the term is African American. But all politically correct terms are fads. They do not describe correctly. The correct racial description of Michael’s dad is negro. Even though even Michael calls his father ‘a black man’ in his interview, T.W. Roberts actually had cafe-au-latte skin(personal comment by Michael). So the Robertses deduce unrecorded white blood in his family tree. A fairly common phenomenon among all afro-caribbean nigros.

    • 1

      As for all these blokes who comment as Galle dudes, welcoming Michael to Galle, Michael is more a child of the elite neighbourhood of the Galle Fort than you ever will be. Michael’s half sister Nora Roberts (daughter of Michael’s father and his first wife- an English white woman) wrote the definitive book about the elite families of Galle Fort “Galle as quite as sleep”. Even today mentioning that he is Nora’s brother opens many doors in the Galle elite enclave to Michael. So all your invitations to Michael to your homes in Galle is the littlest bit presumptuous. It’s a bit like inviting a Labroy to the DBU.
      He (Michael) belongs in Galle, especially to the traditionally Fort dwelling group of families, Muslims, Burghers and Sinhalese and Tamils. Only Roberts’ family was known as Burghers because there was no commonly used classification in English to Sri Lankanised elite Negro. And they spoke English and no other language. You could not very well call them Kapiri in Polite society because it is a derogatory term. Also Kapiri is used especially in SL for those Baila dancing Kapiris from Puttalam, to which group Michael has no connection. Besides Michael had a large brood of negro-Caucasian half siblings from his fathers’ first marriage who all looked white or white burgher. So naturally perhaps, the misconception might have arisen that he was burgher. The best classification that fits Michael is Sri Lankan Negro. Hair, lips, facial features and athletic prowess.
      I don’t think I am being racist. Just factual. Recently I was at the Uni of Kelaniya to listen to the Manique Gunasekera memorial lecture and Shiromi Fernando who was emeritus professor and former head of English Department Uni Col. insisted on delivering the memorial lecture sitting down claiming she was 75 and standing up for one hour would be inconvenient.

      • 1

        This is the fragility of SL genes. At 75 you can’t stand up. At older than that, Michael plays Tennis, goes on long walking tours involving mountain climbing and is a living example of the physical robustness of his negro genes

    • 1

      And Hamlet you are wrong in your following;
      start quote- Sinhalese Buddhist; re your comment:-
      “Micheal Roberts, as far as I know is not a burgher, rather his father is a black man from the West Indies – hence the English name.”

      S/B, Please check you facts before you make Racist comments like this!

      Michael’s Father, TW Roberts, was the Son of a Father from Barbados and an English Mother.”-end quote

      hamlet, T.W. Roberts’ mother was not English. T.W Roberts is a cafe au-lait negro from Barbados who got a Barbados scholarship to Oxford and married his White English landlady’s daughter. There is an amusing story Michael tells people. That his father killed his first wife. When one has gasped and choked at this, Michael serenely goes on to say that he gave her too many children and maybe that contributed to her death earlier than him.

      And ‘Black man’ is not racist. Many white people call all non-caucasian people black. Another amusing story. One day recently Michael and his white British wife was in a plane which was transiting in Colombo. Michael’s wife got talking to a russian woman and Michael’s wife told the Russian lady that she was getting off in Colombo and she was married to a sri Lankan. The Russian was all naive, wondrous amazement and went “A black man!!!. He must be young!!!”

    • 1

      Why do Sri Lankans divide ourselves by Race, Gender, Skin Colour, Religion, Caste, Hair Colour, and any other differences they can find?

      We will never develop as a Nation till we stop Dividing Ourselves!

      Even the People of the USA accepted Barak Obama as their President!

  • 0

    This article by Roberts so badly needs a editor to strip it down to perhaps 10% in length. The author seems unable to avoid running in circles to try to impress the reader with his “knowledge” that we are left with just muddled thinking disquising false narrative and conclusions

  • 0

    Michael was requested, for example via comments on his articles in CT, to research as to why, the persecuted put up with decades of pogroms before the inevitable liberation movements sprouted and as to why they had to resort to violence.
    Credit to Michael. He realises that an unprejudiced outlook is a pre-requisite.

  • 3

    It didn’t take any particular skill-set to recognize that VP had some fascistic tendencies; even those of us who were only mildly nationalistic in our outlook recognized this and discussed this internally within the community.

    But the LTTE was born out of a need by the Tamil people to resist state terrorism, so the recognition of the leadership’s fascistic tendencies cannot lead one to support a scorched earth policy of fighting the LTTE and murdering a large number of civilians as it happened in the Vanni. And if the criticism against federalism was based on the LTTE having an standing army, there was a simple solution: make the gradual disarming of the LTTE a condition of such a federal solution, with full federal powers kicking-in only after the LTTE had disarmed fully.

    But there was no attempt at any creative possibilities for solutions; instead opinion mongers like DJ and you shifted from peaceniks to war mongers, as your personal needs, financial backers changed. In the process, you demonized many NGO’s and others who were trying to help the people and extricate them from the LTTE. To justify the white van terror and mass murder of citizens by the publicly elected leader of a state, and to rationalize it against LTTE’s war-time actions, shows a despicable moral turpitude at your (and Dayan Jayatilleke’s) core. It was always there, and it became exposed, just as those who swim naked get exposed only when the tide turns.

  • 3

    Dr. Michael Roberts

    I havent read the whole of your Article and with CTs 300 word cap I cant disect all of it. But the following in not correct. and let me deal with it.

    1) This confrontation is not merely a political one, but a field in which so-called legal ‘experts’ and political scientists have provided starkly opposed interpretations of the existing constitution in the form taken after the 19thAmendment of 2015 – a document that seems to be so long and so complex[2]that it is full of ‘landmines’ that shatter the verbiage of these ‘experts’ (e.g. Suri Ratnapala, Nihal Jayawickrema et al[3]).

    *** This confrontation is nothing more than a fight for the Carcus. All these interpretaions are bed time stories to put the child to bed.

    2)These opposed interpretations of the Constitution, it is now clear, have been mostly directed by hard-line political positions. Those slashing the constitutionality of the Sirisena intervention are not confined to pro-UNP party stalwarts such as Sharmini Serasinghe and Shyamon Jayasinghe

    *** The above are late developers. Too little too late when irreperable damage has been done and Sri Lanka has reached a point of no return.

    3) They include journalists who cannot forgive the Rajapaksa administration for their hand in the white-van phenomenon of the years 2008/09 and the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunga in particular.
    *** You seem to be condoning Lasantahs killing and you have left out Thajudin and 130,000 Innocent Tamils . SHAME ON YOU 50/50

    The present problems are to do with external forces which is now a real factor and Sri Lanka is no longer Sovereign. The THUG may have won the War but has lost the Nation . He is now a LIABILITY.

  • 3

    Dr Robert is an exception to the general thinking among the Burghers, arising from their cultural inferiority, that they should consider themselves European and therefore superior to the rest of us. In doing so, they expect us to forget the role of their ancestors in rapes, murders and land thefts that took place over 500 years form 1505-1940s. They are the beneficiaries of those crimes.

    As a minority in Sri Lanka, the Burghers are the ‘snake in the grass’ due to their wealth and influence with politicians like Ranil Wickremesinghe. They are also sponsored by the pale skinned ‘international community’ led by the American Jewry, making them specially dangerous for the Sinhala Buddhist aspirations.

    We welcome the role being played by Burghers like Dr Michael Roberts for this reason. Good luck and Thank You.

  • 0

    Critical take.
    Thanks for your clearing the doubt relating to the origins of Dr.Michael Roberts. My crusade against him is not based on his ethnicity. I WOULD ALSO LIKE RATIONALIST ABOVE TO NOTICE THIS.
    Michael not withstanding his academic excellence has sold his soul to the Rajapakse clan. That is my grouse! At his age, perhaps he wants recognition and therefore,he thinks the only way is to connect his caravan to the populist political engine.
    Sad a Rhodes scholar!

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