Sri Lanka X

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robbie_dee
Sri Lanka X

Sri Lanka to grant military sweeping powers after 290 killed in Easter attacks (CBC)

Quote:

Sri Lanka's president is set to give the military sweeping wartime powers a day after a string of bombings at churches and luxury hotels across the country killed 290 people and wounded about 500.

Maithripala Sirisena will declare a nationwide emergency from midnight local time on Monday, his office said. This measure, which will grant police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, was in force at various times during the civil war with Tamil separatists.

"The government has decided to gazette the clauses related to prevention of terrorism to emergency regulation and gazette it by midnight," the president's media unit said in a statement.

It said the measure would be confined to dealing with terrorism and would not impinge on freedom of expression. In addition, a government curfew will begin at 8 p.m. local time.

There was no claim of responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, which targeted churches and hotels in and around the capital Colombo, as well as a church on the nation's northeast coast. But cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said the attacks were carried out by a local militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath — with the help of an international network.

"We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country," Senaratne said. "There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded."

robbie_dee

I renamed this "Sri Lanka X" after discovering that there were prior threads Sri Lanka I through IX, although the last post on thread IX was from 2011 so we are probably overdue for a new one.

Here is a link to Sri Lanka IX and below are links to the 8 other threads that preceded it. I'm honestly not all that familiar with this part of the world but will be doing some reading now and welcome the collective wisdom of other babblers.

Paladin1

It's a shame the Sri Lanka government didn't act on the warnings they recieved about this attack.

WWWTT

Real saddening to see Sri Lankan’s at war again. 

Again, I ultimately blame the English colonialism for this. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Besides "colonialism stuff!", what, specifically, did they do to make this happen?

lagatta4

Yes, while I certainly agree about harm caused by colonialism (British and otherwise) we have to look at the dynamics here and now to get a grasp on and combat such horrific massacres. I have met several Sri Lankans at NGO and global justice meetings, but alas I don't know them or the situation well enough to provide an informed analysis. And I'm very sorry about that, as this is awful.

jatt_1947 jatt_1947's picture

English created the conflicts in both Myanmar & Sri Lanka by displacing locals & bringing in agricultural workers en masse.

For many years Rangoon and not New York was the biggest port of immigration.

After that, the colonial legal infrastructure they left gave precedence to foreign Imperialist colonizing religions like Christianity instead of protecting indigenous communities and beliefs.

All the famines, kidnapping kids for Oxford 'education' or crocodile hunting etc. Come after.

voice of the damned

After that, the colonial legal infrastructure they left gave precedence to foreign Imperialist colonizing religions like Christianity instead of protecting indigenous communities and beliefs.

You mean that after de-colonization, the new nations were prohibited from removing Christianity's privileged status from their legal codes? Are these prohibitions still in effect in Sri Lanka today?

And which "indigenous" religions are supposedly getting the shaft in Sri Lanka today? As far as I know, Buddhists, for one, are pretty much the top dogs, certainly not suffering any entrenched discrimination.

WWWTT

I have gotten to know several people from Sri Lanka over the years. However I never got involved in the problems from there and stayed away from asking them about it.

All I really remember at this moment is that their food is delicious, their names use four syllables or more, and they eat dinner very late (I hate that one sorry)

WWWTT

lagatta4 wrote:

Yes, while I certainly agree about harm caused by colonialism (British and otherwise) we have to look at the dynamics here and now to get a grasp on and combat such horrific massacres. I have met several Sri Lankans at NGO and global justice meetings, but alas I don't know them or the situation well enough to provide an informed analysis. And I'm very sorry about that, as this is awful.

Yes almost a helpless feeling. 

I suggest that these are colonialism problems or issues that were carried over from colonialism almost as a default response 

Social evolution wasn’t allowed to grow naturally under colonialism, wealth was extracted over centuries and never reinvested, classes were established to keep the Sri Lankan’s fighting among themselves and probably lots more. 

JKR
cco

It's a picky bunch of jihadists who, in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country where the largest religious minority group is Hindu, go after the small Christian minority. Not saying it's necessarily untrue, but it seems odd.

Sean in Ottawa

cco wrote:
It's a picky bunch of jihadists who, in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country where the largest religious minority group is Hindu, go after the small Christian minority. Not saying it's necessarily untrue, but it seems odd.

I don't think the location country necessarily means more than that there were violent extremists there to do the deed in a place they understood well. It is possible that they wanted to reignite conflict in this country. It is also possible that they could not pull it off easily elsewhere. If the extremists are local, their interests will be as well.

The argument about colonialism can be made in part by the fact that it affected everything. There is nothing significant in former colonies that would not be affected -- almost always deeply negatively -- by colonialism. It is likely that colonialism is not the most proximate cause but it is a secondary cause, or an environment that prevented the country from being strong enough to repel the degree of breakdown. But we have to acknowledge that this could happen in coutries that were not colonies as well. Even there colonialism can be a factor though.

In any case I entirely support the link, even if it is not the principle proximate cause (what made it happen here and now). I won't go through the specualtion about how extremism was affected by colonialism by I think that is an argument to consider.

Given that Christians are the minority but also the religion associated with colonialism this raises the chances that colonialism was related to the rationale.

 

JKR

cco wrote:
It's a picky bunch of jihadists who, in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country where the largest religious minority group is Hindu, go after the small Christian minority. Not saying it's necessarily untrue, but it seems odd.

Jihadists seem to have a broad international perspective. It seems to me that they view Jews and Christians as being their greatest adversaries.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

cco wrote:
It's a picky bunch of jihadists who, in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country where the largest religious minority group is Hindu, go after the small Christian minority. Not saying it's necessarily untrue, but it seems odd.

Jihadists seem to have a broad international perspective. It seems to me that they view Jews and Christians as being their greatest adversaries.

Without condoning them, it is easy to see why. Too many aggressive to the Muslim world hold out these two religions as their guide. Perhaps real secularism from the aggressors would be less likely to make those religions a target. I am not blaming the victims at all but their selection as targets are also not random.

The pressure is always on Muslims to disavow what is done that is terrible in the name of Islam. That is a problematic point but the same issue exists for Christians in particular, there are not enough denials of support for what is done in the name of Jesus Christ. It puts Christians in greater danger. Aggressive bible thumpers in the US with big bombs are not going unnoticed.

voice of the damned

Sean wrote:

Without condoning them, it is easy to see why. Too many aggressive to the Muslim world hold out these two religions as their guide. Perhaps real secularism from the aggressors would be less likely to make those religions a target.

Well, according to the government of the PRC and its supporters, China is currently being menaced by violent Muslim fndamentalists in Xinjiang province and elsewhere. Hard to think of a more secular bunch of people than the Chinese Communist Party, and to the extent that they are promoting any religion at all, it's certainly not any variation of colonial Christianity.

swallow swallow's picture

The NTJ was previously known for defacing statues of the Buddha - an attack on the majority faith. 

Targeting Christians may be a sign that this attack is internationally coordinated and supported, if NTJ is in fact responsible. Or it may be  as ign that Christianity, and tourist hotels, are linked to a feeling that they are where power lies globally - with the “crusaders” and colonialists and the wealthy in the top hotels. 

This is unfair to Sri Lankan Christians, of course, who have striven to be a church of the poor, but it could still be the perception. 

Muslims are about 10% of Sri Lanks’s population and have been respressed rather badly as Sri Lankan Sinhala/Buddhist nationalism has been on the rise - especially linked to the war against the Tamil minority. (Remember Tamil protests shutting down Toronto highways a few years back when the war was on?) 

The ethnic tensions are of course a colonial legacy, but Sinhala nationalism is an indigenous development. Tamil-Canadian writer Shyam Selvadurai has written evocatively on this point in fictional form. 

A useful explainer: http://theconversation.com/sri-lanka-has-a-history-of-conflict-but-the-recent-attacks-appear-different-115815

robbie_dee

Blasts were revenge for New Zealand mosque killings, Sri Lanka minister says (Globe and Mail)

Quote:

Devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka were retaliation for attacks on mosques in New Zealand, a Sri Lankan official said on Tuesday, as Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated blasts that killed 321 people.

Islamic State’s claim, issued on its AMAQ news agency, came shortly after Sri Lanka said two domestic Islamist groups, with suspected links to foreign militants, were believed to have been behind the attacks at three churches and four hotels, which wounded about 500 people.

Islamic State gave no evidence for its claim. The government has said at least seven suicide bombers were involved.

“The initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack,” junior minister for defence Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament.

He did not elaborate on why authorities believed there was a link to the killing of 50 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch during Friday prayers on March 15. A lone gunman carried out those attacks.

Wijewardene said two Sri Lankan Islamist groups – the National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim – were responsible for the blasts early on Sunday during Easter services and as high-end hotels served breakfast.

***

The bombs brought a shattering end to a relative calm that had existed in the Buddhist-majority Indian Ocean island since a bitter civil war against mostly Hindu, ethnic Tamil separatists ended 10 years ago, and raised fears of a return to sectarian violence.

Sri Lanka’s 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Until now, Christians had largely managed to avoid the worst of the island’s conflict and communal tensions.

Sean in Ottawa

voice of the damned wrote:

Sean wrote:

Without condoning them, it is easy to see why. Too many aggressive to the Muslim world hold out these two religions as their guide. Perhaps real secularism from the aggressors would be less likely to make those religions a target.

Well, according to the government of the PRC and its supporters, China is currently being menaced by violent Muslim fndamentalists in Xinjiang province and elsewhere. Hard to think of a more secular bunch of people than the Chinese Communist Party, and to the extent that they are promoting any religion at all, it's certainly not any variation of colonial Christianity.

China has a conflict with Muslims in its NW province. I am sure that you are not suggesting that anyone talk about it as there will be a flood as this is a topic we would not be allowed to explore here.

I will say that just becuase there is a conflict does not mean that all conflicts are related. this does not negate the colonial roots of most other religious conflicts in the world.

It is also not implausible that colonialism is related and in more ways than one in the case of China. China has a colonial past, its border regions have a colonial past along with neighbours. I am not going to explore further any colonial relationship to this issue in China but it would not surprise me to find some people could do that successfully. There are extremely good reasons to link much of China's behaviour and concerns to past colonialism.

In my opinion China is a country that suffers from ongoing PTSD from its colonial past. Colonialism in China involved dismembering the country, weakening it such that it was ripe for attack from a neighbour, crippling it economically, dividing it, subjecting its people to second class status. China was colonized by several European countries, Japan and the US. It is a very strong thread running through what is going on now. I would argue that regardless of the reasons for China's present actions, colonialism as an influence that would not be that far away. When China reaches for supremacy in anything and is ultra aggressive about its unity, avoiding the past humiliation is a frequent explanation. Further, Japan stated that foreign imperialism was the reason for its own aggression.

Do not think that much in Asia cannot be traced back in some way to the experience of colonialism and the after effects of it.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

swallow wrote:

The NTJ was previously known for defacing statues of the Buddha - an attack on the majority faith. 

Targeting Christians may be a sign that this attack is internationally coordinated and supported, if NTJ is in fact responsible. Or it may be  as ign that Christianity, and tourist hotels, are linked to a feeling that they are where power lies globally - with the “crusaders” and colonialists and the wealthy in the top hotels.

A useful explainer: http://theconversation.com/sri-lanka-has-a-history-of-conflict-but-the-recent-attacks-appear-different-115815

That was a very good article. I guess when I think of the jihadist fighters that have fled Syria and Turkey I forget that they have countries of origin. It seems that some Sri Lankan's might be battle hardened war criminals.

It is instructive that, when the suspected terrorists were arrested and weapons found, three police were shot dead. Clearly, whoever was responsible was well trained, and there have been suggestions of international links. This contributes to speculation of returned Islamic State fighters having joined NTJ.

swallow swallow's picture

Yes indeed. 

A useful description of Sri Lanka's ethnic and religious make-up, with maps, at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/23/world/asia/sri-lanka-isis-religious-ethnic-tensions-map.html?smid=tw-share

I don't normally link the NYT, but the maps are good. 

WWWTT

@kropotkin and swallow 

Ok thanks for the contributions. From swallows link, Muslims  were targets for persecution leading up to these recent acts of violence, so would it be right to say these attacks are retaliation?  I would feel more comfortable with more supporting info beyond a single nyt article. 

NDPP

Some of us are acutely aware of the genesis of 'Islamic terrorism' and who primarily supports, encourages and weaponizes it for its own purposes.  Good to see an American politician of their chief sponsor  recognize it as well. I see Islamic State has claimed responsibility and I expect we will see more of these jihadi proxy actions as part of a 'pivot to Asia'...

"Trump/Pence continue to try to hide the truth from their Christian supporters - the terrorist attacks on Christians/Christian churchs in Sri Lanka and elsewhere are inspired by the extremist Saudi ideology that Saudi Arabia spends billions propagating worldwide."

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1121025866501279744