Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Numbers: Ethnic Cleansing and Diaspora of Lankan Tamils

There have been a few comments with accusations of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Govt.
  • 65% Sri Lankan Tamils live in Sinhalese Majority areas..In comparison only 1% Sinhalese live in Tamil majority areas.
  • The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is 22% of the Sri Lankan Tamil Population

Lankan Tamils Living among Sinhalese

65% of the Sri Lankan Tamils live in Sinhalese majority areas.  After adding up, I was shocked as I was expecting somewhere around 30%.
The numbers are from the 2012 census.  The third column (in Sinhala) are the Indian/Upcountry Tamils.  In comparison less than 1% Sinhalese live in Tamil majority regions.

Diaspora Sri Lankan Tamils

A number that has been thrown is 30% of Sri Lankan Tamils live outside the country.   The numbers say that it is 22%.
Not all of the Diaspora are refugees
a) Some migrate for economic and education reasons
b) The LTTE one child policy.  The LTTE required one child per family to become cannon fodder.   If the family had money, the LTTE would arrange to smuggle the child out to a Western country as a refugee. Thereafter the refugee would have to make monthly donations too.

Mass expulsion of Muslims from Batticoloa, Mannar and Jaffna

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Philippines Genocide: 3 million Filipinos Killed

I guess "Holocaust Deniers" all over the world.

Just the excerpts from the reports during the period (Spanish American war of 1898).

General Bell
himself, who said “we estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.”
(There is another Bell, George who also fought in the Philippines ).  Also see Gore Vidals reply on comment questioning the numbers.
20 dead filipinosThe Philadelphia Ledger November 1901 their Manila correspondent wrote “The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…
Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”

Another Marine officer described his testimony.
The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.”

Mark Twain wrote

“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”
On 15th of October 1900 Twain wrote the New York Times.
We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.” Mark Twain
 Please read the whole Post.  Interesting pictures.  Also President McKinley 's Christian reasons for the war.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Bi Kidude, Sri Lankan Baila and Traditional Drums

Recently saw a music video by Bi Kidude (Little Granny) from Zanzibar.  I was struck by the similarities to Sri Lankan Kaffiringha or Manja music and old traditional music as in Panama Vannam and Yak Thovil.

Bi Kidude (Little Granny)
Fatma Baraka Khamis was Taarab singer from Zanzibar who was born around 1910. Bi Kidude won several awards including a WOMEX
Award for her role in the culture of the Zanzibar Island.  The iconic artist sadly passed away on April 17th, 2013.   She very well might have been a century old. (see more here and video documentaryAs old as my tongue – The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude” by director Andy Jones). In Bi Kidude's words, I smoke, drink and sing.  Not bad for a life to a hundred years.

So here is one music video by Bi Kidude. A few other links, DancingTraditional Drums, and her Voice range (Alminadura)

Manja Music of Sri Lanka
Its the music of the Kaffirs (not a derogatory word in Sri Lanka). They were brought mainly by the Portuguese from Angola and Mozambique. The Tabbowa/Sirambiadi community in the west coast is a mix of African descendants and Sinhalese.  Their music is now very much part of the Sri Lankan tradition.  Below the group Ceylon African Manja performing in their village.  This is youtube clip of the same group in a more formal setting.

Portuguese Burgers (Creoles) of Batticoloa (East Coast)
The Portuguese Burgers too sing and dance Kaffiringha music.  Its is unknown if they have African roots.

Sri Lankan Traditional Music
A gravel voice and rhythms (as against melody) define traditional music. Immediate below women playing the rabane,  a instrument played by women at village events, specially Sinhalese New Year.  This particular video is from a five star hotel !!.  

Second below the traditional Gajaba Wannama (dance of the King’s Tuske) with a modern dance ensemble.  More Wannamas here.

Unheard of a couple of decades back, upper middle class girls/women playing the drums, or for that matter a traditional instruments.  Now we have and all girl/women traditional drumming (watch it is good, their website The times are a changing. 

Also see

Thanks Mohamed Rizwan for linking the Bi Kidude video, Anton James for identifying Bi Kidude.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Geopolitical Update: The Drums of War in he Middle East

Geopolitical Update: The Drums of War in he Middle East

This is like watching hurricane track and hoping it wont hit you.

a) Saudi Arabia (SA) is running out of money. Foreign reserves have fallen dramatically. Low oil prices have been a big problem
b) Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) is doing a power grab. Made himself heir. Considered an unpopular move. Ousted many a couple months a year back.
c) SA population is growing fast as is the Royal Family. They all need to be paid off to keep them from revolting.
d) The war in Yemen started by MBS was to unite the country behind him. It was supposed to be a walkover. two years and counting and no victory for SA in Yemen.
e) Another purge and assets seized, estimated of 800 billion. Good for two years.
f) Purge is unpopular. So another war, Lebanon and Iran maybe to get the populace behind MBS.

The double cross, cynical view.

The US is self sufficient in oil. No longer dependent on SA oil.
The US would like Oil prices to rise which is not possible with SA pumping away.
The SA-Yemen war was approved by US and kind of backed MbS.
US probably hoped it would destabilize SA. Anyway sold a lot of Aircraft and weapons to SA
SA might buy the most fancy weapons, but dont have the people to operate them.
So US is giving SA more rope to hang themselves.
Kind of egging SA to open a second front with Lebanon/Iran with the expectation that SA will fracture from within.
Another war and/or SA has civil war: Increased Oil prices and probably SA assets in US being seized. Mission Accomplished.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Another view of the Rohingya issue in Myanmar.

Another view of the Rohingya issue in Myanmar.

Ata Ullah the leader of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)  possibly had training under the Taliban.

excerpts from Moon of Alabama
While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:

Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.  It is in "Western interest" to hinder China's projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. There is historic precedence for such a proxy war in Burma. During World War II British imperial forces incited the Rohingya Muslim in Rakhine to fight Burmese nationalist Buddhists allied with Japanese imperialists.
There is no question that Rohingya have suffered discrimination.

However, it has now morphed into a Jihad. The jihad, fueled and funded by interested parties (US thru proxy Saudi Arabia) in order to destabilize Myanmar which getting into the Chinese Orbit.

The playbook is very similar to the LTTE and Tamils. India funded and trained the LTTE, to destabilize Sri Lanka which was coming into the US orbit. Of course the SL govt compounded the problem e.g. 83 riots authored by JR.

The current violence started in  October 2016. Atta Ullah's  group started to attack police and other government forces in the area. On August 25 2017 Ata Ullah's  group attacked 30 police stations and military outposts and killed some 12 policemen. The army and police responded, as is usual in this conflict, by burning down Rohingya townships suspected of hiding guerilla forces. To escape the growing violence many local Arakanese Buddhist flee their towns towards the capitol of Rankine. Local Rohingya Muslim flee across the border to Bangladesh.

Many say There is ample evidence of ethnic cleansing with impunity, perpetrated by the military government, which amounts to genocide.
So by the same logic, the  SL govt would be guilty of ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tamils ?. Really, thats a very serious allegation.

As Razib Kahn says " In the short-term the killing of infants and raping of women (if  true) has to stop. But these simple answers have behind them lurking deeper complexities. While agreeing upon the urgency of action now, we need to be very careful to not turn complex human beings into angels and demons. We have enough history in the recent past that that sort of model only leads to tragedy down the line, as those who we put utmost faith in fail us due to their ultimate humanity".

I would suggest a little more back ground reading on a complex issue without making statements based on a black or white view.

Also read

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Head Clerk of Dimbulla Tea, S Thomas and Academics.

This blog post was inspired by Richard Simon's: Ceylon Tea: The Trade That Made A Nation. This is about an employee of the tea trade who had descendants who ended up in S Thomas College and eventually as academics.

Thillainayagam Tambypillai
(probably late 1875)
Thillainayagam Tambypillai was the Head Clerk of the New Dimbulla Tea Company, Ltd in Agrapatana. He had a couple of children. Some of them were were, Karakulasingham, Thillainayagam, Nesamani and Isaac Tambyah.

Karalakulasingham, obtained first class Honours in B.Sc.,  one of the few who obtained a first class at that time.   Initially worked at the Colombo Observatory. With failing eyesight he left the observatory and became initially a teacher at Trinity College, Kandy and later a lecturer at the Teacher Training College. He was a contemporary of Fr. Peter Pillai, founder of Aquinas College (a brilliant academic who chose to become a priest). One of Karalakulasingham's son  RNSK Karalakulasingham was a iconic math teacher and Boarding house master of S Thomas College.

Thillainayagam. died young after having only one child Thillainayagam Robert Thuraisingam.  Robert Thuraisingham worked at the Inland Revenue Department (earlier known as the Tax Dept) and  retired as a Senior Assessor. Some Thomians may know him personally as he tutored many from his home at Moor Road, Wellawatte. 

Robert Thuraisingam's son is Ranjit Thuraisingham who was first a Thomian, then armed with a B.Sc( Hons) from  University of Colombo went onto obtain a Ph.D in molecular quantum mechanics from Cambridge in 1975. Conducted research in molecular quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, physical chemistry, acoustic scattering, signal processing, and in nonlinear chaotic systems. Wrights Impressions of Ceylon
Wright: Impressions of Ceylon (1907)
Issac Tambyah, (19th Aug 1869-1940), was educated at St. John's College, Jaffna. then at St. Thomas, College, Colombo. At S Thomas College he held the Divinity scholarship till 1891 and was Liturgy Prizeman, besides editing the College Magazine.

Qualifying as a lawyer Issac Tambyah practised in Jaffna until 1901 and then in Colombo until 1913. In 1912 he was called to the Bar, Gray's Inn, and proceeded to Malaya the next year to set up in practice there. He soon made a name for himself in politics and the law while at the same time not neglecting his theological studies. While in Malaya he obtained the degrees of D. D. and D. Th.

Returning in 1924 Dr. Tambyah forsook the law and was ordained a Deacon. Two years later he was ordained Priest and appointed to St. John's Church, Chundikuli. He remained here till 1938 when he went as Priest-in-Charge, Bandarawela. Early in 1940 he was transferred to Holy Trinity Church, San Sebastian and died at the age of 71 years. At the time of his death he was Vicar of Holv Trinity Church, San Sebastian Vice-Principal of the 'Divinity School', Colombo. He was married to Mangalanayagam, daughter of the late Mudaliyar J. W. B. Kumarkulasinghe and his sister Elizabeth Nesamani was married to Mudaliyar A. Barr-Kumarakulasinghe.

Issac Tambyah was a man of wide culture and Catholic tastes. He founded and edited the "Ceylon Review"the first Law Magazine published in Ceylon. He was the author of the "Digest of the Law Contract" and "Commentary on the Ceylon Penal Code" and "Commentary on the Ceylon Labour Ordinance", besides editing the "Ceylon Law Review" and "Tambyahs Reports". While a law student Dr. Tambyah edited the "Law-Students Magazine' and the 'Period'.

He also edited collections of poems by various writers and in 1897 came out with the "Garland of Ceylon Verse" the first collection of published poems written in Ceylon.

Later on in life he wrote Foregleams of God, Psalms of a Saiva Saint and a Tamil Mystic". Foregleams of God is a comparative Study of Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Pslams of a Saiva Saint consists of 366 translations with notes and a long long introduction and is a Christian Laymans endeavour to understand a great Hindu poet.

Issac Tambyah's wife Mangalanayagam Thambiah (nee Barr-Kumarakulasinghe) was the first female author in modern Ceylon.  She wrote in Tamil the novel "Broken Heart" in 1914. Reprints of the book are available at Kumaran House.
Tampaiya, Mankalanayakam (early 20), Christian authoress, of Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Novel Norurikunta itayam (Crushed Heart, 1914), excellent social novel reflecting extremely well the way of life of Tamils in Sri Lanka, exemplified on the story of two women, Kanmani and Ponmani. Kaiimani, after many painful experiences, hearing the sermon of a Christian priest, embraces Christianity, and dies resigned and in peace. In contrast to her, Ponmani obtains the husband she has wished for, overcoming thereby evil schemes of Kanmani 's husband and his brother, and gives the impression of a strong, even heroic woman of iron will. In placing the two protagonists in contrast, T. has achieved great distinction. The novel unfolds against the background of Christian communities of Jaffna. 1930 issue of Jaffna magazine Utayatarakai publ. another of her novels, Ariyamalar (Rare Blossom).  from Zvelebil, Kamil V.(1995): Lexicon of Tamil literature. — Leiden New York:
Mangalanayagam Reference

Mangalanayagam Thambyah

England House in Penang, with the Thambyah's

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Obama on March 2011 said the following to Justify the war on Libya.
"For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -– Muammar Qaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents. (See complete speech here)
It turned out later in Obama had no evidence for his statement."

The 2016 UK Foreign Affairs Committee report says:
“We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. … UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.” “Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Qadhafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence. While [he] certainly threatened violence against those who took up arms against his rule, this did not necessarily translate into a threat to everyone in Benghazi. In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty.”

Great, Nobel Peace prize wining president or what?