Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Prabhakaran and the LTTE

A Select Chronological Bibliography, Part II

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 24, 2010

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”

Part 1

Part 3

Time magazine (Asian Edition), in its December 28, 2009/ January 4, 2010 double issue, carried the year-end ‘Farewell’ column to 26 internationally noted achievers who died in 2009. Among these 26, Velupillai Prabhakaran was included as ‘rebel leader’ (not as a terrorist). For the record, here are the names of the achievers, their ‘specialities’ and the age at which they died, in the order Time magazine presented them between pages 76 and 90.

Thomas Hoving, museum director, 78

Les Paul, recording artist, 94

Ted Kennedy, senator, 77

Walter Cronkite, journalist, 92

Naomi Sims, model, 61

Irving Penn, photographer, 92

Michael Jackson, singer, 50

Farrah Fawcett, actress, 62

Patrick Swayze, actor, 57

Corazon Aquino, Philippine President, 76

Ingemar Johansson, boxer, 76

Velupillai Prabhakaran, rebel leader, 54

Paul Samuelson, economist, 94

John Mortimer, writer, 85

Helen Suzman, activist, 91

Jeanne-Claude, artist, 74

John Updike, writer, 76

Frank McCourt, writer, 78

Shi Pei Pu, opera singer & spy, 70

Norman Borlaug, agronomist, 95

Robert McNamara, secretary of defense, 93

Natalya Estemirova, journalist & activist, 50

Claude Levi-Strauss, anthropologist, 100

Kim Dae Jung, President & dissident, 85

William Safire, writer, 79

Andrew Wyeth, artist, 91

Prabakaran J.N. Dixit & Harkirat Singh September 26 1987 after conferenceAmong the 26 listed, only Robert McNamara might have shared something common with Prabhakaran on battle strategies and war. Isn’t it some kind of an achievement that, in death, in the pages of Time magazine, Prabhakaran shared the same spotlight on the same page (page 83) with the great economist Paul Samuelson, the first American to be awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics? How many rebel leaders or nit-picking academics or journalists or politicians in South Asia can dream of this type of credit?

Whereas the obituary notes for others were contributed by someone who know more about the person, had stature and also had in-depth knowledge on the dead person’s speciality, Time’s choice for Prabhakaran’s obituary note was a poor one. For example, Keith Richards wrote about Les Paul. Bill Gates wrote about Norman Borlaug. Ted Sorensen wrote about Robert McNamara. Peggy Noonan wrote about William Safire. Jamie Wyeth (daughter) wrote about Andrew Wyeth, her father. Time’s editorial desk chose Anita Pratap (Time’s former correspondent) to write about Prabhakaran. She couldn’t do proper justice on Prabhakaran’s contribution to the society, rather than scribbling bland cliché inanities (such as ‘fearsome’, and ‘ruthless’).

What does Ms. Pratap, a journalist, know about Tamil rights, leadership, courage and battlefield strategies? I’d have preferred if Time magazine had chosen a military peer from India such as Gen. Harkirat Singh who had served in the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) and matched their wit and skills with Prabhakaran’s army.

But, Time magazine made up for its lapse with a worthy piece by its regular columnist Joe Klein. His remark for those who deserve kudos for courage in 2009 and his citation of a Teddy Roosevelt quote was a beauty. I reproduce it here:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”

Whereas Anita Pratap failed miserably to evaluate the achievements of Prabhakaran and his LTTE fighters in proper terms, Joe Klein succeeded in placing proper credit to our Tamil heroes and heroines.

Chronological Bibliography Part 2

I provide below, 56 items - a continuation of my chronological bibliography on Prabhakaran and LTTE, as part 2. Last year’s list contained 70 items. I have only chosen the literature which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, with a couple of exceptions like the Atlantic Monthly feature by ‘terrorism expert’ Bruce Hoffman. Caveat! the ten identifiable biases that I included last year in the compilation of part 1 last year, are applicable to most of the publications in this list too. To repeat, these ten identifiable biases are as follows:

Tamil language incompetency bias

Lack of access bias

Gumshoes truth-distortion bias

Blinded mule bias

Terrorism industry menagerie bias

Unverified/unverifiable garbage bias

Timid media punditry bias

‘Me too expert’ bias

Sinhala-state funding bias

I have to make a special mention about author Daya Somasundaram (a Tamil) here, whose two 2010 reports (items 55 and 56) I have included in this list. In my opinion, his reports suffer from the ‘Me too expert’ bias. He was one of the four authors of the Broken Palmyra (1990) book. Professionally, he is a medically qualified psychiatrist. In his two publications that have appeared this year, he still includes his “affiliation” as “Department of Psychiatry, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.” Via email, I verified this fact with an administrative official at the University of Jaffna, whether this information is correct. That official let me know that Dr. Somasundaram had quit his position at the University of Jaffna, few years ago, when he was out of the island. He had submitted his resignation then. This being the case, for him to use his current “affiliation” as “Department of Psychiatry, University of Jaffna” is erroneous by acceptable professional standards. This has been a psychiatric malady of the ‘Broken Palmyra’ authors, who persisted in using the ‘University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), Sri Lanka’ label deceptively for long.

I could tell that some researchers (especially Maya Ranganathan, item 53) were obviously sloppy or lazy in their data-collection skills. Ms. Ranganathan’s paper includes a reference to me. But, I never heard from her. What she had done was to make use of the material from an email correspondence that I had with Prof. Michael Roberts. After reading her paper, I sent her an email about her use of material, for which she didn’t ask prior permission from me. Obviously, until now, I never heard from her. This type of sloppiness in data collection has to be viewed with caution, when one makes sense of the conclusion arrived by these scholars.

Lastly, I provide this list as a service to academics, students, journalists and media persons, and I vouch that I have checked the originals of all these publications. This list serves as an answer to the critics, sourpusses and emasculated eunuchs among Tamils to the question what did Prabhakaran and LTTE achieve within a short span of 25 years (1984-2009), and also as inspiration to younger generation all over the world, who fight against entrenched racism, colonialism and oppression. 

  • W.I. Siriweera: Recent developments in Sinhala-Tamil relations. Asian Survey, Sept. 1980; 20(9): 903-913.

  • Ray C. Oberst: Political decay in Sri Lanka. Current History, December 1989; 88: 425-428 and 448-449.

  • Mark Juergensmeyer: What the Bhikku said; Reflections on the rise of militant religious nationalism. Religion, 1990; 20: 53-75.

  • Ray C. Oberst: A war without winners in Sri Lanka. Current History, March 1992; 91: 128-131.

  • Lisa Morris Grobar and Shiranthi Gnanaselvam: The economic effects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Economic Development and Cultural Change, January 1993; 41(2): 395-405.

  • Howard B. Schaffer: The Sri Lankan elections of 1994: The Chandrika Factor. Asian Survey, May 1995; 35(5): 409-425.

  • Michael Roberts: Filial devotion in Tamil culture and the Tiger cult of martyrdom. Contributions to Indian Sociology, July-December 1996; 30(2): 245-272.

  • Margaret Trawick: Reasons for violence; a preliminary ethnographic account of the LTTE. South Asia – Journal of South Asian Studies, sp. Issue 1997; 20: 153-180.

  • Philip Stevenson: Batticaloa – war surgery continues in Sri Lanka. Lancet, April 4, 1998; 351: 1039.

  • Welsh, J: Sri Lanka: torture continues. Lancet, July 31, 1999; 354: 420.

  • A.J. Christopher: New states in a new millennium. Area, 1999; 31(4): 327-334.

  • Robin Coningham and Nick Lewer: Paradise lost: the bombing of the Temple of the Tooth – a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka. Antiquity, Dec. 1999; 73: 857-866.

  • V. Nithiyanandan: Ethnic politics and Third World development: Some lesions from Sri Lanka’s experience. Third World Quarterly, April 2000; 21(2): 283-311.

  • L. Paul: The Tamil question in Sri Lanka. Guerres Mondiales et Conflits Contemporains, September 2000, (195): 97-114.

  • Gyan Pradhan: Economic cost of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 2001; 31(3): 375-384.

  • Bruce Hoffman: A nasty business. Atlantic Monthly, January 2002; 289(1): 49-52.

  • Jennifer Hyndman: Aid, conflict and migration: the Canada-Sri Lanka connection. Canadian Geographer, 2003; 47(3): 251-268.

  • Simon Harris: Gender, participation and post-conflict planning in Northern Sri Lanka. Gender and Development, 2004: 12(3): 60-69.

  • Peng-Er Lam: Japan’s peace building diplomacy in Sri Lanka. East Asia, summer 2004; 21(2): 3-17.

  • James D. Fearon: Why do some civil wars last so much longer than others? Journal of Peace Research, May 2004; 41(3): 275-301.

  • Sarah Wayland: Ethnonationalist networks and transnational opportunities: the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Review of International Studies, 2004; 30: 405-426.

  • Malathi de Alwis: The moral mother syndrome. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 2004; 11(1): 65-73.

  • Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake: Between reality and representation –Women’s agency in war and post-conflict Sri Lanka. Cultural Dynamics, 2004; 16(2/3): 141-168.

  • Radhika Coomaraswamy and Charmaine de los Reyes: Rule by emergency; Sri Lanka’s post colonial constitutional experience. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 2004; 2(2): 272-295.

  • M. Alison: Women as agents of political violence; gendering security. Security Dialogue, December 2004; 35(4): 447-463.

  • Richard Stone: A race to beat the odds. Science, January 28, 2005; 307: 502-504.

  • Saruban Pasu: In Sri Lanka after tsunami. Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, April 2005; 98: 180.

  • V. Culbert: Civil society development versus the peace dividend: International aid in the Wanni. Disasters, March 2005; 29(1): 38-57.

  • Neil DeVotta: From ethnic outbidding to ethnic conflict: the institutional bases for Sri Lanka’s separatist war. Nations and Nationalism, 2005; 11(1): 141-159.

  • Mia Bloom: Mother, daughter, sister and bomber. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November-December 2005; 61(6): 54-62.

  • Lotta Harbom, Stina Hogbladh and Peter Wallensteen: Armed conflict and peace agreements. Journal of Peace Research, 2006; 43(5): 617-631.

  • Pal Kolsto: The sustainability and future of unrecognized quasi-states. Journal of Peace Research, 2006; 43(6): 723-740.

  • Mark Schaller and A.M.N.D. Abeysinghe: Geographical frame of reference and dangerous intergroup attitudes: a double-minority study in Sri Lanka. Political Psychology, 2006; 27(4): 615-631.

  • K. Stokke: Building the Tamil Eelam state: emerging state institutions and forms of governance in LTTE-controlled areas in Sri Lanka. Third World Quarterly, September 2006; 27(6): 1021-1040.

  • Mario Ferrero: Martyrdom contracts. Journal of Conflict Resolution, December 2006; 50(6): 855-877.

  • Chris Smith: The Eelam endgame? International Affairs, 2007; 83(1): 69-86.

  • A. Stack-O’Connor: Lions, tigers and freedom birds; how and why the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam employs women. Terrorism and Political Violence, Spring 2007; 19(1): 43-63.

  • Peter Schalk: Caivam – a religion among Tamil speaking refugees from Sri Lanka. Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2007; 26(2): 91-108.

  • Michael Roberts: Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s muddles on ‘suicide bombers’ in Sri Lanka. Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics, working paper no. 32, November 2007, 54pp.

  • Sonia Neela Das: Between convergence and divergence: Reformatting language purism in the Montreal Tamil diaspora. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 2008; 18(1): 1-23.

  • K.N. Ruwanpura: Temporality of disasters: The politics of women’s livelihoods ‘After’ the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2008; 29(3): 325-340.

  • Nira Wickramasinghe: Sri Lanka in 2007 – Militry successes, but at humanitarian and economic costs. Asian Survey, 2008; 48(1): 191-197.

  • A.R.M. Imtiyaz and Ben Stavis: Ethno-political conflict in Sri Lanka. Journal of Third World Studies, Fall 2008; 25(2): 135-152.

  • Camilla Orjuela: Distant warriors, distant peace workers? Multiple diaspora roles in Sri Lanka’s violent conflict. Global Networks, 2008; 8(4): 436-452.

  • M.W. Amarasiri de Silva: Ethnicity, politics and inequality: post-tsunami humanitarian aid delivery in Ampara district, Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2009; 33(2): 253-273.

  • Kanchana N. Ruwanpura: Putting houses in place: rebuilding communities in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2009; 33(3): 436-456.

  • Charu Latha Hogg: Army takes over. World Today (London), August/September 2009; 65(issue 8/9): 18-19.

  • S.H. Hasbullah, B. Korf: Muslim geographies and the politics of purification in Sri Lanka ‘after’ the tsunami. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2009; 30(2): 248-264.

  • Neil DeVotta: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the lost quest for separatism in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, November-December 2009; 49(6): 1021-1051.

  • K. Stokke: Crafting liberal peace? International peace promotion and the contextual politics of peace in Sri Lanka. Annals of Association of American Geographers, December 2009; 99(5): 932-939.

  • Jayadeva Uyangoda: Sri Lanka in 2009; From civil war to political uncertainities. Asian Survey, January/February 2010; 50(1): 104-111.

  • Michael Roberts: Killing Rajiv Gandhi; Dhanu’s sacrificial metamorphosis in death. South Asian History and Culture, 2010; 1: 25-41.

  • Maya Ranganathan: Experiencing terror online. South Asian History and Culture, 2010; 1: 71-85.

  • Benedikt Korf, Shahul Hasbullah, Pia Hollenbach and Bart Klem: The gift of disaster: the commodification of good intentions in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2010; 34(s1): s60-s77.

  • Daya Somasundaram: Suicide bombers of Sri Lanka. Asian Journal of Social Science, 2010; 38(3): 416-441.

  • Daya Somasundaram: Collective trauma in the Vanni – a qualitative inquiry into the mental health of the internally displaced due to the civil war in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Mental Systems, 2010; 4:22, pp.1-31.




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