The Slides are very dense so I’m paraphrasing what I am here. All mistakes mine and not the speaker.
(1.) 1958 race riots (10yrs after independence). Violence against Tamil. Bandaranaike (then leader) was seen to pander.
(3.) Muslims are concentrated in the East even though 9% of the population; they are 30-50% in the three Eastern provinces.
(4.) “Anti-Halal” posters spread around. Only exacerbated by the recent attacks. The Muslim Council of Sri Lankan refused to accept the terrorist bodies for burial.
(5.) Anti-Muslim violence seems imminent. There is a post-war Anti-Muslim movement.
(6.) Decisive anti-Tamil violence in 1983.
(7.) In the post-Independence Sri Lankan PM D. S. Senanayake distributed land. Muslims were given 200 acres and Singhalese were given 2 acres. When the latter complained he told them “you guys can’t even improve the 2 acres I have given you; go work for the Muslims and when you have the chance, you beat them up and chase them away.”
(8.) Muslim anecdotes during the Civil war would say, “when the Singhalese are done with Tamils they will come for us.”
(9.) Singhalese 71% Tamil 26% in 1983. It is a pivotal year in heralding the War. It begins the Tamil out-migration. UNP was the majority party and they held a referendum in order to stay another term without having to hold an election. Riots took place 6months after the referendum.
In 1958, the Tamil political leadership acquiesced to a formula of Sinhala as the official language, but with a “reasonable use of Tamil” being allowed. Only the leftist parties opposed this, holding out for parity between the two languages. However, after the Tamil people gave an overwhelming mandate to the Tamil nationalist Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi(Federal Party), which had agreed to a subordinate status for the Tamil language, the leftist parties eventually abandoned their support for parity.
(10.) She’s quoting Tambiah in how “collective violence” is not necessarily spontaneous but is routinised and ritualised. There are intergenerational links since these riots are often recurrent.
(11.) Hate speech that has ready national resonance is now dispersed through social media. The idea is that these riots are seen as “corrective.”
(12.) Majority entitlement is a fact of life. Tambiah touches on that today maybe SL vs Tamil, then Muslim then Xtian.
(13.) SL looks at the past as historic (epistemological). Tamils look at the past as mythic (ontological).
The Singhalese are a normally peaceful people into violent and rampaging mobs. There is an element of “exorcism” in these surges of violence against the Tamils, who threaten the state. Lots of political historiographers notes included Kapferer, Daniel.
(14.) The Tamils are so “cowed” that we even hear Pandits (not just Monks) talk about the similarity of the Tamil & Singhalese cultures vis a vis Muslims.
The Monks cry out don’t rent to Muslims*, don’t eat in their restaurants**, Muslims think they are better than the Singhalese. Lots of “casteish” rhetoric used.
*Muslims carry out blood sacrifices in the house against the landlords. **Muslims spit on their food.