By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha-2017-12-16
Since I could do no work till I got the official result, I had a glorious summer. There was much socializing, even with some of the by now much younger generations of undergraduates, though mainly with old friends, in London or when they came back.
After term I went back to the cottage we had taken the previous year in Ireland, this time with just two friends. Again we had a delightful though much less strenuous time than when we had had a car. Then I settled down to work, which did not prove too taxing.
I spent the first two terms after I got back in the lower flat at Norham Gardens, since the rooms Bruce and I had occupied had been taken over by two Union friends. Two others had taken on the downstairs flat, including the defeated Secretary of the Union who had been elected President at the end of the previous summer, and I took over his room which he had vacated at the end of the previous year.
22 Norham Gardens
30 May 1979
Thanks for your letter – don’t bother about the accommodation as I’m almost certain now I shan’t be back in October and won’t try – my supervisor pointed out gracefully in reply to my own elegant complaints that I oughtn’t really to have fixed myself so arbitrary a deadline, and I think he’s right. I have a clearer idea now about the revision, though not yet an official one, and I’m afraid the examiners recommend, though not demanding, that criticism – which is what the troublesome chapter is about – should be mentioned in footnotes elsewhere. So, though the argument still remains intact, the actual logistics of presentation will take up time. Could you or Thatha please mention this to Ashley? – I’ve written already, suggesting that they proceed with another appointment as it’s only fair to them to offer the option of my resignation. I’m not too upset – and that, I think, only in case both of you are which I hope you’re not. There is, however, one problem, namely my return ticket, which expires on 18 June. I shall go down to London next week to try to get it changed, or a refund, failing which I wonder whether I should send it back for Thatha to deal with more effectively. If he’d like to ring me (!!!), I’m in most mornings, but after 8, the portering still going on apace; and enjoyably, though regrettably less frequently.
Christopher Bowden’s very good at touristy things, and would probably much appreciate Anuradhapura et al, and, of course, Kandy; and could manage the touring himself, unless of course you were free and wanted to have a break yourselves.
I think he’d want to cram as much as possible into his time, so it may be best to send him on rapid exhausting tour to the ruins, and take him on a more leisurely one yourselves to the hills. I also think he’d appreciate Old Place, though not of course at the expense of more prominent things. Let him pay for himself unless you’re with him – and even then perhaps occasionally, as he may be embarrassed otherwise. It would be nice if he could meet someone Parliamentary – say, Bernard – as well as see the place. You may recall that he’s Mary’s boyfriend – as in the girl you met in ’75, when her then boyfriend John – Christopher’s then flatmate – was playing tennis.
I’ve been relatively quiet over the last few weeks, though this, being 8s week, is a bit more hectic, with people down for the weekend and parties given by people I know – which isn’t generally the case any more. A symptom of middle-age, perhaps (I gave up sugar in coffee and tea to mark being 25), is that I find few things more enjoyable than sitting in the flat reading long novels and listening to opera – Bruce very kindly having brought me last weekend lots of records to add to my own sets – now much expanded with Anila’s birthday present of Wagner’s Ring – 11 records, nearly 20 hours worth of glorious noise. I suspect, also, that it’s had its therapeutic effect during the relative frustration of the last few weeks when I could do nothing and would, ordinarily, have been annoyed, but wasn’t.
Thatha’s letter mentioned something about Annette, which sounded quite upsetting – do elucidate. Anila’s letter to me mentioned the Stokey wedding as well, as an occasion of great glee. I had a belated birthday card from Punch, but haven’t seen him yet, and have no idea where he is at the moment. I hope Lakshmi’s better, she didn’t sound too well in her last, and that her land problem resolves itself.
Thanks too for the cadju which was extremely welcome. Don’t bother about cake, though if there is a possibility of anything being sent, my box of cufflinks might be useful – though not in the least essential. Hope you’re looking after yourselves.
You will, I trust, be delighted to hear that the University Hardship Committee – I like to think, though improbably, through a guilty conscience about the delay, have given me 400 pounts; which, with your characteristically kind and generous renewal, will make me prosper again. I cannot, unfortunately, be night porter again, as they have a permanent man – but it was most enjoyable, as Oxford continues. I’ve asked the Admissions Office to send on forms, but for various reasons I wouldn’t impost on Univ necessarily again so soon, especially with a late entry. Many thanks for the cake, also the letters through Margaret.
22 Norham Gardens
30 June 1979
Thanks for your letter, which took ages to arrive due to postal confusion here. Doubtless this will too but, just in case you do have a carrier, my sports jacket and one or two of the shirts (blue dress one esp.), also some shoes, would be of use – order of priority given. Do let me know whether and when you’re going to be here soon, so I could leave repairs to you – it was most annoying (!) to be told of looking exceeding well on the day I borrowed a jacket from upstairs. Vivien hastened to assure me it was the colour, rather than the general disreputability of my own stuff.
I hope you got my anniversary card, also Thatha’s birthday card with its good news about my grant. I still work occasionally as Night Porter, which is most enjoyable – Leslie is quite convinced I only do it for the gossip. I still haven’t got quite as strong a hold on the rather silly bits of work I have to do before resubmission – mainly because everyone I know has been going gently dotty due to Exams, leaving, Union, etc. and their resident psychiatrist has to cope. I’m thinking of charging, and having a system of appointments though this may only be flattery, to prevent myself feeling old and passé. It’s nice to feel needed anyway, and the situations are often very diverting and of great value to the budding novelist – hence, too, the Lodge, because the College is going through a protracted sort of crisis and the reactions of the individuals concerned are fascinating.
I took Theja to ‘My Fair Lady’ on Wednesday, not with much enthusiasm as it wasn’t a particularly good production but Sanjiva and Chitra were going the next day and wanted her to see it before, and in the end it wasn’t a disappointment. Far from thinking of Rex Harrison, the associations I indulged in were the auditory ones of 1959: awful, but at the same time quite charming, to think that my first association with the work was 20 years ago. I’d been to Encaenia that morning – when they give out the Honorary Degrees, to Graham Greene amongst others – and was delighted to discover that I am now senior enough to sit in the area, along with the MP for Oxford, who’s a fellow, and other such luminaries: little things for little minds, just as last week, when David asked me along to see the Garter ceremony, which was a great joy – Lord Hunt of Everest et al.
Sanjiva told me about Aunty Som – I hadn’t actually realized last year that she was ill. I’ve got a card for C.Q. but can’t actually bring myself to write anything in it. I suspect in the end I’ll just sign it and send it on.
Shelton & co. were here on Thursday, and I gave them the tour, including a climb to the top of the Sheldonian, which I hope wasn’t too tiring. Christopher Bowden would, I suppose, have arrived by the time you get this letter. In addition, John Harrison – who now lives upstairs, and whom Aachchi met last year, I’m not sure if you did (beat Alicia for the Union Presidency) arrives on 24 July on a tour with the school at which he’s going to start teaching next term. He’s got a programme and hostel with them, but I’ll give him your number in case you’ll be able to have him to dinner. Could you also give him Rohan’s telephone at John Keells, as he knows Chanaka as well and, being slightly younger, might welcome an evening out, with the kids. He’s quite fond of architecture, but I suspect Anjalan may be a bit too much for him, even for the sake of Dutch Regency buildings.
A team of the JSC Rosoboronexport, the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s exports/imports of defense-related and dual-use products, technologies and services, is in Colombo to finalize the scheduled defense agreements including buying a Gepard 5.1 ocean-going patrol ship, but efforts are almost negative
by (2017-12-16 17:43:35)
Tamara Nassar– 16 December 2017
Israeli forces have escalated their sweeping arrest campaign of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, detaining hundreds since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capitalon 6 December.
Israeli occupation forces arrested 400 Palestinians on Tuesday and Wednesday alone in a crackdown Israel dubbed “Operation Green Candles.”
Israeli media reported that it was one of the biggest mass arrest campaigns in recent years, involving 1,600 occupation personnel.
The arrest campaign has targeted “ex-detainees and individuals who are considered leading figures in their communities,” Addameer stated.
These included the arrest last Monday of Khader Adnan, a former detainee who has previously undertaken two prolonged hunger strikes – 66 days in 2012 and 55 days in 2015 – in protest of his detention without charge or trial by Israel.
Adnan immediately began a hunger strike to protest his latest arrest, according to prisoner solidarity group Samidoun.
Yousef had been released on 31 August after being held under so-called administrative detention – without charge or trial – for two years.
He is one of 12 Palestinian lawmakers now in Israeli prisons, nine of them held under administrative detention, according to Addameer.
Israeli forces moved imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti – also a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council – to solitary confinement this week, after he made a statement in commemoration of the first intifada, which began 30 years ago this month.
Targeting human rights defenders
Amid the current intensification of its arrest campaign, Israel has also targeted lawyers who defend Palestinian prisoners.
On 4 December it arrested three lawyers, including Eyad Messk, who represents Raed Salah, a prominent Palestinian political leader in Israel. Israel also arrested Khaled Zabarqa and Feras al-Sabbah, who work with prisoners and human rights organizations.
Commenting on the arrests, Addameer said: “Israeli forces routinely target human rights defenders as part of an intensifying campaign against anyone seeking to further the cause of dignity and justice for the Palestinian people.”
In August, Israel detained Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian-French human rights defender and former detainee who works with Addameer.
He also remains in prison despite protests from French citizens and the French government.
As this video and others document, Israeli forces have even arrested injured persons being transported by medical personnel.
In this incident, Israeli forces stopped and forcibly removed two girls from a Red Crescent ambulance in Halhul, north of Hebron, on Wednesday.
The two girls denied medical treatment were Manar Khader Rayan, 17, who was injured by a rubber-coated bullet, and Assalah Yousef Rayan, 17, Addameer reported.
A third child, 13-year-old Muhassen Taha, was also arrested in the same raid.
Videos and photos extensively document Israeli armed men disguised as Palestinians – so-called mistaravim – pointing weapons at journalists and seizing Palestinians in the midst of protests.
Another video published by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem circulated widely on social media. It shows Israeli soldiers on Tuesday trying to arrest three Palestinian boys, all under the age of 8
Thousands honor disabled protester killed in Gaza
On Friday, four Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as Israel cracked down on protests that have continued since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.
Among them was 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thurayya, a wheelchair user who had lost both of his legs during Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008.
He had been seen participating in protests near Gaza’s eastern boundary with Israel, waving Palestinian flags. Abu Thurayya, who supported a family of 11 by washing cars, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers with a bullet to his head.
On Saturday, thousands marched in his funeral.
Netanyahu learnt this week the grave limitations of the American influence worldwide in the Trump era
No more takers
Even the Czech Republic and Hungary, two of the more pro-Israeli Eastern Europe countries, refrained to say when, if at all, they will move their embassy to Jerusalem
Arab allies muted
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These traits of virtue, as common to them all as is their God, is being tested in the hottest of fires. Have their peoples imbibed the true message of their faith? The question for this Christmas month is can enough of them stand up against the new alliance of Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?
Over decades Israel has rebuffed American demands for a total freeze on Israel’s colonisation of occupied Palestinian land by allowing both the size of the settlements and the numbers living there to expand by the month. In 2009 Benjamin Netanyahu, in an earlier term as prime minister, even went a step further – announcing that Israel had decided to evict Palestinian families in Arab East Jerusalem to allow Jewish families to take over. Now, in a symbolic move, Trump has ordered the US embassy to be transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that anti-Zionist Israelis see as a collusion with Netanyahu’s hard line, anti-Palestinian policies.
President Bill Clinton was profoundly wrong after the Camp David meeting broke up towards the end of his term in office in berating Arafat publicly for not compromising on Jerusalem. He seemed not to understand Yasser Arafat’s observation: “The Arab leader has not been born who will give up Jerusalem”. Clinton looked at the enormous compromises the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, had already made and assumed this was a very fair deal. It was, indeed, but it wasn’t enough.
“The secular politicians may be the ones doing the negotiations and ordering the compromises but it is the teachers of the three great deistic religions who have been charged from above to exert their mandate to teach compassion, goodness, tolerance and brotherhood, and make a non-aligned Jerusalem the centre that brings the three Abrahamic religions into an embrace”
Nevertheless, Jewish identity is now so bound up with the idea of Jerusalem (a fuzzy concept if ever there was one, since present day Jerusalem is four times the size of the one that existed in 1948) that to prise Israel loose by a process of capitulation is going to be a very uphill task.
With his audacious and damning move Trump has raised the stakes over Jerusalem. Most of the big powers, the Islamic world and the Pope have criticised him. That is not enough. If the rest of the world is not prepared to resist Netanyahu and drive through the internationalising of the city he will have proved once again that Israel always turns out on top. For that not to happen we need the faith of the founders of the
Note: For 17 years Power was a foreign affairs columnist and commentator for the International
Herald Tribune, now the
New York Times.
(Phone no: +46 706510879)
Reuters journalists Wa Lone (L) and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are based in Myanmar, pose for a picture at the Reuters office in Yangon, Myanmar December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Antoni Slodkowski
Reuters Staff-DECEMBER 16, 2017
YANGON (Reuters) – A group of Myanmar journalists said they would begin wearing black T-shirts on Saturday in protest at the detention of two Reuters reporters accused of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act, as pressure builds on Myanmar to release the pair.
The Protection Committee for Myanmar Journalists, a group of local reporters who have demonstrated against past prosecutions of journalists, decried the “unfair arrests that affect media freedom”.
In a statement on Facebook, the committee said its members would don black T-shirts “to signify the dark age of media freedom” in Myanmar. They demanded the unconditional and immediate release of the two reporters, Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27.
“Journalists all over the country are urged to take part in the Black Campaign,” the group said. It said it also planned to stage official protests and prayers.
The group has staged several protests on behalf of arrested reporters from other media this year, including one in June in which around 100 journalists took part. It was not immediately clear how many journalists have joined the black T-shirt protest.
The Protection Committee for Myanmar Journalists was formed in response to the arrest in June of a newspaper editor over the publication of a cartoon that made fun of the military, said video journalist A Hla Lay Thu Zar – one of the group’s 21-member executive committee.
“A reporter must have the right to get information and write news ethically,” said A Hla Lay Thu Zar in reference to the case of the two Reuters’ journalists.
Myo Nyunt, deputy director for Myanmar’s Ministry of Information, told Reuters the case had nothing to do with press freedom.
“It’s related to the Official Secrets Act,” he said. “Journalists should be able to tell what is secret and what is not… We already have press freedom. There’s freedom to write and speak… There’s press freedom if you follow the rules.”
Asked about the local reporters’ “black campaign”, he said: “Everyone can express his feelings.”
Reuters journalist Wa Lone, who is based in Myanmar, is seen in this undated picture in Myanmar. REUTERS/Staff
PRESSURE FROM ACROSS THE WORLD
The journalists were arrested on Tuesday evening after they were invited to dine with police officers on the outskirts of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, and government officials from Canada, Britain, Sweden, and Bangladesh, have all called for their release.
Reuters journalist Wa Lone, who is based in Myanmar, is seen in this undated picture in Myanmar. REUTERS/Staff
The two reporters had worked on Reuters coverage of a crisis that has seen an estimated 655,000 Rohingya Muslims flee from a fierce military crackdown on militants in western Rakhine state.
The Ministry of Information said the journalists had “illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media”, and released a photo of the pair in handcuffs. It said they were being investigated under the 1923 Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
Human rights advocates say press freedom is under attack in Myanmar, where the young civilian-led government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi shares power with the military that ran the country for decades. At least 11 journalists have been detained in 2017, although some have since been released.
Police told Wa Lone’s wife on Thursday that the reporters were taken from Htaunt Kyant police station in north Yangon by an investigation team to an undisclosed location shortly after their arrest.
They added the reporters would be brought back to the station in “two to three days at most”. It is now four days since they were detained.
Separately, police lieutenant colonel Myint Htwe of the Yangon Police Division told Reuters on Thursday the reporters’ location would not be disclosed until the investigation was complete.
Since then, the authorities have not provided any further information on their whereabouts.