Biography uncovers forgotten lessons of Sri Lanka’s JVP | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
- Review by *Ben Courtice*
*/The Lionel Bopage story: Rebellion, repression and the
struggle for justice in Sri Lanka/*
By Michael Colin Cooke
Agahas Publishers, Colombo, 2011
Order at michaelcolincooke@...
October 31, 2011 – Lionel Bopage was for more than 10 years a central
leader of Sri Lanka’s /Janata Vimukthi Peramuna/ or People’s Liberation
Front (JVP): a revolutionary, Marxist party that exploded onto the scene
in 1971 with a failed attempt at armed insurrection. As Bopage gave so
much of his time and energy to the party (including about six years in
prison), a large part of the book functions as a history of the JVP and
its ideas in those years.
For many English-speaking progressives, what we know of political
conflict in Sri Lanka is the brutal war against the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE, the Tamil Tigers) and the oppression of the Tamil
minority. But in tandem with fostering virulent nationalist and
ethnic-religious chauvinism among the Buddhist Sinhala majority, the Sri
Lankan government imposed a rule of murderous terror against Sinhalese
revolutionaries. The response to the JVP rebellion in April 1971 saw up
to 12,000 JVP members and supporters killed, while a more protracted JVP
rebellion in the late 1980s had a death toll of perhaps as many as 60,000.
It is also the story of how that party came to be ensnared by the
communalist, Sinhala-chauvinist ideology even as its members were being
tortured, imprisoned and murdered by the same Sinhalese army that was
waging war against the Tamil rebels.
Full article at http://links.org.au/node/2575
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