Dawn. Image Vinod Moonesinghe

Barbet’s whistle broken
By distant dog’s bow-ing bark
Heralding the dawn

Frog croaks a
Morning symphony
Pigeon coos

Koel screams annoy
Mynahs courting paramours
Cicada background

Thump thud clunk
School shoes on tarmac
Pierce morn mist

Roar of the schoolbus
Heralding modern era’s
Entrant dissonance

26 November 2013

British Ceylon and the Aliyah

David Roberts, Prayer in Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem 1840. Wikipedia

The members of the Ceylon Civil Service (CCS), formed in 1801 to administer the crown colony of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), served as regional administrators, tax collectors and judges, all rolled into one. Until 1875, the CCS, only employed Britons; and for many years thereafter, very few Sri Lankans served in it. The Britons it employed tended to belong to the gentry — although it did open up to “outsiders’ such as Leonard Woolf, later.

In 1839, Edward Ledwich Osbaldeston Mitford, scion of a northern English gentry family — at 32, an experienced officer in Britain’s…

F 16s during Desert Storm. Image: US Department of Defence

The US military command began its assault on Iraq in 2003 as in the previous Gulf War in 1991: with a Buck Rogers video-game-style air attack. However, unlike “Operation Desert Storm” in the earlier conflict — which attempted to destroy the Iraqi army from the air over a prolonged period — they apparently based the 2003 plan on a “new” theory of battle adopted by the Pentagon.

The new doctrine, called “Rapid Decisive Operations” (RDO) evolved from earlier theories of “Rapid Dominance”, and “Effects-Based Operations” (EBO), which aimed to paralyze the enemy through a series of physical and psychological shocks.

Execution of Petrus Vuijst, print by Simon Fokke (courtesy Rijksmuseum)

A long lane in Mutwal, a northern district of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, bears the name “Vystwyke Road”. The name commemorates “Vuyst Wyk”, the old country retreat of the notorious Dutch Governor of what was then called “Ceylon”, Petrus Vuyst.

Vuyst ordered a new road to be built from Colombo’s Fort to Vuyst Wyk. Because carts could not get to it, he ordered paving stones to be transferred from hand to hand from the Fort. …

Vinod Moonesinghe

Read Mechanical Engineering, University of Westminster; worked in tea machinery, railways and motor spares, then turned to journalism and history. Chair, CGTTI.

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