Tinted Tilly

The August 1 issue of the New Yorker is la vie en sepia. It covers Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star Deep Roy, M.I.A.’s spinner Diplo and the Sri Lankan civil war. Roy is hilarious — I’ve never before seen an uncle in leather bellbottoms doing a KISS impersonation:

Inscrutable hybrids of Punjab and Marvin the Martian, their hair sculpted to resemble chocolate kisses, Roy’s Oompa Loompas are the film’s comic engine… As the Loompas, he sings, disco-dances, smashes guitars, and swims synchronically; he’s a chef, a barber, a shrink, a secretary, and exactly one hundred and twenty-one other things…

It took six months of fourteen-hour days to complete the filming of Roy’s four song-and-dance extravaganzas… Eugene Pidgeon, an actor and writer turned labor activist for dwarf performers [said]… “For every Deep Roy, there are a hundred and fifty of us who are forced to do wacked-out shit on ‘The Man Show…’ ” [Link]

Pop will eat itself:

[Wesley Pentz, aka Diplo] produced “Bucky Done Gun” for the British artist M.I.A.–it appears on her current album, “Arular”–and it consists in large part of chopped-up bits of a song called “Injeção,” by the Brazilian singer Deise Tigrona, which was recorded in da Matta’s studio. Both tracks incorporate a tiny sample of the horns from Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from “Rocky,” to create a stabbing, jittery effect that is both thrilling and irritating… “Bucky Done Gun” … has now been remixed by da Matta himself… [Link]

The baile funk infection spreads. All your remix are belong to us:

Pentz cued up his own remix of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” The song was already great–sharp-edged and minimalist–but Pentz had made it better, embellishing it with cantering, syncopated drums to create a swinging dance track. Under Stefani’s vocals, you could also hear snippets of baile funk–from “Feira de Acari,” a festive track that happens to have been produced by da Matta… [Link]

The Sri Lankan war article is not online yet, but it has a useful thumbnail summary of the war: The population split between the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka is approximately 75%-25%, with Tamils concentrated in the north and the east of the island. Jealousy of the prosperous Tamil minority led to institutionalized discrimination: politicians reserved jobs and education for the majority and enshrined Sinhala and Buddhism as the country’s official language and religion. Tamils went from 50% of the medical and engineering students in the ’60s to 20% by the end of the ’70s. Discrimination against a prosperous minority is commonplace; in the Philippines, it’s erupted as a high rate of kidnapping of the ethnic Chinese, while we all know what happened to desis in Uganda under Idi Amin.

This discrimination sparked a small guerrilla movement, the LTTE, led by Velupillai Prabhakaran. In 1983, a LTTE ambush of 13 Sinhalese policemen sparked massively disproportional riots which killed 2,000 Tamils. They were every bit as savage and state-assisted as the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat (hacking, burning, lynching, arson); many people fled the country thereafter, Tamil and Sinhalese alike.

After the riots, the Tigers grew in strength and killed most of their Tamil rivals. They kidnapped one child from every household because not enough recruits joined on their own. They pioneered the suicide belts now used by the PLO as well as ship attacks using rubber dinghies loaded with explosives, which Al Qaeda used against the USS Cole. A commander named Karuna eventually broke from Prabhakaran and set up a stronghold in the eastern city of Batticaloa.

One guy quoted in the story believes that Sri Lankans have an insufficient sense of nationality and are primarily loyal to their own ethnic group. The Tamil diaspora funds the conflict, as with diasporic Khalistanis, people without a real stake in or sense of the reality on the ground. And all groups involved have splintered the post-tsunami goodwill for their own political advantage.

Previous posts here, here and here.

Update: Here’s the New Yorker story on the Sri Lankan civil war.

24 thoughts on “Tinted Tilly

  1. (semi-off-topic-comment)

    Speaking of the New Yorker, the July 25th issue had this little sentence. “According to Sawyer, the earliest references to medcinal leeching appear in Sanskrit writing by the Indian physicians Caraka and Sushrata, who recommended that leaches be applied to snakebites and boils and around diseased eyes.”

    The article is about the return of leeching in modern medicine. The Indians should have patented it when they had a chance.

    Now back to the regular broadcast of all things related to MIA all the time.

  2. The Tamil diaspora funds the conflict, as with diasporic Khalistanis, people without a real stake in or sense of the reality on the ground.

    Really? You believe that once people are forced from their homes they lose any stake in that land? Is that an immediate loss or do you have to be away a few years before it takes effect?

  3. It’s a paraphrase from the story. But yeah, those who claim they’ll return but never do, and their kids, are much further from the problem then those who live there right now. There are many ethnic conflicts where the current residents are just damn sick of war, yet the expats keep funding it with a dollar pipeline.

  4. I’ll agree to some extent with Manish……people in the land are tired and disgusted of war. I’ve met some Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who are now in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu (in refugee camps), who really want peace in their land. They don’t want the war. The don’t like the LTTE, though they are loyal to it. But the passions are much stronger with the communities in Canada or Australia or Europe……

    The Indian Sikhs don’t talk about Khalistan, but the support for that is mostly in UK and Canada……

    That’s because for the diaspora, the last image they have of their country would have been the injustices that lead to these movements. They left at that bleak period, but didn’t stay on after that. It’s also true similarly that the diaspora cling on to their images of their home country, though the country has changed drastically from what it used to be.

  5. Hey Sunil and Manish

    Its just like how some in the Hindu diaspora fund the RSS and send bricks back for Ayodhya too! Surely you would not want to leave out our buddies in Leicester and New Jersey dreaming of Ram Raj and all the rest of it from our audit of idiots from the diaspora funding hate and terror back home?

    Because these guys in the dreamy head-in-the clouds-clueless section of the Hindu diaspora who dream of Hinutva Rising actually present a clear and present threat to life and peace in India (especially to the lives of Muslims – who are their number one barbecue target) and we would not want the detrimental effect of these fascists (I listen to some of them talk quite openly about what they want India to be like – and where they want their pounds to go) to go unnoticed in the deabte on Tamil Tigers Khalistanis or Pakistani Madrassas would we?

    Definitely not.

  6. is that the issue with Lance Armstrong like bikers on the cover?

    I think it’s the one with King Kong squirting a giant water gun over baking New Yorkers.

  7. All of that may be true, but to say they no longer have a “stake” in the land because they left (under the threat of violence or death) is offensive.

    You can argue that they don’t have a grasp of the attitudes on the ground (although that is debatable, people visit regularly, relatives still live there, communication occurs) and that their image of the land is two decades old, but taking that a step further to claim ‘you’ve been gone too long, move on’ isn’t realistic or fair.

    … those who claim they’ll return but never do, and their kids

    Last I heard the situation is ruled by a very strained cease fire agreement. Would you expect them to go now, when things still seem far from resolved?

  8. Punjabi Boy…..I hear you.

    Those idiots scare me much more……and these are the same idots who have never visited an Indian village, and will never know that in the villages Hindus and Muslims (or X religion and Y religion etc) have to live TOGETHER, and do just fine….

  9. Sunil

    The Irish in America sent money to the IRA without really knowing what was going on in that place – it is a diaspora thing for sure.

  10. RSS does not however promote terrorism or encourage suicide bombers. I am not sure I agree with the broad brush categorization.

    Both the Tigers and the Khalistanis fought or tried to fight a secessionist war.

  11. RSS does not however promote terrorism

    hahaha! Thanks for the comedy!

    I am not sure I agree with the broad brush categorization.

    Oh well – learn to live with it. As long as they are not secessioning anything but a few Muslim bodies in half they are alright I suppose. Each fascism has its own moral logic.

  12. because i know you all care a lot about this, i inform you that diplo and m.i.a. are still an item, at least per an interview he gave pitchfork media at their oh-so-hip music festival a few days ago.

    If that’s true, it wasn’t apparent during his set, which packed the DJ tent later that afternoon. Diplo was all smiles as he mixed Cybotron, Missy, Outkast, Ying Yang Twins, and TV on the Radio. (Guess who got the biggest crowd response. Yes, that one. Bloc Party and Le Tigre were also favorites.) During “Galang”, the girl in the M.I.A. t-shirt in the front row went ba-na-nas. And no, Wes and Maya haven’t broken up, and he will “beat the ass” of whoever started the rumor– hear that, Philly?

    source here (scroll down about 3/4 of the way)

    so manish, you need to correct your post, unless you are privy to some real dirt… in which case, do share!


  13. “hahaha! Thanks for the comedy!”

    Thank you, thank you I will be here all week. Two uncles walk into a bar and…

    I assumed I didn’t have to say this but I do not agree with the RSS. My sympathies are more Naipaul than Neandrthal.

    I believe the last prime minister was a member of the RSS. (Not sure) I do not think he was a terrorist.

  14. fuck. one post, and you’ve done gun covered everything I ever talk about Manish. Including Deis Tigrona. I thought I’d cornered the market on this shit ;)

    It’s good to see. I’ve said the same damn thing about grievances, Tamils benefitting under the British, expat support, etcetera etcetera etcetera for so damn long.. only to have the same arguments with rabid Tigertots who say I’m spouting Sinhala propaganda. Can’t wait to read the articles. Maybe this will makes more sense that I have.

    I do disagree with the guy who said

    Sri Lankans have an insufficient sense of nationality and are primarily loyal to their own ethnic group.

    It’s an odd generalization to make. Perhaps now, after 30 years of this, with so much misinformation (it’s amazing how the LTTE gained power and dissemenates its message abroad so effectively)..well, yeah, NOW people are mistrustful. But it didn’t used to be that way. When all this started, esp in ’83, so many sinhalese were shocked and horrified and hid Tamils in their houses. The ’83 violence was carried out by ignorant thugs. And I’ve heard rumors that a core group was paid by a Sinhala politician to foment things up a bit to get a more Sinhala-sided platform through. Then more street thugs decided to join, setting cars, buildings and people alight..and total choas reigned as nobody could figure out what the hell was goin on, and the kind of homicidal fuckwad who pulled wings off insects ruled the streets for three days.

    er, as I was saying, great post!

  15. I believe the last prime minister was a member of the RSS. (Not sure) I do not think he was a terrorist.

    I dont know if VeggiPie was a member of the RSS -doesnt make any difference to them being, you know, fascists.

  16. I am fine with you calling them fascists. I am sure the RSS is fine with that too. They might even be proud of that categorization.

    So I go to the RSS website to see what their goals and aims are; and I see this on their main page:

    “Undouchablity’ is a branch of casteism; until casteism is wiped out untouchabilityÂ’ will not go”

  17. Yeah, so what? Who cares what they say about ‘untouchables’? They still burn Muslims and carry out pogroms and persecute people in the name of their ideology – but because they dont fit the criteria of conventional terrorists they dont get called terrorists – but guess what? I reckon they are like terrorists – because they have terrorised through mass murder.

  18. Punjabi boy,

    Perhaps I ought to have been clearer. The first word in the quote is “undouchablity”(sic)

    I just thought it was funny and shows that they are neanderthals.

    Anyway, I do not want to defend the RSS.

  19. because i know you all care a lot about this, i inform you that diplo and m.i.a. are still an item, at least per an interview he gave pitchfork media at their oh-so-hip music festival a few days ago.

    You never know She could be earnin’ her man Learnin’ her man And at the same time Burnin’ her man

  20. the Tamil diaspora funds the conflict

    Which doesn’t necessarily mean those living in Sri Lanka are simply pawns of the diasporic political-machine–the LTTE has in-country supporters.

    I think its important to note that the kidnapping of children did not occur when the Tigers first came together. In other words, saying the Tigers did not have enough recruits and thereby, support, should be prefaced by a timeline that shows the kidnappings as occurring only after the group’s political and moral objectives became unclear and the war more desperate–kidnappings are not part of the ideology upon which the Tigers are founded and to imply otherwise is wrong.

    I also think it’s important to not draw such a direct line between the Tigers and Al Qaeda (many other “legitimate” forces also use explosive devices similar to what was used on the USS COLE), because the two are fundamentally different in their goals. Similarly, when drawing a connection with the PLO, it makes the whole “Tigers-as-terrorists”-argument cloudy, because Israel and the U.S. are currently working with them, not against them, to find an answer to their demands.

    Anyhow, I know you’re just paraphrasing and, we’ve been through this argument many times. I guess my point is that it’s too bad all groups (IRA, PLO, Tigers, U.K., Israel, Sri Lanka, etc.) have caused a legitimate concern to be downgraded to simple terrorism and brutality. The origins, the reasons for conflict are still valid: people are dying, starving, losing.