Chair: Professor Susan Z Andrade
Keynote: Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa
Discussants: Frederica Jansz, Arjuna Parakrama
Pakistan is an extreme example of militarization which has shaped every tier of politics and saturated civil society for decades. Post-war Sri Lanka has embarked on an accelerated militarization program which, some argue, is modelled on Pakistan. Both countries are united in their antagonism towards big brother India and in the increasing influence of China. Both are strategically located in geopolitical terms. Impunity and corruption rule the day. The similarities end there, as Pakistan is a nuclear power that has been destabilized by the US-led “war on terror,” enjoys a too-activist judiciary, and is in the throes of multiple conflicts. Sri Lanka is a globally insignificant oligarchy, which has managed to antagonize western democracies and the UN Human Rights Council by the brutal end of its civil war, though this “Sri Lankan Solution to Terrorism” is fast becoming a right-wing mantra.
This dialogue will explore ways in which arguments from efficiency, professionalism, non-corruption etc., justify increased military intervention in civil life, and demonstrate the nature of burgeoning alliances between armies and fundamentalisms of different kinds. Speakers will analyse how the continued invocation of patriotism and/or national security serves, at a number of levels, to deny rights and due process for dissent and difference, and map future trends and scenarios for these countries and the region. The event will end with a discussion on the (in)compatibility between military norms and human(ist)