Bopage's Biography launched in Melbourne
- Wednesday, 16 November 2011 10:33
- Lanka News Web
Councillor Gaetano Greco of Darebin City Council opened the proceedings byexplaining how the project came about. A series of initial conversations with Lionel eventuated into an account of Lionel’s political life through the prism of socio-economic and cultural developments of post independent Sri Lanka.
Professor Damien Kingsbury of the Deakin University launched the book by highlighting its key aspects, in particular, how the elite of the country dominated the political discourse and the economic levers of society to such an extent that the country fragmented periodically into civil war and insurrections. He also noted the bravery of Lionel in the face of imprisonment, derision and exile in pushing for social justice.
Lionel started by reminding the audience of Marx’s dictum: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under the circumstances chosen by themselves but under the circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.
He pointed that the main struggle during his lifetime was between capitalism and communism and that struggle has shaped his life and philosophy. He went on to state that the island’s post-independence leadership instead of developing policy frameworks and implementing them on behalf of all, used language and religion as a sledgehammer to disguise the economic inequities of the island and its multicultural heritage. The book and his life exposes that and as a resulted expects the book to be contested by many.
The author highlighted that the book, unlike many other biographies from the island, is not written from the sensibility of the privileged but from the perspective of an individual who feels his karma is not to accept his lot stoically. Lionel like countless thousands of others rebelled against their inequity. He also highlighted how currently the island after many years of political, economic and constitutional changes and a civil war has not resulted in the lot of the majority. Their lives are still economically precarious.
At the end of the proceedings, the author and Lionel had discussions on a one to one basiswhile signing many books.
The launch was one of the very successful ones held at Readings said a commentator.