Farzana Haniffa

Sep 7, 2022

Sri Lanka: Meet the New Dynast, Same as the Old Dynast

A Discussion with Farzana Haniffa

New Books Network 2022

Sri Lanka has recently endured tremendous political and economic turmoil with severe shortages of goods and fuel leading to the ouster of the sitting president. After Gotabhaya Rajapaksa fled the country in disgrace, he was replaced by another dynastic heir, Ranil Wickremesinghe. While much has changed in the once war-torn island nation, much has stayed the same.

In this episode, Farzana Haniffa, Professor of Sociology at University of Colombo, speaks with John Torpey, Presidential Professor of History and Sociology and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at Graduate Center, CUNY, about the events that led to massive protests and a coup d’état in Sri Lanka, including the deterioration of the economy caused by COVID and Sri Lanka’s reliance on tourism and remittances and the long reign of the Rajapaksas. Haniffa also discusses how the government is prosecuting and attacking protesters and incarcerating them without trial to instill fear as they did during the Civil War, and how Sri Lankans are responding with anti-polarization protests.

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International Horizons

International Horizons is a podcast of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies that brings scholarly expertise to bear on our understanding of international issues. John Torpey, the host of the podcast and director of the Ralph Bunche Institute, holds conversations with prominent scholars and figures in state-of-the-art international issues in our weekly episodes.

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