Archive | July, 2008

Beyond ‘Babu SAARC': Liberating airwaves for South Asians

Watching the current SAARC jamboree unfold over television news, my young daughter asked why none of the officials were smiling. The SAARC Secretary General, Dr. Sheel Khant Sharma, was always scowling. Others didn’t have smiles on their faces either, even insincere ones. They all looked stressed out, wearing glum, miserable faces. I could only hazard […]

WINNING THE WAR, WINNING THE PEACE

“The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew, cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down”.   – Barack Obama, Berlin, July 24   We must not settle for a draw in a game we can win and are winning. As we draw closer to victory, those […]

‘Baaldhiya’ or ‘Vaaldhiya': Two Wor(l)ds Separated by a Consonant

I don’t think I had the slightest inkling of a problem between the sinhala and tamil people in Sri Lanka, until July 1983. But I should have. In the heady days of the 1977 election, a good 13 years before I could vote, I remember my father quite nonchalantly relating a story: at some time […]

Dhammapada and Other Works

“Dhammapada and Other Works”- An exhibition of Paintings and Installations by Chandraguptha Thenuwara was inaugurated at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in Colombo on 23rd July 2008.It was organised to ‘Commemoration of the Un-Commemorative Julys’. Being an anti-war artist, Chandraguptha Thenuwara has sought to remind his fellow Sri Lankans of Lord Buddha’s teachings about tolerance and […]

Memories of a Black Moon – the 1983 riots in Sri Lanka

More than two and a half decades later, one of my friends has asked to interview me about the ’83 riots. I was ten years old. My family was from the Sinhala majority, with relatives who were strong figures in politics and the military. How could I reply? July 1983 My mind goes back to […]

Some Reflections arising from Ethnic Riots

by Somapala Gunadheera Off and on, I write short stories, never anecdotes. But now I have to oblige Sanjana. He wants stories about our ethnic riots, the one that raged before he was born and the other when he was at school. Therapists say that anecdotes have a healing effect on ethnic wounds. My experience […]

Shanthi Sachithanandan on July 1983

Prominent Tamil civil society activist Shanthi Sachithanandan shares her experiences of the July 1983 anti-Tamil riots in Sri Lanka. For the Sinhala version of the interview, click here and visit the Vikalpa YouTube Channel for more short videos on the events of July 1983. For more articles on July 1983, please click here.

Civilian displacements in the Vanni

Reports coming in from sources in Kilinochchi district shows that military operations in the district have led to mass displacements of the civilian population living in the Vanni. In the past 3 weeks, approximately 9,000 families (approximately 40,000 individuals) were displaced from areas close to the FDL (Manthai East) towards Northern part of the Vanni […]

Some Gruesome Experiences: Memories of July 1983 by DEW Gunasekara, Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration

From my Diary Notes written in Cell No.1, Negombo Remand Prison, (July 31st-Sept 24th 1983)   I had my own gruesome experience of the Black July. It was 29th July at midnight that I received a telephone call from my friend and party comrade AJMO Dr. Indra Kumar of his father’s sudden death by a […]

Pricking the conscience on reminiscences of ‘Black July’

by Austin Fernando In July 1983, my Accountant Mr. Vallipuram at the Cooperative Department lived off Castle Street where his neighbour was a notorious Sinhalese thug. Until ‘Black July’ Vallipuram once told me that, that thug was the ‘assailant select’ in his mind, whenever he feared a racial riot. When violent crowds ‘visited’ him early […]

July 1983: Looking back in anger and despair 25 years on

Photo by Chandragupta Amarasinghe ONE What happened in mid-1983 and in the last week of July 1983 was obscene, a monumental atrocity, a disaster for Sri Lanka. In a context marked by the push for self-determination by the principal forces representing the Sri Lankan Tamils and an armed underground insurgency involving restive youth in the […]

My name is Cedric. Do you remember me?

July usually passes me by without too much notice, beyond the vague worry that there might be a Tiger attack on Colombo, and a few flashbacks to that weekend in 1983. But this time it’s been a bit different. I’ve found myself reliving that day a lot more this year. It isn’t the fact that […]