Colombo, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict

Artistes of hypocrisy in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Artistes

By Anonymous

The response by a critical mass of Sri Lanka’s artist community to the protests by South Indian artistes to the fighting in the North of Sri Lanka will be noted down as a shameful moment by future generations of creative Sri Lankans.

While war lobbies have often recruited artistes to manipulate and revise the impact of war, it is sad that Sri Lanka’s artist community unites only to re-enforce military engagement. There have been many peace vigils during the recent years. Most of these only attract a handful of people, usually the usual suspects who tirelessly repeat their position of peace ahead of war, human rights ahead of murder. Where are the artistes, dressed in white, defending peace and human rights?

An article in the Daily Mirror (14 Nov 2008) quotes actress Geetha Kumarasinghe saying “We want to send a message to these Indian artistes this evening and that message is that their allegations are simply not true. And furthermore, all Sri Lankans, regardless of race or religion, will stand as one united force, against inequality, and support our troops”.

Thanks Geetha, for representing me, without my permission.

Firstly, how do you, Geetha, know that the Indian artistes allegations are not accurate. Sri Lankans and the whole world are starved of information from the battle zone. We simply have no idea what is going on there. The Military Government (and that’s what it is) has successfully censored and created an environment of self-censorship in our media, and now, they seem to have successfully seduced you and your fellow artistes to their version of the war and their fanciful tale that they can win the war. They may win the land, but they won’t win the war. To truly win the war that will unite us takes people like you, creative people, to imagine a better world for all of us. But I suspect you are simply imagining a better world for yourself.

As artistes, you and other creative people such as Ravindra Randeniya and Malini Fonseka, should not be so easily manipulated. Perhaps its all an act to for short-term career benefit. I don’t know. But in my book, artistes are the radicals – they are the people who push the boundaries and challenge the authorities through their creative abilities. They don’t bow down to a president and an army commander (and that’s what you are doing) and say “yes sir”. Artistes are at the forefront of change – they are the vanguard. There’s nothing radical about supporting the Military Government and claiming to unite for war – which is the message of your expression.

Let the world know each and all of your names. And let the world know that you support war. If you support the troops, you would be gathering together, pooling your talents, in order to save the troops – not to send especially young men, some of whom have no idea they are going to the front, to their deaths.

And where are you all when your fellow artistes have their works banned by the Military Government? Vimukthi Jayasundara’s “Sulanga Enu Pinisa” (Foresaken Land) and Asoka Handagama’s “Aksharaya” (Letter of Fire) come to mind.

How many soldiers are being killed on a daily basis? How many are injured every day? Of course, it may not be possible to make peace with the LTTE, and they do need to be militarily defeated. But this war is being carried out by a Military Government that is killing Sri Lanka. It is being carried out by people who are not fit to defend the idea of Sri Lanka. You, as artistes, must know that this wonderful island is being destroyed by ignorant politicians and a brotherhood that may have charisma but lacks the wise leadership that’s required to make this island what it once was.

Some of your faces look familiar. I know you, but I have lost my respect for you. I may still work with you – but I will no longer consider you to be an artiste. I know deep in your hearts you know that you are disposable also to the Military Government you seem to unquestioningly serve.

The sparkle in your eyes faded a long time ago.


The person who produced this response wishes to remain anonymous because in Sri Lanka, there is a growing culture that encourages Sri Lankans to kill their compatriots.

  • Mal Dununuwila

    The trouble in Sri Lanka was initiated by Mrs. Indira Gandhi when she was the Prime Minister.
    It was the Soviet Union who asked her to stop US Naval base set up in Trincomalee. Indian secret service RAW set up 212 Tamil groups in India and trained them to de-stabilise Sri Lanka in a guerrilla war. Later Prabhakaran with his LTTE became the prominent group with the help of Tamil Nadu government. Rajiv Ghandi dissolved the Tamil Nadu government and sent troops to Sri Lanka. He was later killed by the LTTE.
    As a result Sri Lanka fell in to a far greater mess than any of the Indian Secret Service personnel expected or expected.
    This war is more harmful to Tamils than the Sinhalese. Imagine if Sri Lanka had no war. Tamil business men could have become world beaters.

  • Dayan Jayatilleka

    What treacherous tosh. Dig this:

    “I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil…After September 11, after witnessing the carnage and destruction , the dust and tears, I supported this administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don’t oppose all wars”. — Senator Barack Obama Oct 2, 2002.

  • Dayan Jayatilleka

    when i said treacherous tosh, i was referring to the original article by Anonymous…not Mal Dunuwila’s. To the spineless appaement and pacifism of Anonymous, I contrasted Senator Obama.

  • Sinthaamani

    The anonymous looks at the artistes as an enlightened species noted for providing shining light on morally complex issues; they are by implication, not encumbered by the bottled up belligerence, and politico-social vengence. Anonymous is quite right in pointing a disappointing finger at Sri Lanka artisites.

  • Anil Vimalaratne

    I didn’t see Anonymous speaking up against Tamil nadu racists when they were attacking Tushara Peris and destroying his film Prabakaran. Where was your morality then? I can only see this post as another attempt to save V.P.

  • .
    A mom would sell all to give her cancer ridden child just one chance to live, though they are slim. Sri Lanka as a nation sadly doesn’t understand that they can talk about this greater good, and how peace processes MOST PROBABLY won’t work, and so it’s not worth pursuing, even though there are thousands of lives to be destroyed. I guess, annonymous, that Sri Lankans don’t and never will care until it’s their children on the line.

    As for having guts to argue pro war, sitting in a war free zone with internet access and saying, yes we are brave, ready for war, is the most pathetic thing i have seen, worse than shooting the kids in the head itself. It’s sad that fools make decisions that cost the rest of us our lives.

  • Jay Ranaweera

    All those who are aware of the real ground situation will definitely aggree with the Sri Lankan Artists peaceful demo to inform the TN Artists who are hell bent of Tamil seperatism in another sovereign country, of the real truths. If TN Artists who were not at all disturbed when thousands of innocent Sinhalese, Tamils & Muslims were slautered by the LTTE. Reports from those who fled Killinochchi from the iron clutches of LTTE reveals the horroundess life under LTTE, but none of these TN Artistss were worried.Why now they speak on behalf of Tamils in North when LTTE is getting beaten by SL Forces only felt the pulse of Tamils in North. Sri Lanka Artists uprising against the misled TN Artists is highly commendable though the Mr Annonymous criticizes.Possibly Mr Ann., too may be on LTTE Payroll.Its mere cowardness to publish views under cover.

  • Daya Mutha

    It appears that the person who wrote this is not fully convinced himself. That is why it is anonymous. Therefore it is not worthy of a comment.

  • kichchi

    THE WAR. Has any one of those participating inthe war and the pro-war supporters have actually analyzed the roots of the present WAR and he many turns it has taken to the present status of “war for humanitarian purposes” and “war on terrorism” . Next year the name for the war might change since earlier it was known as “the war for peace”. A close analysis and exploration of the TRUTH TO THE ROOTS will enlighten many. If the root causes are correctly and appropriately addressed “terrorism” can be defeated or even crushed without the loss of a single life for the purpose or our willingness to suffer en masse.

    Truth is sacred. Wipe out bribery, corruption, injustice and discrimination and uphold the spirit of the written constitution of the country with all its amendments you will have a just society without terrorism and with people sincerely adhering to the principles of their religion.

    Erecting statues for the teachers and praying in places of worship will do no good if we betray their teachings.

    Materialism has cornered Spiritualism, the cause of the curse today.

  • kichchi

    Please find below a part of an aricle that seems to be appropriate in todays context is reproduced without further comment:

    Nakhonratchasima, Thailand — Thailand’s highest Buddhist organization, the Supreme Sangha, is one of the three jewels described in Buddhism. The three – the Lord Buddha himself, the Dharma doctrine, and the Sangha clergy – are the three pillars that practicing Buddhists found their faith upon.
    That is, they used to.
    Today, as Buddha warned over 2,000 years ago, “enemies” of Buddhism are creeping in from the inside.
    Loss of direction is hardly a new issue to those of any faith around the world, and Buddhism is no different. Many adherents of basic Buddhism branch off, in practice and principle, to either found their own sect or to follow an already established one that does not adhere to original Buddhist teachings.
    The use of amulets is such an outgrowth, as is the worshipping of Buddhist images. Buddha did not advocate either of these, nor did he likely suspect that millions would later worship his image, but betray his teachings.

  • wijayapala

    Anonymous says,

    Of course, it may not be possible to make peace with the LTTE, and they do need to be militarily defeated.

    I hope anonymous can provide an answer as to how the govt. can better fight the LTTE than how it is currently fighting. Otherwise we can interpret this article as whining as opposed to a serious commentary.

    To truly win the war that will unite us takes people like you, creative people, to imagine a better world for all of us.

    Alas, anonymous is clearly less competent to handle the task of uniting people than the artistes he is criticizing! Offer us a solution, dear dissident, and not the same old “can’t do this” attitude.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Kichchi,

    Wipe out bribery, corruption, injustice and discrimination and uphold the spirit of the written constitution of the country with all its amendments you will have a just society without terrorism and with people sincerely adhering to the principles of their religion.

    Name a single country which has accomplished all of these. Otherwise we’ll have to settle for the alternative of wiping out the terrorists.

  • I personally, strongly, and sensibly, believe that artist and writers can play a huge part to make others feel what they some one else is going through. Like how it feels to leave your daughter in a morgue after a bomb blast, in a war you play no part in, waged by powers you did not choose, and having to believe in the fact that it’s all in the name of protecting the country. A country, which YOU have to pay the price for. Human life is the first great reality, if you like, we know. Sovereignty of state, and everything else will follow when people respect that.

    The tamil diasporia funds the LTTE, and is not united against it, because we keep playing in- if you like- to the LTTE’s game of we’ll bomb you, come bomb us, and we’ll show the world your killing the tamils, and the tamils will give us more money. Wiping out the LTTE the way we are doing is definitely successful, like plants that also die when killing weeds, which has to be done for the greater good of the plants. The problem is, THE BLINKGING HUGE problem is these are not plants, these are lives- to say nothing of those of the weeds. What right do we have to to determine the end of someone else’s existence?

    A full scale war effort is not unheard of in the world i agree, and is the most logical thing to do, but my point is not just is it worth paying for, but will any of you people be truly willing to pay it.

  • sumana ranasiri

    is anybody patenetly waiting for peace proposal by APRC? I am waiting to see what the government has been hiding in Jaffna from the rest of the country and the rest of the world for more than two years. Hope some artistes will come along to wonder what is being ferociuosly hidden from us when the world is celebrating UDHR60?

  • sumuna ranasiri

    1.Hope some artistes will begin to wonder what is being ferociuosly hidden in Jaffna by the government from the rest of the country and from the rest of the world for more than two years?
    2.Are they patiently waiting for a peace proposal by APRC.

  • punitham

    Senanayakes, Banadaranaikes, Jayawardene, Wickremasinghe, Rajapakses, JHU, JVP, Buddhist monks, Selvanayagam, Amirthalingam, PTA, ER, …… Prabhakaran, Karuna, Pillaiyan, …… Sinhala artistes……….. all because there has been no Sinhala consensus on what justice is……………………………………………………
    Southern consensus can put a fullstop to all these this moment.

  • saman

    dear groundviews and sanjana

    how does one like “annonymus” get to write a [edited out] article like this hiding under without a name. if you are allowing every tom, harry and the dick’s (likes above) to write [edited out], you should allow every person like me and the commentotors to start writing bigger articles than comments.

    indian artisits showed their stuff, we did the same. so whats the big deal?

  • Hello Saman,

    Anonymity online is a really interesting topic – thanks for bringing it up. Firstly, not everyone who uses a name in this forum (and others on the web) use their real name. I have in fact no way of ascertaining whether the names commentators use are true or false. Some choose to go with a false name, but through sustained engagement with content here, have created an ‘identity’ for themselves. Others I know keep changing their names, even when they post from the same IP. Some post certain comments under their real name and other comments under an assumed identity.

    I’ve never prevented anyone from writing in under an assumed name for a range of reasons and also because anonymity is not the same as identity in online fora. Put another way, you can be anonymous, but still have an ‘identity’ and be contactable and open to dialogue. Salam Pax is a really good example of this.

    Anonymous may, after a while, choose to engage with the comments here. I can’t force her / him to do it, though I always encourage all authors to do so. Part of the reason I set up Groundviews was precisely to encourage civil, progressive dialogue on tough, emotional, vexed issues.

    I certainly encourage you to write in, but in a manner markedly different to the expression you employ in your short comment, since it is evident that you have not read or understood the content submission guidelines.


  • “Ajith”,

    Thank you for your comment which I have not posted because it is both irrelevant as a response to the original post and takes away from the interesting focus here on the interplay between war, culture and art. Further, points raised by you are essentially tired arguments and suggestions, addressed elsewhere on this site since its inception and on the web by others. Revealingly, for someone who cares so much about verifiable identity online, you have not once submitted a comment with a valid email address.

    Now if we can all go back to artistes in the post? Thanks.


  • kumar

    Ravindra’s team vs. Rajini Kanth’s team

  • The Under Dog

    The majority decision is to fight this war, so fine, fight. But let’s see the real price we pay for it; let’s see it warts and all; let’s see the “true” picture.

    As for the artistes, everyone likes to ingratiate themselves with the rulers. But hey, in these trying times it’s the only way to make a living. Just ask Jackson Anthony: he even got a Presidential speech supporting Aba! The rest of them just want in on the gravy train.

    Note to Dayan:I know it’s hard, but take a deep breath, gather up some courage, and pry off those Obama buttons. The election’s over. Time to live again. 🙂

  • punitham

    In view of the press censure over several crucial periods in the last six decades and particularly in the last few years, it is extremely important the attention of the South(- all ethnicitiesis) drawn to the reports by fact-finding missions to the areas behind the twenty first century iron curtain of Northeast Sri Lanka. This is the duty of well-informed section of the South. Many in the South have not been making INFORMED CHOICE. One result is the decay of the socio-economic-environmental-moral fabric of the Northeast. Another is the bulging of the pockets of a few and the emptying of the pockets of many in the South.

  • Hi Dayan,

    Obama’s quote goes on to note “What I am opposed to is a rash war… A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics”. See


  • we could go round and round in circles blaming, Karuna , LTTE , successive govenments.JHU, JVP etc
    Unless the core problem of justice to the Tamil people is done all other concerns are secondary or scapegoats not to deal with the real problem. I am deeply suspicious of those who say the symptoms of terrorism need to be eradicated first before any justice.

    I am also concerned by the rhetoric of the Tamil diaspora funding the LTTE. I am sure they are right. But that is nothing comparable to the military spending of the State of Sri Lanka
    177.1 billion Sri Lankan rupees proposed in 2009 from LKR 166.4 billion this year. This doesnt come to anything near that the diaspora can even dream of spending!! Surely any analysis of funding of war should be two sided!
    jiva parthipan

  • Justice needs to be done to all people, not just those who play the race card or engage in successful baby-army terrorism. Tamils all over lanka, including Tamil-only eelam and Tamil nadu, which is not the case for the Sinhalas, Muslims and Burgers. So why this Tamil-only grievency? Brainwashed !! How about greater distribution of wealth, which is common to all, which is the real cause that transcends racism. Its great if we can solve these just like that, without revenge, can u hear one han clapping? With what we have experienced throughout history, it shows that some times it takes a fight before the dust settles. As people of this island we have inherrited this, like many other places throughout the world throughout history.
    The good news is that Sri Lanka has become a heaven not only for the great majority of Tamils but for many ex-Tamil-tigers too !!!!

  • arshad

    Dear sanjana

    on your comment to dayan, are you trying to infer than this is a war based on passion and politics????

  • I don’t infer. I imply.

  • velu
    General equality for all citizens is commendable and I am definitely willing to engage in.
    but when you say ‘ the good news is that Sri Lanka has become a heaven not only for the great majority of Tamils …’ – how can I take you seriously. So many IDPs, so many refugees, so many killed. you must be joking. Unfortunately yours is an attempt to disregard the question involved by masquerading hatred and hegemony by clothing in commendable marxist ideology.

  • arshad


    this is a war based on

    reason –
    1. a 6-12% of population cant ask for 1/3 of a landmass,
    2. no one can on any given sunday can standup and say they want to create a seperate country for their people, cutting up a exisitng state.

    principle –
    1.if we give in to terrorist, then any one with a wepon will take over us.
    2.on prinicple, terrorist should not be allowed to win?
    3. right is right, and wrong is wrong, there are no grey areas.

    why do you imply otherwise???

  • Arshad,

    I have never supported the idea of Eelam, or the means the LTTE has used to go about realising this idea. But we know that the idea came about by unaddressed and legitimate grievances. Insensitive policies, practices and statements of and by the incumbent regime suggest that though it may win the war against the LTTE it is unable to engender the vital, and far more vexed transformation in polity and society necessary to address root causes that gave rise to and inflamed violent extremism in Sri Lanka.

    Dayan is convinced otherwise, and frankly, I hope I hope he’s right. Let’s bookmark this thread and revisit it say a year hence?

    The other points I’ve addressed in my article. There are always grey areas, as the Bush administration discovered the hard way.


  • Akila

    The Sri Lankan artists have every right to voice their opinion, just like the artists in Tamil Nadu. I do not understand “anonymous’ complants because if he/she has a problem with the Sri Lankan artists, then surely he/she should have a problem withe Tamil Nadu artists as well? So why is there not at the very least a tiny bit of criticism of the Tamil Nadu artists? Are they not supporting the terrorism of the LTTE? I don’t see why Sri Lankans should keep quiet when people make false accusations and try to tarnish the name of the country. To say that the Sri Lankan artists are for “war, killing and dictatorship’ is pretty much a bunch of rhetoric and pretty prejudiced. It’s no different that saying anyone who is against the present government is a traitor. I have to ask: when have the Tamil Nadu artists condemned just one of the LTTE’s many bomb attacks and killings of civilians? Have they ever?

    Coming to what Dayan and Punitam said, I honestly think a lot of people are upset over the current military campaign simply because their days of lecturing to the Sri Lankan people and trying to impose a solution, whilst wining and dining in five star hotels with foreign money flowing into their pockets might be coming to an end. Think about it; what are the ‘peace mongers’ going to do when there is no war? They will have to fold up their institutions and say good bye to their luxurious lifestyle. It’s really no different that the arms merchants who don’t want a war to end because then they would be out of a job.

  • groundviews, thanks for listening to my feedback. i like the new comment system.

  • Ajith, thank you for your note. However, your feedback isn't the reason for the new comment system on Groundviews.

    IntenseDebate was acquired earlier this year by Automatic, the makers of WordPress, and what you see here is a precursor to what may well become the standard comments system on hosted WordPress blog (i.e.

    I have been tweaking the settings of the new version 2.0 (beta) plugin of their comment moderation system for WordPress for a while. Coincidentally, this new system addresses every single one of the points you raised regarding security, online identity management, voting / popularity ratings and adds a few more features to boot.

    Perhaps next time, before you pontificate, it may help to first ask what I'm doing to address any concerns you have and certainly point me to resources and ideas elsewhere on the web that I should take a look at to make this site better.

  • T . Douglas

    Hundreds of people are already suffering from bowel diseases like diarrhoea and looming seasonal rain in Vanni area will only will make worst situation for these unfortunate people in coming days. Biggest and bloody human catastrophe situation are fast developing in the Vanni area. These people’s plight worsened by the State’s expulsion of U.N aid agencies and INGOs from Vanni last month. Even the German Dictator Adolf Hitler did not bomb his own citizens.

    According to Mangala Samaraweera more than 300 Sinhala Army soldiers died in this conflict and the Tamil rebels casualty figures seem worse than this. Tamils or Sinhalese they are all sons of our motherland Sri Lanka, and each life loss is a loss to Sri Lanka.

  • wijayapala


    "Obama's quote goes on to note "What I am opposed to is a rash war… A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics". See


    I must in turn conclude that you have a problem with English comprehension.