Archive | October, 2011

A Prima Facie Critique of The New Bill to Vest in the State Under performing Enterprises and Under Utilized Assets

Editors note: Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc, a CSE listed company that owns the Colombo Hilton hotel was named in a controversial new bill, rushed through Parliament in secret, not unlike the outrageous 18th Amendment. The Bill appears to have been certified by the Cabinet on the 20th October 2011 as an Urgent Bill and was […]

Sri Lanka and the death of Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi was captured alive and killed thereafter. This is a fact that no one contests today. Even the killer himself accepted the responsibility in front of a mobile camera.  Once any individual is captured, in spite of the crimes allegedly committed by the person, whether victim or perpetrator,  due process and the rule of […]

Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?

Editors note: Also read a response to this article by Valkryie, titled Response to Michael Roberts’ ‘Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?’] Whatever the death toll during the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2009 the official government data in that year acknowledged that 11,696 (9078 male and 2024 female)[i] of those who […]

Reflections on Issues of Language in Sri Lanka: Power, Exclusion and Inclusion

Photo credit Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters, from Time magazine. Keynote address delivered on 17th October 2011 at ‘Language and Social Cohesion: 9th International Language and Development Conference, Colombo co-organized by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Ministry  of Education, GIZ, AusAID and British Council. ### Approach Language is never a simple issue of […]

Bully Boys and Bully Girls

A few evenings ago, parents were invited to our son’s school which goes up to Grade 8 for a presentation on Bullying.  Dr. Tina Daniel, Asst Professor of Psychology at Carleton University engaged in researching children’s relationships, violence and bullying facilitated the session.   She and her research colleagues had already spent the day in school […]


When Lasantha wrote the editorial that predicted his imminent assassination he suggested the civil war would turn steadily uglier, then move inwards, as a lizard searching for its tail, insidious in the way each institution begins to lose its independence, the machinery of the ruling family greasing every Tom, Dick and Banda—forgive my allusion to […]

Progressive Politics & The Right Kind Of Left

Bharatha Premachandra’s wife and daughter Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s grieving daughter (and possible political successor) was probably not even born when several of us in the SLMP’s leading ranks rapidly disembarked at his house in Kolonnawa, an hour after he had survived the assassination attempt by the JVP. His aged father, a trade-unionist of the Old […]

National Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Rights and Accountability in Sri Lanka

Image credit Steve Chao, via Al Jazeera Good Afternoon; Esteemed and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen; Dear friends Thank you for inviting me to share with you my thoughts on reconciliation. I will not devote much time here, to describe the history of the conflict or the background situation in Sri Lanka. The physical and […]

Titus Thotawatte: The Final Cut

Titus Thotawatte, 1929 – 2011 Emmanuel Titus de Silva, better known as Titus Thotawatte, was the finest editor in the six decades long history of the Lankan cinema. He was also a great assimilator and remixer – a veritable ‘builder of bridges’ across cultures, media genres and generations. Titus straddled the distinctive spheres of cinema […]

Development or maldevelopment?

Image from Wikipedia In the current hype on ‘Development’ have any of us questioned its intent?  Does it just mean ‘progress’ in the manner referred to by Anada Coomaraswamy when he published the comment that  “we who call art significant not knowing of what, are also proud to progress, not knowing wither” ?  Wandering aimlessly, […]

UNP victory in Colombo Municipal Council: A Political Economy of the Numerics

In capitalist modernity ‘elections’ are a means by which disparate social interests are brought together and ruling class hegemony is maintained. “Their politics consist of activity completely defined by the framework of bourgeois society…the actual training of the masses to become imbued with the inviolability of the bourgeois state” (Trotsky, The Lessons of October, 1924). […]

We the Sinhalese

Image courtesy Lankapura An oyster sucks in particles from its environment and creates a pearl. If instead, it filters out every particle, it is destined to be a lesser being. In untold generations, the Sinhalese people were fashioned from extraditions, waves of invasions, conquered kingdoms and stranded travelers to this fecund island. They are the […]

The ghosts that continue to haunt us

“Democratic government is strengthened, not weakened, when it faces a vigorous civil society.” Tocqueville The local government elections have been fought and won by the UPFA in 21 out of 23 Local Government bodies, an impressive result for an incumbent government in place since 2005.  Contrary to normal response the incumbency factor worked for the […]

Militarisation of Sri Lanka and its infiltration into Higher Education

Evidence of militarisation is everywhere – most recently in the sphere of higher education.  The armed forces are involved with development projects, in welfare, and in farming. They are even involved in city beautification, the maintenance of playgroups and shops, of course Sports, and now higher education.  Their increased presence is evident in subtle changes […]