Archive | April, 2012

Photo essay: Freedom, Religion, and Dambulla

Navin Weeraratne’s photo essay around the recent violence in Dambulla has already been shared widely on Facebook, and elsewhere on the web. Describing himself to us as “an amateur photographer, toy painter, and pub quizzer”, Navin has succeeded in capturing some of the best photos on the controversy surrounding the mosque ostensibly within the “sacred […]

The State and Religion in South Asia

Photo by Massimiliano Clausi, courtesy SAJA Secularism implies the relationship between Religion and Politics, more specifically between Religion and the State. The concept of secularism has drawn its sources from the philosophy that Humans can order their lives and their societies without recourse to transcendant or supra natural powers, and hence they could also organize and […]

The middle finger to the middle-path in Sri Lanka

A week ago, we disgraced ourselves. Racist louts, some in the garb of Buddhist monks, engaged openly in speech and behaviour so violent, even those who led it were forced to suggest later the footage broadcast on TV and now globally viewed on YouTube was doctored. This was, of course, not the case. Sri Lanka’s […]

The Geneva Debacle of March 2012: The lessons not learnt

Photo courtesy Vikalpa The outcome in Geneva last year (March 2011) of the voting on Sri Lanka’s conduct of the war and related human rights record was very clearly in favour of the Sri Lankan government. The line up in the voting and the scale of the majority were such that is appeared that this […]

Discovering the White Van in a Troubled Democracy: An analysis of ongoing “abduction blueprint” in Sri Lanka

The author demonstrating in Colombo against white van abductions. Photo courtesy Vikalpa.  In a country that has achieved so much in literacy, education and social development, is it not indeed unfortunate that “White Van” has frightened the entire nation? Appearance of a white van assures a disappearance of some one.  If you Google or do […]

Coping with little support: Batticaloa’s women ex-combatants and their reintegration

Photo by author The end of hostilities in May 2009 saw some 270,000 to 300,000 Tamils fleeing the conflict zone in the North and settling in camps for internally displaced people. Fleeing the fighting, together with the civilians, were thousands of Tamil Tiger combatants – many of them injured women fighters – both young women […]

Cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: From denial to discovery

Ravi Nessman from Associated Press has broken what’s perhaps the most important story on the war, since it ended three years ago. In a story published by AP a few hours ago, he notes, The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster […]

Not In Our Name: Against religious extremism in Sri Lanka

A week ago, a violent a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, including a group of Buddhist monks led by the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, stormed and vandalised a mosque in Dambulla. The mosque was declared an illegal structure, but it is unclear how this far this is accurate. The shameful […]

Human Rights and Reconciliation Challenged in Dambulla and by Disappearances

In more ways than one, a sleeping Buddha in Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. Courtesy University of Peradeniya Whilst the country awaits the decision of the regime regarding which recommendations, if any, of the LLRC report it will implement, human rights and reconciliation continue to be challenged, by disappearances and now, the ugly spectre of religious […]

Nurturing Public Trust in Times of Crisis: Reflections on April 11 Tsunami Warning

Five years ago, on a visit to the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo, Hawaii, I played an interesting simulation game: setting off an undersea earthquake and deciding whether or not to issue a tsunami warning to the many countries in and around the Pacific. The volunteer-run museum, based in ‘the tsunami capital of the world’, […]

Fake video and lies: The strange case of Dambulla’s Inamaluwe Sumangala thero

The Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, one of the key figures in the on-going tensions in Dambulla over the presence of a mosque and kovil near his Temple, perhaps in response to the public outcry against the violence instigated by him, has told the BBC that TV footage that showed monks […]

Deeds of mosque in Dambulla and photos of damage: How is this structure illegal? (UPDATED)

Groundviews was sent a copy of what we were told was the deed of the mosque at the centre of an on-going controversy in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. We were also sent photos of the damage and vandalism wrought by the mob violence a few days ago. We’ve uploaded the document to Scribd as a PDF, […]