Archive | May, 2012

On the (Non)sense of Being ‘United’ and/nor/or ‘Unitary’

Image courtesy The Hindu I must admit that reading Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke’s (DJ) recent piece, on Groundviews and elsewhere, on Mr. R. Sampathan’s (RS) speech at the ITAK convention, left me very disturbed. In his piece, DJ draws attention to one statement in the speech in particular, which he notes is central to revealing that […]

Review of ‘Kandy at War’ by Channa Wickremesekera

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Travel Guide “When we think of it, we see at once what the confusion of thought was to which the Western poet [i.e. Rudyard Kipling], dwelling upon the difference between East and West, referred when he said, ‘Never the twain shall meet.’ It is true that they are not yet showing […]

Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: What? Why? How?

Photo courtesy: Steve Chao /Al Jazeera via JDS With our Government busy defending itself from war crime allegations, protecting the sovereignty of the country and advising the common man to say ‘no’ to Google, the Tamil leadership and, of course, the Tamil Diaspora dreaming of some mode of foreign intervention and drooling over the latest […]

Where brevity cripples and distorts reportage

Image courtesy eHow Once upon a time, after I presented a public talk in Oslo courtesy of Kumar Rupesinghe, a Norwegian journalist provided me with a refreshing insight into the difference between academic essays and journalese. There is, to be sure, a considerable overlap between the two fields; but the lesson he taught me was […]


The keynote speech by Mr. R Sampanthan, the leader of the main Tamil parliamentary party at the recent congress of that organization is in many respects a landmark event. It sheds light on a number of key strategic issues and should make clear to the international community that the matter of political dialogue leading to […]

Parama Weera: What it takes, and what it means

Image credit Ishara S.Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images via The Baltimore Sun The eyes stared expressionlessly back at me from the fifteen small pictures, some clear, and some blurred; reflections that only hinted at the men behind those eyes. But sharp or soft, they all looked so innocuous, so devoid of any indication of what they had once […]

Operation Liberation: 25 years on

The commanders of “Operation Liberation” commonly known as “Vadamarachchi Operation”. From left to right: Lt Col. Vipul Boteju, Lt Col. Sarath Jayawardane, Col. Wijaya Wimalaratne, Brig. Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Maj Gotabaya Rajapakse [1987, Jaffna] Image courtesy Twenty five years ago, on May 26th 1987, the Sri Lankan military forces launched ‘Operation Liberation’, which, at […]

The Disappeared in Sri Lanka’s War in the Recent Past: What is missing in those “Missing”?

IRIN has recently highlighted the fact that “thousands of people are still missing” in Sri Lanka and presented an UNOHCR report that states that there are “5,671 reported cases of wartime-related disappearance in Sri Lanka” – even without taking note of the numbers that went missing in the final stages of the war in 2008/09.[i] […]


Image courtesy Daily News Forty years ago this week, at the auspicious time of 12:34 p.m. at the Navarangahala on 22nd May 1972, a new constitution was signed into law, creating the Republic of Sri Lanka. This was the first time in the history of the island that the republican form of state was established, […]

What’s next for General Fonseka?

Image courtesy CNN It has been a couple of days since the former military commander of Sri Lankan Army and common opposition’s presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka was released from the prisons and I can’t think of a better timing than this for me to express some of my thoughts related to these developments, which […]

Reconciliation: The Symbolic and the Substantive

Photo courtesy JDS Against the backdrop of grave planetary changes, Sarath Fonseka’s release, G.L. Peiris’s visit to Washington DC and the third anniversary of the defeat of the LTTE, an evaluation of the requirements of reconciliation are in order.  There is a need to distinguish between the symbolic and the substantive – both in turn […]

Transcript of first one-to-one interview with Sarath Fonseka after release from prison

Image courtesy the Economist GV editors note: In the transcript below and the video of it available on the BBC online, the BBC correspondent in Sri Lanka Charles Haviland asks “Are the terms of your release unconditional – will you be allowed to go  back to politics?” Sarath Fonseka responds by noting that “As yet […]

Interview with Dr. Farzana Haniffa: The eviction of Northern Muslims in Sri Lanka

First interviewed in 2010, Dr. Farzana Haniffa appears again on Groundviews to talk about the Citizens’ Commission on the Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE. As the Commission’s website notes, in October 1990, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) expelled the entire Muslim population of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Within a […]

Reloading General Sarath Fonseka for a post-paid Sinhala package

Photo via JDS. AFP PHOTO/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI. The V-Day celebrations were on, as this piece was written. A military victory being commemorated at the Galle face esplanade, celebrated as the 3rd anniversary of defeating the LTTE “terrorism”. President Rajapaksa bragged about what positives the military victory brought to this country. No more barricades on the Galle Road, […]