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Concerned Tamils, but what about the rest?

I read with interest the concerns of a group of Tamils on the situation of IDPs and their suggestions for a speedy recovery of a human tragedy. However, I am a little concerned and in fact unhappy why only a group of Tamils should be concerned? Aren’t the Sinhalese, Muslims, Malays and Burghers not concerned […]

Setting the record straight: Challenges of internment for IDPs

I was surprised to see that a piece I wrote recently for Groundviews was mentioned prominently in two articles in the Island last Saturday and Sunday. Since the original article was not published in the Island, and since the rejoinders misrepresent my argument in various ways, I would like to take this opportunity to set […]

Divining peace

“All too often it is innocent men, women and children who pay the price of war. We cannot ask them to pay the price of peace.” Report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict, United Nations This morning, as I was writing this column, I noticed a strange pattern of tea-leaves […]

Interview with Bijayini Satpathy, Director of the Odissi Gurukul at Nrityagram

Bijayini Satpathy, for one of the world’s greatest living dancers, is disarmingly mischievous in person. And, as I have experienced with a few others closest to perfection in their chosen art, humble and approachable. She will readily admit to being quite mad and with a casual nonchalance say that she trains from dawn to dusk […]

Beauty

What beauty in camps? I sit in my favourite chair listening to Beethoven’s last sonata, slient breezes in time. to the music. My world creates a sonata The other shatters all possibility of one. Guarded, malnourished; the beauty of rescue: possible? loudspeakers are silent. Waiting for a pass, a nod, family member to utter their […]

Exclusive video interview with Somawansa Amarasinghe, the Leader of JVP, in English

Two weeks after I had interviewed Prof. Tissa Vitharana on, among other things, the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, I spoke with the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe for his take on constitutional reform. During the course of our interview, Mr. Amarasinghe came out strongly in favour of the rights of all minorities, […]

Interview with Prof. Tissa Vitharana on the 13th Amendment, Constitutional Reform, IT and English language

I began my conversation with Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology and Chair of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) by asking him about the state of play in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Sri Lanka, and what exactly the declaration of 2009 as the Year of IT and English meant. We […]

Liberation

You claimed to liberate hostages, to conduct the largest rescue operation in history. In other countries people robbed of freedoms, rescued, are treated by doctors, then sent home to be greeted usually by feisty and jubilant crowds. They are welcomed as heroes. Here, 100 Tamils share one latrine, women don´t eat so they will not […]

Sri Lanka: Spice Island or Bland Nation?

Located strategically in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka was a hub in the maritime silk and spice routes for millennia. It drew traders from the east and west for both business and pleasure. Notable among the attractions were spices, whose many aromas and flavours formed an integral part of the tropical paradise experience. The traditional […]

Responses and clarifications on Sri Lanka: Is the war really over?

[Editors note: This is a detailed response to over 30 comments left on Sri Lanka: Is the war really over? and read over 2,500 times to date.] Though several comments made on my article were not directly related to the topic, I wish to respond to some of the issues that have been raised. The lop-sided […]

Why are the Vanni civilians still being held hostage?

Image courtesy IRIN Throughout the last stages of the civil war, the government of Sri Lanka claimed to be engaged in a hostage rescue mission on behalf of civilians in the Vanni who were being held against their will be the LTTE. How far are its words borne out by its actions? It is certainly […]

Sri Lanka’s never-ending political deadlock

Sri Lanka’s present administration is a “dictatorship masquerading as democracy” observed Prof. John Neelsen from the Institute of Sociology in Tuebingen, Germany. His judgement is not far from the truth. In this paper I shall argue that a virtual ‘Sinhala-Buddhist dictatorship’ has emerged in Sri Lanka as the outcome of the brutish military campaign that […]

The cataract of errors

It is a much analysed fact that the Tamils of Sri Lanka under the guidance of its leadership have missed many historically defined opportunities, in laying the foundation towards creating a decent future for their political aspirations and self determination. The 50 – 50 representation in Parliament instead of a federal constitution, a claim that […]

Enigma of Prabhakaran and the Tamil Tigers

Both in life and death, Veluppillai Prabhakaran divides rather than unites the Tamils in particular, Sri Lankans as a whole. Therein lie the enigma of Prabhakaran (Thambi Anna to me), whom I first met almost thirty years ago in August 1979, and the Tamil Tigers. “Assuming the LTTE finished is fantasy masquerading as fact”, exclaimed […]