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Some Gruesome Experiences: Memories of July 1983 by DEW Gunasekara, Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration

From my Diary Notes written in Cell No.1, Negombo Remand Prison, (July 31st-Sept 24th 1983)   I had my own gruesome experience of the Black July. It was 29th July at midnight that I received a telephone call from my friend and party comrade AJMO Dr. Indra Kumar of his father’s sudden death by a […]

Pricking the conscience on reminiscences of ‘Black July’

by Austin Fernando In July 1983, my Accountant Mr. Vallipuram at the Cooperative Department lived off Castle Street where his neighbour was a notorious Sinhalese thug. Until ‘Black July’ Vallipuram once told me that, that thug was the ‘assailant select’ in his mind, whenever he feared a racial riot. When violent crowds ‘visited’ him early […]

July 1983: Looking back in anger and despair 25 years on

Photo by Chandragupta Amarasinghe ONE What happened in mid-1983 and in the last week of July 1983 was obscene, a monumental atrocity, a disaster for Sri Lanka. In a context marked by the push for self-determination by the principal forces representing the Sri Lankan Tamils and an armed underground insurgency involving restive youth in the […]

My name is Cedric. Do you remember me?

July usually passes me by without too much notice, beyond the vague worry that there might be a Tiger attack on Colombo, and a few flashbacks to that weekend in 1983. But this time it’s been a bit different. I’ve found myself reliving that day a lot more this year. It isn’t the fact that […]

TNA MP Mr. R. Sampanthan remembers the events of July 1983

Tamil National Alliance MP Mr. R. Sampanthan speaks of the anti-Tamil riots of July 1983. Speaking of the “terrible experience for all Tamil people in Sri Lanka” he says that the riot was “premeditated pogrom… largely believed to be with the support of very influential forces within the then government”. He notes that there were […]

AFLAME – Remembering Black July, 1983

AFLAME – Remembering Black July, 1983 What is a poem to a man hiding in the cellar of his neighbor’s house, breathing the way his hostess spices lentils and mutton, while son and daughter keep quiet, not one word allowed in the mother tongue, and wife strokes her neck, the golden wings of her thali, […]

Plus 25: Things we can’t do because of “National Security” in Sri Lanka

25 years after Black July, the term “National Security” is used to thwart lot of things. V from the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ said “I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of the everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition”. At least he had that. We don’t. We can’t […]

Review of My Belly is White by Austin Fernando (in Sinhala)

My Belly is White – මගේ බඩවත සුදුය දුටු සැනින් ඒත්තු නොයන මාතෘකාවක්. ඒත් පිටු 927 ක් පුරා දිවයන කතාවක්. පසුගිය සඳුදා දොරට වැඩි මෙම කෘතිය ලියා ඇත්තේ ශී‍්‍ර ලංකා පරිපාලන සේවයේ කීර්තිමත් පරිපාලන නිලධාරියෙකු වූ හිටපු ආක්‍ෂක ලේකම් ඔස්ටින් ප‍්‍රනාන්දු මෙය ගැටුම් නිරාකරණ සාහිත්‍යයට අලූතින් එකතු කිරීමකි. අනෙක් අතින් වසර දෙකක්වත් නොපැවති රනිල් වික‍්‍රමසිංහ […]

July: Life after 25 years

Anoma Rajakaruna shares her photos of people in black and white. Anoma has captured many expressions and many environments. Every photograph speaks differently. As a film-maker, photographer and poet ,Anoma has well captured the many moods of men, women and children around the Island. The exhibition is divided as My story, her story, his story […]

Tide turning?

Gajaman Nona Ryszard Kapucinski is no armchair observer. As foreign correspondent for the Polish Press Agency, he witnessed 27 coups and was sentenced to death four times in his lifetime. In his book on the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, Shah of Shahs, he notes that: “despotic authority attaches great importance to being considered strong and […]

On dimensions of ‘lyricality’ in times of war

Aboorvan Prabanjana takes great pains to drive home a point in a piece titled “Why does Malinda justify excesses of Government?” (Sunday Lakbima News, July 6, 2008). For the record, Malinda doesn’t.  But all credit to Prabanjana’s effort. That he doesn’t get it is of course another matter altogether.  He says he agrees with me and also […]