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“Who watches the watchmen?” Reforming Sri Lanka’s Detention Centres

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images, via Asia Society Rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-militants or “terrorists” as they are more often termed, following the blanket approach that is being taken post 9/11, is still a new concept in the field of counterinsurgency. The plethora of state military actions against nationalist seditions, rebel groups, paramilitaries and other […]

Book review: The Hungry Ghosts

The Hungry Ghosts is Shyam Selvadurai’s fourth novel, and almost certainly his best. The themes are familiar, from the personal strife caused by the narrator’s sexuality and ethnicity, to the political backdrop of Sri Lanka’s civil war, but the whole narrative is handled with an accomplishment and quiet authority that marks a real step up […]

Come Soon

Come soon. The sepalika are growing wild and high. You must see them before you die, before I die. Come soon. The book is finished. The war is done. Yes, I know, I know, boys appear still in dreams and disappear in dribs and drabs, and islanders, who left for foreign lands, must be interviewed […]

The APRC: A Forgotten Resolution

Photo courtesy The Nation Four years after the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, Hindu temples are being destroyed in the North, Muslim retail stores are being attacked in the South and Sinhala Buddhist extremism has become organized into its own brand. In other words, ethnic-religious tension within the nation is still very much […]

Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s ‘Beautification’

Photo courtesy Vikalpa’s photo set of the exhibition Leading Sri Lankan artist Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s most recent exhibition entitled Beautification makes parody of contemporary Sri Lanka by suggesting that peace is but a façade and that the conflict is in fact on-going. Beautification serves as a reflection of life during and post-war. My conversation with Thenuwara […]

WELIWERIYA, GAMPAHA: BLACK THURSDAY 2013

Photo courtesy Colombo Telegraph Who deployed troops, clad in flak jackets (body armour) and armed with T-56 assault rifles to confront and disperse a crowd of protestors blocking a highway? Who was the ultimate decision-maker? The protestors were not armed, certainly not with lethal weapons. Therefore, no real harm could have come to soldiers in […]

Forgetting Black July

Photo courtesy BBC I was born ten years after Black July. I am a Singhalese. A week or so ago, as the thirty-year anniversary approached, for curiosity’s sake, I did a small experiment. I asked some of my peers a question: “What do you know about Black July?” Of twenty-two Sinhalese, eighteen did not know what […]

CHOGM dictates moderation to the Rajapakse Administration

Photo courtesy Transcurrents / by Tony Ashby, AFP The Rajapakse Administration is gearing up to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) later this year, in November. Last weekend’s news papers carried an interesting comment attributed to President Rajapakse that his government must be cautious that it does not face a repeat of history of a […]

Pursuit of Revenge is Not Path to Justice

Photo courtesy BBC In our favourite bar  on the afternoon of the 21st this month, I was having a beer with my usual drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow, Sivapuranam Thevaram. “That was a horrific photograph, no?” he started the conversation. He didn’t have to be more specific. I knew instantly that he was talking […]

Dayasiri causes confusion in the North West while Vigneswaren prepares to lead the North

Photo courtesy dbsjeyaraj.com Last week, Rajavarothiam Sambanthan, the leader of the Tamil National Alliance pulled a political rabbit out of a proverbial hat, when long running rumors were confirmed that eminent jurist and articulate good governance advocate, retired Supreme Court Justice C.V.Wigneswaren was to be the TNA’s nominee for Chief Minister of the Northern Province. […]

Nationhood and National Parks

Photo from tahira’s shenanigans National parks in Sri Lanka that traverse the lines of nature reserves are held in reverence in the Sri Lankan psyche. Ideas of nature reserves in Sri Lanka are often traced back to King Devanmanpiyatissa, having converted to Buddhism came to the realization that all beings have an equal right to […]