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Taking old friends too seriously: Sri Lanka, Burma and Buddhist extremism

People collect pieces of metal from the rubble of a neighbourhood in Pauktaw township that was burned in recent violence October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun (Caption and content from Reuters) Sri Lanka’s long relationship with Burma is something that anyone who has even a nodding acquaintance with Sri Lankan history is aware of. In both […]

Helping the Police arrest brutish “monks” in Sri Lanka

Apparently the infamous Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has condemned the attack on Fashion Bug warehouse a few days ago and asked the Police to arrest those involved in it, even if they are monks. A Daily Mirror news report suggests BBS thinks the individuals captured on film destroyed private property were actually impostors. Prima facie, […]

Responding to Geneva by Exemplary Restitution

Robert O. Blake has once said, “International mechanisms can become appropriate in cases where states are either unable or unwilling to meet their obligations.” After Geneva March 2013, US officials have reiterated this in stricter terms. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran has said the final Geneva Resolution will not relieve the affected Tamils and reminded the […]

A Missing Person in Sri Lanka: Heartfelt Issues & Ground Realities

Image courtesy Salon / AP Photo by Eranga Jayawardena When I was in Sri Lanka from mid-April to early June 2009 I was on holiday with my wife and not able to pursue investigations in any depth. In contrast my sojourn in May-June 2010 focused on a range of studies and travels. One gem of […]

#unlk: Archive and visualisation of tweets on Sri Lanka at HRC’s 22nd Session

The 22nd regular session of the Human Rights Council was held from 25 February to 22 March 2013 at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. As Groundviews did with conversations on Twitter over Sri Lanka during the UPR sessions last year, we archived every single tweet from Thursday, 21st February 2013 to Tuesday, 26th March […]

The State of the Free Education System in Sri Lanka: Confessions of a Disgruntled Student

Image courtesy The Nation I am one of the 243,876 lucky students who sat for the Advanced Level Examinations in 2011. It has been almost one-and-a-half-years since then, and I received my university registration form only yesterday (6 – 4 – 2012). I was privileged enough to receive A/L results four times in the space […]

Interview with Nimalka Fernando: The UN HRC resolution and beyond

Nimalka, now we’ve seen that the council voted for the resolution on Sri Lanka. What is your initial impression? It’s a serious voting pattern. Because if you look at the resolution, the resolution has very substantial  concerns raised by civil society for a period of time. From holding elections in the North, addressing issues of […]

Inter-Religious Integration in Sri Lanka—Inclusion not Intrusion

Image courtesy Maliban Biscuit Over the past months Sri Lankans have been educated on two Arabic words: halal and haram (that which is permissible and not permissible). Unfortunately the circumstances of learning have been an unprecedented antagonism towards the Muslim community much deeper than the halal issue. This trend must be addressed without delay by […]

Geneva and Bodu Bala Sena: Two Dimensions of a Crisis

  Original image by Azzam Ameen, on Twitter There are tensions and schisms erupting, there is a crisis in the making. One dimension of this crisis is the unfolding diplomatic debacle: the Geneva-crisis. The group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) represents, and gives expression to, another dimension. The emergence of both was to be expected; both, […]

UN HRC 22nd Session | Resolution ‘Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka’

An archive of material around the Resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka’ passed at the UN Human Rights Council today. Final text below, and available as PDF here, and as Word document here. ### Human Rights Council Twenty-second session Agenda item 2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human […]

The Political Economy of Prejudice: Islam, Muslims and Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism in Sri Lanka Today: Some Reflections

From the Say No to Halaal Facebook group Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority is increasingly finding itself the target of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists: a campaign against halal, attacks on mosques, boycott of their businesses, hate speech, intimidation and threats. Many concerned social activists, researchers and commentators have attempted to grapple with current manifestations of this phenomenon with […]

Pope Francis: Options for the poor, disappearances, dirty wars, dictatorships in Argentina, Sri Lanka and elsewhere

Image courtesy New York Times, Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters The new Pope has been hailed as someone known for his simple life style, identification and sympathy to the poor, proclaiming “how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor”. In his homily at the Mass that formally installed him as the Pope today […]

Bodu Bala Sena: A Threat To Sri Lanka’s Future

Goatabaya Rajapaksa ceremonially declaring open a Buddhist Leadership Academy of the Bodhu Bala Sena in Galle, via Sri Lanka’s fragile attempt of reconciliation, following the end of the thirty-year civil war, faces a potentially backbreaking obstacle. The growing Sinhala Buddhist nationalism that is the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) movement is threatening to divide an […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: Z is for Z-score and zipperman

Image via Sri Lanka Guardian There are only two Z-words that I have come across in SLE: Z-score and zipperman. Both are terms which are found in standard English, but which have particular meanings and associations in a Sri Lankan context. The Z-score is the controversial system used to determine university entrance based on average […]