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Bell Pottinger and official communiqués of the Sri Lankan government

Statement issued by Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka For security reasons the speech by His Excellency President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka at the Oxford Union, the home of free speech, has been cancelled. This is a decision that has been made unilaterally by the Oxford Union, reportedly as a result […]

Whose reality in Sri Lanka?

No one will deny that Sri Lanka has experienced dramatic changes over the past 18 months. The military defeat of the LTTE came as a surprise to many defence and security analysts, including myself. But the issues that gave rise to the vicious rebellion – and in some ways provided it with the fuel to […]

Interview with Bradman Weerakoon

Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon, who turned 80 recently, is an elder statesman in Sri Lanka and one of the oldest living civil servants in the country. During over half a century of public service, Bradman served nine Sri Lankan heads of State. It is frankly impossible in 24 minutes to capture this wealth of experience. What […]

Wikileaks on Sri Lanka: A breakdown and implications

Updated 2.15pm, 30th November with added analysis of tags “The first is that, in Sri Lanka, it would never be possible for any one to play “Julian Assange” and dare face an open media briefing in Colombo, to justify his or her claims on war crimes and torture. Right or wrong, excessive or not, that […]

Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Second-Term: A New Beginning?

When the LTTE showed, consistently and convincingly, that it did not understand the language of ‘peace’, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, correctly, turned to a language that the LTTE understood well; ‘war’. All other options were exhausted, and any option, other than the granting of a separate Tamil Eelam State, was bound to fail because what the […]

The Gaza Monologues: An interview with Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff

[Editors note: Also see A review of the Gaza Monologues for video footage from and a review of the production.] Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff co-created Floating Space in 2007. Gaza Monologues was their latest production, running to packed houses and good reviews recently in Colombo. As noted on the  group’s blog, Floating Space a […]

Record-breaking rice cakes, but at what cost?

Photo of kiri bath courtesy le sauce Most performances of Dhananjaya Karunarathne’s brilliant script Last Bus Eke Kathawa (The Story of the Last Bus) are memorable not just because of the acting, but also because the audience becomes, without at first knowing it, part of the theatre. Chewing gum or boiled sweets are distributed to […]

These Sri Lankan whores! Serve them right!

Name and shame the whores that act in pornographic films online. Their seedy grainy stuck-between-teeth pictures plastered across newspapers will be the deterrent for other whores who have the same idea. Designate parks for young people to canoodle in (but ensure someone watches over the canoodlers for we don’t want them to canoodle with naked […]

Nation building post war

Written to mark the forthcoming publication of Challenges for Nation Building: Priorities for Sustainability and Inclusivity, Edited by Gnana Moonesinghe We are no closer to nation building post war than we were during it, and before it. More accurately, we are no closer to the recognition that nation building needs to embrace the possibility, and […]

Response to S. L. Gunasekara’s article titled ‘Cardinal Errors’

‘Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter’ - Dr Martin Luther King I feel compelled to defend the blasphemy committed through the article titled ‘Cardinal Errors’ (Island, 10th November, 2010) against holy Churchmen of the highest ranks who expressed their concerns in the interest of peace and reconciliation. It […]

A Just War or was it just war?

[Editors note: This short article responds to, in part, the submission made by someone called ‘Maverick’ on the Ada Derena website in response to a previous article by the author. Maverick’s comment is well-written and thought-provoking, and reproduced in full at the end of this article. The Wikipedia entry on Just War can be found […]

JVP and the emerging crisis in Sri Lankan universities

[Editors note: See map of campus and university student related violence over 2010 alone here.] ‘Youth groups, not yet settled in established adulthood, are traditional locus of high spirits, riot and disorder, as even medieval university rectors knew, and revolutionary passions are more common at eighteen than at thirty five…Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes,1914-1991,London, […]

Excellence in exile

Battered and bleeding, journalist Poddala Jayantha lay on his hospital bed when we visited him on June 2, 2009. He was lucky to be alive after being brutally assaulted by a group of unidentified assailants just the previous day. This was a terrible time for the Sri Lankan media.  Personally, I was struggling to recover […]