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Writing on the Wall: A Sinhala Prayer in a Tamil Church

When I was walking near the Mulativu beach by around 5.30 this morning, I came across an abandoned Catholic Church. It was in a dilapidated condition. The Church seems to have been used during the war period, at least in the last stages of the war. A new Church, made in concrete, is under construction […]

A response to the critiques of the victory celebrations

Photography by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via South China Morning Post “I would ask them to stop a moment, to take the time to listen to our time (we had no other one)…” – Jacques Derrida: text delivered at Althusser’s funeral “Human rights, dissidence, antiracism, SOS-this, SOS-that: these are soft, easy, post coitum historicum ideologies, ‘after the […]

Life in the Open-Air Panopticon: Surveillance and the Social Isolation of Ex-LTTE Combatants in Sri Lanka

Image from SL Online News “You have to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.” – George Orwell, 1984 Talking to former members of the LTTE in Sri Lanka reveals much about their lives and […]

Things Seem Better, No?

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena The mind tends to disconnect well tread passages during travel. It’s a wonder the simple things that stay with you, things you only notice once you’ve left. To be fair, it was only interesting to me for a moment when I read of the anger of the monks in Colombo. A […]

A ‘victory day’ sketch

Photograph by the author Sri Lanka celebrated that very first victory day one day later than it has been marked in the four years since. It was the 19th of May, 2009. Vellupillai Prabhakaran had been killed the previous day. News of his death had to filter through before celebrations could begin. Ever since, Sri […]

The Five-Year Tongue Twisters

Photo courtesy ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES, via The Global Mail [five times five things to try to say quickly] 1. The misters assisted in shelling these shells on the seashore war, The shells they shelled were not sea-shells, I’m sure. Some of the people they shelled aren’t there any more. And if they shelled the seashore […]

The Single Story of Sri Lanka

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images via Al Jazeera America In a well-known TED talk, the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks of the dangers of the single story.[1] “The single story creates stereotypes,” Adichie says, “and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become […]

Quo vadis Sri Lanka?

Photo courtesy Amnesty International May 2009 will always be an exclamation mark in Sri Lanka’s history. Many will celebrate the defeat of the Tamil Tigers as a rupture with a brutal past. For others it will mark a period of remembrance as families mourn relatives lost in crossfire or shelling. It was a time of […]

Post-war Economic Progress: Investment, Positioning, and Reforms in a New Sri Lankan Economy

Photo courtesy The Nation As the war was intensifying in the jungles of the Vanni in early 2009, another battle was being fought – the battle for the Sri Lankan economy. The global economic crisis had hit Sri Lanka badly, not through the direct channels of mortgage-backed securities or complex derivatives like in the West, […]

Special Police units and democratic governance: A reflection on religious freedom with justice

Photo by Reuters via Al Arabiya News Puzzling Decisions and worrying trends The recent government decision to appoint a special police unit to deal with inter-religious conflict adds to the prevailing confusion on the freedom of religion and the rule of law. While the decision implies seriousness in arresting the current religious tensions, the government’s reluctance […]

The slow wheels of justice and change: a Sri Lankan case study?

Image via Rights Now Five years since the end of the war, the state of affairs in Sri Lanka is likely to evoke feelings of frustration and despondency for most readers of this series of essays. The military has entrenched itself in the governance of the North and East and continues to suppress Tamil political […]

The Sri Lankan Muslim Diaspora Dilemma

Image via Transcurrents This past week, incidents in Sri Lanka and abroad have illustrated the dilemmas facing the Sri Lankan Muslim community and its Diaspora constituents.  These incidents though isolated in occurrence have the hallmarks of being related to a wider malaise afflicting the community and the challenges they face In London on the 5th […]

SRI LANKA IN 2014 : REPEATING PAST MISTAKES

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian Our long-drawn out internecine war in recent history came to an end in May 2009 with the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam (LTTE). We thus had an opportunity once more, post-war, to address anew the underlying causes for violent conflict in our society, come together as […]