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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 dbsjeyaraj.com 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 […]

Gratitude for Life

While the word biodiversity is gaining currency worldwide as a result of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) an internationally binding set of agreements. Whose articles are legally binding and used today to address some or other aspect of nature. Thus it is critical to appreciate the true nature of biodiversity and what role it […]

Sons and daughters missing, missed, forgotten: LLRC’s failure in Sri Lanka

Tamil mothers, sisters, wives and daughters have not yet given up their hopes to find their disappeared sons, brothers, husbands and fathers. The tragedy of endless search continues for them. Some Tamil women have more than one tragedy to digest. Vasanthathevi Kathirkamanathan is still searching for her missing daughter. And, her husband has been missing […]

The Sinhalese…

[The triple gem of Anuradhapura; Abhayagiriya facing north and its synthesis of Theravada and Mahayana represents the spiritual values of balance and integration; Ruvanweliseya in the western corner symbolizes caution, orthodoxy and conservatism; Jethavanaramaya in the eastern corner symbolizes optimism and progress – the mentality of the rising sun. To the south is materialism into […]

Mullikulam: Restrictions on fishing, cultivation, access to the church and school continue

The continuous appeals and campaigns carried out by the people of Mullikulam, the Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph and members of the clergy and civil society seems to have finally borne some results, in terms of the resettlement process of the people of Mullikulam. Even though the situation is still far from […]