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What beauty in camps? I sit in my favourite chair listening to Beethoven’s last sonata, slient breezes in time. to the music. My world creates a sonata The other shatters all possibility of one. Guarded, malnourished; the beauty of rescue: possible? loudspeakers are silent. Waiting for a pass, a nod, family member to utter their […]

An eye-witness account of IDP camp conditions in Sri Lanka

[Editors note: The dire conditions of internment in camps that are home to well over a quarter of a million fellow citizens are unknown to many. Fears of inflammatory and inaccurate journalism, as defined and seen by the government, debar independent media from access to these camps even after the end of war. Rohini Hensman’s […]

The IDP situation in Sri Lanka: Let’s keep things real and a response to Rohini Hensman

[Editors note: This article was published in The Sunday Island on 28 June 2009. Groundviews does not usually reproduce content first published elsewhere in print or online. In this case however, given that the Island’s website has no mechanism to feature reader generated comments and because Rohini Hensman’s article was exclusively published on this site, […]

Why are the Vanni civilians still being held hostage?

Image courtesy IRIN Throughout the last stages of the civil war, the government of Sri Lanka claimed to be engaged in a hostage rescue mission on behalf of civilians in the Vanni who were being held against their will be the LTTE. How far are its words borne out by its actions? It is certainly […]

End of the LTTE and future of the Tamil Struggle

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which claimed to be the sole representatives of Tamil people, one of the most feared and considered as one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world is vanquished. LTTE guerillas who once considered them in an equal footing with the SLA are silenced with their first […]

Memories of War, Dreams of Peace

The long and bloody Sri Lankan war is over, and not a moment too soon. I really want to believe it. The alternative is too depressing to consider. Of course, there is no independent verification – it has been a war without witnesses for the past many months, with no journalists or humanitarian workers allowed […]

Prabhakaran is dead – join debates on what next for Sri Lanka

From the Ministry of Defence website: LTTE defeated; Sri Lanka liberated from terror Sri Lankan armed force have militarily defeated the LTTE and freed the nation from three decades of terror, Army Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka announced. Meanwhile, defence sources on the battlefront said all top LTTE leaders were believed to be killed during […]

Would killing 50,000 civilians to finish off the LTTE bring peace?

[Editors note, 6 January 2011: This specific post and the debate that ensued is referred to and featured in Fire and Storm: Essays in Sri Lankan Politics by Prof. Michael Roberts. Read more here.] ### “I would accept 50,000 dead to finish the LTTE. That’s what it comes down to. And I would, to end […]

It is a hostage crisis, stupid!

Image courtesy The Telegraph The Sri Lankan military is dealing with probably the largest hostage crisis in world history. Sri Lanka and its present leadership will be forever remembered for how it handles this unprecedented predicament. As a long and protracted battle draws to a miserable end, it is right to be intensely concerned about […]

Ape Lankawe: The Great NGO Pantomime!

For anyone concerned with the plight of innocent civilians, the reports from the North are depressing. The latest ‘avalanche (!?) is yet to be fully screened, searched, scrubbed and bleached for any LTTE connections and corralled into what the Government calls ‘welfare centers’. As to what awaits these men, women and children, thereafter and for […]

A thought for the IDPs in the camps

It is hard for those who have no access to the camps in the North to form a realistic opinion on the plight of the over 65,000 refugees who are supposed to bestuck in an ‘event horizon’ inside them. While the authorities paint quite a rosy picture of it, their detractors seek to discredit the […]

Sri Lanka’s IDP camp Manik Farm is what it is (but what is that?)

Most of the arguments about Manik Farm (and other transit camps in the North of Sri Lanka) seem to get stuck on definitions and comparisons.  Is it a concentration camp?  Is it like the camps run by the Nazis or old colonial powers?  I believe these debates miss the most important question: what is the […]