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Eating properly and smiling: The evasive Valerie Amos on Twitter

On 18th December 2012, at around 10pm in Sri Lanka, Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator took to Twitter, ostensibly to answer questions related to the UN’s role, relevance and responsibilities regarding humanitarian aid and relief work. The event with Baroness Amos was announced via the Twitter account of, […]

Still Counting the Dead: A welcome first step

Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War, by Frances Harrison, Portobello Books, 246 pp, £ 14.99 “We used to be a very proud people”1 – Uma, The Teacher I Few years ago, during a very wintery January weekend, at a Copenhagen hotel, I was scrambling to prepare a last minute Power Point presentation […]

The Vanni: Depicting the end of Sri Lanka’s war through a graphic novel

Groundviews interviewed via email Benjamin Dix, who along with Lindsay Pollock are producing The Vanni, a multimedia graphic novel based on the hellish denouement of Sri Lanka’s 27 year old war in the first half of 2009. A preview can be viewed here. Since the live web version requires a modern browser with very good broadband, we’ve […]

Howling

What shall I do, living in Peru, with this report of systemic failure in U.N. monitoring in Sri Lanka, how bureaucrats drove away from the disaster to come, buried hard- earned stats about civilian deaths and allowed themselves to be brow-beaten, harassed, shouted into silence while 40,000 humans died , mostly from battering shells rained […]

Restrictions and intimidation on journalists covering resettlement process in the Vanni

From Lines Magazine “The Government should ensure the freedom of movement of media personnel in the North and East, as it would help in the exchange of information contributing to reconciliation” (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, recommendation 9.115-d) After more than 11 months of the LLRC report being handed over to the President, the above […]

“Nothing to call our own…” – The plight of the recently returned, resettled and landless IDPs in Sri Lanka’s North

Photo by author Recently returned to Puthumathalan “As you drive past pile upon pile of corroding vehicles stacked one above the other, past pots, pans, sarees, slippers and plates (that once belonged to the people here), strewn all over the ground, and past the bullet and shrapnel splattered walls of homes ravaged by the war, […]

Menik Farm: The tragic end of a bitter saga, from detention to forced relocation

“Why can’t the Army go to the jungles instead of taking our lands and sending us to jungles?” “When will we be allowed to re-start cultivation of our lands?” “When can we have access to the sea we were fishing before and will we get back the boats and fishing equipment we left behind in […]

Putting paid to the Government’s false claims: The new IDPs in Sri Lanka

Editors note: On the day Menik Farm was officially closed, an urgent memo was circulated widely on the fate of the IDPs from Keppapilavu. The memo adds vital context to the following story, which also needs to be read in light of Government and Ministry of Defence claims that, there are no longer any IDPs […]

Sri Lanka’s forgotten mass graves: Google Earth and remembering the dead in Nandikadal

The end of war in Sri Lanka, captured for posterity by Google Earth published last week by Groundviews was the first look at the end of the war in Sri Lanka through historical satellite imagery freely accessible via Google Earth. The article was an open invitation for those using Google Earth to scan for and […]

The struggle to go home in post war Sri Lanka: The story of Puthukudiruppu

Rajini (pseudonym) was amongst the ten women we met in a church in Vavuniya district about a week ago. At the time she and two of her children were living in Kadirgama camp in Menik Farm. The women and their families were displaced since 2008 and were prevented from going home to Puthukudiruppu. Some of […]

Ganesan Nimalaruban: A damning murder, funeral and silence

Photo credit: Vikalpa It is very likely readers of Sinhala mainstream print media have no clue who Ganesan Nimalaruban was, or exactly how he died. A simple Google news or general web search suffices to highlight how poor even English mainstream media coverage has been over the controversy surrounding his death. Vikalpa was present at […]

Surrendering and Disappearing: Where are they now?

“Disappearance is far worse than death, because when a person dies, when I know that, so and so is dead, the story ends and somehow or other we close the chapter. But when a person has disappeared, it is an eternal suffering.”                                                                          (A.Santhipali, before the LLRC at Jaffna on 12th November 2010) In the […]

Cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: From denial to discovery

Ravi Nessman from Associated Press has broken what’s perhaps the most important story on the war, since it ended three years ago. In a story published by AP a few hours ago, he notes, The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster […]

The futility that is Omanthai: Post-war Sri Lanka’s reconciliation shortfalls

Image courtesy JDS Omanthai Checkpoint, 12.30am: As the conductor switches on the bright florescent lights inside the bus, the bus comes to an abrupt halt, jolting awake blurry-eyed passengers travelling from Jaffna to Colombo, who, in response to the instruction “okkomala bag arung eliyata bahinna…” (“Everyone, take all your bags and get off the bus…”), […]