Archive | Features RSS feed for this section

The Koslanda landslide: Photos around the aftermath

The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday (29th October) morning. Part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers’ homes in 9m (30ft) of mud and debris. An estimated 100 people are still […]

Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The Centre for Policy Alternatives, the institutional anchor of Groundviews, released today a report co-authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and I on hate speech online, looking at Facebook in particular. The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth […]

Arya Sinhala and the restoration of the Commons of Lanka

Submitted to Groundviews as a response to Kalana Senaratne’s assertion that Buddhism does not have a means for contemporary political engagement, in The ‘Mad Monk’ Phenomenon: BBS as the underside of Sinhala-Buddhism. ### Being Sinhala to the village folklorist Farmer Mudiyanse Tennekoon  was not a matter of religion or ethnicity, it was the practise of an elevated […]

Launch of Special Edition: The end of war in Sri Lanka, five years on

Photograph by the author In the corner of my room, there’s a large air-tight plastic bag I open once a year, and occasionally glance at with mixed emotions. It contains, carefully folded, all the newspapers I could buy on 19th May 2009. Those who tried to buy a newspaper on this day may recall how difficult it was. Almost all […]

Dangerous defeat in Geneva

Image courtesy Wikipedia “The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” Having lost the crucial vote in Geneva and opened the door to an international investigation, Sri Lanka is now in new territory. Sri Lankans saw who their real friends were at the UNHRC on Thursday night. Our friends, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Russia — […]

Enforced Disappearances in Sri Lanka: 2006-2013

This is a summary of a longer report. Please download it as a PDF here or read it online here. All photos taken and provided by the author. Introduction According to Article 7, paragraph 2(i) of the Rome Statute[1], an Enforced disappearance is defined as “…the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the […]

Should a Muslim eat wedding cake? A note on interpellation and agency

Photo courtesy The Agenda A few days ago, at the wedding of two Sri Lankan Muslims, both of whose families hail from Mannar, families forcibly evicted from their homes by the LTTE in 1990, a married Sri Lankan Muslim woman, a doctor by profession, cut a slice from the wedding cake after the bride and […]

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy to the World: Some Less Celebrated Aspects

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Give me that man That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him In my heart’s core Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2 The death of the moral colossus in the politics of our time has occasioned a worldwide celebration of all things bright and beautiful that he represented in such […]

A Call for Accountability: Death of a Young Woman in Kilinochchi

On November 28, 2013 a pregnant mother from Malaiyalapuram North[1] (Malaiyalapuram) in Kilinochchi District died at Jaffna Teaching Hospital. She was 17 and 2/7 weeks pregnant at the time of her death. She had been injected with Jadelle,[2] a Progestogen-only subdermal implant (PODSI), [3] on September 07, 2013.[4] The deceased – Ms. Manjula Satheeshkumar – […]

Correcting Hudson’s Crooked Political Vision

Image courtesy Business Today On the 4th of November 2013 I was contacted by many friends and relatives urging me to listen to Hudson Samarasinghe’s radio program on a state radio channel. I normally don’t listen to Hudson’s program because I perceive it to be low grade cheap propaganda by a producer who has self […]

An economy that unites, reconciliation that divides in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Vikalpa There are some issues that divide Sri Lankans and there are some issues that unite Sri Lankans. While the cost of living, unemployment and education bring the opinions of the four main communities together, topics such as reconciliation and identity continue to divide. On the economy, the cost of living is what […]

A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013

Image courtesy AP, via Gulf News Potemkin City, with a difference: A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013 Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegate, Dear Visitor, Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Welcome to Colombo!  You may have heard of how General Potemkin primed Crimea for the pleasure of Catherine the Great and her foreign ambassadors on their southern trip in […]