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Jaffna Challenge(r)s

Image from Jaffna Challengers website Two contrasting insights into reconciliation were on display in the last ten days – one in the field of sports and the other in the field of politics.  The former relates to the Carlton Super Seven Rugby Tournament and the latter to the ITAK or Federal Party convention in Batticaloa.   […]

ITAK and the New Chapter in Post-War Politics of Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Virakesari, via dbsjeyaraj.com From its inception in late 1949 as the Tamil Federal Party, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) – a party which, as the late Lakshman Kadirgamar once claimed in Parliament, was founded by a “dedicated group of principled men” – has been in the forefront of Sri Lankan (and Tamil) politics. […]

In conversation with Bishop Duleep de Chickera

I clearly remember Bishop de Chickera at S. Thomas’ College, from around 25 years years ago. The fact that I hadn’t seen him in person for a quarter of a century hit me as I strode up to the foyer of Young Asia Television’s offices to meet him just before our interview, and for a […]

Gotabaya Rajapaksa on disappearances in Sri Lanka

Screen grab from BBC video In March after making a feature on enforced disappearances for the BBC, I made a further radio broadcast for our From Our Own Correspondent programme, later expanded for Groundviews, saying that I hoped Sri Lanka’s top leaders would be able to give answers about the fate of recent victims of […]

On the (Non)sense of Being ‘United’ and/nor/or ‘Unitary’

Image courtesy The Hindu I must admit that reading Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke’s (DJ) recent piece, on Groundviews and elsewhere, on Mr. R. Sampathan’s (RS) speech at the ITAK convention, left me very disturbed. In his piece, DJ draws attention to one statement in the speech in particular, which he notes is central to revealing that […]

Operation Liberation: 25 years on

The commanders of “Operation Liberation” commonly known as “Vadamarachchi Operation”. From left to right: Lt Col. Vipul Boteju, Lt Col. Sarath Jayawardane, Col. Wijaya Wimalaratne, Brig. Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Maj Gotabaya Rajapakse [1987, Jaffna] Image courtesy Defence.lk Twenty five years ago, on May 26th 1987, the Sri Lankan military forces launched ‘Operation Liberation’, which, at […]

THE SRI LANKAN REPUBLIC AT FORTY: REFLECTIONS ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL PAST AND PRESENT

Image courtesy Daily News Forty years ago this week, at the auspicious time of 12:34 p.m. at the Navarangahala on 22nd May 1972, a new constitution was signed into law, creating the Republic of Sri Lanka. This was the first time in the history of the island that the republican form of state was established, […]

Transcript of first one-to-one interview with Sarath Fonseka after release from prison

Image courtesy the Economist GV editors note: In the transcript below and the video of it available on the BBC online, the BBC correspondent in Sri Lanka Charles Haviland asks “Are the terms of your release unconditional – will you be allowed to go  back to politics?” Sarath Fonseka responds by noting that “As yet […]

Truth and Dialogue as Theatre: Some Reflections on the Frontline Club Panel on Sri Lanka

I watched the Frontline Club panel on Sri Lanka, belatedly and reluctantly. I am skeptical about such public enquiries and debates into complex matters, which threaten to reduce the dialogue and truth into performance. In my view, the problem with these ‘events’, for that is what they are, is that the truth is reduced to […]

3 years after the end of war: Official statements vs. reality

Sri Lankan Army soldiers march during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 16, 2012. Sri Lanka celebrates War Heroes Week with a military parade scheduled for May 19. PHOTO/ AFP, text courtesy Haveeru Online “There is no State of Emergency today.” – President Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation, 19 May 2012 vs. […]

Three years after the war in Sri Lanka: To celebrate or mourn?

Photo courtesy Vikalpa For the 3rd successive year, the Sri Lankan government has made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the end of the war in Colombo. This year, May was declared as “war hero’s commemoration month”. For the last few days, roads were closed in Colombo causing great inconvenience, as preparations were being made for celebrating the […]

A different take from the Sangha: The dhamma and religious co-existence in Sri Lanka (UPDATED)

[Editors note: Sanjay Senanayake in a comment below raises a number of concerns regarding inflammatory statements made by Rev. Dambara Amila Thero in the past, which invariably inform the appreciation of the interview below. Sanjay also alleges that the thero had in the past assaulted journalists from Young Asia Television, which produced this video. We […]

Samhara: An interweaving of the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and the Chitrasena Dance Company

Photo provided by Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. All copyrights reserved. Audiences in Colombo were over the weekend treated to Samhara, a collaboration between India’s Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and Sri Lanka’s Chitrasena Dance Company. Groundviews caught up with Nrityagram’s lead dancer Bijayini Satpathy, the artistic director and choreographer of Nrityagram, Surupa and Chitrasena Dance Company’s choreographer, Heshma […]

Mobs, Monks and the Problems of Political-Buddhism

  Original photograph REUTERS/Damir Sagolj It is always a curious and odd little matter, to witness how even Buddhists become so obsessively attached to ‘sacred’ lands and in protecting them, commit acts seemingly prompted by hatred, delusion and ill-will. Ideally, lands should not become ‘sacred’ for simple reasons. The Buddha, in attacking the rigid and unethical […]

Not In Our Name: Campaign update and video

After the email update reproduced below was sent on 2nd May, less than a week after the Not In Our Name initiative was launched, Deshabandhu Jezima Ismail, senior lawyer and HR activist JC Weliamuna, two-time Secretary to Presidential Commissions of Inquiry into Disappearances MCM Iqbal, well-known economist Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Prof. Michael Roberts and Ranjini Obeyesekere, both […]