Archive | Features RSS feed for this section

Invitation to prospective writers: A Sri Lankan Anthology of Hint Fiction

Photo courtesy The Blue Bookcase Around two months ago, I picked up on a whim Hint Fiction edited by Robert Swartwood. Swartwood’s definition of hint fiction is ‘a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story’. As the book’s blurb on Amazon notes, “The stories in this collection run the gamut […]

American Foreign Policy and the HRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Onlanka News Obama and Human Rights The Obama administration did fight to get a seat on the Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2009; something that George W. Bush probably did not even contemplate. And, as David Bosco has noted, the US has been relatively active at the HRC since that time. Bosco goes […]

Sons of One Religion

Thirty years of civil war may have resulted in an awkward reconciliation process on racial fronts, but one thing it hasn’t diminished is our overlapping plethora of religious practices. We are born into, and primarily practice one particular religion or philosophy but one cannot discount the number of Buddhists at the Kali kovil in Modara […]

Post-war Sri Lanka’s Thought Police: The Rehabilitation of Ex-Combatants and the Denigration of Tamil Identity

Image courtesy The Hindu [Editors note: Read Part 2 of this series here, with PDFs of parts A-C of the questionnaire] The defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May of 2009 brought a new dimension to the ethnic conflict that has engulfed Sri Lanka since its independence in 1948.  During the […]

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 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 Twenty five years ago, on May 26th 1987, the Sri Lankan military forces launched ‘Operation Liberation’, which, at […]


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 […]