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Anti-UN sentiment in Jaffna: Fact or fiction?

The Uthayan newspaper runs a revealing story on its website which suggests that on 8th May, the campaign to collect a million signatures against the UN Panel’s report basically forced people to sign up to the campaign. Groundviews has already covered this bizarre, mindless campaign when it started in Colombo, before in fact the UN […]

From Haiti Hell: Perspectives from the ground a year after the earthquake

Words Hugh Bohane. Pictures Alison Thompson. Australian nurse, filmmaker and author Alison Thompson is making a name for herself, selflessly volunteering to help in dangerous global calamities, such as in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami – and now in Haiti. When the Haiti earthquake struck in January 2010, her buddy, two-time Academy Award-winning […]

Proud of being a ‘half-caste’: Perceptions of Eurasians in Sri Lanka

Although there were times when to be an Eurasian meant that one was generally looked down upon, considered ‘half caste’, Rosemarie is proud of her mixed heritage. At the time when she was growing up, Eurasians and Burghers saw themselves as being distinct and different from each other. Now, both communities are a rarity in […]

Osama Bin Laden and Sri Lanka’s WMD Moment

Image courtesy stuff.co.nz The killing of Osama Bin Laden by chopper-borne US Special forces and Navy Seals is good news and a job well done by that country. Shortly after the attack on the Twin Towers the Sri Lankan papers carried a piece I wrote entitled ‘Why Osama Ain’t My Hero’, a full-on critique of […]

Training for University Entrants in Army Camps and at District Level

Photo from Wikipedia The Ministry of Higher Education has decided to make compulsory for all university entrants a 3-week training in army camps (supposedly because they are the only places that can accommodate all the entrants) and then give them 3 months of training in English and Information Technology (IT) at District level. While the […]

Educating the Soul, the Spirit and then the Mind

Photo courtesy The Schools Project Background Over the years, I have spent much time with children and teachers in schools running leadership programs not only in Sri Lanka, but also in Canada, the Indian subcontinent and in Africa where I do a  simple exercise on their Hopes & Fears, and I am always moved by, […]

War Crimes Accountability In Sri Lanka: Is There A Liberal Democratic Alternative To International Action?

Sri Lanka’s President pictured here with the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal (L) and his brother Basil Rajapaksa, the Economic Development Minister (R) has repeatedly called the war a “humanitarian rescue operation with a zero civilian casualty policy”. Photo credit: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte The report of the three-member panel of independent experts, appointed […]

An elephantine gestation: UN Panel’s report on accountability in Sri Lanka released

Leaked versions of the UN Panel’s report found their way into The Island newspaper, where over the past week, Groundviews has contextualised the content that was published in print. Today, the Hindustan Times published an article based on the full version of the report, based on a leaked version of the full report the paper […]

UNSG Panel Report on Sri Lanka: Revisiting ‘Accountability’

Original photo from JDS Ensuring ‘accountability’ is important, but doing so is a complex task. Who is to ensure accountability, when, where, how? – are questions which have always aroused serious debate, and will do, in the future. While there may be no ‘independent/internal’ investigations, one need not be starry-eyed about ‘independent/international’ investigations. For example, […]

In conversation with Iranganie Serasinghe: Environmentalist and cinematic icon

Iranganie Serasinghe needs no introduction to many Sri Lankans. For decades she has graced stage, cinema and televisions with characters indelibly etched in memory. I grew up with Iranganie playing Sudu Hamine in Yashorawaya as staple viewing, as much as her role in Doo Daruwo which over 5 years was an epic narrative played out […]

Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Ground realities

Sinhala & Tamil New Year when I was growing up was always a much-awaited annual event in our neighbourhood. We’d have card tournaments and badminton tournaments leading up to the “Big Day,” and when the day actually came, it was always a flurry of activity. People rushing all over the place, kids laughing, games being […]

The leaked UN war crimes report: Key points and context

The Island newspaper published today sections of what appears to be a large excerpt from the report of the UN Panel of Experts looking into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. Inner City Press followed up with a report suggesting that the text was authentic, and that the UN deeply […]

The ‘dobis’ in Colombo: Unseen people, used by most

In a locality where washing lines heavy with colour light up even the most mundane landscape, Navam Mawatha’s laundry seems a nucleus of sorts. Surrounded by banks and plush office spaces, the old laundry, sitting on prime real estate, remains virtually unchanged since its creation in the 1920s. It consists of two sturdy rows of […]

In conversation with Nelum Gamage: Does anyone give a damn about corruption?

Nelum Gamage, a Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka, was an erstwhile Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), established in 1994 to direct the institution of prosecutions for offences under the Bribery Act and the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975. She is also […]