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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 […]

Diaspora Diaries: Reflections of the filmmaker

[Editors note: Also read the related post ‘Diaspora Diaries’: Exploring Connections and Interactions with Sri Lanka] Kannan Arunasalam is a documentary filmmaker and narrative journalist. He was born in Jaffna, grew up in London, and returned to Sri Lanka in 2005. This year, International Alert commissioned Kannan to make filmed portraits of Sri Lankan diaspora […]

‘Diaspora Diaries’: Exploring Connections and Interactions with Sri Lanka

[Editors note: Also read related post Diaspora Diaries: Reflections of the filmmaker] In recent years, the prevailing image of the Sri Lankan diaspora in the media has been dominated by Tamil community activists’ human rights campaign, calling for investigations into the Sri Lankan Government’s actions in 2009 during the last phases of the 26 year […]

Remembering the riots

Image courtesy Thuppahi’s blog June 2013 saw violent clashes between small groups of Sri Lankans at cricket grounds around the UK. Although barely reported by the mainstream media, for members of Voices for Reconciliation (VfR) – a peace-building network that facilitates dialogue within and between every Sri Lankan community in the UK- these altercations served […]

Forgetting Black July

Photo courtesy BBC I was born ten years after Black July. I am a Singhalese. A week or so ago, as the thirty-year anniversary approached, for curiosity’s sake, I did a small experiment. I asked some of my peers a question: “What do you know about Black July?” Of twenty-two Sinhalese, eighteen did not know what […]

Nationhood and National Parks

Photo from tahira’s shenanigans National parks in Sri Lanka that traverse the lines of nature reserves are held in reverence in the Sri Lankan psyche. Ideas of nature reserves in Sri Lanka are often traced back to King Devanmanpiyatissa, having converted to Buddhism came to the realization that all beings have an equal right to […]

The making of ‘The Brothers Shaikh’

When the journalist Peter Savodnik asked me to collaborate with him on making The Brothers Shaikh, I said no. I was scared. This was my home. I knew that if I crossed some invisible line, there would be repercussions. But then I changed my mind. What convinced me was that The Brothers Shaikh was a […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 3

Photo via blackjuly.info The Politics of Identity It seems all too obvious that the regular cycles of violence that have emerged in our recent history since 1915 are distinctly communal in character. Indeed, every battle of every war in our history has always been characterised as those between communities on either side of cultural or […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 2

Photo via blackjuly.info Fault-lines Perhaps it is a tragic coincidence of our time; or maybe it was inevitable given the passage of generations, that we are marking the thirty year anniversary of Black July at the same time as we are approaching a centenary since the communal riots of 1915. With the escalation of religious […]