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Blocking inconvenient truths: Time magazine and Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Al Jazeera (AFP/Christophe Archambault) The Face of Buddhist Terror, cover story of the most recent issue of Time magazine, is banned in Burma. Even though the lead article is primarily on U Wirathu, the leader of the 969 Buddhist Nationalist movement and only has passing reference to Islamophobia in Sri Lanka championed by fascist […]

From Merchant Prince to Akbar Brothers: Inayat Akbarally and the Bohras of Sri Lanka

Photography by Alefiya Akbarally and Kannan Arunasalam Inayet Akbarally tells the remarkable story of his great grandfather Careemjee Jafferjee and how he became the first member of the Dawoodi Bohra community to set foot in Ceylon believed to be around 1830. A “Peterite” through and through, he reflects on the days when where you went to school trumped […]

Interview with MIXED RICE: Standing up for a diverse Sri Lanka

Describe the group of people who curate MIXED RICE. Who are you? Where are you located? What are your ages? Educational and professional backgrounds? The people behind MIXED RICE are a collection of Sri Lankans from various backgrounds who are scattered across the globe from Sri Lanka to Australia, Japan, the US and UK. There […]

‘Rally for Unity’, a March towards Reconciliation

Photo by Anushan Selvarajah, from Flickr photo set on rally It is often the case that a nation which experienced a protracted war will tend to look forward rather than backward. For Sri Lankans, over the years, the war became a part of their lives, and survival a part of their routine. In such a context, […]

Rally for Unity: Standing up for an inclusive Sri Lanka

Groundviews strongly endorsed a rally held in Colombo on Sunday to reaffirm the fact that Sri Lanka is not only a Sinhala-Buddhist country. As the movement’s Facebook event page noted, this non-partisan, non-violent awareness raising rally aims to empower the silent majority of moderate Sri Lankans to stand up for an inclusive Sri Lanka. At […]

Archiving ‘Her Stories’: In conversation with Radhika Hettiarachchi

Her Stories, a unique archive of oral history, was conceived of and curated by Radhika Hettiarachchi. We begin by Radhika going in to what the archive is, and how it came about. Featuring 240 stories of mothers, the archive’s website avers, These histories or ‘Herstories’ showcase a shared history and highlight how we Sri Lankans […]

Sri Lanka’s racism juggernaut and the war against it

Sri Lankan society is being divided and systematically targeted as the racism juggernaut continues to gain momentum around the country. Minorities face growing persecution with nationalist groups sprouting up and feeding on the insecurities and economic decline of the nation. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was the first organised group to rise up and openly […]

Protecting violent protesters and dispersing peaceful protesters: New role for Police and some Buddhists in Sri Lanka?

Image courtesy Colombo Telegraph On 12th April, around 7pm, I was amongst a group of people gathered on the pavement, outside the Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi building, situated at 32, Havelock Road, Colombo 5. This is the address of the Bodu Bala Sena, which has been accused of inciting and unleashing violence against minority religious communities, […]

Sheep No More…

Image from video on the vigil, broadcast by News 1st. (A Personal Response to the quashing of the first anti BBS protest on Havelock Road) This evening (Friday, April 12th 2013) around 7.15pm on Havelock Road in front of the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Building adjoining Laurie’s Road, I was reminded anew that there is no freedom […]

Police in Sri Lanka show their true saffron colours

Lest we forget, the Sri Lankan police, who act under the orders and protection of the Ministry of Defence, are far from doyens of impartiality. A few weeks ago, we noted that “it is quite clear that four policemen, no more than 3 feet away from and staring directly into the face of the Buddhist “monk” […]

Drawing the Battle Lines

Monks of Sri Lanka’s hardline Buddhist group Bodhu Bala Sena pray during a protest rally urging boycott of consumer goods with Halal certification in Maharagama on the out skirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka in February. Picture and caption courtesy AP, via Asian Correspondent. The growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka is pushing us to respond in […]

The Fashion Bug case: A turning point for Muslim rights in Sri Lanka

Buddhist monks on the rampage at Fashion Bug as Police just look The judicial case related to the violent attack on Muslim owned Fashion Bug head office and warehouse in Pepiliyana, 10 km away from Colombo, is destined to be a turning point in Muslim Rights in Sri Lanka. Following is a brief recap of the […]

Questions the public must ask in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy BBC In the few days following the UNHRC meetings in Geneva, we have witnessed several act of blatant criminality by mobs on people and property- in greater Colombo, Killinochchi and elsewhere. A common factor has been the passivity of the Police. They have looked the other way (reminiscent of July ’83) and suppressed […]

‘Where every prospect pleases, man alone is vile’

Image courtesy Aaron Joel Santos The title of this article is a line from a beautifully haunting hymn written by Bishop Heber of Calcutta who, clearly, had an imperialistic mindset.  He visited our island in 1825, and the hymn must have been written around that time.  The next line reads, ‘The Heathen in his blindness bows […]

A Tolerant Sri Lanka: How far will we go?

The past few weeks have seen a rise in incidents and publicly expressed sentiments against the Muslim community by groups who claim to represent the rights of Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Expressing concerns of undue place given to Muslims in Sri Lanka – from entrance to the Law College to issuing Halal certification to […]