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Thirty years ago, today

Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka, May 2013. Seshanka Samarajiva for The Picture Press Thirty years ago today, my parents were heroes. Until yesterday, I didn’t even know this. My mother who worked in Fort back then, saw buildings going up in smoke, tyres burning and the chaos. Her Tamil colleagues were given priority office transport and sent home first. […]

A point of departure

Keep the memories alive July 1983 was a turning point for many Sri Lankan Tamils to leave the motherland, and seek refuge in various countries including India, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, and so on. Tamils who have either lost their family members or properties during […]

‘Flying Fish’ and the Constriction of the Arts in Sri Lanka

I met Sanjeeva Pushpakumara last year in a little art cinema off the Champs Elysees at the showing of Ashoka Handagama’s Ini Avan. It seemed he knew me from his days as a student or a journalist. A pleasant, articulate yet understated young man, of less taciturn intensity than Handagama, he debated Ini Avan with […]

Cargills Food City and ‘Humber’ dates

On its website, Cargills Food City (one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest supermarket chains) notes, that it “has been recognized for its innovation in taking super marketing to the masses”. We wonder if said innovation includes interesting references to Muslims in items sold in its supermarkets? The term ‘hambaya‘ and its variant ‘hamba‘, in […]

Sri Lankan exiles and emigrants: Some thoughts

Still from the movie Silenced Voices But when you arrive in Ithaca, don’t expect to find jewels… Without Ithaca, you would not have set out… And through this journey… Such things have you learned. (Cavafy. Translated from the Greek) By way of a preface, I mention the perception in some religions that we all are […]

30 Years Ago: An unprecedented look at Black July

Photo by Natalie Soysa, for Groundviews In August this year, Groundviews will launch a compelling collection of content to commemorate 30 years since Black July. The content will feature original podcasts, photography and writing on a dedicated website. Building from the critically acclaimed Moving Images two years ago, Groundviews brought together leading documentary filmmakers, photographers, […]

Waiting for my own Mandela…

Editors note: Through Nelson Mandela International Day, the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 of 2009 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment […]

Prince Salie: A story of sapphires and steamships

Mohammed Usuff Mohammed Salie was born in 1877.  He was the grandson of Mohamed Usuff, the Alim of the Kandawatte mosque in Galle, who was responsible for handwriting a Quran he knew by memory for his mosque. Prince Salie was sent at a young age to Madras for his religious education. Like generations before and […]

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 […]