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Open Letter to the Government of Sri Lanka: On the Port City Review

Image courtesy Yamu Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe Minister Hon. Rajitha Senaratne Minister Hon Lakshman Kiriella Dear Sirs, On the Port City Review I am writing this open letter to you all as I have doubts that you might receive it through the layers of bureaucracy and entrenched interests that support the proposed ‘Port City’ […]

Economics of the Colombo Port City Project

Image courtesy Yamu The government recently took a cabinet decision to go ahead with the $15 billion Colombo Port City Project (CPCP). Cabinet spokesperson Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, trying to justify the decision told the media that it was a “business venture” done together with one of Sri Lanka’s “long-standing friends,” China. A day later Prime […]

Will there be “Maithree” and “Yahapalanaya” for Navy occupied Mullikulam?

Last week, I went to Mullikulam, a beautiful and resourceful village in the Mannar district, which has been illegally occupied by the Navy for more than 7 years. It was my first visit for more than a year. The people didn’t seem to have any fresh hopes of reuniting as one community, regaining their lost […]

Contrasting post civil war development trajectories in Nepal and Sri Lanka

Photograph courtesy Asian Tribune In both Nepal and Sri Lanka the transition from war to durable peace has been painful and is ongoing and not devoid of pitfalls as has been the case elsewhere in the World as well. In the case of Nepal underdevelopment of the vast hinterland has been widely acknowledged as the […]

The tsunami: 10 years on

Groundviews commissioned The Picture Press to capture through photography the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka on Boxing Day, 2004. As journalist Amantha Perera notes, The tsunami took a dramatic toll on unsuspecting Sri Lankans – 35,322 were killed, half a million were displaced, and more than 100,000 houses were destroyed. Half of the damage struck […]

Synthetic development, commodification of the body and the vote under neo-liberal economic policies: Where to now?

Photo credit Marvellous Sri Lanka In modern day governance, there are certain principles that peace-loving people expect the rulers to implement. One of them is accountability. Accountability for the actions, expenditure, decisions, and appointments that governments make. In advanced democratic societies, there are mechanisms to ensure accountability with vested powers to seek and collect information, […]

The new Yarl Devi to Jaffna: What do people in Jaffna think?

Photograph courtesy Colombo Gazette. A version of this article appears on the author’s blog. The Yarl Devi was a train. A hulking pile of metal on wheels, just like any other train. It began its run around 1956; neither the first train to make the trip to the North of Sri Lanka, nor the only […]

The Journey of Content: Instagram Unplugged IRL

We are discussing a photograph. It was taken by the camera of a smartphone. It has been viewed by thousands, engaged with by hundreds, and is now being exhibited at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. @colombedouin is Abdul-Halik Azeez. Colombedouin is the title of the exhibition that is ongoing at the time of conducting this interview. […]

A Presidential visit up North

Photo courtesy Yahoo By all accounts, President Rajapakse’s unprecedented and rather controversial third term re-election campaign, though unofficial, has begun in earnest. Last week he presented the Cabinet of Ministers with a proposal to increase communal harmony in the country and implement the LLRC proposals, though a few weeks earlier the defense establishment, had facilitated […]

And they all fall down

This afternoon, the remaining residents of 34 watta in Wanathamulla had surprise visitors. Brigadier Samarasinghe who is the Project Director of the UDA’s Urban Regeneration Programme, accompanied by several other UDA officials, police and demolition equipment turned up at 34 watta and informed the residents of imminent evictions and the destruction of their homes. Most […]

Post-War Development in Nepal and Sri Lanka: A Comparison

Image courtesy Wikipedia This is an abridged version of a paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Centre for Poverty Analysis on Post War Development in Africa and Asia in Colombo on 01 September 2014 Introduction Both in Nepal and Sri Lanka the transition from war to durable peace has been painful and is […]