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Learning Old Lessons from a New ‘Lessons Learnt’ Commission: the ‘Home-Grown’ Way?

One year after the war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has established another commission; known as the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’. Eight eminent members have been appointed. The Commission is chaired by a former Attorney General. The Commission is to ‘inquire and report’ the following: the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the […]


I had not intended contributing to Groundviews’s commemoration of the first anniversary of the end of the war, for the simple reason that there having been no movement whatsoever on post-war constitutional reform, I did not wish to add another gripe of a general nature to this ‘liberal echo chamber’ of ours. Two publications in […]

The latest Commission of Inquiry in Sri Lanka: Another Exercise in Deception

Louise Arbour of the International Crisis Group is reported to have  said during an interview in the BBC that the government violated the laws of war by blurring the line between combatants and civilians, and that its killings of civilians were not accidents.   Perhaps in response to this, speaking to the BBC Tamil Service […]

Vanni in the year after war: Tears of despair and fear

About six months after the end of the war, in November 2009, the government of Sri Lanka relaxed restrictions on travel to the Vanni[1] and started to allow some of the displaced people to go back to their villages. Although the government still maintains some restrictions on travel, I managed to visit these areas many […]

Post-war Sri Lanka: Challenges and opportunities

This Government, as it commences to address the many challenges facing post – war Sri Lanka, stands today at a watershed of major, unprecedented and possibly never to be replicated, opportunity. Wherever one is located in the Sri Lankan political firmament that obvious and pre eminent condition would have to be admitted. The sense of […]

Will ‘Peace’ Arrive Before Death?

It was, unfortunately, a necessary war, for terrorism had to be defeated, eliminated. After some thirty long years, on or around the 19th of May 2009, Sri Lanka gained liberation; liberation from the clutches of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), from the clutches of terrorism (May, 2010: The Prime Minister states in Parliament […]

A Tribute to our Unsung Heroes

The teenage girls singing a Tamil song “Tomorrow is Ours” is interrupted by my wife Samantha and I walking in to the classroom.  They giggled coyly as we looked around at them.   They were being trained to be Girl Guides and did not seem any different to any of the many young people I have […]

The importance of not forgetting

One year ago, the war that had defined our lives for the last 30 years ended.  Brutally, callously and mercilessly fought like most wars are, it ended amidst allegations of immense suffering wrought on the people caught in the middle of the final desperate onslaughts.  Since then according to the official version, Sri Lankans have […]

Dungeons are also peaceful: Enduring uncertainties in post-war Lanka

Is the world coming unhinged? In Spain a judge is on trial for a technicality relating to his attempts to go after war crimes committed by Franco’s fascist regime. The Sri Lankan government’s close buddy the Burmese guerilla dictatorship in preparation  for the election, Burmese style, has forced Suu Kyi’s NLD into dissolution. Panama’s ex-dictator […]

Beyond the war psyche in Sri Lanka

Dust is finally settling on the euphoria generated by last year’s military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Old concerns naturally give way to the new and a year later, people have different realities to grapple with including how to keep their home fires burning. For President Mahinda Rajapakse and the government […]

Post-War Sri Lanka: Way Forward or More of the Same?

Without peace, there is no development; without development there is no peace, President Rajapaksa has said. Yet, for the overwhelming majority of the population he presides over, life is quite harsh under the growing burden of the militarisation of the economy and society. Despite rhetoric on the devolution of power about 50,000 Tamils are still […]

Living with the Other in post-war Sri Lanka

I often have to remind myself that I live with a Tamil. My housemate, Vanessa is a Tamil, married to a Sinhalese and I have been living with her and her husband for almost a year and working with her for over two. She is also one of my closest friends. She is Tamil; I […]


Daya Somasundaram was in Jaffna town in late 1995 when the Sri Lankan army advanced south and eastwards from Palaly. As the LTTE decided upon a strategic withdrawal, they insisted that all the Tamil people should move with them. This enforcement was termed an “Exodus” by some Tamils versed in biblical themes. As Somasundaram relates […]

What is there to celebrate? Rumblings of a Jaffna Tamil

The question that I have been repeatedly asked by people outside Jaffna is whether we Tamils are not happy that the war is over. An immediate follow up question is whether we are not happy that the LTTE is defeated and the prescription that the defeat of the LTTE should not be considered a defeat […]

Post War Sri Lanka: Thoughts of University Students

Last May Sri Lanka ended its long drawn war, fought for over three decades with the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE). This month Sri Lanka is commemorating the first year after war. This piece reflects the ideas of a cross section of students from the University of Sri Jayawardanapura on how they perceive post […]