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What undue humanitarian concerns? – Responding to Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts in an article published on Groundviews recently suggests that in the context of “an uncertain number of Tamil ‘civilians’ trapped within the beleaguered and shrinking LTTE territory…emotion and humanitarian concerns have eclipsed realism and factuality”.  Are humanitarian concerns ever undue?  In fact Michael’s position is lacking not only in ‘humanitarian concerns’ but also in […]

What’s wrong with Michael Roberts’ enthusiasm for a “knock-out blow?”

Vasantha Raja, Editor,   After reading Michael Roberts’ “Dilemmas at wars end” and his subsequent “Clarifications & Counter-offensive” my curiosity above all was to find out what kind of logic could have led an academic of his calibre to end up in prescribing in effect to the world to be patient until the government’s Sinhala forces […]

Detailed response to Jeevan Thiagarajah’s ‘Settling conflicts after the war and doing what is right’

When I read Jeevan Thiagarajah’s piece published on Groundviews a few days ago several questions sprung to mind. Why is the article trying so desperately to be apolitical? How can we solve conflicts if we cannot even acknowledge that certain groups, i.e. the government, the LTTE, the paramilitaries, are responsible, in different ways, for the humanitarian […]


My essay DILEMMAS (note the plural) was also sent to a circle of friends and has appeared in other outlets, viz., and the Island, 11 February 2009. I thank all those who have provided cyber comments as well as email responses: both sets, as it happens, are quite polarised, with some highly critical and […]

A response to Michael Robert’s Dilemma at Wars End: Thoughts on Hard Realities

This is a response to Michael Robert’s article published on Groundviews recently titled Dilemma at Wars End: Thoughts on Hard Realities. I am disappointed that a historian of Dr Michael Roberts’ stature and humanitarian sensibility is seduced by the triumphalist rhetoric of the current Sri Lankan government. There are countless examples currently and in the historical […]

Rajapaksrized Chauvinism in Flowery prose: Sri Lankan Diplomat’s outright humiliation of Sri Lankan Tamils

This article concerns an article entitled “Tamils must sell something Sinhalese will be willing to buy at affordable price”, by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, an eminent Sri Lankan scholar, who is currently the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. The position occupied by Dr.Jayatilleka is one […]

The Anti-Conversion Bill violates the freedom of Conscience and the freedom of expression

There is a trend to convert the triumph of the Armed Forces over the LTTE in the north into a triumphal Sinhala-Buddhist ultra nationalism. Their ideology is that the country belongs only to the Sinhala Buddhists and that the other communities be they of different ethnicity or religion must live on the sufferance of the […]

To The Courts, In Remorse

Drop all charges against Tissanaiyagam. his glaucoma needs treatment and his wife will be grateful, …and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps will feel less inclined to speak at public acts of grievance. I agree we must not interfere with funerals. leaves a bitter taste on the BBC’s tongue. Inevitably advisors will counsel banning that […]

From the ‘sole representative’ to the ‘sole alternative’: Justice for, and within the Tamil Community

With the position of spokesperson for, and sole representative of the Tamil community set to become vacant upon the projected defeat of the LTTE, one would hope that space would be created for the emergence of democratic, plural and dissenting Tamil voices within the community and the polity at large. However, the vacuum is most […]

Ashes at the Stake – For Lasantha

I remember the day I heard Richard was killed Almost twenty years ago. Far away in the diaspora I sat all night My back bent and still. Regimes shifted, People still disappeared into the night Witches, burnt at the stake A sacrifice, An offering.. In the name of the nation, Today I heard Lasatha was […]

Attacks on Media

“What’s going on just now? What’s happening to us? What is this world, this period, this precise moment in which we are living?” –Michel Foucault Two incidents that happened within a period of 48 hours signified a major blow to media freedom and democracy in Sri Lanka. In the first incident, the main complex of […]

One of Us

During civilized periods in the history of kingdoms courtiers, or the king’s person himself, in audience with the gadfly, would offer the fellow death or exile. These days assassins butcher their fly in daylight near security checkpoints in front of bewildered subjects. My Lord, Dutugemunu, slayer of wild beasts in northern jungles, why must we […]

Blood wanted, urgent!

Blood wanted, urgent! Quick, all you friends Can you please help To find more blood To immerse this whole nation In the red, life-giving fluid? The mighty Tsunami With all its geo-force Just wasn’t enough To cleanse our land. In any case Blood is thicker than water And that’s just what The good doctor ordered. […]

Chandrika Kumaratunga responds to Dayan Jayatilleke’s comment on the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge

Through a comment emailed to the Groundviews, former President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga reacts to the brutal murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge, Editor in Chief of the Sunday Leader a few days ago. She responds to a comment by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Dayan Jayatilleka, who noted earlier on […]