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Have NGOs failed in peacebuilding? An interview with Jehan Perera

I recently interviewed Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council. Jehan is also a columnist for the Daily Mirror and the Lanka Monthly Digest in Colombo. He holds a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard Law School and a BA in economics from Harvard College. Based on his significant experience as a […]

Four things done, Four things undone: The self-immolation of the LTTE

It is clear, even amongst the most liberal of the western political academic circles that the end of the LTTE is now inevitable. Backed by the widow state of Sonia Gandhi and designed by the US counter terror agencies for the GOSL, the SLA under the command of the wondered and vengeful solder of Mj. […]

A thought for the IDPs in the camps

It is hard for those who have no access to the camps in the North to form a realistic opinion on the plight of the over 65,000 refugees who are supposed to bestuck in an ‘event horizon’ inside them. While the authorities paint quite a rosy picture of it, their detractors seek to discredit the […]

Sri Lanka’s IDP camp Manik Farm is what it is (but what is that?)

Most of the arguments about Manik Farm (and other transit camps in the North of Sri Lanka) seem to get stuck on definitions and comparisons.  Is it a concentration camp?  Is it like the camps run by the Nazis or old colonial powers?  I believe these debates miss the most important question: what is the […]

Truth, more bitter than fiction for IDPs in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, there are events in motion that have created just the perfect environment for “event-horizons”. An “event-horizon” in the movies is usually a black-hole where any hapless space faring vessel when caught, has to go through a slowing down in time. Hapless people caught in its fringes are unable to escape due to […]

MAN, OH (VANANGA) MAN!

Let me get this right. Two hundred and thirteen years since the first British colonial ships landed in Sri Lanka, a ship is setting sail from Britain, launched at an event with banners and posters (Vanangaman: “Mercy Mission to Wanni” ) bearing the map of Tamil Eelam, patronized by politicians and personalities of the former […]

Your opinion on a war ‘over in 3 weeks’ and a ‘post-LTTE’ Sri Lanka?

A senior government minister claimed today that the war would be over in 3 weeks. Whether we believe him or not, commentators like Ahilan Kadirgamar (writing in Himal Southasian, February 2009) have called attention to the dynamics of a ‘post-LTTE Sri Lanka’, suggesting that “Post-LTTE Tamil politics will have to move beyond ethnic and territorial […]

Is the President hiding Lasantha Wickremetunge’s killers?

We reproduce in full a letter from Sonali Samarasinghe Wickremetunge to the IGP asking him to record ‘very important details’ known to the Sri Lankan President and at least one other senior government minister, based on the minister’s own admission, pertaining to the identity of her husband Lasantha Wickremetunge’s killers. The Editor in Chief of […]

Interview with Udaya Gammanpila, Legal Advisor, JHU

I interviewed Udaya Gammanpila, the Legal Advisor to the Jathika Hala Urumaya (JHU) and erstwhile Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). Udaya is now a candidate from the Colombo District for the Western Provincial Council elections to be held on 24th April 2009. I interviewed him in January, before he announced his candidature and […]

Three poems by Sivamohan Sumathy

[Editors note: These poems respond to Indran Amirthanayagam's poems here, here and here. They are both part of the Writers Under Siege collection on Groundviews.] 1 i am not a writer i am not a writer nor am i under siege, i do not frequent the commons, nor the poetic corner. 2 i, savage why […]

Dancing In Sympathy (Mullaitivu)

Six boys from Hindu College will enter the scene from Stage Left, an equal number of girls from Muslim Ladies Stage Right. They will shake their bodies, slide and writhe, and be still to rid bones of chains and memories, and invite guests, us, to sway in harmony even if we’re away from jungles which […]

Equal Treatment

Citizens of Killinochchi and Mullaitivu fled before our liberators arrived. They live for the moment in nearby jungle under a canopy punctured by shells. Some moved to a safe zone demarcated by liberators where they have fallen since to errant fire. Others ran into liberators’ arms and live now protected in large barb-wired camps. January […]

Forgetting, Mullaitivu

The town is full of stray dogs, cows, ghosts, buildings pockmarked, unhinged, open to wind and rain. Soldiers patrol on foot. Trucks and tanks rumble through the center. Rebels took all the fittings to jungle cellars, and we wait eagerly to discover how the Supreme Leader makes his bed. Look at Europe today, Germany lost 500 […]