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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 […]

Impervious and Insular members of Tamil Diaspora: M.I.A. and the Bogey of Genocide in Sri Lanka

I listened to the interview of Tavis Smiley of the Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) with Mathangi (aka Maya) Arudpragasam; a hip-hop artist (stage name M.I.A.  – Missing in Action) who has been nominated for Grammy and Oscar awards for 2009 (this interview was telecast on January 28, 2009 but I listened to it only in […]

Unsolicited Advice

While the bureaucrat fulminates about the cost of hotel rooms in Geneva and the great burden placed on the Sri Lankan government to have to pay exorbitant rates, he may wish to report back to Colombo, that the most efficient way to avoid such soaring costs is to conduct a human rights policy that shows […]

An exclusive interview with Eastern Province Chief Minister Pillayan after the TMVP’s arms decommissioning

English transcript of an exclusive interview with the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (alias Pillayan) conducted by Vikalpa. Have all the powers in the 13th amendment been given to the Provincial Councils? It is not possible to say that. It should have been implemented fully as soon as it was enacted. Unfortunately, the North […]