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In conversation with Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayake

Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayake is the Country Representative of The Asia Foundation. We begin by talking about what compelled Dinesha to join TAF, after, as noted on the Foundation’s site, two decades of experience in the field of international development – with special interest and experience in economic governance, rule of law, access to justice, and […]

Portraits of diversity from Myanmar vital for Sri Lanka

When the British administrator J.S. Furnivall coined the term “plural society” he was talking about colonial Burma to describe the extraordinary diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, races and religions that inhabited its cities. Sixty years ago he wrote, “Bengali Muslims jostled alongside Iraqi Jews and Armenian Christians”. Walking around Yangon’s streets today, you can still experience […]

Ramaphosa and Government’s Policy shift on Reconciliation

Image courtesy Daily Maverick Several weeks after Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of South Africa and Special Envoy of President Zuma to Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka to assist us in our search for durable post war peace and reconciliation, it is possible to observe several tactical moves by the Rajapakse Administration with regard to […]

The slow wheels of justice and change: a Sri Lankan case study?

Image via Rights Now Five years since the end of the war, the state of affairs in Sri Lanka is likely to evoke feelings of frustration and despondency for most readers of this series of essays. The military has entrenched itself in the governance of the North and East and continues to suppress Tamil political […]

Problems of success? Post-war Sri Lanka’s international challenges

Photo by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow Since the end of Sri Lanka’s thirty year-long war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the island is often evoked internationally in relation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The UNHRC remains the only supranational body where the case of Sri Lanka […]

A South African effort at promoting reconciliation

Ebrahim Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of  International Relation and Cooperation Republic of South Africa meeting  Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the H.E. President and Minister of Economic development. Via Ministry of Economic Development. General elections in South Africa concluded a few days ago and the results were a resounding reelection victory for the ruling African Nation […]

Political settlement or regime change!

Photo by AFP, via SBS “I fled down labyrinthine ways And glooms of chasmed fears” (Not exactly Francis Thompson) This essay is premised on an ill-omened reading of the Geneva tea-leaves. What be this ominous message I see floating in the cup? For reasons I will lay out in the initial paragraphs I find it […]

Sri Lanka: Post-Geneva, Post-Provincial Council Elections

Photograph by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera Post- Geneva and post- PC elections, some clarifications are in order because the resolution, locally, came to be obscured by the fog of elections and the scare stories that were put out about sanctions and the electric chair, not to mention the absurdity of the arithmetic of the […]

Dangerous defeat in Geneva

Image courtesy Wikipedia “The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” Having lost the crucial vote in Geneva and opened the door to an international investigation, Sri Lanka is now in new territory. Sri Lankans saw who their real friends were at the UNHRC on Thursday night. Our friends, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Russia — […]

The Lalith Weeratunga Presentation

Image courtesy ITU video Though I cannot say the same of his companions on the voyage, my friend Lalith Weeratunga embodies a rare combination of intelligence, ability, affability and civility. He made a valuable presentation of the government’s case, in Geneva and the USA. Mr Weeratunga has made some very valid points on the dangers […]

Meetings across acrylic, canvas and dance: India-Sri Lanka Artists Week

I spent some time with 12 visual artists and 1 dancer, from Sri Lanka and India, at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo today, who are part of an interesting and pioneering artistic collaboration between the two countries, from the 18 – 23 January. The artists work in the open near the hotel’s pool. Anyone […]

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy to the World: Some Less Celebrated Aspects

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Give me that man That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him In my heart’s core Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2 The death of the moral colossus in the politics of our time has occasioned a worldwide celebration of all things bright and beautiful that he represented in such […]

CHOGM 2013: A lie well told

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Images via FT Photo Diary I imagine that beneath the cordial smiles and exchange of pleasantries there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth taking place at Temple Trees these days. The façade that was CHOGM 2013 seems to have crumbled, at least in the eyes of the world, although certainly […]

Gamani Corea: Champion of the Global South

Robert S McNamara, who was US Secretary of Defence under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, then served as President of the World Bank from 1968 to 1981. Despite his contentious legacy in the US government, he is credited to have shifted the Bank’s focus to population and poverty issues. McNamara, whom I once interviewed when in […]

A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013

Image courtesy AP, via Gulf News Potemkin City, with a difference: A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013 Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegate, Dear Visitor, Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Welcome to Colombo!  You may have heard of how General Potemkin primed Crimea for the pleasure of Catherine the Great and her foreign ambassadors on their southern trip in […]