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BRASSED OFF

PTI Photo, via The New Indian Express In 2014, the year when Bollywood’s most popular ‘item’ song featured an Indo-Canadian porn star lip-syncing a song called ‘Baby Doll’, India elected a conservative Hindu chauvinist as its prime minister. Narendra Modi’s extraordinary ascent to power from humble party worker to a national icon of communal violence […]

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 […]

The Sri Lankan Muslim Diaspora Dilemma

Image via Transcurrents This past week, incidents in Sri Lanka and abroad have illustrated the dilemmas facing the Sri Lankan Muslim community and its Diaspora constituents.  These incidents though isolated in occurrence have the hallmarks of being related to a wider malaise afflicting the community and the challenges they face In London on the 5th […]

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 — […]

Why the Government of Sri Lanka fails internationally

Image courtesy Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow This is among the many important challenges to the “democratically elected” Government of “democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka” (GOSL).  There may be various answers but let me offer five reasons why the present Government in the present frame of mind cannot win the support of the international community […]

From Canada to Colombo, can’t stereotype my thing yo

I need a cigarette. In another impulsive moment, I had made the irresponsible decision a few months ago to become a social smoker. I do not particularly know what that means but I figure it would be a good way to force myself to have conversations with strangers on this trip. I also romanticize that […]

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 […]