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A ‘victory day’ sketch

Photograph by the author Sri Lanka celebrated that very first victory day one day later than it has been marked in the four years since. It was the 19th of May, 2009. Vellupillai Prabhakaran had been killed the previous day. News of his death had to filter through before celebrations could begin. Ever since, Sri […]

The Five-Year Tongue Twisters

Photo courtesy ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES, via The Global Mail [five times five things to try to say quickly] 1. The misters assisted in shelling these shells on the seashore war, The shells they shelled were not sea-shells, I’m sure. Some of the people they shelled aren’t there any more. And if they shelled the seashore […]

The Single Story of Sri Lanka

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images via Al Jazeera America In a well-known TED talk, the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks of the dangers of the single story.[1] “The single story creates stereotypes,” Adichie says, “and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become […]

Quo vadis Sri Lanka?

Photo courtesy Amnesty International May 2009 will always be an exclamation mark in Sri Lanka’s history. Many will celebrate the defeat of the Tamil Tigers as a rupture with a brutal past. For others it will mark a period of remembrance as families mourn relatives lost in crossfire or shelling. It was a time of […]

Post-war Economic Progress: Investment, Positioning, and Reforms in a New Sri Lankan Economy

Photo courtesy The Nation As the war was intensifying in the jungles of the Vanni in early 2009, another battle was being fought – the battle for the Sri Lankan economy. The global economic crisis had hit Sri Lanka badly, not through the direct channels of mortgage-backed securities or complex derivatives like in the West, […]

Special Police units and democratic governance: A reflection on religious freedom with justice

Photo by Reuters via Al Arabiya News Puzzling Decisions and worrying trends The recent government decision to appoint a special police unit to deal with inter-religious conflict adds to the prevailing confusion on the freedom of religion and the rule of law. While the decision implies seriousness in arresting the current religious tensions, the government’s reluctance […]

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 […]

SRI LANKA IN 2014 : REPEATING PAST MISTAKES

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian Our long-drawn out internecine war in recent history came to an end in May 2009 with the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam (LTTE). We thus had an opportunity once more, post-war, to address anew the underlying causes for violent conflict in our society, come together as […]

Attitudinal change necessary to give momentum to the Provincial councils

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian Sri Lanka on the threshold of change needs an overhaul of the entire democratic process and good governance. The three decade old war is over and expectations have been raised for a more tranquil future. People are looking forward to a life enriched by greater equity in society, guided by […]

De Pilo Pendet: Reconciliation and the Catholic Church’s Role in Post-War Sri Lanka

Photo by Dominic Sansoni I have a memory that dates back several years. It is of a Good Friday Service at my family’s parish in Kotte, Sri Lanka and of the length of time I spent standing outside in overcast weather. A Good Friday service calls for a special liturgy, sober reflection, and patience. It’s […]

Head in my hands

Image courtesy Justice in Conflict Five years after the war I often think of how it could have been. A President who, the day after the war ends, speaks to the people of the North and East, emphasises that the government was facing a ruthless enemy but expresses remorse for the suffering they have undergone […]

War, Peace, Pluralism and Prosperity

Image via Whole Planet Foundation “The victor belongs to the spoils” F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, and this is being played out in Sri Lanka as it tries to find its balance five years after the war ended. In the meantime, politics feeds itself by conveniently pandering to the masses, the Sinhala majority who looks at […]

Erasing Identities: Tracing Sri Lanka’s Post-war Journey through the Changing Realities of Trincomalee

Introduction When I went to Trincomalee last November with a few university friends I noticed a distinct unfriendliness in the air. While growing up, I often visited Trincomalee, because my cousins lived there. Now the Trincomalee I knew and loved from my childhood was no more. Something else had taken its place. Trincomalee today is […]