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Politics of Quotations: Concluding Rejoinder to Dayan Jayatilleka

Image courtesy RNW In this concluding rejoinder to my friend Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka I shall begin by what appears to me to be the core of our dispute, i.e. Dayan’s highly problematical designation of the Sri Lankan state’s military victory as a neo-Badiouian event. Then I shall make some brief remarks concerning Dayan’s reference to […]

Bringing Politics to the Stage: Observations on Post-War Political Theatre in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Floating Space production of ‘My Other History‘ During the summer of 2010 I was tasked to assist a foreign post graduate student to conduct her research on Sri Lanka’s post war theatre. As part of this research we interviewed around 20 theatre practitioners from the English and Sinhala theatre in Colombo to encapsulate how the […]

Celebrating 5 years of Post-War Conflict

Photography by DushiYanthini Kanagasabapathipillai Kiru is a soft spoken but hard-nosed activist from Jaffna. He and I both attended the opening ceremony of the recently concluded World Conference on Youth (WCY) in Hambantota, and he and I both watched as the President got up on stage and spoke about the eradication of terrorists, and of […]

THE STATE AND WAR: THE POLITICS OF PHILOSOPHY

Photo by REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte, via Channel 4 Concluding rejoinder to Vangeesa Sumanasekara “Philosophy is not a dialogue”- Slavoj Zizek In the beginning was politics. Marx’s favourite figure in literature was Prometheus. The better known version of the legend is that Prometheus was punished by the Gods for stealing the secret of fire and giving it […]

Understanding the National Question as a Pre-Democratic Problem: A Skeptical Note on the Southern Reform agenda

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via FT.com Five years after the end of the war, the Government has now started arguing that the war is not over. The Government doesn’t think the LTTE is finished. Even US and India seem to think that sections of the Tamil Diaspora are raising funds for a possible regroup […]

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 […]

On Christian Essentialism, Structural Correspondences and Philosophical Companionships

Photo by EPA/M.A.PUSHPA KUMARA courtesy LA Times It is quite possible to give detailed responses to all the questions that my learned friend Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has asked me. Nevertheless, I will only attempt to respond to those questions that I feel are in need of further clarifications and, ones that I feel are of importance, beyond […]

Sari

Photo by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai 2009 When Sidath’s mum wore her wedding sari, she would tell her children, ‘the lotus would fully open.’ The large lotus was noticeable because its bright red sequins, dazzling in the light, added the only colour and texture to her otherwise white sari. In what was for twenty five years a […]

Picking numbers from thin air: The government’s lies around reconciliation

Photo courtesy Colombo Gazette A tweet from the government’s official Twitter account around the LLRC National Action Plan noted the following today, #SriLanka has implemented 30% of #LLRC recommendations, @PresRajapaksa tells UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon. @UN_Spokesperson #LKA — LLRC Action (@LLRCAction) May 22, 2014 In February 2014, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister said the following, External […]

Questions, five years on

Image courtesy Tehelka Five years ago the demise of Velupilai Prabhakaran was a fast-spreading secret-on-the-block several days before it was made official and the war was pronounced to have ended. One felt a sense of relief yet mixed with apprehension. Finally terrorism was ended by Mahinda Rajapakse. Will he be statesman enough to take the […]

Good women and bad women of the post-war nation

Photo by Anushka Wijesinha, 2011, via IPS Since the end of war in May 2009, the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government has sought to forge a new overarching Sri Lanka identity inclusive of all ethnic and religious communities. As articulated by the President himself in his first post-war speech to parliament: “the word minorities […]

Writing on the Wall: A Sinhala Prayer in a Tamil Church

When I was walking near the Mulativu beach by around 5.30 this morning, I came across an abandoned Catholic Church. It was in a dilapidated condition. The Church seems to have been used during the war period, at least in the last stages of the war. A new Church, made in concrete, is under construction […]

A response to the critiques of the victory celebrations

Photography by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via South China Morning Post “I would ask them to stop a moment, to take the time to listen to our time (we had no other one)…” – Jacques Derrida: text delivered at Althusser’s funeral “Human rights, dissidence, antiracism, SOS-this, SOS-that: these are soft, easy, post coitum historicum ideologies, ‘after the […]