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#icanChangeSL & #wecanChangeSL: Shaping a new Sri Lanka

Engage with this campaign in Tamil (புதிய இலங்கையை வடிவமைப்போம்…) or Sinhala (ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අනාගතය හැඩගැස්වීම සදහා…) too! ### The Presidential poll of 8 January 2015 inspired the largest number of voters in Sri Lanka’s history to turn out to elect a new president. The #IVotedSL campaign, which went viral in the lead up to and on the day […]

Revisiting Sampur: How Long Will it Take to Return Home?

By Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem The election of a new President has unleashed high expectations of change for the better. Although for some the expectations relate to macro issues of constitutional reform and good governance, for others their hopes are more basic: that of survival, of returning to their own homes and rebuilding their […]

Will there be “Maithree” and “Yahapalanaya” for Navy occupied Mullikulam?

Last week, I went to Mullikulam, a beautiful and resourceful village in the Mannar district, which has been illegally occupied by the Navy for more than 7 years. It was my first visit for more than a year. The people didn’t seem to have any fresh hopes of reuniting as one community, regaining their lost […]

First week of “Good Governance”: Three Good Speeches, One Promise Kept and One Postponed

The One-Hundred-Day Programme of President Maithripala Sirisena (MS) was launched last week with three good speeches, one of two promises largely kept and the third postponed, hopefully to be fulfilled sooner rather than later. President Sirisena made three good speeches in the last seven days, the first at his swearing-in ceremony, the second in Kandy […]

Ideas for a Road Map for Truth and Justice in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Aquila Style The new year has brought significant changes in Sri Lanka. President Maithripala Sirisena and his Government face many challenges and opportunities. Reform has been promised and expectations are high. In the wake of the elections, Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka to canonize the country’s first saint was a highlight. Those […]

Wenasak: A Post-Election Reflection

AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S.KODIKARA via Japan Times Yesterday’s energy Sri Lanka is still overwhelmed with the peoples’ energy that a few days ago brought the immeasurable gift of democratic regime change. As the campaign heightened, one word; “ wenasak”- (Sinhala-“a change”) became a spontaneous and variable slogan or code, determined by the context in which […]

The servant and the king

Photo courtesy TVNZ 15 January 2015. Mahinda Rajapaksa is not the president of Sri Lanka. I pinch myself. I have been doing so for the last six days. He still is not. He was democratically voted out of power a week ago. One person was killed, many were attacked, state resources were abused massively. The […]

A Victory Not Just by the Minorities

AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA, via Japan Times Images have been making the rounds on facebook, with various hues and shades, highlighting the fact that the sixth executive President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, won with the support of minority communities in Sri Lanka, whereas Mahinda Rajapakse, the last President obtained the votes of […]

Pope Francis and struggle for human rights in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy CNS News Pope Francis is set to arrive in Sri Lanka, on 13th January, despite several appeals by Catholics including me, to postpone the visit. He will arrive few days days after we Sri Lankans used our ballot to put a stop to growing dictatorship, despite a dirty election campaign that saw deliberate […]

Rejection of the Clan and the Dawn of a New Era!

Photography via Yahoo News A dark cloud hanging over the sky in the tiny Island of Sri Lanka has started to move away into the Indian Ocean after the defeat of Rajapakse regime in the election held on the 8th of January 2015. Millions of Lankans who demanded security of person and property for years […]

A(n) (un)Presidential Swearing in?

Photo by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images via Huffington Post A presidential swearing in ceremony, in a polity with an executive presidency, is a moment of tremendous solemn national pride. In the case of a presidential inauguration (investiture) in France, for example, a common pattern is followed, with limited scope for variation. It is customary for the outgoing […]

Democracy has triumphed: Will the opportunity be seized?

Photo courtesy VOA News The New Year 2015 began yesterday, 9th January 2015! Though there were the traditional celebrations on the 1st, these were on a subdued note, given the fears and uncertainties of an election that was a week away. But yesterday it was quite different for those of us who wanted a new […]

Voting for Lasantha Again, 26 Years Later

Photo courtesy CNN A quarter century ago, as an eager first time voter, I cast my maiden vote for a young journalist friend who had recently taken to electoral politics. Lasantha Wickrematunge was contesting in the Colombo District from the main opposition party, SLFP, at the General Election of 15 Feb 1989. It was the […]

Why people seek a change

Photo courtesy IPS Today, January 8, approximately 15 million Sri Lankans will seek to elect the island’s next president at a tightly-contested presidential election. The chosen day is a special one. It is the birth anniversary of the founder of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), S.WR.D Bandaranaike and the sixth death anniversary of Lasantha […]