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A point of departure

Keep the memories alive July 1983 was a turning point for many Sri Lankan Tamils to leave the motherland, and seek refuge in various countries including India, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, and so on. Tamils who have either lost their family members or properties during […]

Human Rights and Business in Sri Lanka: In conversation with Priyanga Hettiarachi

Priyanga Hettiarachi is the director and founder of RightsBusiness, founded after Priyanga’s return to Sri Lanka after a number of years working in Australia, The Netherlands and England. Given Priyanga’s award-winning work and experience, we begin our conversation around why he chose to come back to Sri Lanka, post-war. Given how loaded and contested a […]

‘Flying Fish’ and the Constriction of the Arts in Sri Lanka

I met Sanjeeva Pushpakumara last year in a little art cinema off the Champs Elysees at the showing of Ashoka Handagama’s Ini Avan. It seemed he knew me from his days as a student or a journalist. A pleasant, articulate yet understated young man, of less taciturn intensity than Handagama, he debated Ini Avan with […]

Sri Lankan exiles and emigrants: Some thoughts

Still from the movie Silenced Voices But when you arrive in Ithaca, don’t expect to find jewels… Without Ithaca, you would not have set out… And through this journey… Such things have you learned. (Cavafy. Translated from the Greek) By way of a preface, I mention the perception in some religions that we all are […]

30 Years Ago: An unprecedented look at Black July

Photo by Natalie Soysa, for Groundviews In August this year, Groundviews will launch a compelling collection of content to commemorate 30 years since Black July. The content will feature original podcasts, photography and writing on a dedicated website. Building from the critically acclaimed Moving Images two years ago, Groundviews brought together leading documentary filmmakers, photographers, […]

The Importance of Working With

Image courtesy Colombo Telegraph “Machan, I hope a couple of UPFA guys get elected, too!” said my drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram. It is a warm and beautifully sunny day in Bridgetown, UK, and from our favourite water hole we were discussing the decision by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to […]

Asylum Seekers: the next wave of ‘invaders’?

Image courtesy Zimbio Me: Selvam, its house, not kaus Selvam: kaus Me: No, no Selvam House, say huh, huh Selvam: Huh, Huh Me: Good, now say H-ouse Selvam: Kaus Teaching Selvam (not his real name) even the rudiments of English pronunciation is not easy. He only completed his primary school and is now in his […]

Citizen Journalism and the Numbers Game

Image courtesy Hill Post Kath Noble recently published two articles in The Island, which were reproduced on Colombo Telegraph. [i] Bring on the Usual Suspects Some of the reactions to what Ms Noble wrote were depressing but, sadly, not surprising. The usual suspects came up with the usual polemic. Says Dev: “This is absolute rubbish – […]

Sri Lankan diplunacy: Stray dogs, pricks, tigresses and CHOGM 2013

Photo courtesy Transcurrents / by Tony Ashby, AFP Bandula Jayasekara (@bundeljayse) is currently one of Sri Lanka’s highest-ranking diplomats, as Consul General in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia and former Consul General to Toronto, in Canada. His Twitter account has consistently featured bitter invective and all-manner of unsubstantiated allegations against civil society and human […]

Prince Salie: A story of sapphires and steamships

Mohammed Usuff Mohammed Salie was born in 1877.  He was the grandson of Mohamed Usuff, the Alim of the Kandawatte mosque in Galle, who was responsible for handwriting a Quran he knew by memory for his mosque. Prince Salie was sent at a young age to Madras for his religious education. Like generations before and […]

Northern Provincial Council: Prudence prevails for now

Image from Lanka Standard Finally, a pragmatic perception, however episodic, of reality– and a prudent policy move results. With President Rajapaksa’s decision to announce the holding of the election to the Northern Provincial Council after almost a quarter of a century (taken together with the re-arrest of the suspects in the murder of the Trinco […]

‘The Invention Of The Jewish People’

Shlomo Sand, ‘The Invention Of The Jewish People’ Collective identity needs a misty image of an ancient biological common origin (Sand, 280). In Sri Lanka, ‘identity’ contains a very distinctive blend of ethno-nationalism with traditional religion where religion becomes an instrument serving political ends (Sand, 285-6). Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University, […]