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Out of the Scar: Memory, Diaspora and the Cultural Politics of Reconciliation

Photo courtesy INSI Notes of a talk at the Sydney Reconciliation Forum, August 17, 2013 there is an unexploded land mine heart in us under every breast chest waiting for breath tears a moan to crack the land open and let the stories come walking out of the scar Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha “Landmine Heart” 2006 […]

Remembering, to never again repeat: Launch of 30 Years Ago site

Photo by Seshanka Samarajiwa/The Picture Press The culmination of months of dedicated research, travel, challenging production work and curation, I am very pleased to launch 30 Years Ago. The project is an attempt to remember and probe Sri Lanka’s epochal anti-Tamil pogrom of ’83 through perspectives rarely, if ever, featured before. The producers have used a […]

Statement condemning the attack on the Masjid Deenul Islam at Grandpass, Colombo

Photography by Dinouk Colombage We the undersigned strongly condemn the violent and unprovoked attack on the Masjid Deenul Islam in Grandpass area on Saturday, August 10, 2013 by an extremist mob injuring 12 people, in the wake of the Eid Festival. We are outraged over the spate of violent attacks against Christian and Muslim places […]

Sri Lanka and a tale of two clashes

In the space of a week Sri Lanka’s freedoms of speech and religion were overridden by acts of violence and intolerance. A heavy handed response by the government towards protesters in Weliweriya was followed up by their inability to safeguard a mosque from the rampaging mobs of Sinhala Buddhist extremists. Weliweriya, a peaceful protest that […]

“Who watches the watchmen?” Reforming Sri Lanka’s Detention Centres

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images, via Asia Society Rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-militants or “terrorists” as they are more often termed, following the blanket approach that is being taken post 9/11, is still a new concept in the field of counterinsurgency. The plethora of state military actions against nationalist seditions, rebel groups, paramilitaries and other […]

The APRC: A Forgotten Resolution

Photo courtesy The Nation Four years after the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, Hindu temples are being destroyed in the North, Muslim retail stores are being attacked in the South and Sinhala Buddhist extremism has become organized into its own brand. In other words, ethnic-religious tension within the nation is still very much […]

Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s ‘Beautification’

Photo courtesy Vikalpa’s photo set of the exhibition Leading Sri Lankan artist Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s most recent exhibition entitled Beautification makes parody of contemporary Sri Lanka by suggesting that peace is but a façade and that the conflict is in fact on-going. Beautification serves as a reflection of life during and post-war. My conversation with Thenuwara […]

WELIWERIYA, GAMPAHA: BLACK THURSDAY 2013

Photo courtesy Colombo Telegraph Who deployed troops, clad in flak jackets (body armour) and armed with T-56 assault rifles to confront and disperse a crowd of protestors blocking a highway? Who was the ultimate decision-maker? The protestors were not armed, certainly not with lethal weapons. Therefore, no real harm could have come to soldiers in […]

Forgetting Black July

Photo courtesy BBC I was born ten years after Black July. I am a Singhalese. A week or so ago, as the thirty-year anniversary approached, for curiosity’s sake, I did a small experiment. I asked some of my peers a question: “What do you know about Black July?” Of twenty-two Sinhalese, eighteen did not know what […]

Nationhood and National Parks

Photo from tahira’s shenanigans National parks in Sri Lanka that traverse the lines of nature reserves are held in reverence in the Sri Lankan psyche. Ideas of nature reserves in Sri Lanka are often traced back to King Devanmanpiyatissa, having converted to Buddhism came to the realization that all beings have an equal right to […]

The making of ‘The Brothers Shaikh’

When the journalist Peter Savodnik asked me to collaborate with him on making The Brothers Shaikh, I said no. I was scared. This was my home. I knew that if I crossed some invisible line, there would be repercussions. But then I changed my mind. What convinced me was that The Brothers Shaikh was a […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 3

Photo via blackjuly.info The Politics of Identity It seems all too obvious that the regular cycles of violence that have emerged in our recent history since 1915 are distinctly communal in character. Indeed, every battle of every war in our history has always been characterised as those between communities on either side of cultural or […]