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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, […]

In conversation with Michael Mendis: Winner of 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Asia

Michael Mendis is the winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Asia. ‘The Sarong-Man in the Old House, and an Incubus for a Rainy Night’ can be read in full on Granta. Upon winning the prestigious prize, Michael averred, “Although writing, for me, is inherently a personal exercise, involving a distillation of private […]

Blocking inconvenient truths: Time magazine and Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Al Jazeera (AFP/Christophe Archambault) The Face of Buddhist Terror, cover story of the most recent issue of Time magazine, is banned in Burma. Even though the lead article is primarily on U Wirathu, the leader of the 969 Buddhist Nationalist movement and only has passing reference to Islamophobia in Sri Lanka championed by fascist […]

Why a TNA-run Northern Council is more positive than negative

Image courtesy in.com Had the Government not made the mess it has by fussing over the 13th amendment, it could have shown off the TNA run Northern PC in all global forums as evidence of post-war progress in political reconciliation. Instead of deploying the NPC into an advertisement for Sri Lanka’s domestic process of reconciliation […]

India and Sri Lanka: The Road Not Taken

Photo courtesy The Nation “…Sri Lankan foreign policy must be centred on a non-hostile relationship with India…Choice is the essential question; not only the choices open to us, but the choices likely to be taken by others…” – Mervyn de Silva, ‘External Aspects of the Ethnic Issue’ (1985), Crisis Commentaries (2001: pp68-78) In the aftermath of the victory over the LTTE […]

Exploring the ‘Chat Republic': In conversation with Angelo Fernando

Angelo Fernando, in addition to being a long-standing columnist in the Lanka Monthly Digest (LMD) is also the author of a new book, Chat Republic: How Social Media Drives Us To Be Human 1.0 in a Web 2.0 World. We begin our conversation on matters digital and online by looking at how Angelo’s father in […]

From Merchant Prince to Akbar Brothers: Inayat Akbarally and the Bohras of Sri Lanka

Photography by Alefiya Akbarally and Kannan Arunasalam Inayet Akbarally tells the remarkable story of his great grandfather Careemjee Jafferjee and how he became the first member of the Dawoodi Bohra community to set foot in Ceylon believed to be around 1830. A “Peterite” through and through, he reflects on the days when where you went to school trumped […]