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Revaluation of Values: Applying the Pullman Principle to Post-War Sri Lanka

Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera America This past couple of weeks I’ve been rereading Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. I first picked up ‘Northern Lights’ (Book 1) in 2003 while at University in Scotland. My MPhil Thesis (completed in 2004) starts with a quote from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ (Book 3), and […]

Tiananmen Square, Egg Wash and Tank Man: Reflections after 25 years

AP Photo/Jeff Widener, courtesy The Atlantic‘s terrific photo essay ‘Tiananmen Square, Then and Now‘ In 2009, Canadian author Denise Chong published a book called “Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship”. The main subject of the book is a friend of mine, exiled Chinese dissident […]

In conversation with Kalana Senaratne: Religiosity, politics and identity in Sri Lanka

Kalana Senaratne is a distinguished columnist and researcher. Readers of Groundviews would be most familiar with his writing on the rise of militant Buddhism in Sri Lanka, though he has written consistently of issues of governance, rights, politics and religiosity since 2009. We caught up on TV recently to talk about at greater depth and […]

War, Peace and the Manufacturing of Rajapaksa Myths

Photo courtesy the Daily Beast “Twenty-five years ago, I said there would be a hero-king from Ruhuna…now he’s the one we believe, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.” Sumandasa Abeygunawardane, Astrologer; Executive Director, National Savings Bank; Director, Employees Trust Fund; Advisor, Independent Television Network[i] Lankans in general are distressingly indifferent to the plight of the country’s most majestic […]

OVERCOMING THE POST-WAR MALAISE: WHY SRI LANKA NEEDS A REFORM MINISTRY AND WHAT IT SHOULD DO

The High Priests of Liberal Conservatism: Edmund Burke and D.S. Senanayake are the paradigms of thought and action for the Reform Ministry  [Photo credit: The Empire Youth Annual, 1952] “For centuries the Sinhalese and the Tamils have lived together in peace and amity. We have been governed by their kings and they by ours … […]

In conversation with Gihan de Chickera: Cartoons, politics and theatre

Gihan de Chickera, who I’ve known since our halcyon days at S. Thomas’, is an actor, with experience in both stage and film productions, though perhaps even more loved and followed for his political cartoons, published in the Daily Mirror. Gihan is humble about his work to a point of fault and dare I say, […]

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 […]