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Image courtesy ITV The ubiquity of the Tiger flags was the most dramatic aspect of the demonstrations in London during the President’s visit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Diaspora Tigers were not a result of a vacuum in Sri Lanka’s post-war policies. Several times the recent number demonstrated in 2009, blocking access to the […]

ITAK and the New Chapter in Post-War Politics of Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Virakesari, via From its inception in late 1949 as the Tamil Federal Party, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) – a party which, as the late Lakshman Kadirgamar once claimed in Parliament, was founded by a “dedicated group of principled men” – has been in the forefront of Sri Lankan (and Tamil) politics. […]

In conversation with Bishop Duleep de Chickera

I clearly remember Bishop de Chickera at S. Thomas’ College, from around 25 years years ago. The fact that I hadn’t seen him in person for a quarter of a century hit me as I strode up to the foyer of Young Asia Television’s offices to meet him just before our interview, and for a […]

Responding to comments whether the End of the War should be Celebrated or Mourned

Photo courtesy Vikalpa Given the comments to the article I wrote on 19th May, I felt it was better to respond to them substantially. The first question point I raise is still debatable – and clearly demonstrates the polarization in the North and South of the country. Whether the end of the war should be […]

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on ethnicity in Northern Sri Lanka post-war

Image courtesy 3mana In my interview with the Secretary of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, broadcast on the BBC a week ago, his comments on the demography of the North aroused particular interest. DBS Jeyaraj disputed his assertion that it was easy for Tamils to live all over Sri Lanka, and described as “troubling” Mr Rajapaksa’s assertion […]


Photo courtesy Professor Urmila Phadnis the late doyenne of Lankanology in Indian academia was utterly discerning when she concluded over two decades ago in her last book (‘Ethnicity and nation-building in South Asia’) that Lankan Tamil ‘sub-nationalism’ was unique in the region in that it alone displayed an ‘autonomist-secessionist continuum’. It was with shock […]

Gotabaya Rajapaksa on disappearances in Sri Lanka

Screen grab from BBC video In March after making a feature on enforced disappearances for the BBC, I made a further radio broadcast for our From Our Own Correspondent programme, later expanded for Groundviews, saying that I hoped Sri Lanka’s top leaders would be able to give answers about the fate of recent victims of […]

Not In Our Name: 1,400+ signatures against religious extremism in Sri Lanka

Not In My Name (NION) ran from 27th April to 31st May 2012. The blog was created and launched late on the 26th, just under a week after a violent attack on a mosque in Dambulla, led by Buddhist monks. At the time, the situation was very volatile. Islandwide, despite appeals for calm, there was […]

The burning of the Jaffna library: 31 years on

31 years ago, the public library in Jaffna was burnt. As noted online, at the time of its destruction, the library was one of the biggest in Asia, containing over 97,000 books and manuscripts. Nothing survived the flames. Anchored to an event in Colombo, an article commemorating the burning of the library published on Groundviews last […]

On the (Non)sense of Being ‘United’ and/nor/or ‘Unitary’

Image courtesy The Hindu I must admit that reading Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke’s (DJ) recent piece, on Groundviews and elsewhere, on Mr. R. Sampathan’s (RS) speech at the ITAK convention, left me very disturbed. In his piece, DJ draws attention to one statement in the speech in particular, which he notes is central to revealing that […]

Review of ‘Kandy at War’ by Channa Wickremesekera

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Travel Guide “When we think of it, we see at once what the confusion of thought was to which the Western poet [i.e. Rudyard Kipling], dwelling upon the difference between East and West, referred when he said, ‘Never the twain shall meet.’ It is true that they are not yet showing […]

Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: What? Why? How?

Photo courtesy: Steve Chao /Al Jazeera via JDS With our Government busy defending itself from war crime allegations, protecting the sovereignty of the country and advising the common man to say ‘no’ to Google, the Tamil leadership and, of course, the Tamil Diaspora dreaming of some mode of foreign intervention and drooling over the latest […]

Where brevity cripples and distorts reportage

Image courtesy eHow Once upon a time, after I presented a public talk in Oslo courtesy of Kumar Rupesinghe, a Norwegian journalist provided me with a refreshing insight into the difference between academic essays and journalese. There is, to be sure, a considerable overlap between the two fields; but the lesson he taught me was […]


The keynote speech by Mr. R Sampanthan, the leader of the main Tamil parliamentary party at the recent congress of that organization is in many respects a landmark event. It sheds light on a number of key strategic issues and should make clear to the international community that the matter of political dialogue leading to […]

Parama Weera: What it takes, and what it means

Image credit Ishara S.Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images via The Baltimore Sun The eyes stared expressionlessly back at me from the fifteen small pictures, some clear, and some blurred; reflections that only hinted at the men behind those eyes. But sharp or soft, they all looked so innocuous, so devoid of any indication of what they had once […]