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The Muslims of Sri Lanka: A community under siege?

Photo courtesy CNN June 2014 will go down in the annals of Sri Lankan history as a turning point in ethnic relations, with large scale communal violence being unleashed on a most hapless minority. This month saw the worst acts of violence targeted against the country’s second largest minority, the Muslims, since the infamous anti-Tamil […]

Some Civil Society Questions for Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, Al Jazeera The Facebook (FB) group called “Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena (BQBBS)” once compiled a list of questions for BBS through a lengthy consultation period with its online members. I volunteered to mediate between BQBBS and Dilanthe Withanage of BBS to pass these questions to him to initiate a dialog. […]

Statement on Aluthgama violence by Rt. Revd Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey, Bishop of Colombo

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, Al Jazeera I am deeply perturbed and concerned at the large scale violence unleashed on members of the Muslim community last weekend (15th June 2014), in the Aluthgama, Beruwala, Dharga Town, Walpitiya and Welipenna areas. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected in their time of sorrow. This violence […]

Did the BBS attack Vijitha Thero again?

Image courtesy BBC Venerable Watareka Vijitha Thero is a Buddhist Monk and the Chief Incumbent of the Rotalawela Mahaweli Maha Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya, in the Uva province. Vijitha Thero is also an elected member of the Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha (a local government council in the Badulla district, in the Uva province), representing the ruling United […]

Aluthgama violence: Where was Sri Lanka’s President?

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, via Al Jazeera The horrible killings and destruction in Aluthgama on Sunday was blacked out by almost all mainstream media in Sri Lanka at the height of the violence and the morning after. However, the violence was in detail and close to real time covered extensively over social media, leading to a documentation many times greater […]

How must we respond to religious extremism and incitement to violence?

Image from Ingulfed Do not despair. It helps to try to understand the situation as it evolves, rather than crystallise your view of it in judgment. If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you […]

The Limits of Tolerance

Photo courtesy Today There is a limit to tolerance, and this is it. In its short history as an independent republic, Sri Lanka has seen more bloodshed than seems fair. Many of our citizens have been active participants in the bombing, burning, shooting, hacking and torturing of each other, and many more have supported this both […]

Horror in Aluthgama: Their Crime, Our Shame

Photo courtesy BBC [Editors note: This was sent by the author directly to us. As a policy Groundviews does not republish what’s already gone up somewhere else on the web. Making an exception in this case because of the context in Sri Lanka at present, and the need to get as many readers engaged with […]

Aluthgama riots and deaths: Vital updates

Photo courtesy BBC Update #3: 7.05am, 176 June 2014 A video with English subtitles of the BBS speech that incited violence in Aluthgama is now on YouTube. Also uploaded to the web photos we received of the scale of violence in Aluthgama. More photos from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents Association below. Post by Foreign Correspondents' […]

A Papal prayer for Middle East peace and a visit to Sri Lanka

Photography by Getty Images, courtesy NY Post The Catholic Church has announced that His Holiness Pope Francis would be visiting Sri Lanka from January 13th to 15th,  next year. Preceding the announcement, were visits to the Vatican by both the Sri Lankan Catholic hierarchy as well as senior government figures, both of whom extended the invitation […]

REALIST MODERNISM IN AN AGE OF KULTURKAMPF: A Review of Long War, Cold Peace by Dayan Jayatilleka

Image from YouTube video Dr Dayan Jayatilleka’s book, Long War, Cold Peace, now in its second revised edition of 2014, is one of the few book-length attempts by a Sri Lankan scholar to make sense of our post-war condition and the policy challenges that we face. His take on all this, it can reliably be […]

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 […]