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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke, 1795 As I sit on the steps leading down to the garden from the verandah, its night in Pelawatte. Darkness in the tropics descends fast and lies very like a thick blanket. The heat and humidity […]

Have NGOs failed in peacebuilding? An interview with Jehan Perera

I recently interviewed Dr. Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council. Jehan is also a columnist for the Daily Mirror and the Lanka Monthly Digest in Colombo. He holds a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard Law School and a BA in economics from Harvard College. Based on his significant experience as a […]

Four things done, Four things undone: The self-immolation of the LTTE

It is clear, even amongst the most liberal of the western political academic circles that the end of the LTTE is now inevitable. Backed by the widow state of Sonia Gandhi and designed by the US counter terror agencies for the GOSL, the SLA under the command of the wondered and vengeful solder of Mj. […]

Ape Lankawe: The Great NGO Pantomime!

For anyone concerned with the plight of innocent civilians, the reports from the North are depressing. The latest ‘avalanche (!?) is yet to be fully screened, searched, scrubbed and bleached for any LTTE connections and corralled into what the Government calls ‘welfare centers’. As to what awaits these men, women and children, thereafter and for […]

LTTE and Tamil People IV : Dedicated Tamils

In the previous essays within this cluster I have dwelt on the dedication to cause displayed by the Tamil Tigers and identified various inspirations or conditioning factors: namely, the Cankam poetry, the warrior tales from Indian history, the embodied practices of self-punishment exercised by religious devotees and the ‘everyday’ acts of surrogate sacrifice that are […]

The ethics and politics of war zone writing

On 24 April 2005 Dharmaratnam Sivaram, (‘Taraki’) editorial board member of the website Tamilnet, was found shot dead from gunshot wounds to the head several hours after four unidentified persons had abducted him from a restaurant opposite a Police station on Colombo’s Galle Road. His murder, which followed weeks of threats, is as yet “unsolved.” […]

LTTE and People III : Nationalism and Living Religion

The emergence of the LTTE was an outgrowth from Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism in its turn was an outgrowth from SL Tamil communitarianism in the centuries prior to 1949/50, the moment when an explicit theory of nationality was presented in a sustained manner (Roberts 1999). Note, however, that Tamil nationalism in the period […]

LTTE and Tamil People II : Interflows

During the halcyon years of the LTTE, besides MāvÄ«rar Nāl on 27 November, the Tigers conducted nine other māvÄ«rar or tiyaki ceremonies every year. These were, on the one hand, subjectively meaningful engagements and, on the other, political propaganda. I have argued that the māvÄ«rar rites — within the context of past grievances and memories, […]

LTTE and Tamil People I : Preamble

This set of essays on “LTTE and Tamil People” submitted to Groundviews is a sequel to the four articles on “Suicidal Political Action” reproduced in from 2 April onwards. Both sets of essays are interconnected and involve a measure of repetition because they are set out as separate articles. All of them are a […]

Dr. Devanesan Nesiah on post-war / post-LTTE Sri Lanka

Image courtesy TransCurrents Dr. Devanesan Nesiah in response to a question posed by Groundviews on the most important issue(s) in a ‘post-LTTE’ context and how can the State address it, writes in with a compelling critique of politics and conflict resolution in Sri Lanka. Tamil politics will indeed have to shed any secessionist or other […]

A thought for the IDPs in the camps

It is hard for those who have no access to the camps in the North to form a realistic opinion on the plight of the over 65,000 refugees who are supposed to bestuck in an ‘event horizon’ inside them. While the authorities paint quite a rosy picture of it, their detractors seek to discredit the […]

Sri Lanka’s IDP camp Manik Farm is what it is (but what is that?)

Most of the arguments about Manik Farm (and other transit camps in the North of Sri Lanka) seem to get stuck on definitions and comparisons.  Is it a concentration camp?  Is it like the camps run by the Nazis or old colonial powers?  I believe these debates miss the most important question: what is the […]