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The Virtual Library

I have no image of the vault or shelves, or tables with lamps scholars use to consult books. I am seeing the library from a great distance, pleased that the building stands again, imagining donations of contents, the desire to establish pride in the ancient Tamil culture while its language hides outside, speaking to soldiers, […]

Come Soon

Come soon. The sepalika are growing wild and high. You must see them before you die, before I die. Come soon. The book is finished. The war is done. Yes, I know, I know, boys appear still in dreams and disappear in dribs and drabs, and islanders, who left for foreign lands, must be interviewed […]


What shall I do, living in Peru, with this report of systemic failure in U.N. monitoring in Sri Lanka, how bureaucrats drove away from the disaster to come, buried hard- earned stats about civilian deaths and allowed themselves to be brow-beaten, harassed, shouted into silence while 40,000 humans died , mostly from battering shells rained […]

The Writer Fighter

Have you become a lance corporal, wing commander, lieutenant, private, sergeant, major general? Or are you a writer transporting yourself into trenches to wield a saber against a vague menace, bespectacled, sitting at a computer, trying to finish his latest report on the war without witnesses that went wrong somehow because the witnesses and warriors […]

From the Hold

I don’t merit praise, who am I to suggest inventing the west moon for the Lankan imagination, or that one day a Tamil child will rise from fires to claim the rights of his tribe? Boat people, Tamils, flee Serendip. Governing criminals are stopping the motors, forcing families to remain in their island prison. Who […]

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 […]