Archive | Poetry RSS feed for this section

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 […]


Tell me, do you feel it every day? When you’re buying groceries, taking a train to somewhere; when you smoke, eat or dream? Does it take a toll? Make your feet drag, perhaps, or your head ache? * Tell me, Does it get away from you sometimes? Have people around you sensed something not quite […]

Extra Time

The latest news from the family-run, once independent island, is the appointment of a presidential committee to decide upon which recommendations to adopt regarding the erstwhile ethnic question, which has been subsumed into the unitary enterprise of the war-fighting, now North and East-occupying, government dedicated to paying appropriate attention to the international human rights lobby […]

Defending the Country

They cry foul in that cauldron of a news room, saying these human rights defenders are traitors, publishing their names and photographs, inciting fears of death squads preparing to drive white vans to their residences. The warning by the UN Human Rights Commissioner to protect witnesses is welcome, quixotic. How will her office stop disappearances […]

We Are Resolved

Sri Lanka is small but the government thinks big, always has; since independence its growth rate in ministries and delegations the envy of Asia, and now defeat of the resolution the charge of 52 valiant diplomats whose arrack flows in hospitality suites at night, while mornings are spent chatting about contracts, coal-fired plants, fish meal, […]

The Island Abstains

The decision by the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to abstain from the General Assembly vote calling for an end to violence in Syria, and stepping down of its president, cannot be accused of inconsistency, given the island republic’s wish to continue importing Iranian oil, serve tea at official Syrian garden parties, and its […]


When Lasantha wrote the editorial that predicted his imminent assassination he suggested the civil war would turn steadily uglier, then move inwards, as a lizard searching for its tail, insidious in the way each institution begins to lose its independence, the machinery of the ruling family greasing every Tom, Dick and Banda—forgive my allusion to […]


He is writing history, where he lives, when he travels, to Denmark, Singapore, Tamil Nadu, Toronto. Edward Said wrote about Palestinians, Rudramoorthy Cheran, Tamils. News that my friend has suffered a mild heart attack does not surprise me. His muscle has been strained for more than thirty years. From the Saturday Review where he reported […]