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War, Peace, Pluralism and Prosperity

Image via Whole Planet Foundation “The victor belongs to the spoils” F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, and this is being played out in Sri Lanka as it tries to find its balance five years after the war ended. In the meantime, politics feeds itself by conveniently pandering to the masses, the Sinhala majority who looks at […]

Erasing Identities: Tracing Sri Lanka’s Post-war Journey through the Changing Realities of Trincomalee

Introduction When I went to Trincomalee last November with a few university friends I noticed a distinct unfriendliness in the air. While growing up, I often visited Trincomalee, because my cousins lived there. Now the Trincomalee I knew and loved from my childhood was no more. Something else had taken its place. Trincomalee today is […]

Truth, Accountability and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka

PEDRO UGARTE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO via The Star In the aftermath of the media circus surrounding the resolution on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council, it is worth asking: how much does this kind of reporting contribute to (a) establishing the truth about the civil war in Sri Lanka and (b) […]

Lifting the veil to reconciliation

‘A Memory of War’ by Vidu Gunaratna When Sri Lanka’s legendary bowler Muttiah Muralitharan was repeatedly accused of chucking by an Australian umpire, captain Arjuna Ranatunge protested by walking out with his team in an Australian stadium. Sri Lankan cricket fans not only disagreed with the umpires, but also generalized resentment towards Australian cricket in […]

Sri Lanka’s media, five years after the end of war

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The guns are silent and the bones buried beneath the sands of the beaches of Mullivaikkal are replete with a story, but the tales they must tell are drowned in a cacophony of half-truths and downright lies that block the healing of the hearts and minds of the men, women […]

Mapping 12 years of Sri Lankan opinion

Perspectives of Sri Lankans over the last decade or so makes for fascinating reading five years after the end of the war. This infographic is only a snapshot of the hope, frustration, changes and divides between communities in Sri Lanka since 2001. Looking at this makes us wonder what the future holds. Will cycles of hope […]

The hunt for the missing

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via The New Indian Express In its 2012 report the International Committee of the Red Cross said was is still tracing 16,090 missing people in Sri Lanka. Those are merely the cases where families have requested the ICRC’s help. Very many others are not documented. By no means all the […]

The Search for a Political Solution Five Years after the War

Photo via Ministry of Mass Media and Information “The sovereignty of Sri Lanka is very much intact. And we want it to remain intact. We are Sri Lankans… And we don’t want Sri Lanka’s sovereignty to be impacted upon.” R. Sampanthan (Leader of the TNA), Al-Jazeera, 26 March 2014 Sri Lanka’s post-war politics has come […]

Problems of success? Post-war Sri Lanka’s international challenges

Photo by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow Since the end of Sri Lanka’s thirty year-long war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the island is often evoked internationally in relation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The UNHRC remains the only supranational body where the case of Sri Lanka […]

A systems approach based on a rights framework for the governance of Sri Lanka

Photo via FT.lk I read the article titled Re-visiting the Rajapaksa Hegemonic Project (Groundviews 05/09/2014) by Dayapala Thiranagama with interest. It looks at the construction of Sinhalese Buddhist supremacy model, strengths and weaknesses of RHP, and the weaknesses of the opposition and the TNA. The points made are interesting as the article is using ideas […]

Ideological Cancers within the Sinhala Universe: Roadblocks in the Path of Reconciliation

Photo by REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte via Channel 4 Way back in the 1970s the manner in which Anagārika Dharmapāla conflated the concepts of “Ceylonese” and “Sinhalese” in one of his public exhortations (Guruge 1965) led me to argue that this was a powerful tendency in Sinhalese nationalist thinking and that this unexamined tendency was a major problem […]

A South African effort at promoting reconciliation

Ebrahim Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of  International Relation and Cooperation Republic of South Africa meeting  Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the H.E. President and Minister of Economic development. Via Ministry of Economic Development. General elections in South Africa concluded a few days ago and the results were a resounding reelection victory for the ruling African Nation […]

5 years after: Reflections as a mother, women and a citizen of Sri Lanka

Image by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP, via FT.com The moment I think of the war it takes me to 1995. Sri Lankans had very high expectations – a new government and a new President with a lot of promise to end the war. People in the South, North, East and West were so hopeful to see […]

Re-visiting the Rajapaksa Hegemonic Project

Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg News, via The Japan Times The UPFA regime has accomplished an unprecedented hegemonic political power, consummated by landslide   electoral victories: Presidential election, January   2010, Parliamentary Elections March 2010 and the subsequent Provincial council elections, except, crucially in the North. They have consolidated their rural voter base in a remarkable fashion. As the […]

The failure of the media, civil society and the ‘moderates’

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena via The Star SC [FR] 97/2014 is a Fundamental Rights application currently pending before the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. FH the Petitioner is an 11 year old Muslim girl who has named amongst others her school Principal as a Respondent for violating her Fundamental Rights by preventing her from attending […]