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A Donkey doing a Dog’s work: The Grade 1 entrance fiasco and the Chief Justice

This author is gobsmacked by the recent edict by the Chief Justice on school admissions to Grade 1. It is an affront on equality and human dignity. What is more, as a journalist, I am appalled at the silence of the media regarding this issue. “මෙම නිර්දේශ මගින් සමහර ජනයා වඩා වටින්නේ ය යන දුර්දාන්ත […]

And now for something completely different – “Victor Claymore”!

Beginning with a story of Andare, Sri Lanka’s inimitable court jester, I go on to explore in a similar vein the phenomenon of unexploded ordinance in Sri Lanka, looking particularly at the emergence of “Victor Claymore”. Victor Claymore refers to none other than our current Inspector General of Police and, as was told to me […]

The Responsibility to Protect

Photo credit: Sam de Silva The Neelan Tiruchelvam Lecture delivered by Gareth Evans, the former Foreign Minister of Australia and the current President of the International Crisis Group (ICG), was a lucid and incisive account of recent developments in the international humanitarian and human rights fields and their relevance to Sri Lanka. Titled the “The […]

The unlearnt lessons of July 1983

මළ ජූලි හතකින්වත් පාඩමක් ෙනා ගන්නා… Photo credit: My article deals with the social and political after-effects of one of the most despicable episodes in Sri Lankan history – the ethnics riots of July 1983. I examine how in the intervening years, Sri Lanka’s political establishment has failed to address the growth of hate […]

The Indo-Lanka Accord – Some reflections 20 years hence

ඉන්දු ලංකා ගිවිසුම (1987 ජූලි- 2007 ජූලි): අවස්ථාවක්ද? බලහත්කාරයක් ද? “ඉන්දු ලංකා ගිවිසුමෙහි දසවන සංවත්සරය අවස්ථාව පෙන්නුම් කරන්නේ එහි අරමුණ වු ජනවාර්ගික ගැටළුවට දේශපාලන විසඳුමක් සොයා ගැනීමෙහි ලා ශී‍්‍ර ලංකාව ඇදහිය නොහැකි තරම් ආපස්සට ගමන් කර ඇති අන්දම ය.” In this article I go back in time and look at the Indo-Lanka Accord the the […]

Let’s stop corruption in Sri Lanka!

A litany of socio-political problems we face today can directly or indirectly be traced back to the existence and growth of corruption. Bordering on criminality, exacerbating extreme poverty, stifling economic development and ultimately frustrating democracy and good governance, corruption – from bribery and extortion to fraud and nepotism – is a wretched phenomenon that progressively […]

Vienna Convention and Sri Lankan Child Worker on Death Row

Donna E. Chung, Ph.D. International Trade and Labour Compliance Advisor Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. Washington, D.C. 20 July 2007 On 15 July 2007, just one day before the deadline, a judicial appeal was filed to save Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan teenager, from facing execution in Saudi Arabia. Had this deadline passed without an […]


This columnist has been associated for the past several years with that much-maligned minority that can be broadly labelled ‘liberal federalists’ on the question of peace and constitutional reform in Sri Lanka. Allowing for individual nuances of emphasis and premise, Sri Lankan liberal federalists are those who have advocated (a) a negotiated resolution to the […]

Suggestion to the Select Committee on Electoral Reform

by R.M.B. Senanayake The Select Committee on Electoral Reform headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardene has submitted a very good report making recommendations which will clean up our electoral politics by removing structures which encourage corruption. It recommends a mix of the First Past the Post system and Proportional Representation. But unfortunately it has lost its […]

The Mangala Sutra: Preliminary observations on Mangala’s third way

My article, in Sinhala, is a brief sketch on Mangala Samaraweera’s dramatic break from the SLFP and the introduction of his third-way of politics. I raise a note of skepticism ont he eventual fate of his policies and vision, but accept as necessary and vital his voice and alternatives to the dystopia brought about by […]

All the President’s media

Taken from Al Jazeera Transforming State media Recent reports in the State media loudly proclaimed the President’s desire to depoliticise State media and his instructions to this effect. As pointed out in the Free Media Movement statement in response to the President’s comments, President Rajapakse had ‘pointed out that the government owned media should play […]

Mangala’s party and the Citizen’s dream

I begin my article with some quips and observations from friends and colleagues on Mangala’s new political party and his political vision as articulated by him to the media recently. Clearly, the field is not united in their appreciation of Mangala – some see him as a bold new visionary, others see old wine in […]

Fighting for democracy

“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda, and in most modern conflict, the men of war prey on the ignorance of the populace to install fears and arouse hatreds.” Sashi Tharoor, Bookless in Baghdad Mark Whitaker captures well the perversity of Sri Lanka today in a compelling biography of murdered Tamil journalist Sivaram Dharmeratnam […]


Unveiling his political vision for a ‘new Sri Lankan order’ this week, Mangala Samaraweera challenged Sri Lankans to envision a better future. Dare, he said, to dream which, as a rallying cry in these miasmic times, has an even more piquant ring to it in the Sinhalese ‘Sihinaye Abhiyogaya’. The SLFP-Mahajana Wing’s discussion document is […]