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Forgetting Black July

Photo courtesy BBC I was born ten years after Black July. I am a Singhalese. A week or so ago, as the thirty-year anniversary approached, for curiosity’s sake, I did a small experiment. I asked some of my peers a question: “What do you know about Black July?” Of twenty-two Sinhalese, eighteen did not know what […]

CHOGM dictates moderation to the Rajapakse Administration

Photo courtesy Transcurrents / by Tony Ashby, AFP The Rajapakse Administration is gearing up to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) later this year, in November. Last weekend’s news papers carried an interesting comment attributed to President Rajapakse that his government must be cautious that it does not face a repeat of history of a […]

Pursuit of Revenge is Not Path to Justice

Photo courtesy BBC In our favourite bar  on the afternoon of the 21st this month, I was having a beer with my usual drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow, Sivapuranam Thevaram. “That was a horrific photograph, no?” he started the conversation. He didn’t have to be more specific. I knew instantly that he was talking […]

Dayasiri causes confusion in the North West while Vigneswaren prepares to lead the North

Photo courtesy dbsjeyaraj.com Last week, Rajavarothiam Sambanthan, the leader of the Tamil National Alliance pulled a political rabbit out of a proverbial hat, when long running rumors were confirmed that eminent jurist and articulate good governance advocate, retired Supreme Court Justice C.V.Wigneswaren was to be the TNA’s nominee for Chief Minister of the Northern Province. […]

Nationhood and National Parks

Photo from tahira’s shenanigans National parks in Sri Lanka that traverse the lines of nature reserves are held in reverence in the Sri Lankan psyche. Ideas of nature reserves in Sri Lanka are often traced back to King Devanmanpiyatissa, having converted to Buddhism came to the realization that all beings have an equal right to […]

The making of ‘The Brothers Shaikh’

When the journalist Peter Savodnik asked me to collaborate with him on making The Brothers Shaikh, I said no. I was scared. This was my home. I knew that if I crossed some invisible line, there would be repercussions. But then I changed my mind. What convinced me was that The Brothers Shaikh was a […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 3

Photo via blackjuly.info The Politics of Identity It seems all too obvious that the regular cycles of violence that have emerged in our recent history since 1915 are distinctly communal in character. Indeed, every battle of every war in our history has always been characterised as those between communities on either side of cultural or […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 2

Photo via blackjuly.info Fault-lines Perhaps it is a tragic coincidence of our time; or maybe it was inevitable given the passage of generations, that we are marking the thirty year anniversary of Black July at the same time as we are approaching a centenary since the communal riots of 1915. With the escalation of religious […]

The perpetual conflict: Part 1

Photo via blackjuly.info The dark clouds of history When I look back, I do not see the black smoke rising, or the cries of hapless countrymen, women and innocent children – victims turning into victimisers, turning into victims – caught in a cycle of violence that has persisted beyond living memory. Whatever I have seen […]