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The BBS and a catalyst for a Buddhist Muslim conflict

Photo by Shilpa Samaratunge The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Sri Lanka’s catalyst for opening up a new Buddhist verses Muslim conflict, perhaps due to boredom now that a thirty year civil war has ended, follows more by design than accident a classic military strategy of an escalation or advancement and then a tactical retreat due […]

Responding to Aluthgama

Photography by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Responding to Aluthgama Imagine a country, an island in the Indian Ocean. Let’s call it Serendib (ooh, the irony). Imagine further: several groups, including those named Limat, Milsum and Alahnis, populate the island. A long war ended there some five or so years ago. Nevertheless, peace gives it a pass. Just […]

Sri Lanka redefines “curfew” in Beruwela

Lest we forget, the Police imposed a curfew in Beruwela and Aluthgama on 15th June in an effort to stop the violence against Muslims in the area. The curfew in Aluthgama was imposed at 6.45pm according to the Government’s official news portal. A news bulletin broadcast at 9pm on TV featured Police Media Spokesperson SSP […]

Elusive Economic Peace Dividend in Sri Lanka: ALL that glitters is not gold

Photo courtesy IPS Prof. N.Balakrishnan Memorial Oration delivered in Colombo on 21st June 2014 Introduction It is five years since the decisive end of the civil war in May 2009. The government’s approach to resolving the long festering ethnic conflict in the country has been reconciliation and peace through economic development. Although I do have […]

Some Civil Society Questions for Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, Al Jazeera The Facebook (FB) group called “Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena (BQBBS)” once compiled a list of questions for BBS through a lengthy consultation period with its online members. I volunteered to mediate between BQBBS and Dilanthe Withanage of BBS to pass these questions to him to initiate a dialog. […]

Aluthgama violence: Where was Sri Lanka’s President?

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, via Al Jazeera The horrible killings and destruction in Aluthgama on Sunday was blacked out by almost all mainstream media in Sri Lanka at the height of the violence and the morning after. However, the violence was in detail and close to real time covered extensively over social media, leading to a documentation many times greater […]

IS THE BBS THE BOSS?

Photo courtesy Today There are scarier things, worse things, than Black July ’83. Aluthgama signaled the possibility of such things. The sequence of events, the lethal violence, the horror of Aluthgama were reminiscent of July ’83 –and to go by Tarzie Vittachchi’s Emergency ’58, the anti-Tamil riots of that year. That is the element of dark […]

The Limits of Tolerance

Photo courtesy Today There is a limit to tolerance, and this is it. In its short history as an independent republic, Sri Lanka has seen more bloodshed than seems fair. Many of our citizens have been active participants in the bombing, burning, shooting, hacking and torturing of each other, and many more have supported this both […]

A Papal prayer for Middle East peace and a visit to Sri Lanka

Photography by Getty Images, courtesy NY Post The Catholic Church has announced that His Holiness Pope Francis would be visiting Sri Lanka from January 13th to 15th,  next year. Preceding the announcement, were visits to the Vatican by both the Sri Lankan Catholic hierarchy as well as senior government figures, both of whom extended the invitation […]

REALIST MODERNISM IN AN AGE OF KULTURKAMPF: A Review of Long War, Cold Peace by Dayan Jayatilleka

Image from YouTube video Dr Dayan Jayatilleka’s book, Long War, Cold Peace, now in its second revised edition of 2014, is one of the few book-length attempts by a Sri Lankan scholar to make sense of our post-war condition and the policy challenges that we face. His take on all this, it can reliably be […]

Revaluation of Values: Applying the Pullman Principle to Post-War Sri Lanka

Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera America This past couple of weeks I’ve been rereading Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. I first picked up ‘Northern Lights’ (Book 1) in 2003 while at University in Scotland. My MPhil Thesis (completed in 2004) starts with a quote from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ (Book 3), and […]

In conversation with Kalana Senaratne: Religiosity, politics and identity in Sri Lanka

Kalana Senaratne is a distinguished columnist and researcher. Readers of Groundviews would be most familiar with his writing on the rise of militant Buddhism in Sri Lanka, though he has written consistently of issues of governance, rights, politics and religiosity since 2009. We caught up on TV recently to talk about at greater depth and […]

OVERCOMING THE POST-WAR MALAISE: WHY SRI LANKA NEEDS A REFORM MINISTRY AND WHAT IT SHOULD DO

The High Priests of Liberal Conservatism: Edmund Burke and D.S. Senanayake are the paradigms of thought and action for the Reform Ministry  [Photo credit: The Empire Youth Annual, 1952] “For centuries the Sinhalese and the Tamils have lived together in peace and amity. We have been governed by their kings and they by ours … […]