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Peace, Military and People: Are non-military engagements of the military valid?

Sri Lankan Army selling vegetables. Photo: Ministry of Defence – Sri Lanka War or internal armed conflict in the North and East was over; Emergency is no more; but still the military is everywhere. The military is now engaged in peacetime police-work, whale watching, selling vegetables, agriculture,  cleaning, constructions and many other non-military activities. Yet why […]

Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?

Editors note: Also read a response to this article by Valkryie, titled Response to Michael Roberts’ ‘Turning Former LTTE Personnel into Sri Lankan Citizens?’] Whatever the death toll during the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2009 the official government data in that year acknowledged that 11,696 (9078 male and 2024 female)[i] of those who […]

Reflections on Issues of Language in Sri Lanka: Power, Exclusion and Inclusion

Photo credit Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters, from Time magazine. Keynote address delivered on 17th October 2011 at ‘Language and Social Cohesion: 9th International Language and Development Conference, Colombo co-organized by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Ministry  of Education, GIZ, AusAID and British Council. ### Approach Language is never a simple issue of […]

Progressive Politics & The Right Kind Of Left

Bharatha Premachandra’s wife and daughter Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s grieving daughter (and possible political successor) was probably not even born when several of us in the SLMP’s leading ranks rapidly disembarked at his house in Kolonnawa, an hour after he had survived the assassination attempt by the JVP. His aged father, a trade-unionist of the Old […]

National Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Rights and Accountability in Sri Lanka

Image credit Steve Chao, via Al Jazeera Good Afternoon; Esteemed and Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen; Dear friends Thank you for inviting me to share with you my thoughts on reconciliation. I will not devote much time here, to describe the history of the conflict or the background situation in Sri Lanka. The physical and […]

Militarisation of Sri Lanka and its infiltration into Higher Education

Evidence of militarisation is everywhere – most recently in the sphere of higher education.  The armed forces are involved with development projects, in welfare, and in farming. They are even involved in city beautification, the maintenance of playgroups and shops, of course Sports, and now higher education.  Their increased presence is evident in subtle changes […]

Employing thugs as Presidential advisors

Sri Lankan hospital staff carry an injured person following a shootout on the outskirts of Colombo on Saturday – AP, via Deccan Chronicle An advisor to the President is dead and a Member of Parliament is critically injured.  Also amongst the dead and injured are supporters of the Presidential advisor and the parliamentarian. This incident, […]

Developing the ‘Under served settlements’ in Colombo: An Open Letter

Photo courtesy Prevention Web October 8th 2011 Dear Mr. Milinda Moragoda and Mr. AJM Muzammil, I wrote this open letter before the elections, to be read after, to avoid political misapprehensions that would have caused, if published earlier. Since you two may remember me, I wish I receive your attention on a few guiding principles to […]

Local Government Elections: In sending the UNP and JVP to political oblivion the nation may find hope?

Photo courtesy Sunday Leader “The starting point of [progressive] politics and the state is its categorical rejection of this view of the state as the trustee, instrument, or agent of this society as a whole…In class societies, the concept of the society as a whole and of the ‘national’ interest’ is clearly a mystification” - Ralph […]

Waiting for the end of the LLRC

Image courtesy LLRC Another session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva has come to an end. Sri Lanka has emerged unscathed, even though considerable pressure is being exerted on the Sri Lankan Government, from different actors in different quarters of the world: one, regarding a political solution to the conflict; two, regarding the […]

Re-displacement of Menik Farm inmates to Kombavil (Mullativu)

On 20th September 2011 the Government of Sri Lanka had announced that Menik Farm, hosting 7394 persons (2097 families) will be closed down.[i] The solution imposed on these people has been to send them to Kombavil, an interior village in the Mullativu district. Although the government claims the people are not allowed to go back […]

Grease Devils and Police and Army attacks on civilians in Mannar and Vavuniya

    Police attacks on civilians in Komarasankulam (Vavuniya district) 11 men were arrested by the Vavuniya Police in Komarasankulam at 10.30 pm on 20th August 2011.  The men were severely beaten before arrest and at least two persons were tortured inside the Vavuniya Police Station. Another man was arrested when he visited the police […]

Hacking mayoral campaign promises

Photo from Asian Mirror In Open-source policy formulation for Sri Lanka’s capital, an article published on the Lanka Business Online website recently, the Head of the Policy Planning Group, Milinda for Mayor Campaign and renowned policy analyst Prof. Rohan Samarajiva looks at how mainstream politics can be made more participatory. The promise is of a direct […]

Authoritative Ethical Realist Reads Rajapaksa’s Role

The Pope with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Though my political approval of and personal liking for Mahinda Rajapaksa, (certainly in relation to his competitors and immediate predecessors) are shared by nine out of ten Sri Lankan citizens (according to the Gallup poll), it is not comfortable to be alone in one’s analysis and evaluation, among one’s own […]