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Jaffna after the war: Observations by a visitor

Large crowds rush to Jaffna every day. Some of them have never been there before. The 30 years war is over and thanks to president Rajapakse, (General Fonseka is already forgotten), they are now at last free to visit those territories the Tigers once claimed as theirs. They are eager to visit the many places […]

The legacy of Chanaka Amaratunga and the future of liberalism in Sri Lanka

Download a PDF of this special edition here. The 19th of April was the 52nd birthday of  Dr. Chanaka Amaratunga, the founder of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka. Groundviews invited leading political commentators to contribute to a special edition commemorating Chanaka’s role in politics and the liberal movement in Sri Lanka. Essays in this series included: Remembering […]

Revisiting the JVP: Will They Repeat Their Past?

It has been 39 years since the JVP’s armed insurrection. It was brutally suppressed and their ambitious project to light a revolutionary flame in Sri Lanka ended in a political and military disaster. But the JVP was not vanquished and its leader Rohana Wijeweera (RW) reorganized it. They launched their second military project during 1987-89 […]


What prevents the ruling coalition from unveiling a new ‘first past the post’ electoral system and going for a mid–term parliamentary election?  Judging by current trends and data of a decade, the UNP, if it remains under Ranil Wickremesinghe, would be overrun and crushed to a pulp, not even reaching double digits in terms of […]

In conversation with Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives. I begin this interview with a pointed question, asking Dr. Saravanamuttu to flag anything the government has done well since it assumed power in 2005, in the domains of governance and human rights. I go on to ask Dr. Saravanamuttu why it […]

A Liberal Dilemma

‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ was the lead slogan of the French Revolution which has been an inspiration to many movements around the globe.  Many political initiatives have claimed to be based on Liberty and/or Equality. Several national constitutions and UN and other international agreements have upheld both Liberty and Equality as their guiding principles. The question […]

The Psychological Impact of Political Violence in Sri Lanka

Of all the tasks of government, the most basic is to protect its citizens from violence – John Foster Dulles Commonly violence is defined as  the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood […]


19th April marks the 52nd birthday of the late Chanaka Amaratunga, the former leader of Sri Lanka’s Liberal Party, quondam Vice President of Liberal International, one of our foremost public intellectuals, and distinguished Old Thomian. I met Chanaka only on a handful of occasions, but they were all memorable mini-tutorials in the theory and practice […]

Remembering Chanaka

The idea of liberalism in Sri Lankan politics is intimately associated with the life and writings of the leader and founder of the Liberal Party, Dr Chanaka Amaratunga.  He passionately believed in the liberal idea, hoped fervently that it would inspire the body politic and be integrated into it and the political culture of Sri Lanka.  […]


Remember the “Bandaranaike yugaya” (the “Bandaranaike Era”)? Well it is now the Rajapakses’ round. The Rajapakse family now dominates the SLFP and Sri Lankan politics in much the same manner as did the Bandaranaikes (Sirima, Felix, Sunethra, Anura, Chandrika, and son in law Kumar, not to mention Mackie and Seewali Ratwatte and irate Ira). In […]

Aiding and abetting to kill plurality in ‘patriotic’ Sri Lanka

“I’m worried about an opponent who uses ‘nation building’ and ‘the military’ in the same sentence.” said George W. Bush Jnr. in Nov 06, 2000, referring to Al Gore and then to journalist Mickey Herskowitz, he said “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader, is to be seen as a Commander-in-Chief.” […]

Post War Muslim Minority Party Politics : Surviving Political Quietus

The decision by the leader of the National Unity Alliance (NUA), Minister Ferial Ashraff’s to join the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in February 2010 raises serious questions for Muslim politics in Sri Lanka and minority politics at large. She did not announce a formal disbanding of NUA, the party’s fate remains unclear. Although NUA […]