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Sinhalese and their fear of freedom

Anagarika Dharmapala, A.E. Goonesinha and C.W.W. Kannangara, three of the radical champions of the early 20th century who were ‘managed’ by the conservative leaders who eventually negotiated ‘freedom’ from the British. With the displacement from Rajarata, the heart, soul and body of their ancient culture in the 13th century the Sinhalese settled for safety over […]

A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013

Image courtesy AP, via Gulf News Potemkin City, with a difference: A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013 Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegate, Dear Visitor, Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Welcome to Colombo!  You may have heard of how General Potemkin primed Crimea for the pleasure of Catherine the Great and her foreign ambassadors on their southern trip in […]

Mohammed Irshad’s story and the banality of violence in the Rajapaksa regime

[Editors note: Also read I’m not mad to tie myself to a tree by the author, which appeared in the Ceylon Today newspaper.] Giving up a pensionable government job as a Samurdhi animator, Mohammed Irshad fled Sri Lanka began work as a bakery employee in Saudi Arabia. This is his story. Mohammed Irshad’s name may […]

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 […]

Human Rights and Business in Sri Lanka: In conversation with Priyanga Hettiarachi

Priyanga Hettiarachi is the director and founder of RightsBusiness, founded after Priyanga’s return to Sri Lanka after a number of years working in Australia, The Netherlands and England. Given Priyanga’s award-winning work and experience, we begin our conversation around why he chose to come back to Sri Lanka, post-war. Given how loaded and contested a […]

‘Alles in Wonderland’ and Indo-Lanka relations

Image courtesy First Lanka The Parody The hilarious political satire titled ‘Alles in Wonderland’ was presented by the Ananda College Drama Circle at a public performance recently. It won first place at the 2013 – Inter school Royal Drama Competition held in Colombo. Based on a unique adaption of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the […]

People, Politics and the Constitution: Reading ‘The Sri Lankan Republic at 40′ (edited by Asanga Welikala)

Photo courtesy Vikalpa, taken at the launch of the book in Colombo. Reading a tome on constitutional history, theory and practice – like Asanga Welikala’s edited collection titled The Sri Lankan Republic at 40 – can be a daunting task. For a start, such books have too much to say about constitutions. The more you […]

The Fashion Bug case: A turning point for Muslim rights in Sri Lanka

Buddhist monks on the rampage at Fashion Bug as Police just look The judicial case related to the violent attack on Muslim owned Fashion Bug head office and warehouse in Pepiliyana, 10 km away from Colombo, is destined to be a turning point in Muslim Rights in Sri Lanka. Following is a brief recap of the […]

Inter-Religious Integration in Sri Lanka—Inclusion not Intrusion

Image courtesy Maliban Biscuit Over the past months Sri Lankans have been educated on two Arabic words: halal and haram (that which is permissible and not permissible). Unfortunately the circumstances of learning have been an unprecedented antagonism towards the Muslim community much deeper than the halal issue. This trend must be addressed without delay by […]

Travails of the Women in the Vanni

Photo courtesy Amantha Perera / Perambara (Following is a copy of  a presentation made by the author at a side event at the UNHRC in Geneva on 11th March, 2013 organised by the Co-operative Society of Netherlands in collaboration with the International Movement Against Discrimination and Racism)     All of us remember the day the war […]

Police impeding the movement of Tamils

11.14PM, 5th March 2013: Families of the disappeared in Sri Lanka, traveling to attend a demonstration in front of Colombo UN office, were detained in Vavuniya by the Police. Eleven buses with victimised Tamil people were en route to Colombo to stage a demonstration in Colombo tomorrow to coincide with the submission of the US […]

The Middle Managers of Ethnic Cleansing

Image via Dawn There is a popular saying amongst the Tamils, “even if one grazes chicken (which is really a non existent work), it should be grazed in the government”.  Employment in the government sector is coveted for the respect it commands in society and the social security it provides to the individual in terms […]

Racing Tanks with Bicycles: A Parable of ‘Reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka

Photo via Facebook photo set by Akiy Photography, direct link here. Note that original photo does not blur the face of the child. Some photographs of ‘aid’ being provided to Sri Lankan Tamils in Keppapilavu were recently posted online. The Keppapilavu community were the last to be released from the Menik Farm Camp, but were […]