The President and his apparatchiks: Loving children most, their toys even more?

Photo by AP, courtesy The Hindu The other day, killing time in the airport lounge, I picked up the Sunday Observer. Not something I do on a regular basis, never having been able to reciprocate the attention the state controlled media has paid to me over the years. On the front page was an article […]

Toy Pistol Local Governance in Hambantota

Image courtesy Nidahasa The country woke up a few days ago to news that a group of opposition UNP MPs on a fact finding visit to the new airport and port in Hambanthota had come under attack from goon squads. Subsequently, photographs showed His Worship (the UPFA) Lord Mayor of Hambantota, Eraj Ravindra Fernando, chasing […]

Colombo’s changing cityscape

Introduction Since the end of the war in 2009, reconstruction and development in Sri Lanka has centred primarily on rapid economic development (Bopage, 2010; Goodhand, 2011). This can be seen in the current drive to transform Colombo into a “world-class city”, as a “preferred destination for international business and tourism” (Secretary of Defence and Urban […]

The ‘Mad Monk’ Phenomenon: BBS as the underside of Sinhala-Buddhism

Photo courtesy Today The marauding Buddhist monks, who appear to be tied to a long political leash, have run out of control. They need to be stopped. But it is equally necessary to take a cold look at the complexity of the phenomenon that groups such as Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) have come to represent. […]

Continuing Detention of Tamil Women and a Girl Child under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Brief In 2009 the government announced that the LTTE has been wiped out from the country with the end of the armed conflict. However, in the past few weeks there have been a number of arrests, including of women under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) supposedly to investigate and counter […]

Calling Jayantha Dhanapala a liar, or the tragedy of Lankan public life

Photo courtesy CTBTO On March 16, 2014, Colombo Telegraph, a UK-based online news outlet published an article entitled ‘Jayantha Dhanapala Is A Liar; Caught Lying Over Silence On Colombo Telegraph Blocking’. This article was a follow-up of an earlier article on the failure of Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, a member of the Board of Directors of […]

Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law

Photo by UN/Myriam Asmani, via World Education Blog The Grotius Lecture 2014[1] PREFACE Sometime at the end of 2011, while I was still the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, I met an ambassador from an Asian country just before a United Nations Security Council meeting on children […]

The arrest, detention and torture of Tamils in post-war Sri Lanka

Image from The Anti-Torture Initiative There is an alarming trend in the Sri Lankan security forces operation, of arresting the family members of suspects and keeping them as hostages in detention camps. Irrespective of their age, gender and connection to those suspects, the family members are kept under arrest/ detention most notably in the infamous […]

Generating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels

Summarising previous essays (see bibliography below) this article proceeds in point-form with an eye on greater impact via succinctness. A. During the last phase of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 the LTTE attempted an international heist that is unprecedented in world history:[1] they used some 320,000 of their own people to manufacture a picture of […]

Rescuing Patriotism from the Extremists

Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Global Mail It is almost five years since the military victory of May 2009 brought an end to three decades of armed conflict. Yet, the prospects for securing a stable and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka appear bleak. The first victim of “peace” was the APRC. This long and important […]

Sri Lanka: Post-Geneva, Post-Provincial Council Elections

Photograph by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images via Al Jazeera Post- Geneva and post- PC elections, some clarifications are in order because the resolution, locally, came to be obscured by the fog of elections and the scare stories that were put out about sanctions and the electric chair, not to mention the absurdity of the arithmetic of the […]

UNHRC Resolution: To be reviewed with objectivity

Image courtesy Rightsnow “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality”. John F. Kennedy   The D day in March has passed us by having placed a heavy hand as expected.  The intensely canvassed process for a yes or no to the resolution has ended […]

Freedom and bondage: Lankans, then and now

Introduction There is a need to question the adequacy and suitability of current conceptions of both ‘human rights’ and ‘secularism’ to meet the challenges of unbridled majoritarianism, which seems perfectly at home within the institutions and procedures of the modern Sri Lankan state. In the first part of this article I propose an alternative vision […]

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