A Year of Anniversaries – From Puran Appu to the Hartal

This is a year beaded as a necklace with anniversaries. Some are past us, some ahead. Some are international, the others national. Some are of heroism, others of tragedy and darkness. All are significant. All teach us something, provide occasions for reflection. Internationally it was the 40th commemoration of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the […]

Provincial Election Campaign: Battling for the Centre?

Today, the UNP, the SLFP and the JVP have zeroed-in all their resources to the Sabaragamuwa and North Central provinces.  Ministers, Members of Parliament and the Pradeshiya Sabha politicians across the country have all been entrusted with specific tasks in this provincial council election campaign.  These tasks are based on their individual capacities. Some of […]

Black July – My Story

It was July ’83. I was seventeen, which you’ll be surprised about if you’ve seen my youthful appearance and I was in Sri Lanka on one of those “extended” studenty type of holidays that we all wish we could have now. It was the summer between the first and second year of my ‘A’ levels […]

A ‘Hold-Fire’ for One Month – Response to LTTE’s ceasefire during SAARC

It would be short-sighted to dismiss out of hand, the current offer of the LTTE of a ‘cease-fire’. Apart from anything else, it will create the impression that we were hell bent on the war regardless of its pathetic consequences to human life and rights – an impression that would further erode our standing internationally. […]

Beyond ‘Babu SAARC’: Liberating airwaves for South Asians

Watching the current SAARC jamboree unfold over television news, my young daughter asked why none of the officials were smiling. The SAARC Secretary General, Dr. Sheel Khant Sharma, was always scowling. Others didn’t have smiles on their faces either, even insincere ones. They all looked stressed out, wearing glum, miserable faces. I could only hazard […]


“The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew, cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down”.   – Barack Obama, Berlin, July 24   We must not settle for a draw in a game we can win and are winning. As we draw closer to victory, those […]

‘Baaldhiya’ or ‘Vaaldhiya’: Two Wor(l)ds Separated by a Consonant

I don’t think I had the slightest inkling of a problem between the sinhala and tamil people in Sri Lanka, until July 1983. But I should have. In the heady days of the 1977 election, a good 13 years before I could vote, I remember my father quite nonchalantly relating a story: at some time […]

Dhammapada and Other Works

“Dhammapada and Other Works”- An exhibition of Paintings and Installations by Chandraguptha Thenuwara was inaugurated at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in Colombo on 23rd July 2008.It was organised to ‘Commemoration of the Un-Commemorative Julys’. Being an anti-war artist, Chandraguptha Thenuwara has sought to remind his fellow Sri Lankans of Lord Buddha’s teachings about tolerance and […]

Memories of a Black Moon – the 1983 riots in Sri Lanka

More than two and a half decades later, one of my friends has asked to interview me about the ’83 riots. I was ten years old. My family was from the Sinhala majority, with relatives who were strong figures in politics and the military. How could I reply? July 1983 My mind goes back to […]

Some Reflections arising from Ethnic Riots

by Somapala Gunadheera Off and on, I write short stories, never anecdotes. But now I have to oblige Sanjana. He wants stories about our ethnic riots, the one that raged before he was born and the other when he was at school. Therapists say that anecdotes have a healing effect on ethnic wounds. My experience […]

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