Remembering A J Gunawardana: A creative public intellectual

AJ Gunawardana and Lester James Peiris September 2008 marks 10 years since the sudden death of Dr Ariyasena Jayasekera (A J) Gunawardana, an outstanding university teacher, writer/journalist, cinema personality and art critic. When he failed to regain consciousness from open heart surgery, at the relatively young age of 65, we lost a rare intellectual who […]

Hearts and Minds: the forced exit of humanitarian agencies from the Vanni in Sri Lanka

The day before yesterday, the government of Sri Lanka ordered all humanitarian organisations to cease all operations and remove all personnel (except Vanni residents) and assets from the LTTE controlled part of the Vanni. The question this observer wishes to explore is why the Government of Sri Lanka after ensuring the welfare of its citizens […]

Women and politics in Sri Lanka: The challenges to meaningful participation

In an earlier article on Groundviews titled ‘Half a Democracy‘,  the author referred to the virtual absence of women in political institutions in Sri Lanka, and their resultant inability to define  politics and influence decision making in a context of continuing conflict, soaring prices, and widespread human rights abuses by the state. I want to […]

Understanding electoral results in Sri Lanka: Beyond winners and losers

Introduction The United People’s Freedom Party (UPFA) claimed its second consecutive provincial electoral victory on the 24th of August by winning a clear majority of seats in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Province.  This election was more competitive than the previous Eastern Provincial Council election,  where the government managed to get the Tamil and Muslim […]

WOMEN IN CONFLICT – An interview with American filmmaker based in Sri Lanka, Lisa Kois

[Editors note: This interview was conducted in April 2006]   Lisa Kois is a brave filmmaker, working right at the heart of today’s dangerous and on going civil conflict in Sri Lanka. Her movie and television series on Sri Lanka’s war have won her numerous international awards; she talks to Hugh Bohane, about her experiences […]

Misguided cultural policing in Sri Lanka: Where’s the morality amongst politicians?

No more scantily clad foreign cheerleaders at cricket matches in Sri Lanka as it goes against our “culture”, the Minister of Sports and Public Recreation Gamini Lokuge recently decreed. He was awakened to this “foreign evil” by the Minister of Cultural Affairs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, after seeing them at the first one-day match between India […]

Defense and Devolution

Just as it did at the moment of decolonization and independence, the visible post-war moment provides a rare historic opportunity for nation building and the construction of national identity. We missed the first chance, but must not miss the second. In his nationally televised dialogue with audiences in several areas on Tuesday August 19th, President […]

The Rajapakse regime: Rewarding the corrupt and sheltering the criminal?

If there is one thing that is crystal clear about the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration, it is that it rewards wrong doers and punishes the righteous. The President’s decision to include the Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera in his delegation to China for the opening ceremony of the Olympic games days is a case in point. Just […]

Peace in Sri Lanka: Negotiating with the Northern ‘Separatists’?

Dr. Colin Irwin Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool August 2008   About this poll Peace was achieved in Northern Ireland, after many years of bitter conflict, failed negotiations and broken ceasefires only when all the parties to the conflict and the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland were brought together in the same […]

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