Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian Our long-drawn out internecine war in recent history came to an end in May 2009 with the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam (LTTE). We thus had an opportunity once more, post-war, to address anew the underlying causes for violent conflict in our society, come together as […]

Attitudinal change necessary to give momentum to the Provincial councils

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian Sri Lanka on the threshold of change needs an overhaul of the entire democratic process and good governance. The three decade old war is over and expectations have been raised for a more tranquil future. People are looking forward to a life enriched by greater equity in society, guided by […]

De Pilo Pendet: Reconciliation and the Catholic Church’s Role in Post-War Sri Lanka

Photo by Dominic Sansoni I have a memory that dates back several years. It is of a Good Friday Service at my family’s parish in Kotte, Sri Lanka and of the length of time I spent standing outside in overcast weather. A Good Friday service calls for a special liturgy, sober reflection, and patience. It’s […]

Head in my hands

Image courtesy Justice in Conflict Five years after the war I often think of how it could have been. A President who, the day after the war ends, speaks to the people of the North and East, emphasises that the government was facing a ruthless enemy but expresses remorse for the suffering they have undergone […]

War, Peace, Pluralism and Prosperity

Image via Whole Planet Foundation “The victor belongs to the spoils” F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, and this is being played out in Sri Lanka as it tries to find its balance five years after the war ended. In the meantime, politics feeds itself by conveniently pandering to the masses, the Sinhala majority who looks at […]

Erasing Identities: Tracing Sri Lanka’s Post-war Journey through the Changing Realities of Trincomalee

Introduction When I went to Trincomalee last November with a few university friends I noticed a distinct unfriendliness in the air. While growing up, I often visited Trincomalee, because my cousins lived there. Now the Trincomalee I knew and loved from my childhood was no more. Something else had taken its place. Trincomalee today is […]

Truth, Accountability and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka

PEDRO UGARTE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO via The Star In the aftermath of the media circus surrounding the resolution on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council, it is worth asking: how much does this kind of reporting contribute to (a) establishing the truth about the civil war in Sri Lanka and (b) […]

Lifting the veil to reconciliation

‘A Memory of War’ by Vidu Gunaratna When Sri Lanka’s legendary bowler Muttiah Muralitharan was repeatedly accused of chucking by an Australian umpire, captain Arjuna Ranatunge protested by walking out with his team in an Australian stadium. Sri Lankan cricket fans not only disagreed with the umpires, but also generalized resentment towards Australian cricket in […]

Sri Lanka’s media, five years after the end of war

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The guns are silent and the bones buried beneath the sands of the beaches of Mullivaikkal are replete with a story, but the tales they must tell are drowned in a cacophony of half-truths and downright lies that block the healing of the hearts and minds of the men, women […]

Mapping 12 years of Sri Lankan opinion

Perspectives of Sri Lankans over the last decade or so makes for fascinating reading five years after the end of the war. This infographic is only a snapshot of the hope, frustration, changes and divides between communities in Sri Lanka since 2001. Looking at this makes us wonder what the future holds. Will cycles of hope […]

The hunt for the missing

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via The New Indian Express In its 2012 report the International Committee of the Red Cross said was is still tracing 16,090 missing people in Sri Lanka. Those are merely the cases where families have requested the ICRC’s help. Very many others are not documented. By no means all the […]

The Search for a Political Solution Five Years after the War

Photo via Ministry of Mass Media and Information “The sovereignty of Sri Lanka is very much intact. And we want it to remain intact. We are Sri Lankans… And we don’t want Sri Lanka’s sovereignty to be impacted upon.” R. Sampanthan (Leader of the TNA), Al-Jazeera, 26 March 2014 Sri Lanka’s post-war politics has come […]

Problems of success? Post-war Sri Lanka’s international challenges

Photo by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images, via RightsNow Since the end of Sri Lanka’s thirty year-long war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the island is often evoked internationally in relation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The UNHRC remains the only supranational body where the case of Sri Lanka […]

A systems approach based on a rights framework for the governance of Sri Lanka

Photo via I read the article titled Re-visiting the Rajapaksa Hegemonic Project (Groundviews 05/09/2014) by Dayapala Thiranagama with interest. It looks at the construction of Sinhalese Buddhist supremacy model, strengths and weaknesses of RHP, and the weaknesses of the opposition and the TNA. The points made are interesting as the article is using ideas […]

Ideological Cancers within the Sinhala Universe: Roadblocks in the Path of Reconciliation

Photo by REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte via Channel 4 Way back in the 1970s the manner in which Anagārika Dharmapāla conflated the concepts of “Ceylonese” and “Sinhalese” in one of his public exhortations (Guruge 1965) led me to argue that this was a powerful tendency in Sinhalese nationalist thinking and that this unexamined tendency was a major problem […]

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