The Disappeared in Sri Lanka’s War in the Recent Past: What is missing in those “Missing”?

IRIN has recently highlighted the fact that “thousands of people are still missing” in Sri Lanka and presented an UNOHCR report that states that there are “5,671 reported cases of wartime-related disappearance in Sri Lanka” – even without taking note of the numbers that went missing in the final stages of the war in 2008/09.[i] […]


Image courtesy Daily News Forty years ago this week, at the auspicious time of 12:34 p.m. at the Navarangahala on 22nd May 1972, a new constitution was signed into law, creating the Republic of Sri Lanka. This was the first time in the history of the island that the republican form of state was established, […]

What’s next for General Fonseka?

Image courtesy CNN It has been a couple of days since the former military commander of Sri Lankan Army and common opposition’s presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka was released from the prisons and I can’t think of a better timing than this for me to express some of my thoughts related to these developments, which […]

Reconciliation: The Symbolic and the Substantive

Photo courtesy JDS Against the backdrop of grave planetary changes, Sarath Fonseka’s release, G.L. Peiris’s visit to Washington DC and the third anniversary of the defeat of the LTTE, an evaluation of the requirements of reconciliation are in order.  There is a need to distinguish between the symbolic and the substantive – both in turn […]

Transcript of first one-to-one interview with Sarath Fonseka after release from prison

Image courtesy the Economist GV editors note: In the transcript below and the video of it available on the BBC online, the BBC correspondent in Sri Lanka Charles Haviland asks “Are the terms of your release unconditional – will you be allowed to go  back to politics?” Sarath Fonseka responds by noting that “As yet […]

Interview with Dr. Farzana Haniffa: The eviction of Northern Muslims in Sri Lanka

First interviewed in 2010, Dr. Farzana Haniffa appears again on Groundviews to talk about the Citizens’ Commission on the Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE. As the Commission’s website notes, in October 1990, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) expelled the entire Muslim population of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Within a […]

Reloading General Sarath Fonseka for a post-paid Sinhala package

Photo via JDS. AFP PHOTO/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI. The V-Day celebrations were on, as this piece was written. A military victory being commemorated at the Galle face esplanade, celebrated as the 3rd anniversary of defeating the LTTE “terrorism”. President Rajapaksa bragged about what positives the military victory brought to this country. No more barricades on the Galle Road, […]


Among proponents of devolution as a means of power-sharing in Sri Lanka, one of the key bones of contention about the Thirteenth Amendment has been the Concurrent List. This is the list of competences, or ‘subjects’ as they are called in the constitution, over which powers are shared between the central government and the Provincial […]

Truth and Dialogue as Theatre: Some Reflections on the Frontline Club Panel on Sri Lanka

I watched the Frontline Club panel on Sri Lanka, belatedly and reluctantly. I am skeptical about such public enquiries and debates into complex matters, which threaten to reduce the dialogue and truth into performance. In my view, the problem with these ‘events’, for that is what they are, is that the truth is reduced to […]

3 years after the end of war: Official statements vs. reality

Sri Lankan Army soldiers march during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 16, 2012. Sri Lanka celebrates War Heroes Week with a military parade scheduled for May 19. PHOTO/ AFP, text courtesy Haveeru Online “There is no State of Emergency today.” – President Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation, 19 May 2012 vs. […]

Three years after the war in Sri Lanka: To celebrate or mourn?

Photo courtesy Vikalpa For the 3rd successive year, the Sri Lankan government has made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the end of the war in Colombo. This year, May was declared as “war hero’s commemoration month”. For the last few days, roads were closed in Colombo causing great inconvenience, as preparations were being made for celebrating the […]

A cold, hard look at homophobia

I’m a scientist by training and as such, generally avoid public debate, which tends to be dominated by charisma rather than fact. Nevertheless, given the strongly homophobic atmosphere in Sri Lanka two weeks away from what Bill Clinton declared is gay-pride month (my embassy informs me that “Homosexual acts are illegal in Sri Lanka”), I […]

What Samhara Means: A review of Samhara and an unraveling of what it really means for Sri Lankan Dance

[Editors note: See interview with members of Nrityagram and the Chitrasena Dance Company here.] Samhara is a new dance work created by the Odissi dance ensemble, Nrityagram, together with their long-term friends and collaborators in Sri Lanka, the Chitrasena Dance Company. It was performed over the weekend at the Lionel Wendt Theatre in Colombo, fresh off […]

A different take from the Sangha: The dhamma and religious co-existence in Sri Lanka (UPDATED)

[Editors note: Sanjay Senanayake in a comment below raises a number of concerns regarding inflammatory statements made by Rev. Dambara Amila Thero in the past, which invariably inform the appreciation of the interview below. Sanjay also alleges that the thero had in the past assaulted journalists from Young Asia Television, which produced this video. We […]

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