Fire and Storm: Essays in Sri Lankan Politics is the latest book by Prof. Michael Roberts. Michael was trained in history and the social sciences at Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka. Read a fuller description of the author on his blog and watch a recent interview, produced for broadcast TV and featured on Groundviews here.

Referring to the bloody end of war in Sri Lanka, when original content and debates on Groundviews interrogated stark ground and political realities, Michael has this to say of the site and citizen journalism in Sri Lanka in the introduction to the tome:

“It is to the credit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives website, Groundviews…. that it raised this Catch-22 situation in full-frontal style on 3 May 2009: “would killing 50,000 civilians to finish off the LTTE bring peace?” When, predictably, this question was misunderstood, the Groundviews editors clarified the issue thus: “This post intends to interrogate extremism. The numbers in the quote are really peripheral to the argument, which exists today, that to finish off the LTTE, collateral damager is not just unavoidable, it is even a prerequisite. What do you feel about that?” It is to the credit of some measured voices who spoke up at this point, among them several Tamils (with pseudonyms, but speaking as Tamils), insisting that the defeat of the LTTE was a vital goal and that “we” should be ready to accept civilian casualties of even 50,000, though hopefully somewhat less. This debate, suitably edited, is worth reproduction in print as an outstanding example of citizen debate and citizen journalism that beats the Sri Lankan newspapers by a proverbial mile.

Emphasis ours. The post in question can be read in full here.

Also read A Book That Defies All Definitions: A review of the End of War in Sri Lanka.