The Advisory Council of Experts: A council, a council, my kingdom for a council? Photo by REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte via Malaysian Insider Some observations are in order on the President’s appointment of an international panel of experts to advise the Commission on Disappearances. The Commission comprising Maxwell Paranagama, Mesdames Ramanathan and Vidyaratne were appointed to look into disappearances. They have held public hearings throughout the north and east and received over 19,000 complaints. They are ...

Ramaphosa and Government’s Policy shift on Reconciliation Image courtesy Daily Maverick Several weeks after Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of South Africa and Special Envoy of President Zuma to Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka to assist us in our search for durable post war peace and reconciliation, it is possible to observe several tactical moves by the Rajapakse Administration with regard to its post war reconciliation ...

Where In-fighting generates Fervour & Power: ISIS Today, LTTE yesterday Image courtesy NBC News “Division and in-fighting will sap and weaken any organisation or ideological current.” This formulation (mine) may seem a common-sense dictum. Let me challenge this notion with another dictum: “fratricidal militant fission sparks dedication, skill and organisational power.” The recent, explosive expansion in Syria and Iraq of Sunni militants under the banner of ISIS (the Islamic ...

Five years of vanquished journalism: A self critique Image courtesy Grassrooted For nearly three decades, it remained Sri Lanka’s biggest story. Over the years, the resplendent island became known, not for its human development indicators or as a vibrant democracy, but as the birth place of the deadly Liberation Tigers – and what fuelled its birth, growth and its destructive impact on the island. When I walked ...

The BBS and a catalyst for a Buddhist Muslim conflict Photo by Shilpa Samaratunge The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Sri Lanka’s catalyst for opening up a new Buddhist verses Muslim conflict, perhaps due to boredom now that a thirty year civil war has ended, follows more by design than accident a classic military strategy of an escalation or advancement and then a tactical retreat due to over reach. Immediately ...

Is BBS the new face of Buddhist revivalism? This is a response to an article written by Udaya Gammanpila which appeared in the Ceylon Today newspaper (6 July 2014). This response was emailed to Ceylon Today two days later (08 July 2014), but it has not been published to date. Photo by Shilpa Samaratunge. ### The campaign of hate, intimidation and violence directed against Muslims in post-war ...

From shanty to home : Myth vs reality of Colombo’s Urban Regeneration Project Photo by Abdul-Halik Azeez, courtesy The Picture Press The ambitious Urban Regeneration Project (URP) launched by the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development aims to transform Colombo into a world-class destination for tourism and investment. Central to this eliminating “shanties, slums and other dilapidated housing from the city of Colombo by resettlement of the families presently living under unhygienic ...

“Where are the Sri Lankan Female Scientists?” A Case of Democratizing Science Photo by Reuters, courtesy International Business Times In recent decades, many researchers, education specialists and policy advocates have paid increasing attention to the issue of gender bias in science. While several successful attempts have been made to increase female participation in science, a dearth of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields still remains around the world. ...

Is it the NGOs in Sri Lanka that need straitjacketing? Photo courtesy JDS Just as a criticism of the Ministry of Sports or the Cricket Control Board, are in no way a critique of Sri Lanka’s cricket team or its sportsmen and women, I must clarify that my critique of the Defense bureaucracy is in no way a critique of the Sri Lankan armed forces. The low growl of ...

Responding to Aluthgama Photography by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Responding to Aluthgama Imagine a country, an island in the Indian Ocean. Let’s call it Serendib (ooh, the irony). Imagine further: several groups, including those named Limat, Milsum and Alahnis, populate the island. A long war ended there some five or so years ago. Nevertheless, peace gives it a pass. Just the other day, a ...

Stop blaming the victims Photo by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana In the weeks that have passed since 6-15 (15th June) when Sri Lanka witnessed one of the worst outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence, the official narrative has been as chilling as the events. The government initially dismissed the violence that has so far claimed at least four lives directly, displaced over 370 families and damaged property ...

Proud Inheritors or Petty Contractors? Understanding the BBS phenomenon in Sri Lankan politics Photo by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana The speech delivered by Ven. Galaboda-atté Gnanasara at a public meeting in the Aluthgama on 14 June 2014 is broadly considered as the primary cause that triggered the subsequent rampage and violence in that area. Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the organisation of which Ven. Gnanasara is the Secretary General, is squarely accused of encouraging, instigating and ...

The Riots of June 2014 and Pogrom of July 1983 Photo by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana It is unlikely that there is anyone living who remembers the anti -Muslim riots of 1915. In any case, apart from the fact that most of the victims were Muslims and most of the perpetrators were Sinhalese, there are few similarities between the riots of 1915 and 2014. In1915 the British administration, in sharp contrast ...

A full frontal military assault on Mangala Samaraweera Image courtesy Sunday Leader Late last week we witnessed the scenario where the Army spokesman, a brigadier in rank, made the unusual claim that current UNP spokesman and former Rajapakse Administration Foreign Minister, MP Mangala Samaraweera had compromised national security by alleging at a press conference, that state intelligence agencies or at least some intelligence chiefs, were supporting the ...

The aftermath: Aluthgama two weeks on All photos by the author. Two weeks have passed since violence broke out in Aluthgama and Beruwala on the 15th June- a day that will go down in the history books of Sri Lanka as nothing short of a dark, dark day.  These are a few photos I managed to take while carefully stepping through the rubble of the ...

Sri Lanka redefines “curfew” in Beruwela Lest we forget, the Police imposed a curfew in Beruwela and Aluthgama on 15th June in an effort to stop the violence against Muslims in the area. The curfew in Aluthgama was imposed at 6.45pm according to the Government’s official news portal. A news bulletin broadcast at 9pm on TV featured Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana noting that ...

Ven. Wataraka Thero’s last statement before his arrest (with English subtitles) Groundviews has already published a detailed record of the violence the BBS has meted out on Ven. Wataraka Thero, the Chief Incumbent of the Rotalawela Mahaweli Maha Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya, in the Uva province. Ven. Wataraka Thero was recently found injured and bound in a ditch near Colombo recently. The Police later claimed the injuries were self-inflicted, and after he was discharged ...

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