Synthetic development, commodification of the body and the vote under neo-liberal economic policies: Where to now? Photo credit Marvellous Sri Lanka In modern day governance, there are certain principles that peace-loving people expect the rulers to implement. One of them is accountability. Accountability for the actions, expenditure, decisions, and appointments that governments make. In advanced democratic societies, there are mechanisms to ensure accountability with vested powers to seek and collect information, summon officials before parliamentary ...

Do we enjoy universal adult Franchise? Image courtesy SBS We did enjoy full adult voting rights in our island for 18 years after the far reaching Donoughmore reforms of 1931 (reaching further than many of our leaders, Sinhalese Tamil and Muslim asked for or even wanted). But two Acts of 1949, among the earliest post-independence legislation, took away citizenship and voting rights of about a ...

Koslanda landslide: Before and after images now on Google Earth Groundviews was able to obtain from Digital Globe imagery around the aftermath of the Koslanda landslide. The following image was the area as it was on 30th May 2012. The following image was taken after the landslide by Digital Globe satellites. A rough Google Earth based measurement puts the length of the landslide at around 855m. Download the KML here. ...

President’s reference to the Supreme Court It is reported in the media that President Rajapaksa has referred to the Supreme Court for its opinion the question of his own competency to contest a further term, and that the Registrar of the Court, on the instructions of the Chief Justice, has written to the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka inviting submissions in writing ...

Kaleidoscope of Desire Photo by Dominic Sansoni It’s really weird to live in a place and then to come “home” and feel like a stranger there too. It’s unusual to be thinking utensils are superfluous and that all this air-conditioning is making me cold. Yet, throughout the summer to early fall – from Texas to New York to Maryland – the utensils ...

The Journey of Content: Instagram Unplugged IRL We are discussing a photograph. It was taken by the camera of a smartphone. It has been viewed by thousands, engaged with by hundreds, and is now being exhibited at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. @colombedouin is Abdul-Halik Azeez. Colombedouin is the title of the exhibition that is ongoing at the time of conducting this interview. It is a strange ...

The Koslanda landslide: Photos around the aftermath The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday (29th October) morning. Part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers’ homes in 9m (30ft) of mud and debris. An estimated 100 people are still listed as missing, the ...

Ensure and protect the rights of people who survived the landslide Image courtesy Colombo Gazette Memorandum to the Ministry of Disaster Management  Ensure and protect the rights of people, especially women and children, who survived the landslide which occurred in the Haldumulla DS area on 29th October 2014 As the Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management, Batticaloa, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the people who perished in the ...

NOT SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: SARATH SILVA AND THE LEGALITY OF MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA’S THIRD TERM Image courtesy Newsfirst In the flood of commentary that has followed the former Chief Justice Sarath Silva’s public intervention regarding the potential illegality of President Rajapaksa seeking a third term, many have joined debate to remind us of Silva’s unsavoury behaviour on and off the Bench. One of the implications of these reminders, some of which have a rather ...

In conversation with Thaji Dias The gifted Thaji Dias is the Principal Dancer of the Chithrasena Dance Company. We begin our conversation, unsurprisingly, by getting Thaji to recall her first memories of dance, given the family and company she grew up in (including being chased away by her grand-father, Chitrasena). Pegged to an interview with the mainstream press, Thaji is asked what she considers ...

In conversation with Selyna Peiris Selyna Peiris is an Attorney-at-law and Director at Selyn Handlooms. She is also President of the Sri Lankan Liberal Youth organisation and was elected Chair of the Asian Liberal Youth Caucus. We begin by talking about Selyna’s work around entrepreneurship and fair-trade certification, looking at what the future for traditional industry is in post-war Sri Lanka, with an economy ...

In conversation with Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayake Dinesha de Silva Wikramanayake is the Country Representative of The Asia Foundation. We begin by talking about what compelled Dinesha to join TAF, after, as noted on the Foundation’s site, two decades of experience in the field of international development – with special interest and experience in economic governance, rule of law, access to justice, and conflict resolution. We go ...

Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot succeed President Rajapaksa I have discussed in these columns some days ago the contention that President Rajapaksa is not qualified to fight an election for a third term by virtue of the operation of Article 31(2) of the Constitution. The repeal of that article by the Eighteenth Amendment does not remove the past operation of anything suffered under the repealed law. Since ...

The Role of Women in Countering Extremism I want to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for taking this important initiative to have debate and discussion on one of the most pressing issues of our times. I have been invited in my capacity as lead author of the Secretary General’s Global Study on Women Peace and Security mandated by the SC resolution 2122. Most ...

Securely communicate with Groundviews The Editor of Groundviews can now be reached over Telegram, a secure messaging app for mobiles and desktop chat clients. Given the Snowden revelations in general and the pervasive surveillance architectures governing information flows in Sri Lanka, secure communications for whistleblowers, informants, human rights defenders and civil society activists is of paramount importance. As noted on the web, “Telegram ...

Thoughts on hate speech online Comments delivered at the launch of Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies on 29th October 2014. ### Firstly, thank you to the Centre for Policy Alternatives for inviting me to speak today.  I have to admit that I tend to do ...

Pusswedilla is a Trojan Horse We have grown to either love or hate the Pusswedilla franchise. Most relish it as high (even low) entertainment with the added thrill of political parody. Some dismiss it as poor satire. I propose to do no such thing—simply because Pusswedilla only masquerades as satire. It is the Trojan horse of Sri Lankan theatre. Why the political establishment has ...

The JHU critiques the Rajapakse Presidency Image courtesy News First The barbs and criticisms of a political ally can in politics often do greater damage than even the more forthright criticism of an opponent. The reason for this has all to do with political constituency. When the opposition criticizes the Rajapakse presidency, it resonates mainly with those that are already politically in disagreement with the ...

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