These Four Walls We like to admit that we’ve moved past that and are moving forward but conflict scars a nation in ways that can’t always be healed. Our places are beautiful – sea, lagoon, river, forest, mountain – but our spaces are hurt – bombs, bullets, mortar, shells, fire. Our land will change with each coming rain, with water constantly on ...

PODCASTS from “Watch this space: Framing the past, untying the future” exhibition Curated by Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives and Editor of Groundviews, Sanjana Hattotuwa, and in collaboration with Artraker (United Kingdom), Watch this space: Framing the past, untying the future – an exhibition featuring Sri Lankan art and work from the Artraker “Art of Peace” series, theatre and public discussions – was an attempt to interrogate how ...

The Inevitability of the Banana Republic Image courtesy Bloomberg Sri Lanka has been a ‘banana republic,’ for quite some time, and clearly so throughout the oligarchy of the Rajapaksas. Formally, a banana republic is “a small country that is economically dependent on a single export commodity, such as bananas, and is typically governed by a dictator or the armed forces.”[1] But in our case, the fate ...

Shanthi Sachithanandan: In Memoriam It was with deep sadness that I learnt Shanthi Sachithanandan had passed away yesterday. In emails and face to face conversations spanning many years, I remember an individual who was, at her core, deeply committed to the work around empowering those at the margins to become their own agents of change, even in conditions of great austerity. Groundviews has featured Shanthi’s ...

The Use of Strategic Considerations in Elections Photograph by REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte, via Daily Nation On what criteria should we vote in elections? Should it based on the issues closest to our own, irrespective of likely consequences? Or should it be strategic, designed to achieve the best possible results (long term and immediate)? I have been mostly Colombo based and voting since the parliamentary elections of 1956. Initially, ...

The Deconstruction of a Supremacist Photo via Al Jazeera Notwithstanding his rise to ultimate  power as a politician in this country,  Mahinda Rajapaksa retains the mindset of  an uneducated peasant , in this instance  from Giruwapattuwa. Despite being one of the most shrewd, and one of the most successful  political manipulators in the short independent history of this country, he opts to place his ...

Kartel: an evolving mixed Muslim heritage in Slave Island A story of saints, slaves, moneylenders and mercenaries at the heart of Colombo Branching from a walking tour of Slave Island conducted at Colomboscope 2015, the following article is a collection of ideas and stories shared over the festival backed by a personal interest and research in mosque spaces in the South West of Sri Lanka. Once an island ...

Debating the Ancient and Present: A Conversation with Romila Thapar Sasanka Perera, ed., Debating the Ancient and Present: A Conversation with Romila Thapar. Delhi: Aakar Books and Department of Sociology, South Asian University, 2015, pp.75, INR.125.00 (Paperback). The ‘Past’ decides the ‘Present’ in India. The past is an everyday word, in politics, academics, culture and science in India. The ‘Present’ questions of the ‘Past’ are often seen as ideological ...

On Creating Our Future Photo via #happysrilankans We have emerged, as a nation that is maturing politically and can determine its future in a participatory, democratic manner. Now that the process of lying out of our future has begun, the vision should never again be left to a few individuals, but discussed widely and embarked upon with the widest consensus. We all have ...

Kumar Sangakkara: The greatest hero of our time The Cricketing world will pause for a moment, to celebrate the legendary career of Kumar Sangakkara that draws to a close, and then move on; a bit richer for the legacy he leaves behind, for the standards he raised, expectations he upheld and for his story being entwined with the story of Cricket. He has already confirmed his place ...

From Real Election to Realpolitik Photograph courtesy Wall Street Journal “His (Mahinda Rajapaksa’s) chief interest will be to strike a deal on the corruption investigations against himself and his family.” Manik de Silva (CNN – 19.8.2015) The UPFA fought two consecutive elections in an imaginary country and lost them both. In that imaginary country the minority vote was of less value and weight; and ...

A word from an academic to the new Government Let me first congratulate President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena and the elections commissioner Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya for bringing such an honor to Sri Lanka from across the Globe for the high standard of the General Election 2015. I returned to Sri Lanka and joined the staff of the University of Moratuwa in 2003 mainly to start a research laboratory for ...

Archives of General Election 2015: #SLGE15 & #GenElecSL Over eight weeks, Groundviews archived every single tweet tagged with either #SLGE15 or #GenElecSL. Once a week throughout the campaign period, these archives were released over Twitter for anyone to browse through or download. Sentiments, positions, promises and statements expressed over Twitter, an ephemeral medium, become extremely difficult to index and search for as time goes by. Content on Twitter, including linked images, ...

Letter by President Maithripala Sirisena to Mahinda Rajapaksa Official translation, sent to us by the Presidential Secretariat, of the letter by President Maithripala Sirisena to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, penned on 13 August 2015. For Rajpaksa’s response to this letter (in Sinhala) see here. Image courtesy Indi.ca. ### Dear Mr. Mahinda Rajapasksa, I am writing to you today, in my capacity as the chairman of the Sri Lanka ...

NO WAY, MR. RAJAPAKSA Photo by AP Photo/Sanka Gayashan, via Japan Times A slogan from one of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign websites for tomorrow’s election reads, “Let’s start afresh”. Looking at it harder, the slogan is as audacious as it is insulting. When you strip away its optimistic posturing, the slogan’s meaning becomes clear: Just imagine the former president, as he sheepishly sweeps his ...

PANEL DISCUSSION: Transforming politics for transitional justice Today (Saturday, 15th), 5.30-7pm, Park Street Mews, Warehouse D, Colombo, Sri Lanka Free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets. Limited seating. What role does mainstream politics have to play in memorialising the inconvenient and the violent? How can the responsibility to serve the best interests of all those in a constituency override more parochial concerns of rewarding ...

Panel Discussion: The Art of Memorialisation Today (Friday, 14th), 5.30-7pm, Park Street Mews, Warehouse D, Colombo, Sri Lanka Free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets. Limited seating. How do we see our past, and thereby choose to learn from or repeat that which gave rise to violence? In framing histories, what are the politics of selection and exclusion? In a country where the ...

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