UN Investigators for Sri Lanka, Show Your Work! Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Image via Al Jazeera If the U.N. wants to promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka, it has to show its work.  U.N. investigators should use tools and methods that are transparent, replicable, and open to scrutiny by all.  Every Sri Lankan, both inside and outside the country, deserves the chance to question the methods behind ...

The Spectre of Evictions and Land Grabs in Colombo Photo by Abdul-Halik Azeez courtesy The Picture Press There is a new energy to the beautification and development of urban areas in Colombo with a surge in construction, reconstruction and opening up of new spaces.  The other side to this is the demolition of private properties and the eviction of thousands of people. In August 2014 media showed the ...

Remembering 1994: Violence interrupted, democracy restored Photo courtesy Club Madrid May 2014 marked the fifth anniversary of the brutal end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, amidst massive human rights violations by rival armies that killed thousands of civilians. While many Sri Lankans felt relieved to be free of the fear of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, communalism has since been allowed to flourish and ...

Prioritising Truth in Post-War Sri Lanka Photo courtesy Daily Maverick “How do we keep the past alive without becoming its prisoner? How do we forget it without risking its repetition in the future?” Ariel Dorfman, ‘Death and the Maiden’ The Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman poses these questions in his play Death and the Maiden after witnessing massive human rights violations in his home country and ...

Is Sri Lanka sinking in to an abyss of racism and apartheid? Photo by Shilpa Samaratunge Two months since the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) inspired anti Muslim attack in Aluthgama took place causing scores of damage, destruction and death to the livelihood, properties and life of the Muslim community, evidence is emerging that the attack is not spontaneous but a well orchestrated plan to attack Muslims and to incite more violence. It ...

When press releases become propaganda How the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2014 was reported in Sri Lankan media reads as a cautionary tale when dealing with press releases. The report was brought to my attention upon reading an ‘article’ in the Daily FT titled ‘World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2014: Sri Lanka top in South Asia‘ (high resolution image ...

Slums, shanties or stories? Image courtesy Sharni Jayawardena and Tarika Wickremeratne, Walkabout: Slave Island An article titled A slum and shanties free Colombo by 2020 recently published on the infamous defence.lk site notes that, “Our effort is to see a slums and shanties free Colombo in year 2020″ said Mr. Weerasena Adikari, Senior Consultant of Urban Development Authority speaking at the weekly media ...

A blow-by-blow commentary of the mob attack on families of disappeared Image courtesy Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai. More photos on her Twitter feed as well as from Marisa de Silva. 3.15pm: On the 4th of August a private sharing of experiences session organized by civil society inside the Centre for Society and Religion [CSR] is disrupted by an organized gang led by what appeared to be a group of Buddhist monks. Sri Lankan law enforcement ...

Where have all the young men gone? All photos by the author. See full set of photos here. Snippets from hearings of the Presidential Commission to investigate into complaints regarding missing persons Sathurukondan, 09/09/1990 Q: Who is the missing person? A: Father, mother, brother, grandmother, grandfather, younger sister, older sister and her three children.  An eerie silence followed these words that was only broken by the ...

“We the People”: Reflections on Governance and Civic Engagement in Sri Lanka Deshamanya Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda 17th Memorial Oration August 1, 2014, Sri Lanka Foundation It would not be an exaggeration to say that I was deeply humbled by the invitation to deliver the 17th Deshamanya Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda Memorial Oration. At the outset, let me thank the members of the Nandadasa Kodagoda Memorial Trust for the honor of the invitation. Let ...

Mob disrupts meeting of families of disappeared: Police & Government hound participants Image courtesy Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai. More photos on her Twitter feed as well as from Marisa de Silva. Families of the disappeared from the Northern Province, gathered in Colombo on 4th August 2014, at 2.30pm, at the Centre for Society&Religion (CSR), which is a Church (Oblates of Mary Immaculate – OMI) run institution situated in the premises of a Catholic Church. ...

POST-UVA POLITICAL PIVOT Image courtesy Lanka Puvath Perhaps the most interesting single thing to watch about the upcoming Uva election is whether or not the UNP will get significantly more than half of the vote that the Government succeeds in obtaining. Will the Govt’s percentage of the vote increase, decrease or remain roughly static? If it is a decrease, will that be ...

Cycles of joy and pain: Ode to the Jaffna cyclist Build and break Break and build Is this not A child’s world? Stamp your journey with mildness Stamp your journey with gentleness Tread with care Disturb nothing Inherit the earth By being the earth Take the self out Let the thought Float away Watch the wheels Move up and down Watch the mood swing High and low Find the ...

That which shall not be named Photo by AFP/LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI via Pakistan Today On the 19th of July 2014, my cook hands me a police form to fill. It is one of those usual forms that we were inundated with during the war. The form asks for almost the same information as the election registration forms, with the one exception of asking for details of ...

Review of  ‘Walking Path’by Stages Theatre Group Photo courtesy Stages Theatre Group It is a ‘must see’ play which is a bold and insightful critique on the rapidly changing landscape of Colombo. It describes the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful that is taking place as a consequence. The play creates a youthful atmosphere with plenty of comedy and entertaining rhythmic aerobics performed to lively ...

Invisible architectures: Thoughts on Walking Path You go to the city to see the law. Upon arrival outside the building, there is a guard who says “You may not pass without permission”, you notice that the door is open, but it closed enough for you to not see anything (the law). You point out that you can easily go into the building, and the guard ...

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