SITA MAMI Photo by La Shawn Pagan via NYC Views and News (A semi fictional account written in 1991 and edited) They had to postpone the funeral by a couple of days. The children wanted to pay their last respects. Flights had to come in from Canada, England, Dubai and Australia. Transport had to be organised. Announcements had to be made. ...

“Walking Path” – A play without words A play without words is a risky proposition. Why would a theatrical production abandon one of the most powerful tools at its disposal? In a performative audio-visual medium like theatre words can and do carry much weight. Much of theatre is carried by words – sometimes at the expense of the theatrical. The no-words choice in “Walking Path” appears ...

OPPOSITION TRENDS IN THE ELECTION SEASON Image courtesy JVP Media Unit If the Rajapaksa administration wanted to mislead and confuse the mainstream opposition and lead it to an electoral dead-end, it could hardly do better than the opposition has itself done, and done unto itself. The main Opposition candidate remains Ranil Wickremesinghe who has no rural resonance. As Mervyn de Silva wrote, “the road to ...

A TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER EXPERIENCE? A PRELIMINARY COMMENT ON THE NMSJ’S ROAD MAP Image by AFP’s Ishara Kodikara courtesy Foreign Correspondents Association Sri Lanka There was a remarkable image in the news recently. It was from the meeting of the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera’s National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) at which a ‘road map’ for the abolition of the executive presidency was launched on 24th July 2014. Seated on the front ...

Relevance of Freedom of Association in 1992 and today:  Ratawawi Peramuna  and its players Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg News, via The Japan Times Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), are the popular punching bag of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), when its actions are challenged by any individual and/or organization. Name-calling, brandishing circulars to warn NGOs and now a draconian law to prevent them from raising public issues has been the modus operandi of the ...

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 ...

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