Mixed feelings one year on

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy Thuppahi One year ago, on August 18, a new Parliament was elected on an ambitious premise of good governance. The public voted for change, and for an ambitious overhaul of the status quo. A year later, the public has mixed feelings about whether this new unity Government has succeeded. A Twitter poll taken by over 90  people ...

National Unity Government after one year

Groundviews
Photograph courtesy Ada Derana August 19th was the first anniversary of the National Unity Government elected after the last general elections and several political issues have dominated the recent news, especially the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Act and the recent removal by the President as SLFP leader of Joint Opposition SLFP members from their posts as party organizers. Losing ...

Submission by Hashtag Generation to the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms

Groundviews
Photo courtesy Consultation Task Force Thank you very for hosting us this evening at this consultation on reconciliation mechanisms.  Meaningfully consulting young people is imperative to ensure the legitimacy of any transitional justice process adopted. Therefore, we are extremely pleased that you recognized youth and youth-led organizations as a demographic that should be covered though your sectoral consultations. Hashtag Generation ...

A Year of Political Rights and Economic Wrongs

Groundviews
Photo courtesy International Business Times One year after winning the parliamentary election of August 2015, the government is on track politically. One year after winning the parliamentary election of August 2015, the government is straying economically. In the year gone by, Sri Lanka has moved towards greater democratisation and reconciliation. The pace may not be to everyone’s satisfaction; much remains ...

The Office on Missing Persons: A New Chapter or Another Empty Promise?

Groundviews
Image courtesy Amnesty International 11 August 2016 was an important day for the victims of past abuses in Sri Lanka. This was when Sri Lanka’s Parliament enacted legislation to establish the first permanent entity to investigate and inquire in enforced and involuntary disappearances and missing persons. For the victims, many who have gone before numerous investigations with no follow up, ...

Different yet Equal: On effectively battling hatred

Groundviews
The corner of Bauddhaloka mawatha near Independence Arcade was relatively quiet at 4:30 pm, apart from a small group holding white umbrellas. These were participants of “Different Yet Equal” an online-led campaign aiming to hold a peaceful vigil to advocate for a pluralist Sri Lanka, united against hatred and divisiveness. As the crowd slowly grew, vigil participants eventually lined themselves ...

OMP – When labels take precedence over content

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy IRIN News On Thursday 11 August, 2016, Parliament pushed through one of the most sensitive and important pieces of legislation, the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Act amidst the most uncivilised and ugly Parliamentary behaviour. That was not how such an important bill should have been passed in Parliament. The OMP allows for a permanent mechanism to ...

The Process Behind OMP: Video interviews

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill was passed in Parliament without a vote, a short while ago. The setting up of the OMP was subject to much mainstream media coverage, most of it misleading. Groundviews conducted a series of video interviews to demystify the process behind setting up the OMP. Below are the interviews, ...

Interim Report: Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms

Groundviews
Photo courtesy CTF Access the complete report here or read it embedded below. Access the Executive Summary as a PDF here. Access the concluding observations of the CTF as a PDF here. Access a summary of actions recommended in the submissions to the CTF here. ### EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of INTERIM REPORT The Office on Missing Persons Bill  and Issues Concerning the ...

Thatta Gayikawa (The Bald Soprano) – A Review

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy Thatta Gayikawa Facebook page Mild trepidation accompanied me to the Punchi Theatre the other night (29th July). A jaded palate with too much memory of stale theatrical tropes – the growing longing for the escape hatch of the interval, a hasty exit, the acerbic comfort of a gin and tonic had become the staple of my theatrical experience. Besides, ...

The Case against Private Universities: A Response to a Growing Conversation

Groundviews
Photo courtesy News First Sri Lanka’s tertiary education sector and its resistance to the private sector has become a topic of gleeful conversation over the past week on social media. Some of these conversations have taken the form of a critical talk show (such as this piece on Yamu) and there was also a roar.lk editorial on the need to ...

Bury them right now

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy the Wall Street Journal The modern political discourse on conflict resolution becomes a banality when it invariably tends to get stuck with a buzz word or phrase. Then, the intellectual circus begins. The experts coin them or rush to appropriate or even misappropriate this word or that phrase, resulting in a plethora of analyses, expositions, theorising, discourses ...

Muttur Siege: Reflecting 10 years on

Groundviews
Featured image provided by author Ten years is a significant milestone: a decade; a generation.  A lot can happen in ten years and a lot has.  Ten years ago, the smartphone was still a concept that was being tried and tested; MSN Messenger was the way people communicated with each other. Ten years is also a long time to carry a ...

Jaffna University – when entitlement is rejected

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy Tamil Guardian On the 16th of July, a clash happened between students at Jaffna University over the inclusion of Sinhalese cultural spectacles in the welcome event. Below is a brief of the events but a more in-depth report of the goings-on can be found on DBS Jeyaraj’s blog.[i] The background to this skirmish is a freshers’ welcome ...

Black July, Government promises and our future

Groundviews
(Featured image courtesy Thuppahi Transcript of sharing at the Black July commemoration in London, 25th July 2016) I’m thankful to British Tamils Forum (BTF) for inviting me to share some reflections and thoughts on this occasion. Many of you gathered for this commemoration might be Tamils. Some may be survivors and families of victims of Black July and numerous other ...

National Reconciliation – A Pipe Dream unless Inclusivity Achieved

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy Rotary Peace Centre “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” -Benjamin Franklin  It is ironic that Sri Lanka, which had such a favourable point of departure and was one of the most affluent countries in Asia in 1947; a model which even ...

Keeping the Lunatic Fringe in the Fringe

Groundviews
Photo courtesy Tamil Guardian “What we must pursue…is not a competitive bruising arena for the claims of ideology or religion, but an open marketplace for both ideas and faiths.” Wole Soyinka (Convocation Address, Wake Forest University – 1999) July 2016 could have become a very small-scale reproduction of July 1983, attacks and counterattacks, panicky actions and fear-filled reactions, hysteria, mayhem ...

Everyday Heroes: Untold Stories of Black July

Groundviews
July 23. The date has an awful significance for some, and has been blotted out by time for others. On that date, in 1983, a group of LTTE militants killed 13 Army soldiers. The attack brought simmering tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamils bubbling to the surface. The result: mobs of Sinhalese set upon and brutally attacked hundreds of Tamil ...

Is the Air Pollution Analysis for the Sampur Coal Plant Credible?

Groundviews
Featured image courtesy Tamil Guardian From Lareef Zubair, with contributors Shashini Rathnayake, Janan Vishwanathan and Zeenas Yahiya of the Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology Where does the Wind take pollutants from Sampur? As per modern myth, school texts, national atlases, and indigenous forecasters, the wind blows from the North-East over Sri Lanka at the turn of the calendar year. ...