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 ...

DO WE NEED AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO THE THIRD TERM QUESTION BEYOND TEXT AND INTENTION? Photo by AFP courtesy Asia One Amidst strong indications following the Uva provincial election result that a panicked regime is planning an early presidential election, there has been a vigorous debate in the media about the consequences of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the presidential two-term limit and removed other procedural restraints on presidential power. There ...

Kerosene, Koothu and Paper: Questions and answers On Sunday, 19 October 2014 the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design screened, for the first time in Jaffna, three short films by Kannan Arunasalam. Kerosene, Koothu and Paper were produced for Groundviews in 2011 as part of the Moving Images project. The Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design is a flagship project of Raking Leaves, a ...

That Third Term Photo courtesy The Daily Beast President Rajapakse’s eligibility to seek a third term as President has become a contentious issue ever since former Chief Justice Sarath Silva declared several weeks ago that President Rajapakse is legally barred from contesting a third time. Some commentators have challenged Sarath Silva’s views and Chinthaka Mendis was one of them (see Chinthaka Mendis, ...

Imbalance of power between the Executive and the Legislature,  Constitutional Dilemmas and the Need for a Community-Oriented Model Photo courtesy Wikipedia For a society to function smoothly, there has to be a commonly agreed framework of governance. This framework defines and specifies the way those who are elected to govern are to be elected, the powers they ought to have, in which circumstances and for what purposes, ability to delegate, responsibilities of various sections such as the ...

Review of Harshan Kumarasingham’s A Political Legacy of the British Empire In our long discussions about Sri Lanka’s post-independence political history, India’s large shadow falls inevitably upon us, bringing with it a curious and mixed effect; it is both alarming and inspiring at times, but also quite disheartening and dispiriting on other occasions. We were both part of the ...

A Presidential visit up North Photo courtesy Yahoo By all accounts, President Rajapakse’s unprecedented and rather controversial third term re-election campaign, though unofficial, has begun in earnest. Last week he presented the Cabinet of Ministers with a proposal to increase communal harmony in the country and implement the LLRC proposals, though a few weeks earlier the defense establishment, had facilitated a convention of an ...

Letter to Nonis the Chris Dearest  Mr. Nonis, who is doctor also, It is with the greatest sadness that we are hearing about the assault upon your person by the person who is supposed to be monitoring persons in the ministry of the foreign affairs. It is coming to me like the shock deep in the night. While I am in coma-like sleep I ...

In conversation with Nimalka Fernando: Life as an activist in Sri Lanka Nimalka Fernando is one of Sri Lanka’s best known human rights activists and the President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR). Nimalka’s activism has in recent years generated violent pushback from the Government – prime time radio programmes on State owned channels have openly and with impunity discussed ways to silence her permanently, ...

Lessons from Scotland Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images, via Al Jazeera Scotland has much to teach us. The democratic decision of the UK government to hold a Referendum in Scotland in response to persistent demands from a section of the Scottish people for an independent Scotland (to which the government and a large majority of the population were totally opposed) and ...

The Government’s decision to arbitrarily deport Pakistani refugee-asylum seekers is unacceptable and wrong. Local stress Asylum seekers usually leave their home countries due to fear or deprivation, or both. The Pakistanis on our soil are mostly from religious minorities (Christians and Islamic sects) who face immense hardship and discrimination under the harsh “Blasphemy Law”; questioned by a cross section ...

A Monaragala problem for the Rajapakse Regime Speculation mounts not just in political circles but also in civil society of an impending presidential election, early in the New Year. The Uva Provincial Council elections, which besides being constitutionally required, were also a testing of the political waters by the Rajapakse Administration and the results could not have been more disturbing to those in the corridors of ...

On Restoring Forests It is rumored that the Government will set about the task of having 35% of Sri Lanka covered with forest.  If so, that is a laudable goal. But one hopes that this activity will be framed by the knowledge that allowed Sri Lanka to make the following statement at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP III, in Buenos ...

Online hate speech stokes fear of religious violence in Sri Lanka Photo courtesy Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Hate speech is growing more effective and pervasive among media platforms in Sri Lanka, prompting concern from Muslim and Christian minorities amid mounting attacks. The Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) released a report this week on the challenges surrounding the significant uptick in online-based hate speech in post-war Sri Lanka. “The growth of content creation ...

William Blake, Buddhism and Human Rights – value of praxis over ideology [William Blake 1757-1827 demonstrated through his art and poetry how opposite views were actually relative and dependent on each other and that they were reconcilable once we overcame the mental trap of ‘abstraction’ and solidification, the act of removing something out of its context and turning it into an absolute] [The Asokan pillar is a symbol of fearlessness that ...

New evidence of torture by Sri Lanka’s security forces An ethnic Tamil survivor of alleged torture at the hands of Sri Lankan security forces poses for a photograph in London, October 2012. Photo by Will Baxter. New evidence has emerged that Sri Lanka’s security forces have perpetrated acts of torture and sexual violence against ethnic Tamils as recently as last year, according to a UK-based rights group. In a ...

The Silva Elections Photo courtesy The Daily Beast The news from the Uva side is not good. The vote base of Our Majesty’s government is doing a Jack and Jill – tumbling down the hillside. This is causing much worry to very common people like myself. What is going to be happening if the votes are continuing to be tumbling down? Already ...

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