October 19, 2003. That was CFA time, i.e. the time of the Ceasefire Agreement between the then Government, headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It was a time of talk, especially about federalism. Negotiations were held. 'Understandings' reached. There were pundits and punditry. It was a time when editors were told to treat the CFA ...

Prof Ashley Halpe: a teacher in and out of class There would have been more than 400 students gathered in the Ratnayake Hall, Dumbara Campus, University of Peradeniya on October 15, 1985. They were all first year students of the Arts Faculty and strangers to one another for the most part. Some words were spoken that morning. Some may remember, some may have forgotten. Speaking strictly for myself they were ...

සමාජවාදය කතා නොකළ ප්‍රතිගාමියා පිලිබඳ කෙටි සටහනක් "පේරාදෙණිය සරසවියේ නොනවතින හූව". 1986 හෝ 1987 වසරේ පුවත් පතක පළ වූ ලිපියක සිරස්තලයකි ඒ. ලිව්වේ කවුද, පත්තරේ කුමක්ද දැන් මතක නැත. නිමිත්ත මතකයි. 'වල සතියේ' නාට්‍යයක් නොනවතින හූවක් හේතු කොට ගෙන නතර කිරීමට සිදුවිය. ලියුම් කරුගේ අදහස වුයේ හොඳ නාට්‍යයක් රස විඳීමට අවශ්‍ය දැනුම සරසිවී සිසුන් බහුතරයකට නොමැති බවයි. ඔහු හෝ ඇය වරද පටවූවේ සරසවි ඇඳුරන්ට ය. විශේෂයෙන් වේදිකා ...

The 18th of May 2009 and the battle over meaning Thrishantha Nanayakkara once said ‘All wars have been fought twice; once in the battlefield and once down the alleys of memory’. This is true. The battle today is about remembrance. It’s not just about commemoration but about meaning. It’s about definitions. It is about post-war language. The National Peace Council (NPC) issued a statement recently with a nice line: ‘No ...

Truth and reconciliation must begin with truth, not myth This article was published in 'The Nation' on May 18, 2010, one year after the LTTE was militarily defeated. The end of terrorism did not coincide with the end of separatist moves of course. That project whose military articulation was defeated is alive. What the end of the war did was to create a space for the necessary conversation about ...

There were cries of horror when Mahinda Rajapaksa was getting ready to bring in legislation to do away with presidential term limits. Some of the objectors and objections were of course coloured by political preferences. Had it been Ranil, for example, many of the objectors may very well have been quiet. After all, among the older set of objectors were ...

Silence is an eraser that sets fire to libraries I wrote about libricide or the act of setting fire to libraries, books etc., a term that could be extended to include the notion of censorship and self-censorship as well. I mentioned several libraries that have been burnt/destroyed in various parts of the world at various times in history. At least three people, upon reading the article ('Pyromaniac, thy manuscript ...

The forgotten files of abduction, assault and assassination In short all disappearances must be investigated. You cannot point to some ‘arranged-disappearances’ such as those of many LTTE cadres as reason for not initiating inquiries into all disappearances. You cannot say ‘they were terrorists’; even the disappearances of such individuals should be investigated. After the late Lalith Athulathmudali was killed in April 1993, many pointed fingers at the ...

Pyromaniac, thy manuscript will not burn! It is called ‘biblioclasm’ or ‘libricide’. It is censorship in its most brutal, visible and intimidating form. It is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other material in public, typically motivated by moral, religious or political objection. Famous cases of libricide include the torching of the Library of Alexandra and the destruction of Mayan codices by Spanish conquistadors ...

The true old school tie Royalists of a different era, i.e. those who left school in the eighties or before, would know of Kataya. That’s E.C. Gunasekara. Vice Principal. Disciplinarian. Tyrant, to some, yes. A gentlemen too. Almost everyone who was a student during his time would have a Kataya story. If they were all gathered it would make a wonderful story about schooldays, pranks ...

A one-sport nation is nothing to brag about Cricket and nothing else? Last night I went to an amazing place; a gymnasium with all kinds of strange looking gadgets. Now I have been to gymnasiums and have seen exercise machines. I’ve seen television programmes where well built men and women with what are taught to believe are ‘perfect bodies’ go on and on about the virtues of such ...

The dimensions of self-condemnation Pic courtesy Daily NewsThe May Day poster of the United National Party had an interesting caption: කැප කරපු ජනතාවගේ මැයි දින රැලිය (‘Kepakarapu janathavage mai dina raeliya’). Kanishka Goonewardena, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, who was with me as we drove past a wall covered with this poster, was amused by the caption. ‘Kepa karapu? Doesn’t that ...

May Day and the real "anthima satana" (Final Battle)* It’s May Day once again and as usual there is an excuse for political parties who know the right labour words but have the wrong (right) labour policies to have a party, a show of force and maybe even make workers feel that they have been counted in. This, sadly, is as true of the supposedly radical/left parties as those ...

Are you a parasite or an oasis in a desert? Ask not what your country can do for you; ask instead what you can do for your country. Yes, it is a famous quote. US President, John F. Kennedy made this famous statement on citizens’ responsibility during his inauguration speech in 1961. It was not quite as original as a lot of people made it out to be though.The line ...

The NPC Resolution is both a threat and an opportunity Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran has a lot of opinions. To him, Velupillai Prabhakaran is a hero. He is entitled to that view – after all some people swear by god and some by the devil. C.V. Wigneswaran is not thanking anyone for the fact that he can actually issue statements from Jaffna without getting them vetted by a hooligan. That’s ok ...

It was brought to my notice many months after this was written (first published in April 2010) that an organization referred to in the article below had interpreted it as a 'fatwa'. Representatives of the outfit ranted and raved in certain socialist/left circles but tellingly did not include a reference to the article. Someone once said that 99 percent of ...

Previous Page