The world is rearranged by silhouettes There are times when we wonder if things are as they really seem. Think of something. Think of just one thing. Let’s say…hmmm…a coconut tree you can see from your window. If there’s no coconut tree, think of whatever tree you can see from your window. If there are no trees then think of whatever you can see, even if ...

Recruiting for a rebellion One person is not a front. Sometimes a single person can make a big difference, but if you want radical social transformation that (hopefully) lasts, you will need some pals. The problem is that when you do need people, they are not there or they are not ready to ‘take the streets’. Issues have a way of arriving when we ...

Dear Percy, your Membership Card is ready* Yep, you touched it up nicely. We own it though. But we feel generous. Come join us. Membership is yours, if you want.There’s a cluster of caste-based villages off the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura (via Ella) road, about three kilometers from Galgamuwa when you are going towards Thambuttegama. I read somewhere that although there were several castes the villages themselves didn’t contain them. ...

The Jathika Hela Urumaya decides The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) made a decision. The party decided that those who hold various positions in the government will resign forthwith. The party further decided that it will remain in Parliament as part of the ruling UPFA coalition. The party reserved the right to decide on a course of action in the event a presidential election is called, ...

Mahinda-Maithree and the hour of the voter After weeks of speculation the Opposition has come up with a name. A solid one too. Maithripala Sirisena. It’s a name calculated to split the major partner of the ruling coalition, i.e. the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Some MPs have already crossed over. Other defections are on the cards. It is a time of speculation, of risks and of ...

Maithripala: King in Waiting or Ranil's Pawn? Early days. Remember that. Keep in mind also that in a 40-day run each day counts and that ‘early’ can quickly bleed into ‘late’ and ‘too late’. That said, let’s consider Maithripala Sirisena’s press conference on Friday November 20, 2014 where he announced he would be the ‘common candidate’ of the Opposition. ‘මෛත්‍රී පාලනයක්’ [‘Maithree Paalanayak,’ meaning ‘Compassionate Governance’]. What ...

"Kasurige Kolama": more than a collection of laughs Former Editor, Silumuna, Karunadasa Suriyarachchi (better known by his byline 'Kasuri') passed on recently. This is a review of a collection of his widely read column in the Irida Divaina, 'Kasurige Kolama' written ten years ago and published in the Sunday Island of April 18, 2004. Posting by way of tribute to his skill as a writer.Kasurige Kolama, by Karunadasa ...

Still looking for that secret passage?* Many believe that the world is made of secrets. One reason for this is that we are not born knowing everything. There’s so much we don’t know. The moment we recognize this, we start getting curious. We want to know stuff. We want to know the names of things we encounter for the first time. We want to know what’s ...

Heroes and heroism are great but… This is the eighth in a series of articles on rebels and rebellion written for the FREE section of 'The Nation'. 'FREE' is dedicated to youth and youthfulness.A hero is someone who does something totally unexpected, something that no one even imagines of doing and something that can even cost the person his life. Some heroes live to tell the ...

Name-calling is a fun game There are governments and each of them has an Opposition. There are strong governments and weak ones. Likewise, the Opposition is sometimes strong and sometimes weak. Very weak. Regardless of relative strengths, it can safely be said that they need each other. They need each other not for the text-book reason of critique being a necessary part of streamlining things ...

The nice thing about writing a regular column is that one gets a lot of feedback. Well, to be honest, it is not nice when people poke fun at me, but sometimes even the not-nice stuff contains valuable insights. I received one of those nice-stinkers the other day. Here’s the gist.Kolombians classify those around them as “English Speaking” and “Non ...

Former TNA leader and veteran politician R Sampanthan has raised important concerns that are shared by many outside his party’s constituency. China. He is worried that ‘Chinese influence on Sri Lanka has grown exponentially’. This goes counter to a foreign policy that has ‘followed non-alignment for decades,’ he says.Sampanthan is particularly upset that the Government has privileged China over India. ...

Tilvin Silva of the JVP made an interesting point at the commemoration of comrades slain in 1988-89: ‘Mahinda has already run half the race.’ The constitution favors incumbent. Authorities turn a blind eye on the abuse of state resources and indeed the institutional arrangement is so poor in terms of checks and balances that this is a ‘given’. Citizens have, ...

Dear Rebel, P is (also) for Proportion Pic by Rukshan AbeywanshaThis is the seventh in a series of articles on rebels and rebellion written for the FREE section of 'The Nation'. 'FREE' is dedicated to youth and youthfulness.More than twenty years ago some undergraduates staged a protest. This was at the University of Peradeniya. It was not a major issue but for some reason the student leaders ...

Rohana Wijeweera’s fading political signature He still makes it to the 'May Day Stage'. Barely.Twenty five years ago a man was killed. He was one of some 60,000 who had been killed in those gruesome days of the late eighties. It is reported that he had been tortured and shot. It is reported that he was still alive when he was tossed into the incinerator ...

It is cool to slosh around ‘I can’t stand seeing paddy fields like this!’ a 13 year old girl blurts out. The said paddy field had probably been ploughed a day or two previously. Ploughed but not evened out for transplanting. The soil was upturned. There had been a lot of rain and so it was all a mess of earthy lumps. All muddy. One would ...

When the 'boys' of '83 and '89 turned on the freshness TEAM 83 with their die-hard fansThey were the oldest among the Old Boys of Royal College who had gathered at the CR&FC grounds. They had gathered to play rugby. That’s six-a-side rugby. Inter-batch. Organized by the Group of ’91. Three categories: Over 40, Between 30 and 40, and Below 30. The members of the Group of 83 or ’83 Batch’ ...

These are moving-around days. There’s talk of people crossing party lines. There are people plotting regime-change. There are people getting ready to counter such moves. People are talking to people. We have the Constitution Abolishers. We have the Constitution Amenders. Then there are people trying to cobble together parties and other political groups as well as prominent personalities in a ...

The Bourse is ours Everyone takes note. Some keep notes. Some in diaries and journals. Some in their minds and hears. Some of these are shared via email or on Facebook or blog; some are not. Among these people are Kolombians, people from Colombo who know much -- so much that they are wont to think that others don't know and can't think. This ...

‘There was a country’ is Chinua Achabe’s personal history of Biafra. It is a personal story of a collective history, of a violent past that rolled into a political present. It is a memoir. Historical account. Literature. It is not an uncommon story. The world is full of violence. There’s war. There is insurrection. And the ‘collateral’. That’s how it ...

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