By D. B. S. JEYARAJ
“Maaveerar Naal”or “Great Heroes Day” was observed annually on November 27th in a grand manner by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for many years in the past.The yearly event lost its lustre after the military debacle suffered by the tigers in May 2009.Despite the LTTE ceasing to exist as a viable entity in Sri Lanka after the military defeat,tiger and pro-tiger elements in the global Tamil Diaspora and Tamil Nadu strove to retain the mystique of “Maaveerar Naal”by organizing various activities related to the Great Heroes Day abroad.
Continue reading ‘LTTE “Great Heroes Day” Is for Tigers Alone and Not For All Tamils’ »
(Full text of statement made by Nelson Mandela from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage at Supreme Court of South Africa, Pretoria on April 20 1964)
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela(July 18, 1918-December 5, 2013)
I am the First Accused. I hold a Bachelor`s Degree in Arts and practised as an attorney in Johannesburg for a number of years in partnership with Oliver Tambo. I am a convicted prisoner serving five years for leaving the country without a permit and for inciting people to go on strike at the end of May 1961.
Continue reading ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities’ »
The Empire State Building lit in the colors of the South African flag in honor of Nelson Mandela, Dec 6, 2013-pic: twitter.com/nbcnightlynews
When I reported from South Africa in the 1960s, the Nazi admirer B J Vorster occupied the prime minister’s residence in Cape Town. Thirty years later, as I waited at the gates, it was as if the guards had not changed. White Afrikaners checked my ID with the confidence of men in secure work. One carried a copy of Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. “It’s very eenspirational,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Mandela Legacy: Ending Racial Apartheid and Retaining Economic Apartheid’ »
Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view. Right now, you are anxiously pacing the corridors of your condos and country estates, looking for the right words, the right tributes, the right-wing tributes.
Continue reading ‘Mandela was About Politics, Race, Freedom and even Force and Cannot be Reduced to a Reggae Tune About Love’ »
pic via: https://twitter.com/billclinton/
By BILL KELLER
Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. He was 95.
Continue reading ‘Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95’ »
WHO was the greatest of the statesmen of the 20th century?
Discard the mass murderers such as Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong; set aside the autocratic nationalists like Gamal Abdel Nasser and the more admirable but probably less influential anti-communists like Vaclav Havel; then winnow the list to half a dozen names. On it would perhaps be Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Jack Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. For many people, in many lands, the most inspirational of these would be the last, who died on December 5th, aged 95.
Continue reading ‘Nelson Mandela: The Long Walk is Over’ »
AMONG Nelson Mandela’s many achievements, two stand out. First, he was the world’s most inspiring example of fortitude, magnanimity and dignity in the face of oppression, serving more than 27 years in prison for his belief that all men and women are created equal.
Nelson Mandela on the roof at Kholvad House. Photograph courtesy of Ahmed Kathrada-via: facebook.com/nelsonmandela
During the brutal years of his imprisonment on Robben Island, thanks to his own patience, humour and capacity for forgiveness, he seemed freer behind bars than the men who kept him there, locked up as they were in their own self-demeaning prejudices. Indeed, his warders were among those who came to admire him most.
Continue reading ‘The greatness of Nelson Mandela challenges us all’ »
South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.
Mr Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison for his political activities.
He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.
Announcing the news on South African national TV, President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela was at peace.
“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.
Continue reading ‘South Africa’s Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg’ »
IT’S now over a week since I returned from Jaffna and the images still both haunt and inspire me. The visit I made to the north of Sri Lanka was fascinating — you can get all the briefings you like but nothing can replace seeing the situation for yourself.
Continue reading ‘“I’m Determined That we Play our Part in Building a Brighter Future for the People of Sri Lanka”’ »
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
(This short article written as a tribute was published in “The Sunday Leader” of Colombo after the death of ♥ Gemini Ganesan ♥. It is being reproduced here without any changes due to requests by many readers who are fans of the Romance king of Tamil cinema who was born on November 17th 1920)
Gemini Ganesan one time heart throb of Tamil cinema passed away peacefully in his sleep at 1.30 am on March 22nd at his residence in Nungambakkam, Chennai. In a career spanning five decades the octogenarian made his mark in Tamil films as the romantic hero par excellence and was known as “kaadhal Mannan” (King of Romance).
His on screen and off screen persona were intertwined and the evergreen Gemini with four wives had several liaisons with attractive women. As Tamil Nadu chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram remarked his death is truly “an end of an era in Tamil cinema”.
Continue reading ‘Gemini Ganesan ♥ Romance King of Tamil Films ♫’ »
(Legendary “Villain”actor of Tamil cinema M.N.Nambiar passed away five years ago in Chennai on November 19th 2008. I wrote an article about him then which was published in the “Daily Mirror”of Colombo. I am reproducing a slightly edited version of that article on my blog now to commemorate his 5th death anniversary. I am also including at the end two of the many mails sent to me after the article appeared. One is from his son Sukumar Nambiar. The other is from veteran Sinhala actor Henry Jayasena. Sadly both are no more ~ - DBS Jeyaraj)
Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N.Nambiar (89) as he was generally known passed away around 1.00 pm , in Chennai on Wednesday November 19th 2008. The remains were kept at his residence at Gopalapuram for fans and members of the film fraternity to pay their respects to the legendary “villain” of Tamil cinema.
Continue reading ‘M.N. Nambiar: Legendary “Villain” of Tamil Cinema’ »
October 1st was the 85th birthday of Sivaji Ganesan one of the brightest stars among the Tamil Film firmament. V.C. Ganesan known as Sivaji Ganesan was widely regarded as the greatest Thespian of Post –Independence Tamil Cinema. This doyen among Tamil actors was one of my favourites. An updated version of an article written by me earlier is being posted now to commemorate his birthday.
Sivaji Ganesan (October 1, 1928-July 21, 2001)
Sivaji spoke Tamil on screen the way it should be spoken.It is no exaggeration to say that he was the role model for many in pronouncing Tamil dialogue in dramas.
Continue reading ‘Sivaji Ganesan: Greatest Thespian of Post-Independence Tamil Cinema’ »
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
(This article was first published in the Indian newsmagazine “Frontline” of Feb 13-26 1999 Vol 16-No 04 as part of the Symposium on Sri Lanka’s Cultural Experience.It is reproduced here without any changes)
Semiyon (AE Manoharan) and Philomina (Chandrakala)
TAMIL cinema in Sri Lanka, it may be argued, is yet to grow beyond its nascent stage. While thousands of Tamil films have been made in India and hundreds of Sinhala movies have been produced in Sri Lanka, the number of Sri Lankan Tamil films produced so far has not touched the three-digit mark.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Cinema and the Search for a Distinct Identity’ »
“That was his dream and hope to his last breath”
Good bye my Gurudewa
By DR THUSHARA RODRIGO
“The light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere”. This is exactly what I felt when I heard the sad news of our beloved Gurudewa’s passing away just within a few hours of my landing in Sri Lanka.
The words I quoted were those of Pundit Nehru, which he uttered spontaneously on hearing of the death of Mahatma Gandhi.
Continue reading ‘Extend a hand of friendship and love to those from other races and religions and treat Sri Lanka as a multicultural nation: Tribute to R.I.T. Alles’ »
pic via: facebook.com/BasilRajapaksa
(Excerpts from Speech made in Parliament by Economic Development minister Basil Rajapaksa while winding up the Budget debate on behalf of the Govt)
“This is Sri Lanka’s 68th budget. The United National Party(UNP) has presented 34 budgets. With this budget, the coalition governments led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party too have presented 34 budgets. This is the first time the number of budgets presented by both sides have become equal. The Mahinda Rajapaksa Government will have to present many more budgets in the future.
Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Appeals to Tamils and TNA to Resolve the National Problem on “Our Own” Without Foreign Interference’ »
by Rex Clementine
Some sportsmen are still remembered fondly although they are long retired. The thrills they provided the fans through their exceptional skills could be forgotten as time passes by, but the things they stood for in life are long revered. Strong leaders aren’t the most popular ones.
1996 World Cup-winning former captain Arjuna Ranatunga shacking hands with Sachin Tendulkar
The decisions they have taken in life for the common good have their admirers and critics. As a captain and later an administrator Arjuna Ranatunga was such a leader. The Emperor of Sri Lankan cricket turns 50 today and looking back at all those years he has few regrets.
Continue reading ‘“Captain Cool” of Sri Lankan Cricket is Fifty Not Out!’ »
By N. Sathiya Moorthy
That TNA leader R. Sampanthan made clear the TNA MP Sritharan’s glorification of the LTTE and Prabhakaran in Parliament was not in tune with the party line has to be taken at face-value.
It cannot, however, stop the possible resurrection of the LTTE’s ghost in the post-CHOGM permissiveness than any time in the post-war past.
Continue reading ‘Is the TNA Trying to Resurrect the LTTE Spectre ?’ »
R.I.T. Alles, Former Principal of D.S. Senanayake College Passes Away
By K. Thirukumaran
Founding principal of D.S. Senanayake College (DSSC), Colombo 7, Sri Lanka R.I.T. Alles passed away on Nov 28.
He was formerly a teacher at Royal College and after DSSC served as the State Secretary for Ministry of Education from 1989 to 1993 and was the Chairman of the Gateway Group.
Continue reading ‘R.I.T. Alles: Founding Principal of Post-Independence Sri Lanka’s only Trilingual post-Secondary School’ »
Dhammika Perera-pic courtesy: Forbes.com
By Jon Springer
Dhammika Perera didn’t become one of Sri Lanka’s richest people by luck. It was actually by design. Back in 1999, when he was 32, he developed a 20-year plan for his fledgling businesses with the help of a mentor.
His audacious goal: Become the country’s leader in each of 12 sectors by 2019. He’s already succeeded in 9 of the sectors, building best-in-class companies in tourism, banking, apparel and other industries. Indeed, his Royal Ceramics Lanka appeared in 2010 and last year on FORBES ASIA’s list of the best 200 listed Asia-Pacific companies with under $1 billion in annual sales.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Dhammika Perera’s Master Plan’ »
Karu Jayasuriya M.P.
(Text of statement issued by Karu Jayasuriya Gampaha district MP and Leader of UNP united leadership council)
Many Sri Lankans are unaware of the heavy price that we have to incur in the coming weeks and months for the enormous cost borne for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that was recently concluded.
pic via: facebook.com/KaruJayasuriya
The public cannot be blamed for this since the Government has purposefully left everyone in the dark regarding the exuberant expenditure for the event. Though the opposition has repeatedly asked for accounts for this event the Government has not shown an iota of transparency. What was the cost of all those vehicles that were imported and the numerous contracts given to decorate the city?
Continue reading ‘Only 23 Heads of Govt Attended CHOGM Conference in Colombo and not 37 as Stated by Rajapaksa Regime’ »
There’s a new emperor in town
The posters and hoardings to celebrate President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ascension to the Chair of the Commonwealth, a grouping mostly made up of territories of the former British Empire, must have been ready weeks in advance.
Celebrating Birthday-Nov 18-, 2013-pic via: twitter/com/RajapaksaNamal
By happy coincidence, the President was also celebrating his 68th birthday and his eighth year in office this week.
Continue reading ‘Will President Rajapaksa Crowned as Commonwealth Emperor Have Early Polls in 2014?’ »
Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda remains disillusioned about the electoral defeat at the Northern Provincial Council Poll on September 21. Mr. Devananda, the leader of EPDP, is a strong advocate of the Provincial Council (PC) system. Also, EPDP is a militant group that laid down arms soon after the introduction of the system in 1987 under the Indo-Lanka Accord. During a recent interview with Daily Mirror, he speaks out his sentiments on the elections and the way forward for his party.
Continue reading ‘“If I Contested I Could have Brougt More Votes”-Douglas Devananda’ »
Florence-on-the-Elbe, they used to call the historic German city of Dresden, before it began to turn to ash that evening in February 1945. Inside of days, the United Kingdom and the United States bomber command dropped some 3,900 tonnes of ordnance over the city, creating an inferno which would claim an estimated 25,000 lives.
The military utility of the slaughter is still debated by historians: proponents claim it destroyed key Nazi communication hubs, and broke the will of Germans to resist; opponents say it was vengeance, plain and simple.
Continue reading ‘War Against LTTE in Sri Lanka: When and How Much Ethical is it to Kill in War?’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
At the end of weeks of competitive, though not confrontational politics on the streets, and precedent-setting constitutional calculus in court rooms, Parliament and elsewhere, the ‘numbers’ prevailed.
President Yameen (L) meets former President Gayoom (R)-pic: presidencymaldives.gov.mv
Reflecting the dynamics of coalition politics in the Maldivian context, visible since the first multi-party presidential polls of 2008, Abdulla Yameen, officially the candidate of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) but supported by a near-equal number of voters from outside, won the nation’s presidency by a wafer-thin majority against former President Mohammed ‘Anni’ Nasheed, leader of the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), in a closely-fought second-round, run-off polls, on Saturday, 16 November 2013.
Continue reading ‘Maldives: It’s President Yameen – and promise of reconciliation’ »
While the Sri Lankan government has so far given the impression that it does not take offence to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh skipping the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said on Sunday that he was disappointed with Dr. Singh’s absence.
Continue reading ‘“We are Asians. We Like Indians. Dr.Singh Should Have Been Here” – Basil Rajapaksa’ »
Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in an interview said not many civilians were killed in the war although LTTE propagandists tried to exaggerate the numbers to defame the Sri Lanka Army and the Government.
Continue reading ‘“You Dont Need to Come to Politics to Serve the Country” – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that UK Premier David Cameron was playing politics in Colombo to placate the LTTE rump back home.
pic courtesy: BBC
Cameron’s strategy was obviously influenced by the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Tamils against Genocide, he said.
Continue reading ‘David Cameron Playing Politics in Sri Lanka to Placate LTTE in Britain Says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday assured politicians and people of Jaffna that he would take up issues such as devolution, freedom of expression and alleged land-grab by the army with the Sri Lankan government.
pic via: Channel 4
Mr. Cameron’s visit to the town garnered considerable attention amid the buzz around the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which was declared open in Colombo on Friday.
Continue reading ‘“Jaffna Buddhist Association” Launches Counter Demonstration when Cameron was Meeting Northern IDP’s’ »
by Meera Srinivasan
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Sabapathipillai Welfare Centre at Chunnakam, about 10 km from Jaffna town, on Friday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron talks to villagers of an IDP camp in Jaffna on Friday, Nov 15-pic: The Hindu
He walked into the narrow lanes with tiny homes adjacent to each other and talked to some residents. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran helped with translation.
Continue reading ‘British PM David Cameron Talks to Northern Tamil IDP’s With TNA MP MA Sumanthiran’s Help’ »
By Dharisha Bastians in Jaffna
British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday became the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka’s North, using his three hour tour to focus on press freedom, land and political rights of the Tamil people four years after the end of the war.
Prime Minister David Cameron is the first world leader to visit the north of Sri Lanka since 1948~Crown copyright
Prime Minister Cameron stole the spotlight after the Commonwealth summit opened by visiting a camp holding the internally displaced in Chunnakam and stepping in at the besieged Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, in addition to holding discussions with the new provincial political leadership in the formerly embattled region.
Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Tells David Cameron that Primary Problem in North is Military Governor Countermanding Orders Given by Chief Minister’ »
Days ahead of being crowned king of the Commonwealth of Nations, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a jubilant mood. The Sri Lankan Head of State is often pictured beaming with pride at various precursor events leading up to the main Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will get underway at his namesake theatre tomorrow morning.
His good spirits are such that not even the spontaneous meeting with the controversial Channel 4 news team that obtained accreditation and arrived in Sri Lanka to cover the summit could mar the mood.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Causes Embarrassment to Commonwealth “Friends” Australia and New Zealand’ »
President Rajapaksa, ladies and gentlemen
Thank you for your kind welcome. My wife and I are very glad indeed to be joining you here in Colombo. At the personal request of The Queen, I am delighted to be addressing you this morning on behalf of the Head of the Commonwealth.
Continue reading ‘Text of Opening speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the opening of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo’ »
BY Meera Srinivasan
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday said he was satisfied with the level of India’s representation at the ongoing Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma held a press conference this morning ahead of the commencement of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 taking place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, this week-pic: news.lk
Dr. Manmohan Singh, he said, did not participate in the Commonwealth summit held in Perth in 2011, addressing local and foreign media at a press conference in connection with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Continue reading ‘“If There is any Violation, we will take Action against Anybody”- Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »
THE biggest achievement of the Commonwealth, its admirers say, is the fact of its unlikely existence. That so many former British colonies and dominions should be content to co-exist in a club which has the queen as its head is remarkable.
However this is a low bar to set for the success of an organisation nominally committed to promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Quite how nominally will be evident in Colombo this weekend—at a gathering of Commonwealth leaders hosted by a nasty and abusive regime.
Continue reading ‘“It Took Ruthlessness to Defeat the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka is Better off as a Result”- Economist’ »
Tamil United Liberation Front Secretary -general and veteran Sri Lankan Tamil leader Veerasingham Anandasangaree has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 6th 2013 requesting the release of all political prisoners during the CHOGM summit in Colombo. The full text of the letter is as follows-
Continue reading ‘Anandasangaree Wants President Rajapaksa to Release all Political Prisoners to Honour Leaders of Commonwealth in Colombo’ »
Answering questions from the media following the closing press conference in Bali – Oct 8, 2013-Gov of Canada pic
By Haroon Siddiqui
Stephen Harper loves the royal family. Under his reign, the “royal” prefix has been returned to the air force and the navy.
The latest royal baby adorns a Canadian postage stamp. Yet Harper is dissing Her Majesty’s favourite group, the Commonwealth, that quaint congregation of 53 former British territories.
Continue reading ‘Why is Canadian PM Stephen Harper Boycotting the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka?’ »
Good fences make good neighbours – Robert Frost
Robert Frost, American poet, four times Pulitzer Prize and Congressional Gold Medal winner, in ‘Mending Wall,’ a poem published in 1914, used this line, which according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations originates in the 17th century. Frost could not see the need for a fence between his farm in New England and his neighbour’s land. But his taciturn neighbour insisted on a wall and only said, “Good fences make good neighbours,” in response to Frost’s query on the need!
Continue reading ‘Will India and China Compete Over “Finlandisation” and “Bhutanisation” of Sri Lanka?’ »
yricist Madhan Karky says he is close to coming up with a computer-automated solution that will help generate songs. Photo: R. Ravindran
After a year-long research and development of various tools to aid his goal, young lyricist and computer science researcher Madhan Karky says he is close to coming up with a computer-automated solution that will help Tamil film lyricists generate songs based on stories and tunes.
Continue reading ‘Computers to be used to help Write Tamil film lyrics’ »
Noted Tamil novelist and short story writer Sri Venugopalan, popularly known as ‘Pushpa’ Thangadurai, passed away at a hospital in Chennai on Sunday after a brief illness, family sources said.
Sri Venugopalan aka ‘Pushpa’ Thangadurai
He was 82 and a bachelor. He is survived by his sister.
Continue reading ‘Tamil novelist ‘Pushpa’ Thangadurai passes away’ »
Sri Lankan Tamil writer Thelivathai Joseph, whose writings captured the life and culture of the plantation Tamils, has been selected for this year’s Vishnupuram Elakkiya Vattam award.
The award, instituted by the readers of writer Jeyamohan’s masterpiece Vishnupuram, carries Rs 1 lakh cash and a memento.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamil writer Thelivathai Joseph Gets Vishnupuram Literary Award’ »
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Some time ago, I promised myself that I would stay off Modi.
BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, Nov 8, 2013-via:narendramodi.in
The decision was inspired as much by my own frequent rants against the man as much as it had been by the fatigue we have all begun to feel lately given the ubiquitous, endless adulation in the blanket coverage in Indian media.
Continue reading ‘Branding Narendra Modi’ »
By Mohd Alami Musa
The Malaysian Court of Appeal’s decision to forbid the use of the term ‘Allah’ in the Catholic weekly The Herald is seen by many as a triumph for Muslims. The reference to the term ‘Allah’ is not exclusive to Muslims. In the context of Singapore, the court process is not necessarily the best means to resolve conflicts involving religion.
Continue reading ‘Is the Usage of the Term “Allah” For Muslims Only?’ »
(Text of a Press Release Issued by the Ahila Ilangai Tamil Mahasabha)
The Akhila Ilankai Tamil United Front was inaugurated in December 2005. It received the recognition of the Commissioner of Elections of Sri Lanka in February 2006.
Continue reading ‘Ahila Ilankai Tamil Mahasabha Re-launches Website in English and Tamil’ »
(This Article appearing in the Indian news magazine “Frontline” of Nov. 24-Dec. 07, 2007-Volume 24 – Issue 23 -is reproduced without any changes to denote the 6th death anniversary of Suppiah Paramu Thamizhselvan the former political commissar of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)
EARLY in the morning on November 2, Suppiah Paramu Tamilselvan, the 40- year-old political division head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was killed in an air raid along with five other Tiger cadre. The fatal attack was carried out by two jet bombers, an Israeli K-fir and a Russian-built MiG-27; their target area was suburban Thiruvaiyaaru, about three kilometres from Kilinochchi town in the Wanni region, controlled by the Tigers.
Continue reading ‘“Brigadier” Thamizhselvan: Perpetually Smiling Political Commissar of the Liberation Tigers’ »
The month of October this year records the 23rd anniversary of a cruel, inhuman episode in the history of Tamil –Muslim relations in Sri Lanka. It was in October 1990 that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization forcibly expelled the Tamil speaking Muslim people from the Northern Province in an atrocious act amounting to ethnic cleansing.
Rays of Sun spread through Osmaniya College in Jaffna-Feb 2011-picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Within a few days the Muslims were chased out of their homeland where they had lived for many, many centuries.
Continue reading ‘Mass Expulsion of Muslims From North by the LTTE: 23rd Anniversary’ »
Text and Pix by-Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Jaffna’s Main Street begins at a curvy corner at the entry point to the peninsula. and gets connected to the Jaffna town through the long and winding A9 Highway.
Here is a street that had faced enormous challenges and witnessed causalities. Lives have been lost on this road and its properties damaged. The signs of devastation are still visible on this street unlike any other main street in Sri Lanka.
At the corner of the Main Street
The street skirts the Dutch Fort, a tabled historical monument that was ravaged by the war, and at one time occupied by the Sri Lankan Security Forces, Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF), and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Continue reading ‘A Stroll in Time Through Jaffna City Main Street’ »
The Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) and the Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) are excited to announce the sixth winner of the esteemed INSITE AWARD, a biennial national competition for un-produced screenplays.
Tigress, written by Jane Hampson, was named the winner at the AFF on Sunday 13th October, by AWG President Jan Sardi, the internationally acclaimed and Academy Award nominated writer of Shine, The Notebook and Mao’s Last Dancer.
Continue reading ‘“TIGRESS” Based on Story of Niromi de Soyza Wins 2013 INSITE Award For Best Unproduced Screenplay’ »
Niromi de Soyza
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
“Naghaichchuvai Mannan” (King of Comedy) Nagesh who passed away in Chennai on Jan 31st 2009 would have become an Octogenarian this year had he been among the living.. He was born on September 27th 1933.
Nagesh in “Iru Kodugal”
Nagesh was the undisputed king of comedians in Tamil cinema from the early sixties to mid-seventies of the previous century. After a “lull” the versatile actor re-entered Tamil cinema in a new “avatar” playing character and villain roles. Even during his stint as comedian, Nagesh acted in quite a few lead roles too.
Continue reading ‘“Nagaichuvai Mannan” Nagesh: The Comedy King of Tamil Cinema’ »
Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka, Sri Lanka’s outstanding and internationally acclaimed pianist-composer returns to St Martin-in-the-Fields this season for her third solo recital at this iconic concert venue.
Tanya Ekanayaka – pic via: facebook.com/Tanya.Ekanayaka
Classically trained and with a background in Asian and Popular musics, she is also a musicologist and linguist. She began studying the piano when she was just five years old and made her debut public recital appearance at the age of twelve.
Continue reading ‘Third Solo Recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields by Pianist-Composer Dr.Tanya Ekanayka on Oct 25th, 2013’ »
N. Ravi has taken over as Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, and Malini Parthasarathy as Editor of The Hindu.
Arun Anant is no longer the Chief Executive Officer of Kasturi & Sons Limited, the company that owns and publishes The Hindu Group of publications. N. Ram has become Chairman of KSL and Publisher of The Hindu and Group publications; and N. Murali, Co-Chairman of the company.
Continue reading ‘Changes Again At The Helm of “The Hindu”: N. Ravi – Editor in Chief, Malini Parthasarathy – Editor’ »
Sirima Bandaranaike-(April 17, 1916-October 10, 2000)-pic: sundaytimes.lk
Today October 10th is the thirteenth death anniversary of the world’s first woman prime minister Mrs.Sirima Bandaranaike.
I am therefore reproducing on my blog an article written about her by me thirteen years ago. It was published in the Indian news-magazine “Frontline” of Aug 19th – Sep 01st 2000 (Vol 17-Issue 17) under the heading “Exit of an Elder Stateswoman”.
I wrote the article after Mrs. Bandaranaike resigned as Prime minister on August 10th 2000. Ill – health had been the primary cause for this decision.
I realised then that the days of the grand old lady were numbered. I thought I must write something about her that should be read by her or have it read to her while she was among us rather than pay tribute to her after her death. I also wanted it to have international exposure.
Continue reading ‘Sirima Bandaranaike: The Grand Old Lady of Sri Lankan Politics’ »
Sachin Tendulkar – pic: Courtesy: The Hindu
His bat will rest, not his legacy. By choosing the stage for his final walk to the crease, Sachin Tendulkar has followed in the footsteps of Sir Donald Bradman. One of the finest batsmen of the modern era has, like the great Australian, given his fans a chance to be part of his retirement.
Continue reading ‘Sachin Tendulkar to Retire After Playing His 200th Test Match Against West Indies’ »
Full Text of Statement issued by the Chief Minister, Northern Provincial Council, after taking Oaths of Office on October 7, 2013.
I took oaths a little while ago this morning undertaking to faithfully perform the functions of my office.
My office is a gift from my people. They have mandated me to perform my duties on a long term as well as a short term perspective. The former behoves us to confirm our individuality. To do so we have to learn lessons from our struggles of the past, our previous political perspectives and our past experiences and then forge ahead. It is the need of the hour that we remove the misunderstandings and doubts that have crept into the minds of various communities.
Continue reading ‘Full Text of Statement issued by the Chief Minister, Northern Provincial Council, after taking Oaths of Office’ »
By D.B.S. JEYARAJ
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which demonstrated that it is the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils by winning 30 out of 38 seats in the Northern provincial council is undergoing a new experience currently. After years of functioning outside the realms of power as an opposition political group the TNA is for the first time on the verge of tasting power in the Northern provincial council.This urge to taste power in the form of provincial ministries is causing much internal wrangling within the TNA as the aspirants outnumber the posts available.
Traditional Politics: Tamil National Alliance’s Chief Minister candidate C.V.Wigneswaran, Leader of Ilankai Thamizh Arasu Katchi Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, Secretary of Ilankai Thamizh Arasu Katchi Mavai Senathirajah, candidate E. Arnold and others are being traditionally welcomed for the final election campaign rally in Jaffna.~ pic: by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai ~ via flickr/passionparade
So intense has been the campaigning for ministerial posts that TNA parliamentary group leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan called for individual applications from prospective candidates for the ministry posts. Despite perusal of these applications the TNA has been unable to finalise decisions so far.
Continue reading ‘Wrangling in TNA over Provincial Ministry Posts in North’ »
This is the first of a series of short articles about some of the sublime songs shown on the silver screen from a bygone era that have enchanted me and continue to keep me enslaved. The objective of this series is to share my impressions of these songs and also provide some information if possible about the making of these memorable melodies from Tamil movies.
MS Subbulakshmi In “Meera”
I realise that the songs being in Tamil may be a deterrent in reaching out to those who do not know my mother tongue but I am optimistic that many non –Tamils and those from the Tamil Diaspora who are not very knowledgeable in Tamil would also be able to appreciate them.
Continue reading ‘“Kaatriniley Varum Geetham” Sung By MS Subbulakshmi In “Meera”’ »
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
The electoral triumph of the Tamil National alliance(TNA) at the Northern provincial elections is being viewed by many as a significant breakthrough in the long struggle waged by Sri Lankan Tamils to achieve equality and justice in the Island. Despite the widely prevalent optimism this writer however is quite pessimistic at this point of time about this expectation. The hawkish manner in which the TNA conducted its campaign as well as the hostility it has evoked amidst hardliners in the South does not augur well for the positive future of the Northern provincial council. Enhancing this disillusionment further is the spectacle of an eminent ex-Supreme court judge transforming into a third-grade politician engaging in cheap politics on the one hand and responsible ministers talking of potential “nandhikkadals” in Wellawatte and Mattakkuliya on the other.
While reflecting on this sorry state of affairs in a despondent mood the descriptions ”third grade politics” and “dirty politics” keep recurring in my thoughts. Though these words have been uttered or written by many in the past my thoughts turned to an actor who has often stated so in personal conversations, public speeches and above all as part of dialogue delivered by a character he played on screen. I am of course referring to the matinee idol Gamini Fonseka!
Continue reading ‘Gamini Fonseka The Uncrowned Monarch of Sinhala Cinema’ »
By Harrish Thirukumaran
“Save the Best for Last” – An Authentic African Safari
Etosha National Park had been our next and final recreational activity in Namibia. Arguably, it was also considered the most hyped event during our time in Namibia. It was held on the 2nd Friday and Saturday of our 3- week stay.
In Etosha National Park-photo credit: Rachel
Etosha is one of the largest game parks that is home to a substantial variety of mammal species in the entirety of Africa. On this trip, we were given the generous opportunity to experience a sensibly authentic African wild safari tour throughout the monumental park.
Continue reading ‘Rich wildlife prosperity and calming peace: Namibian experiences of a student-volunteer’ »
The Supreme Court yesterday, ruled that land powers were vested in the government and not in the Provincial Councils. In its judgment, the Court explained that the Provincial Councils would have legislative competence to make statutes to administer state lands only if those lands were made available to the Provincial Councils by the government. It added that the President’s powers to make grants remained unfettered.
A three-Judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Mohan Pieris PC, Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Eva Wanasundera, said that the Court of Appeal had erred in holding that the Provincial High Court of Kandy had jurisdiction to issue a Writ of Certiorari in respect of a quit notice issued under the State Lands Recovery of Possession Act. The order made by the Court of Appeal dated August 18, 2002 was set aside and the order of the Provincial High Court of Kandy dated Oct. 25, 2000 was affirmed.
Continue reading ‘Powers over Land are Vested with Govt and not Provincial Councils -Ruling by Three Judge Bench of Supreme Court’ »
William Hague,GL Peiris and Julie Bishop Clink Glasses Together
Last night, in a dimly lit side street a stone’s throw from the towering UN headquarters here in New York, Britain co-hosted a drinks party with Sri Lanka – a country led by regime accused of the worst war crimes committed this century. Australia joined the fray to render it a tripartite affair.
Large black shiny cars ferried Sri Lanka’s large UN delegation to the door of an un-extraordinary town house. The hosting of the party was personified by British Foreign Secretary, William Hague; Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister GL Peris and – six days into her job – Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
The event was ‘off camera’. We found ourselves the only team attempting to record what went on. Our presence outside in the street attracted the joint concern of both British and American security – both of whom made plain their discomfort with our presence.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka, Britain and Australia Co-host “Off Camera” Drinks Party in a Town House Close to the UN in New York’ »
By Dharisha Bastians
Nine months after the Sri Lankan Government ousted Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake from office, her sacking has caused unprecedented problems in a most unlikely place – Marlborough House London, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives with his wife Mrs Shiranthi Rajapaska at the Commonwealth Heads of Government lunch with HM Queen Elizabeth II, hosted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, London, UK. 6 June 2012-Photo by Adam Gasson / Commonwealth Secretariat
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma who promised Sri Lanka would put plans in place to change its legislative procedures to remove senior judges within weeks of a key meeting of a Commonwealth Ministers grouping in April this year, is under increasing pressure show progress by Colombo on this and other democratic fronts ahead of a major Commonwealth summit to be hosted here in two months.
This pressure has mounted after it was recently revealed that the Secretary General had opted to keep two key legal findings in his possession on the Sri Lankan impeachment from the eight-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) that is tasked with measuring compliance of Commonwealth member states to the organisation’s values, during the crucial April meet.
Continue reading ‘Controversial Conduct of Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Regarding Shirani Bandaranayake Removal.’ »
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the US Embassy in Colombo was pursuing a political agenda extremely detrimental to Sri Lanka’s interests.
Although the government was doing everything in its power to restore democracy following three decades of war, the US embassy was all out ot undermine it, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said. He was responding to a US statment issued in the immediate aftermath of Provincial Council elections in the Central, North Western and Northern regions.
Continue reading ‘US Embassy in Colombo Pursues Political Agenda Detrimental to Sri Lanka’s Interests Charges Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
by Bob Rae
Vote reveals Sri Lanka’s unavoidable truth: Other voices must be heard
The results are in for the provincial election in Sri Lanka’s northern most province, the area around Jaffna, and they are clear as a bell: nearly 80 per cent of voters, despite much evidence of harassment, cast their ballots for the Tamil National Alliance.
The TNA has long been a parliamentary voice for Tamil nationalism, with a close, but complex, relationship to the LTTE and the military struggle. When the fighting was on, it was often hard to see much light between the Tigers and the parliamentarians. With the crushing defeat of the LTTE in May of 2009, more Tamil leaders inside Sri Lanka talked publicly of the need to “move on” and “deal with the realities on the ground.”
Continue reading ‘Political solidarity shown in the Northern Provincial Election is a clear message to the Sri Lankan government and the world’ »
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
Analysis and dissecting is not necessary. I am not going to indulge in that paralyzing exercise anymore. Why and how did the United National Party lose? The simple answer is: the people didn’t vote for the UNP.
The verdict is clear. The people have spoken. And those voters who cast their ballots on Saturday, September 21 in the three provinces, North, Wayamba and Central made it clearer than usual. Firstly, in the Northern Province where in the Kankasanturai electorate in 1952, the United National Party candidate defeated S J V Chelvanayagam, the United National Party mustered less that 1% whereas the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) received slightly more than 18% of the Tamil votes.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Must Go! He Must Go Now!! Not Tomorrow, not Next week or Month, but Now!!!’ »
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay put Sri Lanka put on notice to conduct credible investigations into allegations of human rights abuses before March 2014, failing which the international community will have a duty to establish its own investigative mechanism.
The UN High Commissioner who was reporting to the Council on her fact finding mission to Sri Lanka in August, said she had detected no new or comprehensive effort to independently or credibly investigate allegations of “concern to the Human Rights Council”.
Continue reading ‘Navi Pillay Says If Sri Lanka Does Not Conduct Credible Probe Before March 2014 into Human Rights Abuses the International Community will Establish own Investigative Mechanism’ »
(Oral update on September 25th 2013 at Geneva by Ms.Navi Pillay ,UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at 24th session of UN Human Rights Council on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka)
Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights during the 24th Session of the Human Rights Council. 13 September 2013. Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré
1. On behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, I am pleased to provide this oral update on implementation of Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/22/L.1/Rev.1 on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. This draws on input from relevant Special Procedures mandate holders and the High Commissioner’s own observations during her visit to Sri Lanka from 25-31 August 2013. It focusses in particular on the issues highlighted in resolution A/HRC/22/L.1/Rev.1 and the recommendations contained in her previous report to the Council .
Continue reading ‘Navi Pillay Reports to UN that Reinstating 17th Amendment and Adopting LLRC Recommendations are Key to Strengthening Democracy in Sri Lanka.’ »
Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai Interviewed on Northern Provincial election by Jiselle Hanna of 3CR-855AM, Melbourne, Australia:
Woman to Welcome ~ Tamil National Alliance’s Chief Minister candidater C.V.Wigneswaran being welcomed by a Tamil woman from the coast with fresh flower garland. – picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai – via Passionparade/flickr
Continue reading ‘Ascent of Women: Political Context in which the Northern Provincial Election took place’ »
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which swept the Northern provincial polls with a four-fifth majority is now struggling to cope with the task of determining who and who shoul be appointed provincial ministers and council chairman of the Northern provincial council.
TNA Elected Provincial Councilors meeting, Sep 23, 2013-pic: tamilwin
It is also undecided yet on allocating one bonus seat while the other will be given to the Muslim candidate who contested on the TNA ticket and lost in Mannar.
Continue reading ‘TNA Struggling to Finalise Selection of Four Provincial Ministers, Council Chairman and one bonus seat for North’ »
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has triumphed magnificiently at the historic first election to the Northern Province of Sri Lanka with its chief ministerial candidate retired Supreme court Judge CV Wigneswaran topping the number of preference votes with a whopping tally of over 130,000.
Wigneswaran polled 132,255 votes in the Jaffna District, with the wife of Ezhilan former LTTE Political Wing Leader for Trincomalee Ananthi Sasitharan coming in second with 87,870 votes. PLOTE Leader Dharmalingam Siddharthan contesting on the TNA list polled the third highest votes in the Jaffna District.
Listen and Lead~Tamil National Alliance’s Chief Minister candidate C.V.Wigneswaran, Leader of Ilankai Thamizh Arasu Katchi Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and Secretary of Ilankai Thamizh Arasu Katchi Mavai Senathirajah, candidate E. Arnold and others are being traditionally welcomed for the final election campaign rally in Kuru Nagar in Jaffna.-pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai-via flickr/passionParade
The TNA led the polls by a landslide in the Northern Province, winning 78.48% of the total votes cast, according to the Department of Elections.
Thus the TNA has demonstrated once again that it is the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils by winning a four-fifths majority .
Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Sweeps Northern Provincial Poll with 30 out of 38 Seats with CV Wigneswaran Polling 132,255 Preference Votes.’ »
Ladies and Gentlemen,
President Mahinda Rajapska at the UN-Sep 24, 2013
I warmly congratulate Your Excellency John William Ashe, on the assumption of the Chair of the 68th Session of the UNGA, and also thank His Excellency Vuk Jeremic, for effective stewardship of the last Session.
Continue reading ‘Full Text of Speech by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly’ »
By: Rosie DiManno
While President Mahinda Rajapaksa will paint “Paradise Island” in democratic colours for the General Assembly, the UN human rights commissioner will deliver a damning appraisal
President Mahinda Rajapaksa at UN General Assembly, Sep 24, 2013-pic: news.lk
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA—Twenty-four hours after Sri Lanka goes on the defensive at the United Nations in New York, the UN will go on the offensive against Sri Lanka in Geneva.
In a coincidence of timing, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address the General Assembly on Tuesday — one day before UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay is scheduled to deliver what’s expected to be a damning appraisal of the nation that calls itself “Paradise Island.”
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka, UN at loggerheads over human rights’ »
By: Rosie DiManno
The government coalition in Sri Lanka was trounced in the Northern Province, held to just seven seats. It will be impossible for the regime to spin the outcome as anything other than a thorough denunciation of the status quo as engineered in Colombo
Police in Kilinochchi train station, on their way back home. They’d been brought up from the south to provide law enforcement for the election, with the Sri Lankan Army in barracks and off the streets-pic byROSIE DIMANNO / TORONTO STAR
KILINOCHCHI, SRI LANKA—In an election that was largely symbolic, perhaps nowhere is a dewy sense of back-to-the-future envisioned more poignantly than here — the former de facto capital of Tigerland.
This is the town that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam captured at the beginning of a brutal civil war and kept as a formidable stronghold until almost the very end. Guerrillas blew up the train tracks, severing commuter travel from the south, using the rail ties to construct fortified bunkers.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka election shows Tamils reject the status quo’ »
Thirty km south-west of Colombo port, the S.S Worcestershire lies some 60 m deep. It is one of an estimated 200 wrecks that garland the island of Sri Lanka. Fascinated by its history, eager to rise to the challenge of a technical dive, Dharshana Jayawardena would later recall his descent to the ship: “As always, a first glimpse of a deep ship is bone-chilling thrilling.
The wreck of the S.S. Worcestershire. Photo: Dharshana Jayawardena
As narcosis envelops your senses what seems to be a large and hazy shadow slowly develops details. Then, at 50 meters we are at the ship and in a strange, deep, lush paradise seen by few.” Dharshana found the WWI wreck enveloped by shoals of fish — grey snappers, yellow fin trevally, giant trevally and groupers swirling around it.
Continue reading ‘Diving Deep to View the Estimated 200 Shipwrecks in the Waters Surrounding Sri Lanka’ »
(Text of an Editorial appearing in “The Hindu”of September 24th 2013 under the heading “Testing Time for Jaffna”)
Sri Lanka has crossed an important milestone toward national reconciliation with the holding of elections to its Northern provincial council. Held more than four years after the war against the LTTE ended, and for the first time since the 1988 election for the short-lived North-Eastern Provincial Council, the September 21 vote gives the war-ravaged North its first-ever democratic political set up that will share governance with the centre. For the Tamil-majority province that was first under the thumb of the LTTE, then the military, and later run by a governor appointed by Colombo, this is the single biggest step towards a political settlement of the conflict.
Continue reading ‘TNA Makes Good start by Steering Clear of Extreme Nationalist Pronouncements by Tamil Diaspora Organizations-The Hindu’ »
(Text of a Press statement issued by the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development)
Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development
Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development and Secretary General of the EPDP states that the Tamil National Alliance having accepted the mandate received from the people at the Northern Provincial Council election held this time round should honour the promises made to the Tamil speaking people, and in such an event he too is agreeable to accept it for everlasting happiness and well being of the people of the North.
Continue reading ‘The Tamil National Alliance which received the mandate of the People of the North should honour the promises made-Douglas Devananda’ »
Dharisha Bastians in Mannar
(This article was published in the “Daily Financial Times”of September 20th 2013 before the Northern Provincial Council Elections held on September 21st 2013)
In the coastal District of Mannar in the Northern Province, where salty sea breezes blow, everyone is part of a marginalised community. The unique ethnic composition of the region, so markedly different to the rest of the province, means that in addition to the province-wide issues of land, resettlement and livelihood loss, a wholly different dimension sets into the politics of the area.
This region of the north is home to the province’s largest population of Muslims, some 38,000 of whom were forcibly evicted by the LTTE in October 1990. Since the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002 and the end of the conflict in 2009, these communities are trickling back into the district, where resources are scarce and officials and host societies are not necessarily welcoming.
As in other parts of the Northern Province, Tamils are in the majority in the Mannar District, accounting for about 81% of the population according to Department of Census and Statistics 2012 data. The Muslim population is a small but significant 16% and hold considerable sway especially in the Musalai Division of the district.
Continue reading ‘Bishop Rayappu, Minister Bathiyudeen and the “Holy Wars” in Multi- Religious Mannar District.’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
Having been in my early 30s, a Minister in the North-East Provincial Council a quarter century ago – I resigned within six months – I remember how easily it can all go wrong and what the landmines are. I also have some sense of how they may be avoided; what must be done and what is to be avoided by both sides.
The primary task of the newly elected Council led by Justice Wigneswaran must be to last its full term; to “remain at the crease” in cricketing parlance, putting runs on the board but not throwing one’s wicket away. As with a Presidency, so also with a Provincial Council and even more so, by which I mean that the tasks of the second term must not be attempted in the first.
It is likely that Tamil nationalist sentiment assesses the degree of external support to be such that the Government would be unable to dissolve the Council. That is a very risky calculus, because the NEPC was dissolved despite a far stronger external presence on the ground in the North-east, namely, the Indian Peacekeeping Force.
Continue reading ‘Risky for Tamil Nationalists to Calculate that Northern Council Wont be Dissolved by Govt Due to External Support’ »
(Text of Statement released by the Tamil National Alliance on the results of the Northern Provincial Council Election 2013)
TNA’s R. Sampanthan M.A. Sumanthiran and C.V. Wigneswaran ahead of press brief in Jaffna, Sep 22, 2013-pic by: Dharisha Bastians
The Tamil National Alliance – Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi – has achieved a resounding victory at the Northern Provincial Council election, winning nearly 80% of the seats in the Northern Province and nearly 90% of the seats in the Jaffna District. Such a verdict is unprecedented in the country’s political history.
Continue reading ‘Democratic Verdict of the Northern Province Tamil People Must be Respected – TNA Statement Issued by R. Sampanthan’ »
by Gibson Bateman and Rathika Innasimuttu
In a significant vote this weekend, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 30 out of 38 seats in Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council. The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won a mere seven seats. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) captured one seat.
To fully comprehend what’s just happened, it’s helpful to put these numbers in perspective.
Continue reading ‘If TNA is Going to Protect the Future of Tamil Politics it Cannot Forget the Past.’ »
Justice C.V. Wigneswaran
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) may have reached a historic, political milestone in winning the Northern Provincial polls, but the actual game begins now.
Continue reading ‘TNA Victory was Essentially an Outcome of a “Negative Vote” Against the Government’ »
By Srilal Miththapala
Returning home on Sunday late in the morning along the High Level road, I noticed that there was elephant dung on the side of the road and I surmised that there was a tame elephant walking along the road somewhere in front of me.
From the quantity of dung I guessed that it should be a large mature elephant.
Continue reading ‘A unique, ‘elephantine’ experience’ »
The TNA has swept the polls in the North. More importantly, the Tamil people have voted courageously, convincingly, and clearly. It was an expected outcome, but as President Rajapaksa took off to New York, he would have known that numbers and statistics on paper, more than just mind-made presumptions, can have a very coruscating impact, that the numbers in this case do not lie; not in the ‘South’, and never in the ‘North’.
The election to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) was not just a provincial election. It was that, and much more than that. It was almost like a referendum; not for a separate State, for the TNA Manifesto did not demand a separate Tamil Eelam State, in any explicit manner. But it was certainly a referendum of sorts, calling for the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Tamil people, for greater autonomy, for a re-structuring of the existing constitutional framework, and for accountability.
Continue reading ‘Welcoming the Verdict of the Tamil People who Have Voted Courageously,Convincingly and Clearly.’ »
Col R Hariharan
Map showing ‘Eelam’-The Economist of Dec 2007
About 78.5 percent of 4.25 lakh people of Northern Province who voted in the Provincial Council elections on September 21, 2013 have given the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) a thumping victory. The TNA won 30 seats including 2 bonus seats in the 38-member council while the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) secured 7 seats and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) won 1 seat.
The results were not unexpected; but the large voter turnout of 67.5 percent evidently boosted the TNA figures. TNA’s performance point to the broad acceptance of its reading of political aspirations reflected in its manifesto.
The TNA went into the election after some introspection with its Diaspora patrons and Tamil intellectuals.This resulted in TNA naming an apolitical personality – retired Sri Lanka Supreme Court judge CV Wigneswaran – as its chief ministerial candidate. This prevented TNA from dissipating its energies in a leadership struggle between the three major parties that dominate the five-member conglomerate.
Continue reading ‘TNA Must Shed Ghost of Prabhakaran Driving From Backseat and Throwing Broad Hints at Separatism.’ »
Justice C.V. Wigneswaran
The nomination of C.V. Wigneswaran to the position of TNA chief ministerial candidate, is in many ways reminiscent of the appointment of M.Tiruchelvam to be the minister of the Ilangei Tamil Arasu Kachchi in the Dudley Senanayake led government of 1965. At that time Tiruchelvam, a retired Solicitor General, was appointed to the Senate and made the representative of the ITAK on the cabinet because the ITAK leaders at that time feared the Tamil public opinion they themselves had created – with anybody seen to be cooperating with the Colombo government being considered a traitor.
In 1965, G.G.Ponnambalam who had been a victim of such propaganda because he was close to the Sennayakes, also declined to become a cabinet minister for fear of being labeled a traitor again. So finally it was a non- politician M.Tiruchelvam who was appointed to the Senate and then to the cabinet to represent the ITAK.
As a cabinet minister it would be Tiruchelvam who was seen at state functions and behaving like a member of the establishment. The politicians of the ITAK were able to remain aloof from all that. One sees a similar reluctance to be seen participating in the governance of the country in this instance as well. As chief minister, Wigneswaran will have to participate at state functions, raise the national flag, sing the national anthem or at least stand to attention while it is being sung and he will have attend meetings of the Chief Minister’s Conference and make decisions with the other chief ministers of the country, and he will have stand behind the president at state functions.
Continue reading ‘Is the Ilangai Tamil Arasu Katchi Going to Use and Discard CV Wigneswaran now as it did with M.Tiruchelvam then?’ »
It is with a sense of disillusionment that many in the South will observe the final stages of the first ever Northern Provincial Council election process as the results start coming in today. Moderates and progressive minded sections in civil society, as well as those in government ranks such as the Left Alliance, had thrown their weight behind this historic event in the face of hawkish Sinhala nationalist sentiment that initially threatened to derail the election.
President Rajapkasa for his part upheld his pledge to restore the political rights of Tamils in the North by holding the poll in spite of that opposition. Implicit in that move was an endorsement of the principle of power sharing based on the 13th amendment, under which provincial councils were established, as a basis for resolving the national question that has plagued the country’s political landscape for decades. The president’s message on the campaign trail in the North as well as the North Western and Central provinces, consistently included an appeal to resist the divisive forces of communalism (“jaathi vaadaya avussamin may ratay jeevath venna bey”)
Continue reading ‘Will TNA’s election mandate promote Northern Tamils’, or Diaspora’s agenda?’ »
The much-awaited Northern Provincial Council (NPC) polls have come and gone. Much was said, over-said and unsaid when the Province was on campaign-mode. It is thus time that the Government at the Centre and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) revived the relative congeniality and mutual comfort that had marked their forgotten post-war negotiations. The latter’s relevance has increased, not decreased, since.
Power-devolution and political solution have assumed more relevance. On ground, the TNA would feel the benefits of what is present and the pinch of what is absent. The Thirteenth Amendment may not be the best from the present perspective of both stake-holders. Yet, they have made it the reference point, nonetheless. In co-habitation, both will know as constitutional institutions, political parties and people(s) what hurts, where, why and how. That should be the beginning, not the end.
The beginning is now and here. Pre-poll and afterward the TNA had demanded the replacement of G A Chandrasiri, the ‘military’ Governor of Northern Province. The TNA had backed Sarath Fonseka, war-time Commander of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) for the presidency with the theoretical possibility of his winning the elections and running the nation for six years, if not more. Chandrasiri, in comparison, was a second-line officer. Like Fonseka then, Chandrasiri is now retired.
Continue reading ‘Independent of its Demand to Replace Gen.Chandrasiri the TNA will have to work with the Incumbent Northern “Military” Governor.’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
The TNA victory has shown that Sri Lanka remains a functioning democracy; that it functions when there is competition; and that with or without the 17th amendment and even under the tightest military supervision, the government can be electorally defeated.
Having won the war, the Government has lost the peace in the North (and earlier, parts of the East), while it continues to lead impressively in post-war politics in the more populous two- thirds of the island.
The TNA’s electoral tsunami has many dimensions and implications. The UNP’s meltdown is a far simpler matter. The TNA’s sweep denotes the resounding political and ideological defeat of the Government’s model of post war rule in the North. Paradoxically, the sweep was also possible because a war was fought to a finish against the Tigers, without which the democratic space would not have re-opened, elections could not have been held and the TNA candidates would have in all probability been assassinated.
Continue reading ‘TNA Sweep Denotes Resounding Political and Ideological Defeat of Govt Model of Post-war Rule in the North.’ »
“If I advocate cautious optimism it is not because I do not have faith in the future but because I do not want to encourage blind faith.”
~Aung San Suu Kyi
Chandrasiri is a retired electrician. He obtained employment with the advent of the J R Jayewardene Government in 1977. Born and bred in an isolated village located in the middle of nowhere in the Maha Nuwara district, he was among the first to be a recipient of a job-bank application and his life-long wish came true when he approached the President of the United National Party branch in his village. The UNP branch President, having recognized Chandrasiri, in his mid-twenties at the time, paid due consideration for the tireless work contributed by him during the just-concluded election campaign and included Chandrasiri’s name in the list to be approved by the MP of his electorate.
Continue reading ‘For Grassroot-supporters the UNP is Not merely a Political Structure but an IDEA that isEssential to our Country’ »
Northern Voters will be casting their votes on September 21st 2013 at the historic first election to the Northern Provincial Council. Although population figures indicate that women are more in number than men in the North, the lists of candidates fielded by the major political parties do not reflect this gender balance. However among the few women contesting polls two candidates from rival configurations in the Jaffna district have aroused much interest and received related publicity.
Gnanasakthy Sritharan in Koovil (former High Security Zone), Jaffna District-picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
One is Gnanasakthi Sritharan who is contesting under the betel symbol of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA). The other is Ananthi Sasitharan contesting on behalf of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) under the house symbol.
Continue reading ‘Gnanasakthi Sritharan: From EPRLF Comrade to UPFA Candidate’ »
By Gibson Bateman and Rathika Innasimuttu
United National High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay recently concluded her visit to Sri Lanka. It’s hard to imagine a High Commissioner delivering a tougher statement than the one she gave on August 31 in Colombo. A hard-hitting update later this month will be followed by a much awaited report at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in March 2014.
The unfortunate reality is that a pair of HRC resolutions and significant international pressure has not produced positive change on the island. This includes matters related to land, human rights, the rule of law and the relentless repression of dissent.
It’s not entirely clear what the word “compliance” means, but the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has largely disregarded yet another HRC resolution. (Moving checkpoints and hiding the military’s presence during high profile visits isn’t enough).
Continue reading ‘What Might a Third Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council at Geneva in March Look like?’ »
Bravo Rauf Hakeem!
Bravo Rishad Bathiudin!
Bravo the SLMC!
Bravo the Sri Lanka Muslim Council! And Bravo all the Muslims who gave vent to the widespread sense of outrage felt by most Muslims over certain statements made by the Defence Secretary!
Unfortunately other Muslim politicians, who were splendidly outspoken on the anti-Muslim campaign only the other day, have again fallen silent, reverting to their traditional policy of refusing to represent Muslim interests on anything that might be controversial.
Unfortunately the All Ceylon YMMA has done worse. Claiming to speak in a representative capacity, it has let fly against “certain extremist elements” – without daring to name them – that have portrayed the Defence Secretary’s message in a negative manner.
Continue reading ‘Countering the Comments Made by the Defence Secretary about Rise of Muslim Extremism.’ »
Dr Nirmala Chandrahasan
The recently announced TNA manifesto has caused a lot of debate and trepidation among some sections. Hence it would be useful to look at the document to see whether there is any cause for such trepidation and what the provincial Council once it is constituted will be in a position to deliver. One factor which stands out in the manifesto is the commitment to a united Sri Lanka. This is in line with the thinking of a majority of the people of all communities in Sri Lanka who are content to live together in a united country.
In fact despite the sporadic racial riots from 1956 onwards culminating in the 1983 pogrom followed by the long drawn out insurgency and civil war in the north and east, the ordinary people of the country of all communities, show no hostility to each other, except for a few fringe groups and extremist elements. Recently reading a travel book on the Balkans written in the 1980s before the violent conflict that raged in the 1990’s in the former State of Yogoslavia, I was disturbed to read of the violent hatred and suspicion between the different ethnic groups and communities in that region, and could not help contrasting it with the situation in Sri Lanka
Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Manifesto and the Tasks Before the Northern Provincial Council’ »
By Dharisha Bastians in Jaffna
On the eve of Sri Lanka’s most crucial post war election for the island’s minority Tamil population, the capital of the Northern Province is a strangely quiet place. Jaffna saw a violent surge in the wee hours of election eve, with the attack on the home of a prominent Tamil National Alliance candidate and consistent reports of intimidation and military involvement in electioneering. But the anticipated fever pitch that brought most of the world’s media to the tiny peninsula in Sri Lanka’s north never materialised and the curtain rises on today’s vote in relative calm.
Posters to confuse Jaffna voters came up around town-says TNA. Wigneswaran’s candidate number is 10-pic: Dharisha Bastians-via twitter.com/tingilye
Today’s election in the Northern-most region of the island is the first time in 25 years that Tamils will vote to elect a provincial administration they were promised in 1987 as part of a political solution to the ethnic struggle, which saw the birth of a brutal separatist movement in the country that waged war on the state for 30 years.
Continue reading ‘Northerners Get Ready to Vote in a Provincial Poll After 25 Years’ »
By Dharisha Bastians in Jaffna
TNA candidate Ananthy Sasitharan speaks to reporters at her home in Chullipuram that was attacked-pic: Dharisha Bastians
Historic elections in the Northern Province took a vicious turn 24 hours after campaigning ended, when the Jaffna home of the Tamil National Alliance candidate Ananthi Sasitharan was besieged and her supporters and a local election monitor assaulted early last morning.
Sasitharan had noticed uniformed personnel outside her home out of her window and made several phone calls in quick succession. The first was to the Police Emergency hotline 119 who she says told her they do not respond to such political calls.
She then informed TNA MPs Marvai Senathirajah and Saravana Bhavan and also immediately informed the election monitors. The assailants had been looking for her, says Sasitharan and shouted threats from outside the house.
“They slashed the tyres of my vehicle and then they moved out,” she recalls, back at her residence by mid morning yesterday.
Continue reading ‘“Some Men who Attacked my House Wore Military Uniforms Over Collared Shirts”-Ananthi Sasitharan’ »
The residence of Ms. Ananthi Sasitharan who is contesting the forthcoming Northern provincial council elections on the Tamil National Alliance list under the house symbol was attacked shortly after midnight on Friday September 20th 2013.
Be to Become: Tamil National Alliance’s Jaffna District candidate Ananthy Sasitharan’s paraphernalia-pic by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai~via flickr/PassionParade
Ms. Ananthi Sasitharan is the wife of senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) political leader Sinnathurai Sasitharan alias Ezhizhan who reportedly”disappeared” after surrendering to the Armed forces at Mullaitheevu in May 2008.
Continue reading ‘Attack Launched After Midnight on TNA Woman Candidate Ananthi Sasitharan’s Residence at Chulipuram.’ »
Chen Shaua Fui
KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 19): Human rights activist Lena Hendry claimed trial today to a charge of screening a documentary without approval from the Film Censorship Board.
Lena Hendry (C) is flanked by her lawyers Andrew Khoo (L) and New Sin Yew in the court grounds.
She was released on a RM1,000 bail and a surety by the magistrate’s court here today. Judge Ashraf Rezal Abd Manan fixed Oct 21 for mention.
The Pusat Komas programme officer was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of Film Censorship Act 2002 for showing the documentary titled ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Field of Sri Lanka’ at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on July 3.
Continue reading ‘Malaysian Human Rights Activist Lena Hendry Charged in Court for Screening “No Fire Zone”Documentary on Sri Lankan War Without Censorship Board Approval.’ »
Padma Rao Sundarji
(Full text of HT’s exclusive interview given by Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Padma Rao Sundarji, published in the Hindustan Times of September 17, 2013)
HT: Mr. Rajapaksa, in May 2009, your government and army managed to do something all previous governments in Sri Lanka had failed to do: end the 30-year-long civil war – one of the most brutal in the world – and decimate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). What did you and your army do differently ?
Rajapaksa: It was sheer determination. The whole country had faced the war. But, I had the advantage over younger generations of having watched it from the day it started. When the LTTE were weak, they always asked for a ceasefire. Then, the international community intervened, the LTTE got powerful and – attacked all over again. So we knew and recognized that pattern. Our army too, knew, that as long as there are no political interferences as before, they could defeat them. We did not interfere and they succeeded in their endeavour.
Continue reading ‘All Wholesale Businesses in Sri Lanka -Food,Clothes,Saris and Gold-are India Aligned says President Rajapaksa’ »
Vasanthakumar Thiruchelvi does not, even for a second, take her eyes off her two children.
Even as she summons her daughter who is jumping over sand and cement heaped around their soon-to-be home, her son threatens to lift the tiles stacked nearby. “Now come here, it might fall on your leg,” she tells her son. “Building a home is a lot of work,” she smiles as she picks up her daughter.
Managing two little children and simultaneously supervising construction of her home is, however, the least of her worries. Thiruchelvi and her husband — like many other families trying to rebuild their homes and lives in the war-ravaged Northern Province — are worried they might soon be caught in a web of debt.
The young couple in Santhapuram village in Kilinochchi is among the beneficiaries of the Indian government-funded housing project in Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Some Beneficiaries in North Receiving Houses from Indian Funds Face Burden of Increasing Debt.’ »
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
The nomination of Retired Supreme Court Judge Canagasabapathy Viswalingam Wigneswaran as Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council Polls by the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) was widely hailed when announced in July. This writer while outlining the process by which the “unanimous” selection was made had this to say in his weekly column published by “Daily Mirror” on July 27th 2013. “A veritable Pandora’s box of the “Eelam” variety seems to have been opened and one does feel that the Sitar strumming Wigneswaran may not be able to play the melody of his choice in the days to come. He may even find the strings on his instrument snapping if the current trend continues. All these developments and more will be scrutinised in greater detail in a forthcoming article”.
Delivered and To Be Delivered? Justice C. V. Wigneswaran delivering “Whither Sri Lankan Tamils” at Thanthai Chelvanayagam Memorial Lecture at New Kathiresan hall in Bambalapitty, Sri Lanka ~Apr 26, 2013~ Picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai – via PassionParade
Against that backdrop the time does seem opportune to focus on the political progress made by CV Wigneswaran in his new avatar as a politician. If the success of a politician prior to polls is judged by the media glare he receives then the former Judge has certainly arrived. The past few weeks have seen the media spotlight being turned on him extensively and excessively. Like fish needing water to survive, Politicians need publicity whether positive or negative. If denied publicity their fate would be akin to fish deprived of water.
Continue reading ‘Why and How Ex- SC Judge CV Wigneswaran Praised LTTE Leader Prabhakaran as a Great Hero’ »
Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai reporting from Koovil, Jaffna District
Gnansakthy Sritharan is a former politician and an ex cadre of Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (Pathmanabha Wing), and is currently contesting in Jaffna District under the United People’s Freedom Alliance banner in the forthcoming Provincial Council Elections in the North of Sri Lanka.
Gnanasakthy Sritharan in Koovil (former High Security Zone), Jaffna District
I met passionate politician to be Gnanasakthy Sritharan amidst her hectic schedule durng the last week of the election campaign, at one of the worst affected villages in Jaffna District, known as “Koovil”.
Continue reading ‘“I want to serve my people because I feel their pain”~ Gnanasakthy Sritharan’ »
Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai reporting from Chulipuram, Jaffna District
Tamil National Alliance’s Jaffna District candidate Ananthy Sasitharan’s posters in Chulipuram
Ananthy Sasitharan is the wife of Ezhilan (Sinnaththurai Sasitharan), former Trincomalee District’s Political Wing Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He surrendered along with many other senior combatants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the last phase of the war.
Continue reading ‘“I will continue to raise my voice against human rights violations” ~ Ananthy Sasitharan’ »
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa speaking on behalf the government said that the TNA was attempting to push Tamils in the North to spread racism and separatism. According to him, the appeal to vote for the new manifesto amounted to that and nothing less. The minister further said that it was crystal clear with the new election manifesto that the TNA was playing the racist card to win the Northern Provincial Council election.
The pledges made by the TNA in their election manifesto could not be fulfilled through a Provincial Council administration. Hence, the minister said, the TNA was only playing the racist card to mislead the voters in the North. He charged that the TNA was planning to paint a different picture to the international community, in case they won the NPC elections. He said that all what the TNA wanted was to turn an election victory as a mandate for separatism. Meanwhile, the TNA was not willing to dismiss this criticism as election rhetoric as MP Sumanthiran had replied to this charge elaborately. His reply included the following excerpts.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Should Convene Parliamentary Select Committee to Discuss How to Implement the TNA Manifesto’ »