The Military vehemently rejected allegations that it was responsible for the attack on the Udayan press saying this was yet another attempt at discrediting the government and the military and a ploy by the TNA and pro-LTTE forces to use the adverse publicity “to support their claims that international interference was essential for local reconciliation”.
Sri Lankan Military Rejects Charges that it was Responsible for the Attack on “Udayan”Press in Jaffna
Chandrika Kumaratunga not JRJ is the Sri Lankan Leader Who Comes Closest to Margaret Thatcher in Economic Reforms
Many have sought to draw parallels between Margaret Thatcher, one-time British Prime Minister who passed away last week, with her contemporary in politics, Sri Lanka’s first Executive President J.R. Jayewardene, better known as JR. While there are a few parallels, there are stark contrasts between the two.
Rajapaksa Regime Record of Abuse Directed Against Sri Lanka’s Media is Unmatched in Country’s History
Committee to Protect Journalists
New York, April 15, 2013–Sri Lankan authorities must immediately investigate an attack on the offices of a Tamil-language newspaper and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The offices of Uthayan have been attacked twice in two weeks.
Death and destruction struck in the last quarter-mile.
The nearly 27000 runners making their way towards the final stretch of the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon could have felt nothing but exhilaration and exhaustion as they approached the finish line. Yet at 2:45pm on Monday afternoon the unsuspecting runners were knocked over by the sheer force of a powerful shockwave from “coordinated” twin blasts of lethal, shrapnel-spewing bombs.
The blasts, which unnamed government officials, but not President Barack Obama, described as a “terror attack,” left at least three people dead and more than 132 injured and were captured in a video here.
If President Does Want to Appoint a New Prime Minister it has to be a Neutral Personality and not a Family member
Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.
Much energy has been expended in recent months in speculation as to whether we will soon have a new Prime Minister, and if so, who it will be. I was confidently told by an opposition Member of Parliament that seven Ministers had applied in writing for the post, and opposition papers are having a field day in declaring that senior members of the SLFP are disaffected because their claims might be ignored.
All this speculation is destructive, not least because those about whom there is speculation feel both that they must defend themselves against allegations of untoward ambitions, and also against the possible untoward ambitions of others. Thus opposition politicians and media outlets will in fact contribute to fulfilment of the prophecies they make.
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a 20 per cent cut in the American aid to Colombo, a move reflecting the unease in their ties over issues related tohuman rights, reconstruction and political integration in Sri Lanka after the end of the civil war.
It is believed to be the highest drop for any South Asian country in Kerry’s budgetary proposals which was sent to the Congress last week for its approval.
Collective Voice of the Sinhala Majority Aided by Like Minded Muslims and Tamils Has to Make Itself Heard
There is that scene from Schindler’s List which had a profound impact on me. I had forgotten about it, I never knew it existed, except that it has lain somewhere in the fibre of my brain, dormant, latent, waiting for the opportune moment for it to be of use. The state of Muslims in Sri Lanka is changing, it is perilous, getting graver with each rising of the sun, and suddenly this scene makes a lot of sense. It draws lessons from the attitudes of races and ethnicities and the chemistry between religious communities in Sri Lanka, a chemistry which is at threat of losing its equilibrium.
In the film Ralph Fiennes, playing the character of Amon Goeth, an SS officer, is in his bedroom with a girl. He rises to use the bathroom from where he sees an inmate in the concentration camp taking a break from the heavy painful labour he is being subjected to. As Goeth sees it, he is wasting time, being disobedient. So with the girl still teasing him in the background, he picks up the rifle and shoots him. He then surveys the working landscape from the balcony and walks the few feet back to the room where he and the girl continue to laugh and argue, as if they never had an interlude in which misery was wreaked on another.
Not a Single Arrest Made Over Thirty Five Attacks in Seven years Concerning “Uthayan”Newspaper in Jaffna
And now the Jaffna office has been burnt down. The Government has been quick state this was a malicious act conducted by Uthayan to frame the government. Sure, Uthayan Newspapers which has been around since 1985– and which has continued to publish their paper even though they’ve been attacked, and journalists and staff killed– would set their own office ablaze (losing important documents) so that they can make the government look bad.
I’ve spoken to the Editors of Uthayan, and they’ve given me a list of incidents that have taken place since 2006. Over the 7 years, not a single arrest has been made. They informed me that Uthayan has been attacked and threatened by the terrorists during the war, as well as political authorities.
I’ve reproduced the document (unedited) listing the murders, attacks and threats since 2006. Note– NO arrests have been made.
Saffron Robed Buddhist Monks Sniff the Air Each Morning for the Scent of a Fresh Offence by one Minority Community or Another
by Kapil Komireddi
Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president of Sri Lanka, is easily incensed by campaigns for political autonomy on the basis of ethnic self-determination. Rejecting “different administrations based on ethnicity,” he recently asserted: “The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities.”
It’s an admirable sentiment, contradicted only by the fact that, since his election in 2005, Sri Lanka has transformed into a rancid ethnocracy: a country where Tamils, after being pulverised in a ferociously asymmetrical civil war, are offered humiliation instead of consolation; where the enforcers of the law have become volitional abettors of vicious ethnic chauvinists; and where saffron-robed Buddhist monks, having designated themselves the defenders of the Sinhala majority, sniff the air each morning for the scent of fresh offence—and follow it to one minority community or another.
By Tariq A.Al Maeena
The undercurrent of racial tensions sweeping through Sri Lanka is gaining momentum. Unchecked and unrestrained by a government appearing to give in to their divisive demands, the terrorist Buddhist group, the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), is threatening to turn the island into a bloody battlefield.
The Muslims targeted by this fanatical element are not the only minority being subjected to acts of violence. Christians on the island are also under attack. The authorities are turning a blind eye and the mainstream media chooses to ignore this rising peril. Recently, two churches were attacked by the radical elements of the BBS, and two others forced to shut down due to pressure from these fanatics.
Text and Pix Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Sri Lankans are preparing to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Aluth Avurudu (in Sinhala) or Puththaandu or Puthu Varusham (in Tamil) literally translates to ‘New Year’– the harbinger of spring.
Beautifully decorated traditional “Kumbam”
Continue reading ‘Sinhala-Tamil New Year ‘Vijaya’ Dawning this Week-End Is Harbinger of Hope’ »
(Text of Statement issued by the Management Cmmittee of the Sri Ratna Viharaya of Anaheim California USA)
Sri Ratana Blog ~ pic: nuwan.drupalgardens.com
The Management Committee of the Anaheim temple would like to issue the following statement regarding the visit of the Bodu Bala Sena:
We are deeply disturbed and disappointed by the actions taken by Ven. Sumana in allowing the “Bodu Bala Sena” representatives to stay at the Anaheim temple, organizing a ‘Buddhanussathi Pooja’ and a get-together.
Representatives of the Bodu Bala Sena are visiting the US for an almost month-long tour, in part to counter wrong impressions given about the group, The Sunday Leader learnt.
The team, which includes General Secretary of the group, Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thero and National Organiser Viththarandeniye Nanda Thero are currently visiting a couple of cities in the United States. The trip was originally scheduled to take place last year but was postponed.
As they are travelling across the US, the representatives of the BBS will be planning to hold religious functions and other ceremonies in temples. These would include a popular meditation programme ‘Buddhanussathi’ initiated by Ven. Galagodaththa Gnanasara Thero, and will be carried out in different temples, Executive Committee member Withanage said.
Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena
(Text of Statement appearing in facebook of Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena)
It was humbling to see so many people present last evening, given the fact that this idea was first announced on Tuesday (9 April) and solely promoted on Facebook and held on a day (12 April) when most people have gone on vacation or back to their ancestral homes.
There were no organizers per se, no pre-meetings, just Sri Lankans guided by the sense of Civic Duty, to maintain and preserve the peace of our tiny Island Nation as it is called for in our beautiful National Anthem, Buddhists guided by the peaceful words of Lord Buddha on Samma Vacca (Right speech) on Subhasita Vaccan (on well spoken speech) gathered in unison.
An Eye-witness Account of How the Police Suppressed Peaceful candle light Vigil Opposite Bodu Bala Sena Headquarters
To my right a man is hauled off by the police. He tries to resist but it’s futile as four policemen load him into a police jeep and drive off. I’m snapping away as the jeep speeds off into the distance, when a voice behind me asks, ‘what just happened?’
I explain to the man in a brown t-shirt, that one of the attendees of the ‘peaceful vigil‘ was just dragged off by the police.
Continue reading ‘An Eye-witness Account of How the Police Suppressed Peaceful candle light Vigil Opposite Bodu Bala Sena Headquarters’ »
South Asia Free Media Association
A gang of unknown persons has again violently attacked a newspaper institution in the North early this morning (Saturday, 13th April) setting fire to and severely damaging its printing press. While condemning this attack, the Sri Lanka Chapter of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA-SL) points out that, after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam, unknown groups of men have been regularly attacking media personnel, offices and equipment in the North.
Indian Parliamentary Delegation Receives Negative Feedback on 13th Amendment From Politicians in Jaffna
The obsession with the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution will hardly help the Tamils, politicians and activists in northern Sri Lanka told the Indian parliamentary delegation, which wound up its visit to Sri Lanka on Thursday.
While members of the Indian delegation were rather reluctant to speak to the media here, enquiries with political parties, academics and civil society members who met the delegation revealed that the discussions gave the Indian parliamentarians an opportunity to listen to different perspectives, agendas and concerns in Colombo and in Jaffna.
Bodu Bala Sena and Police Join Forces to Prevent Peaceful Demonstration near Thunmulla Junction in Colombo
The Bodu Bala Sena, with the assistance of the police, prevented a peaceful candle lit vigil from taking place outside the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters in Thunmulla late this evening.
A small crowd under the banner ‘Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena’ stood outside the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters and attempted to stage the vigil calling for an end to hate speeches.
However Bodu Bala Sena executive member Dilantha Widanage led a group of Bodu Bala Sena supporters towards the crowd and demanded that they leave.
Why the Govt Must NOT Conduct Elections to the Northern Provincial Council as Promised by the President
In the short term, the most important issue before the government is the holding of the Northern Provincial Council election. This should be held within the next four to five months according to announcements made by the government. The reason why the NPC election has not been held up to now, is clearly because the government has been having misgivings about having a provincial government in the Northern Province. The recent events in Tamil Nadu and the inability of the Indian Central government to control Tamil Nadu should make the government even more apprehensive about having a chief minister in the north who can add his voice to the rising secessionist caterwaul in South India. Indeed the whole provincial council system in this country should be reviewed. One of the main areas that this government has neglected is constitutional reform. Whatever has to be done has to be done fast because the term of this government is running out and a two thirds majority will not be available forever.
The April New Year is when most Sri Lankans take a break from the dreary routines of life. Colombo looks dead on New Year’s day in April as people in large numbers retreat to their rural roots from the hurly-burly of the city. Quite different from Colombo’s hangover demeanor on January 1 following the New Year’s eve revelry.
Although January 1 is now the global New Year, Sri Lanka’s April New Year is much longer in tradition and carries deeper meanings and symbols not only for Buddhists and Hindus but also for others.
Continue reading ‘New Year prospects for political house cleaning and economic harvesting’ »
By Latheef Farook
Qutub Muhiyuddin Abdul Qadir Jailani, also known as Ghouse-e Azam, is one of the greatest scholars in Islamic history held in very high esteem by Muslims throughout the Middle East ,Pakistan, India, Bangladesh,Sri Lanka, Malaysia and even as far as Indonesia.
In view of his extreme piety, depth of knowledge, simple life and miracles performed and other such noble qualities some call him a saint while others describe him as the saint of all saints.
Continue reading ‘Historical Background of Dafthar Jailany Rock cave Mosque in Kuragala’ »
Sri Lanka Central Bank Hires Washington Based Public Relations Agency For 100 Million Rupees Per Year
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has engaged the services of a Washington based PR agency for a consideration of Rs. 100 million (approx. US$ 800,000) in order to deepen defence, investment, trade and cultural links with the US ahead of the UNHRC sessions in 2013.
The Central Bank would pay Rs. 100 million for a year’s service provided by the Thompson Advisory Group LLC, USA (TAG). The contract was signed by Central Bank Deputy Governor BDWA Silva and Robert J. Thompson, Chairman TAG on March 16, 2013 as the US government sponsored a second resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Central Bank Hires Washington Based Public Relations Agency For 100 Million Rupees Per Year’ »
LMD Interviews Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka
Former Ambassador and Academic Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka queries whether an an “Administrative apartheid”is in force in the North of Sri Lanka in an interview to Lanka Monthly Digest
Continue reading ‘Administrative Apartheid in the North?’ »
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Exceeds her State Powers in “Banning”Sri Lankan Cricketers from Playing in Chennai
Designating the letter written by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to the Prime Minister as communicating a “decision” to “ban” Sri Lankan players, officials and support staff from participating in any Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket game in Chennai would be imprecise. Rather, it is a putative ban; a statement of intent by the Government of Tamil Nadu to ban the Sri Lankan nationals on a future date should they set foot in the State.
The letter sought to justify the proposed ban on the grounds that the presence of the Lankans would have aggravated the already surcharged atmosphere in the State, and, presumably, have affected the law and order situation. This licences us to infer that at the appropriate time, the Police Commissioner of Chennai would have invoked, that ubiquitous and versatile tool, the prohibitory order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code — something that was also recently invoked by the Commissioner of Police, Chennai to delay the release of actor Kamal Hassan’s film Viswaroopam.
Dr. U. Pethiyagoda
Had Lakshman Kadirgamar been allowed to live, he would today (12 April) have reached the age of 81 years. His brutal and cowardly murder by the LTTE on 12 August 2005 snuffed out his life and undid in seconds what 73 years had taken to achieve.
In our travails at Geneva, some mention of this tragedy may have helped to sway opinion in our favour. But this was not to be for reasons better known to our representatives.
Shortly after his assassination, many accolades were paid to this great son of Sri Lanka. His competence, patriotism, wisdom, oratorical skills, fairness, athletic prowess, charm and personality drew fulsome praise from all quarters. I believe that Lakshman in all his glory, reflects well in the many anecdotes relating to him and some of which I recall. Our association spread from being classmates and friends at Trinity from the time we were about 11 or 12 till his death. I trust that this brief recollection will show him as an exceptional human. Relying as I do on a dwindling memory, I can only try to be accurate and not be guilty of too much “poetic licence”!.
“With or without anticipation, Israeli policies helped shaped the kinds of enemies that pledge to sacrifice their lives to fight the Jewish state…” – Saul Landau (IPS – 29.2.2009)
The Rajapaksas are masters at the art of political marketing. They have developed an ‘all you need to know’ crash course in building innocuous facades to hide insalubrious realities. Perhaps all the people cannot be fooled all the time. But, going by the Rajapaksa record, fooling all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time can more than suffice.
For a while, at least.
Can the Rajapaksas continue to cheat the Tamils and demonise the Muslims with total impunity, endlessly? Or is their run of luck petering out, finally?
Govt Gives Preference to Jathika Hela Urumaya Over Bodu Bala Sena in Handling Kuragala Jailani Issue
The misty mountain village of Kuragala, just off Balangoda came alive on Monday when a Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter landed in the area carrying Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and a full retinue of military, police and intelligence officers onboard. Accompanied by dozens of Buddhist monks including Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Ellawela Medhananda Thero, Moulavis Chief of National Intelligence Major General (Retd) Kapila Hendawitharana and officials from the Department of Archeology, the Defence Secretary undertook a site visit of the rock face on top of which sits an Islamic hermitage shrine.
‘Towards a peaceful environment to live with confidence, without fear of crime and violence.’ This is the current Vision of the Sri Lanka Police, unambiguously declared on its official website.
How many of us live today with confidence and without fear?
The government’s portrayal of the Police in Sri Lanka quite deliberately runs contrary to this Vision. In this article, I wish to examine the underlying message the government communicates to the public regarding the reliability of the Police, and to emphasize the dangers inherent in this message.
Continue reading ‘Police “Powerlessness” and Mob Extremism Orchestrated Deliberately Under Rajapaksa Regime’ »
The indefatigable solider, former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is in the news once again. His newly formed Democratic Party (DP) was formally recognised by the Commissioner of Elections last week and assigned the symbol of a burning torch.
The entry of the DP into the political arena does alter the parameters of domestic politics slightly. However, whether it willbe a force to be reckoned with and be accepted by the masses as an alternative government is a moot point.
In 1978, one of the finest actors of India and a much-acclaimed star from Sri Lanka played the lead roles in a film that was shot in both countries.
Over three decades later, actor-turned-Parliamentarian Malani Fonseka — who played the female lead in Sivaji Ganesan’s ‘Pilot Premnath’ — is reaching out to counterparts in Tamil Nadu to visit Sri Lanka and assess the post-war situation.
Upul Joseph Fernando
Just after the US resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva was successfully carried through with India’s backing, President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a telling remark, pregnant with futuristic meaning. In essence, what he revealed was a conspiracy by the US and Western interests using the Tamil Diaspora as a cat’s paw to destabilize India through Tamil Nadu, in advance of a future separate State in the State; all the while pinning the blame on him (Rajapaksa) for the many sins of commission and omission. If on the other hand Rajapaska acted as India expected after defeating the LTTE, none of those parties would be in a strong position to play Tamil Nadu against India under any circumstances.
“The ongoing crisis in the Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu, over accountability issues here, should discourage those pushing for devolution of power under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. A hostile Provincial Council Administration in the Northern or the Eastern province in Sri Lanka could be inimical to the post war national reconciliation process”. (Friday, March 29, 2013, The Island)
The above statement by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa we believe should not only open the eyes of those advocating the implementation of the 13th Amendment, but also of those who have started advocating elections for the Northern Provincial Council. Changing the slogan – Implement the 13th Amendment – to holding elections in the Northern Province may look innocuous but let us not fool ourselves into believing that they are any different. They are identical. Holding elections in the North is to create the Northern Provincial Council with all the powers bestowed to it by the Constitution – by the 13th Amendment.
“Commitment: a pledge or promise; obligation. If you’re gonna carry out its meaning 1st you have to know what it means.” ~ Unknown quote
To paraphrase Leonard Wolf in the Village in the Jungle: “all power is evil, but there is no power more evil than that is invested in the current Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka.” The enormity of powers, the sheer absolute authority and influence the (ab)user wields over the subject people, its telling might on the subordinate officers’ free-will, its decisive advantages over the competitors in the field and its flagrant abuse by successive holders of office have contributed to it being an almost omnipotent position in the presence of which even Caesar would have trembled. So enormous is the power of Executive Presidency and its inherent powers.
Continue reading ‘Potential Contenders Against Mahinda Rajapaksa For Reform of the Executive Presidency’ »
New Delhi Must Re-visit its Neighbourhood Policies for India to be Taken Seriously by its Neighbours
No discourse nearer home or afar on India’s geo-strategic imperatives for the 21st century has been complete without a strong and at times repeated reference to the ‘String of Pearls’ theory involving China. A theory floated by western strategic thinkers, it had takers in India immediately afterward – to try and ward off the threats from China. Now, it seems to have more takers in the nations of the proponents of the theory. Many are actively engaged as much in India’s neighbourhood as with India, with which they have strategic cooperation agreement or arrangement. Some of these bilateral arrangements may still be in the pipeline but that does not alter the course, either in their geo-strategic appeals to India or their own geo-strategic appeal for some of India’s neighbours.
People Must not Get Into Situation Where They Say “Vatuth Niyarath goyum ka nam kaata kiyamuda ea amaruwa”
Karu Jayasuriya M.P.
(Brief Notes in point form of the Media Conference held by Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, UNP MP for Gampaha District on
10th April 2013 in Colombo)
• The Government has already announced that the Provincial Council Elections for Central and North Western Province will be held in the coming months and elections for the Northern Province by September.
• The government mentioned about Northern Provincial Council Elections in Geneva too.
• Hence, we can call this a pre-election period.
• Commissioner of Elections has a special responsibility to conduct free and fair elections.
• When charges are being aimed at us internationally it is the duty of the Commissioner of Elections to prepare the background for free and fair elections and win the confidence of all political parties.
• It is rather difficult to see that the elections held in this country after the abolition of the 17th Amendment and the introduction of the 18th Amendment are free and fair.
Attacks on Democratic Rights of Tamil People are Carried outin North-East With Active Support, Sanction and Collusion of Govt
Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.
(Text of Statement made on 10th April 2013 under Standing Order 23(2) – provisoby Tamil National alliance leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan in Parliament)
On Saturday, 30th March 2013, a mob of around 50 persons who came in a procession along the A9 highway carrying the national flag attacked a meeting held at the Tamil National Alliance office of Hon S Shritharan MP in Kilinochchi by throwing rocks and concrete stones. In addition to Hon S Shritharan MP, Hon S Senathirajah MP, Hon E Saravanapavan MP and Hon M A Sumanthiran MP were present there at that time.
The members of Parliament were engaged in meeting with about 100 residents of Kilinochchi relating to maters of concern to the Tamil People. This attack took place in the presence of the Kilinochchi Police, who did nothing to prevent it, and resulted in injuries to 13 persons and extensive damage to property. This attack was recorded on video and photographs and the persons involved are easily identifiable. However, not one person has been arrested in relation to this violence up to date, despite the presence of the police on the scene while the attack took place. In fact, one assailant apprehended by those present at the meeting was identified to be an officer of the Criminal Investigation Department [CID] of the Sri Lankan Police. He was handed over to the Deputy Inspector General of Police who arrived at the scene later, but was released shortly thereafter. Two others, who were similarly caught in the act and handed over to the Police, were also promptly released.
The monks of the Bodu Bala Sena have inadvertently done Sri Lanka a favour. Their speeches are so crass and their actions so crude that they have provoked a backlash – the media is full of criticism of their anti-Muslim campaign, much of it coming from Sinhala Buddhists themselves.
People have recognised that these groups are a menace. The question is whether their rise has been properly understood and whether the measures being taken to combat them are likely to be effective.
“Tamil Spring”in India;New Generation of Tamil Nadu College Students Takes up the Cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka
M.S.S.Pandian and Kalaiyarasan A.
And why not? It is better than never. The spark has grown into a flame and we add fuel believing that it burns till the light of equal rights reaches the long deprived and oppressed people – Lalith Raja, senior system engineer,
Infosys, Chennai, in NDTV Blog.
The spark which has ignited the students’ rage in Tamil Nadu against the United States-sponsored United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka and India’s eventual support to it began in one of the most unlikely places, the Loyola College at Chennai. The academic excellence of the college, most believe, is a result of its depoliticised student body. Shattering the myth convincingly, on 8 March, eight young students from the college – Dileepan (18), Britto (20), Anthony George (20), Ramesh alias Paarvai Dasan (20), Paul Kenneth (20), Manikandan (19), Shanmugapriyan (19), and Leo Stalin (20) – went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the implementation of a seven-point charter.
Moviemaker Maestro Lester James Peries celebrated his Birthday yesterday. Sri Lanka’s pioneering director of authentic Sinhala cinema was born in Dehiwela on April 5th 1919.
The nonagenarian auteur in a cinematic career spanning more than five decades has stamped his indelible imprint on Sinhala films and in the process elevated Sri Lankan cinema to global heights.
If everything goes well the veteran film maker is likely to receive a fabulous birthday present in a few weeks time.What better gift can a creative filmmaker receive other than an “original” of a film considered to be his best ever and regarded as “irretrievably lost” for many many years? It would indeed be a treasure in every sense of the word!
Continue reading ‘Nidhanaya: Retrieving The Lost Cinematic ‘Treasure’ of Lester James Peries’ »
Text and Pix Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Passionate traditional musical siblings of the peninsula
“Mangala Isai” is a traditional music group that performs at Hindu temples during festivals, Hindu weddings, and at puberty ceremonies. This particular group has two women who play “Naathaswaram” and “Thavil” generally played only by male musicians.
Continue reading ‘Two Jaffna Sisters Playing the ‘Nathaswaram’ and ‘Thavil’ in Male Dominated Music Sphere’ »
The 21 March UN Human Rights Council vote was a victory for Sri Lanka since the US sponsored, India supported resolution did not call the human rights violation as State sponsored.
Last year’s resolution as well as this year’s resolution calls for implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
Eelam Tamils consider it a mockery of justice as President Mahinda Rajapaksa is both the culprit and the judge. The LLRC report provides a dangerous blueprint for structural and cultural genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Sri Lanka is a Multi-ethnic,Multi-religious Country with Communities well-spread out in all Parts Acknowledges External Affairs Ministry
(Text of Statement by the Ministry of External Affairs Sri Lanka)
Contact and interaction between Sri Lanka and India has continued since time immemorial. Civilisational ties and cultural links between all parts of India and Sri Lanka have been substantial. Since Independence, both nations have followed an unbroken tradition of democracy. The Governments of India and Sri Lanka have worked closely to combat terrorism and extremism, safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and the right of all Sri Lankans to live in peace with dignity and justice.
Hardeep Puri was Directly Involved in Indian Operation Against the JR Jayewardena Govt up to July 1987 says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Had the then Indian government acted with responsibility, Sri Lanka wouldn’t have experienced a 30-year war, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday.
People of all communities would have been still suffering horrors of war, if not for the eradication of terrorism in May 2009, following a three-year combined security forces campaign, the Defence Secretary said, noting that India could never absolve itself of the responsibility for creating terrorism here, though some of those directly involved
Forward and Backward Integration of the Vision that Rahul Gandhi has for a ‘Newer India’ After the ‘New India”
N Sathiya Moorthy
Ruling Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi may not have said it all in his 75-minute CII talk in New Delhi. Yet, he may have left no one in doubt that the party has to – and will, in his time – revisit the policies of the past decades and take it back to the ‘basics’ as far as the core ideologies and constituencies of the Congress went.
Analysts who expected more from Rahul Gandhi in his first full-fledged and public interaction with the nation’s Big Business have been uncharitable at best and critical otherwise. With a party Government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, rightly hailed as the ‘Father of Economic Reforms’, and a more exuberant Finance Minister in P Chidambaram, both well in place, anything more that Rahul Gandhi could have been misconstrued by party insiders and misinterpreted otherwise. Thus he walked the tight-rope and was seen doing it with as much ease and poise for someone much younger and inexperienced in governance and policy-making as he is.
The U.S. Helped the Government and People of Sri Lanka in Every Way we Could to end the LTTE’s Reign of Terror
(US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J.Sison’s Remarks:“US Policy Towards and Continuing Engagement with Sri Lanka” to the Foreign Correspondents Association in Colombo on April 8, 2013)
Thank you for inviting me to speak tonight. It is a pleasure being here, and also a pleasure to have the opportunity to show my support for the role of the media here in Sri Lanka at a Foreign Correspondents Association meeting.
I have been asked to speak about the next steps for U.S. engagement with Sri Lanka. First of all, let me emphasize that we value our relationship with Sri Lanka and the people of Sri Lanka. I would like to spend a few moments talking about how we see the current situation in Sri Lanka, and why the U.S. decided to table a second resolution a few weeks ago at the Human Rights Council.
by Kamaya Jayatissa
“I hear that melting-pot stuff a lot, and all I can say is that we haven’t melted.” – Jesse Jackson
For a country which finally came out of a protracted civil war we surely have not learned much of a lesson when it comes to tolerance and peaceful co-existence between communities. Lack of inter-communal dialogue, anti-Muslim propaganda, destruction of private properties, escalation of hate-speech against minorities, religious fundamentalism… Where does it stop?
In these circumstances, it is legitimate to ask ourselves whether post-war Sri Lanka is truly multicultural or whether it just comprises of multiple cultures that are (hardly) living side by side.
Continue reading ‘Is Post-War Sri Lanka truly Multicultural?’ »
Col R Hariharan
[This article includes comments made by Col Hariharan in a TV discussion on April 7, 2013 on North Korean threat to unleash nuclear strike on U.S. bases and South Korea.]
Why the North Korean stand off?
There are both contemporary and historical reasons behind the North Korean threat to launch an offensive against South Korea and strike at U.S. bases in Guam and Hawaii. North Korea (Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea –DPRK) and South Korea have been having an uneasy relationship since the singing an armistice in 1953 after the Korean War ended in a stalemate. At that time a De-militarized Zone (DMZ) was created along the 38th parallel between the two countries to prevent breaking out of fresh conflict. However, DPRK has not recognized the maritime boundary between the two countries; this continues to be an irritant in their relations. Annual joint exercise by South Korean and U.S. troops and navy is yet another major source of irritation for the North. The Kim regime has repeatedly used these irritants to whip up anti-U.S. hysteria and talk tough on attacking South Korea.
A contemporary reason could be South Korea’s emergence as a democratic nation with strong economic power next only to China and Japan in East Asia, in sharp contrast to DPRK’s dismal performance.
“We Cannot be Unconcerned Spectators when Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters are Attacked or Mosques Vandalized”
Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.
(Statement Made in Parliament by Tamil National Alliance Leader and MP from Trincomalee District , Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, on April 9th 2013 under Standing Order 23(2) – proviso relating to matter of urgent public importance )
I wish to make a statement on a most grave issue of national concern, relating to the safety, security and wellbeing of the Muslim people of this island. The Muslim people have been historical inhabitants of this island, and have contributed immensely to its development for many centuries.
Continue reading ‘“We Cannot be Unconcerned Spectators when Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters are Attacked or Mosques Vandalized”’ »
“Boru Bana Sena” are 21st Century Devadattas Whose Bahaviour is Undoubtedly Against Buddhism and Sinhalese
Dr. Sarath Buddhadasa
We entered Peradeniya university way back in the late 1970s with the hope of creating a future for our families and also to enjoy life while contributing to the progress of society, since it was the people of this country who sustained us in the universities by way of direct and indirect taxes paid to the government to provide us free education.
However, all our hopes and dreams were shattered with the birth of LTTE terrorism and Pirabaharan and his inhuman partners almost destroying our social and economic fabric.
We were fortunate that the country was saved from the clutches of terrorism by President Mahinda Rajapakse and his team, with the help of many supporters here and abroad, in May 2009. This gave us a new ray of hope and impetus. The nation drew a peaceful breath after 30 years and the people were confident of the country’s future. We were sure that such a dark era will not befall us ever again. We started building peace and rebuilding the much needed trust between communities. There were many efforts and sacrifices made to rehabilitate and re-integrate disaffected youth and peace building was initiated with our Tamil speaking fellow countrymen and women.
Now what is the situation in our country today?
“The skeletons in the mass graves in Matale are those of the 60,000 JVP members killed during the UNP regime in 1988-89. We urge the government to immediately conduct a probe into the findings,” says the JVP.
While the media began reporting the issue, the JVP held media briefings and issued communiqués in this regard. However, after a while, the JVP changed its tune, somewhat. They suddenly alleged that during the period in question, it was Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who was the army officer in charge of Matale, and therefore, he must be held responsible, adding he would also know what had gone on at the time, and as such, he should be questioned.
Why is the JVP, which had been accusing the UNP since 1988-89, stating it had destroyed the JVP with bullets, suddenly drag Gotabhaya’s name into the controversy, consequent to the report on the skeletal remains in the mass graves in Matale being released, and say he should be questioned?
Continue reading ‘International Conspiracy and Covert Moves to Oust Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »
ONLY a handful of peace-time politicians can claim to have changed the world. Margaret Thatcher, who died this morning, was one. She transformed not just her own Conservative Party, but the whole of British politics. Her enthusiasm for privatisation launched a global revolution and her willingness to stand up to tyranny helped to bring an end to the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill won a war, but he never created an “ism”.
The essence of Thatcherism was to oppose the status quo and bet on freedom—odd, since as a prim control freak, she was in some ways the embodiment of conservatism. She thought nations could become great only if individuals were set free. Her struggles had a theme: the right of individuals to run their own lives, as free as possible from the micromanagement of the state.
Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” of British politics, who pulled her country back from 35 years of socialism, led it to victory in the Falklands war and helped guide the United States and the Soviet Union through the Cold War’s difficult last years, died Monday. She was 87.
“It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother, Baroness Thatcher, died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” a statement from her spokesman, Lord Tim Bell, said. She had been in poor health for months, and suffered from dementia.
Political Posturing in their Name Has Not Helped Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees Living Under Sub-Human Conditions in Tamil Nadu
“I do not want my child to be born and raised as a refugee,” says Padma, resting her palm on her five-month pregnant stomach. She arrived in India as a little girl in 1990. The only transition since then is that she had moved out of a refugee camp to live outside in a house as a “veli pathivu” (non-camp refugee). She is one of the two pregnant women Tamil refugees, who were ‘rescued’ from the stranded boat off Velankanni coast on Saturday evening.
Bhanu, who is in the eighth month of pregnancy, was rushed to a hospital for treatment after she developed sickness on arrival here.
The Jaffna Peninsula is unique as far as regional media activities are concerned. Away from Colombo, this is the only region in the country where the ‘fourth estate’ thrives. Remarkably, not only four regional newspapers are published here, the country’s first regional television station, Dish Asia Network (DAN), which caters to the region as well as abroad via satellite, also has its main operations here.
The first blow to a Jaffna newspaper was struck on the very night the Jaffna Public Library was set on fire in June 1981. Eelanadu, which was started in 1959 with veteran journalist K.P. Haran as Editor, was attacked by the same mob that had set the Jaffna Library aflame, completely destroying around 90,000 books and rare manuscripts.
By Hardeep S. Puri
Contemporary developments in India’s foreign policy are often based on perceptions and not facts, views divorced from reality and political advocacy based on make-believe. India’s approach to the Sri Lankan issue and the vote in the Human Rights Council (HRC) is a case in point. Variously described as a “new low” in our foreign policy and a departure from our principled stand of not supporting country-specific resolutions, this line of reasoning suggests that New Delhi should ignore and overrule regional sentiment, and refrain from meddling in the affairs of a small neighbour.
Disregarding UNHRC Resolution is Risky for Sri Lanka as it Could result in Unpalatable consequences like Economic Sanctions and Travel restrictions
Another US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka – the second in 12 months – was passed recently at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. Twenty-five countries voted in favor of the resolution and 13 voted against it. There were 8 abstentions. Importantly, the resolution also had 41 cosponsors.
This resolution is similar to the one that was passed in March 2012. It calls on the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to implement the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations and to address the (very credible) allegations of international humanitarian and human rights law which occurred during the civil war’s final phase. And, like the previous one, this resolution encourages GoSL to work with the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to fulfill these objectives.
Justifiable Outrage Over Groups Like Bodhu Bala Sena Must Not Distract Us From Asking Fundamental Questions
Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra
In the few days following the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meetings in Geneva, we have witnessed several acts of blatant criminality by mobs on people and property – in Colombo, Killinochchi and elsewhere.
A common factor has been the passivity of the police. They have looked the other way (reminiscent of July ’83) and suppressed video evidence of the culprits responsible for such violence.
We have also witnessed, in a single day, the Attorney General interfering in court cases involving family members and friends of politicians.
The justifiable outrage over groups like Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) must not distract us from asking fundamental questions such as:
Theepachelvan, christened Balenndram Pratheepan, is the author of 11 books, including five collections of poems, three of articles, one compendium of short stories of people from the war-scarred land, and one anthology of poems by Eelam poets.
His most recent book, Pray for My Land, is a collection of poems translated into English. Born in 1983, his writings bear the imprint of the war on the life of a young boy who cowered as IPKF tanks moved past, of a child who only saw the most unpleasant and gory images life could offer.
In Kilinochchi Central College, University of Jaffna, where he pursued a degree in Tamil literature, he was a student leader braving threats to his life and constantly under scrutiny of the Sri Lankan military forces. His poems echo with the hopelessness of the situation that people like him were thrown into. His writings have won him recognition from the Sri Lankan Press Association and more recently from the Tamil literary magazine Kanaiyazhi. He is currently in Chennai pursuing a master’s degree in journalism and communication at the University of Madras.
Excerpts from an interview:
Nirupama Rao and Jaliya Wickramasuriya: Contrasting Approaches of Two South Asian Ambassadors in Washington
Having read a post by HE Jaliya Wickramasuriya, our Ambassador in the USA, titled “A Role for Sri Lanka in US Pivot to Asia”, I thought it may be ideal to understand how others compete to be in the US pivot to Asia to do business. I mean “business” only in economic terms and exclude issues such as politics, rights, accountability etc; the presently more quoted US interests.
Concurrently, Minister Maithripala Sirisena stating that “the Sri Lankan government had implicit faith in the Indian central government and would continue to maintain close ties with them despite the current situation in Tamil Nadu” meant to me another aspect of relationship building with India.
Since USA and India are hand in glove on many fronts Minister Sirisena’s statement too should be considered as a means to engage India and the USA as a joint response for a common cause.
Continue reading ‘Nirupama Rao and Jaliya Wickramasuriya: Contrasting Approaches of Two South Asian Ambassadors in Washington’ »
Beirut) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should not deport 19 Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka because they would be at serious risk of torture and persecution upon return. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has recognized all 19 as refugees, but the UAE authorities have told the group they must leave the country by April 11, 2013.
“For the UAE to return recognized Tamil refugees to a grave risk of torture in Sri Lanka would signal a total disregard for their well-being – and the most basic principle of international refugee and human rights law,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. “Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamils they deem politically suspect is dismal and under no circumstances should the UAE deport this group there.”
Indian Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan Wants Indian MP’s Trip to Sri Lanka Cancelled “Out of Respect for Feelings of People of Tamil Nadu”
A Special Correspondent
Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan has urged the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Naina Lal Kidwai to cancel the proposed trip by a delegation of Parliamentarians to Sri Lanka, “in solidarity with the sufferings of innocent civilian Tamils in Sri Lanka and out of respect for the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu.”
[Organised under the auspices of the FICCI, the trip, by the delegation of six MPs, is to begin on Monday (April 8) and conclude on Friday].
Six Indian MP’s Visit Sri Lanka From April 8th to 12th on Trip Organized byIndian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
A delegation of six Indian parliamentarians will visit Sri Lanka between April 8 and April 12. They will also visit Colombo and Jaffna during the trip, which is being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
How 150 JVP Cadres Came by Train in April 1971 to Jaffna to Free Rohana Wijeweera Held in Jaffna Fort Prison
The 42nd anniversary of the April 1971 insurgency fell on Friday. This is an account of little-known facts of the attempt to free JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera from the Jaffna Prison during the uprising.
In 1969-1970 the JVP – then popularly called the Che Guevarists – was supporting the Opposition United Front’s election campaign against the UNP Government. Simultaneously they were preparing for an armed insurrection if things did not turn out in their favor after the polls. Hence their covert operations continued even though the UF won the Parliamentary Election of May 27, 1970. Less than four months later on August 10 the JVP held its maiden pubic rally at Hyde Park, Colombo.
The following year on March 10 five JVP members were killed in an accidental explosion in Kegalle while manufacturing hand bombs. Three days later the police arrested Rohana Wijeweera and over 400 JVP members in the jungles of Ampara. On March 16, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike declared a country-wide State of Emergency. Following a high level security conference in Colombo a decision was taken to detain Wijeweera in Jaffna so that he would have no contact with his party members. Since there was no JVP activity in the North, the authorities considered Jaffna to be safe area to hold him in custody.
“I very Much Doubt That Our Govt Would Find in China or Any Other Country a Factor to Counter Balance India
I read in a newspaper an account of a recent meeting on the Government’s foreign policy, in which several ex-Ambassadors and others had participated. The outcome was apparently unfavorable to the Government, since it was seen as making foreign policy mistakes which have placed Sri Lanka in a very disadvantageous position. In any case there seems to be a very widespread public perception that the Government has been seriously blundering in the sphere of foreign relations, as a result of which Sri Lanka is getting isolated and could even face punitive sanctions. I have already seen one article in which facts and figures are cited to show that sanctions won’t bite all that much. If sanctions become a realistic prospect, we can expect many more articles in which brilliant statistical casuistry will be expended to show that sanctions won’t matter at all, and may even be beneficial for the economy.
Is Sri Lanka Capable of Conducting Independent Investigation Into Mass Graves Found in Matale Due to Gota Factor?
True to Sri Lankan style, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to appoint a ‘presidential commission’ to conduct an inquiry into the Matale mass grave.
The mandate of the proposed commission is to be finalized in two days, Presidential Spokesman Mohan Samaranayake, said, confiding to our correspondent that he too is awaiting further instruction with regard to the latest presidential decision. Indications are that the decision to appoint a commission was made in a hurry, in an apparent move to wade off an international scrutiny on the issue which could even risk an international tribunal on the matter, such as the one on the Rwandan Genocide or on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(A grieving mother of two teenage sons who were abducted by the Army in 1989, narrates how she was stopped and sent back when she went to meet then Military Coordinating Officer (MCO) for Matale,
Lt. Col. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa).
The two teenage sons of K.G. Kamalawathi were snatched by the soldiers who arrived at her residence during a notorious ‘military round up’ of local youth on 13 December 1989. The two teenagers, Susantha Janaka (18) and Rohana Nishantha (17), were GCE Advanced Level students at Science College and Vijaya Vidyalaya, Matale.
The two boys were having their lunch when the military unceremoniously entered their home at Warakanda Watta, Ukuwela, Matale, and took them to the Rest House Camp, near Vijaya Vidyalaya, which was located in the vicinity of the current mass grave at the backyard of the Matale Hospital, from where 154 skeleton remains dating back to 1986-89 as stated in the investigations, had been uncovered.
Liberal Party is Concerned About On Going Campaign by a Few Self-Proclaimed Organizations Against Religious Minorities in Sri Lanka
The Liberal Party is concerned about the ongoing multifaceted campaigns by a few self-proclaimed organizations in Sri Lanka against religious minorities. A clear sinister campaign is also launched by these organizations to boycott commercial establishments run by Muslims. The Liberal Party understands that the demands by these extremist organizations cannot be practically followed by the general public owing to the unpredictable behaviour of the market forces.
Liberals feel that the ongoing hate campaign against Muslims is now directed at their culture including dress codes, eating habits and so forth. However, we feel that the prime cause of the recent resurgence of this majority extremism is business rivalry. Muslims who have benefited from the open economic policies since 1977, have a greater share in capital for development and investment opportunities in the post-conflict period with their inborn skill in trade. Others should not be jealous about this historical phenomenon.
“I Dont Want to Ban Any Organization But I Want New Laws Banning Hate Language And Prevent Spread of Communal Hatred -Vasudeva Nanayakkara
With racial discrimination on the rise, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara is due to submit a Cabinet paper, seeking approval to ban hate language, which is designed to incite communal disharmony. Ceylon Today interviewed asked him about the steps he intends taking to stem the increasing incidents of racial attacks against minority communities
Excerpts of the interview:
National Action Plan Does Not Deal With Even Half of the Constructive Recommendations by the LLRC-MA Sumanthiran MP
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
TNA parliamentarian, Attorney-at-Law M. A. Sumanthiran says the international community has realized that the request for time and space is not a genuine one but only for the government to implement its own agenda. He observed that if the government acts responsibly at least at this stage and engages constructively with the international community following the adoption of the 2013 resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the country could deal with all outstanding issues. “The people of this country will have to ask themselves the question as to why the very countries that banned the LTTE and helped the government win the war, are now applying pressure to settle the six-decade long ethnic issue by peaceful means,” Sumanthiran said.
Following is the interview:
Sri Lankan Scholar Madulugiriye Wijerathne Honoured with Award in Tamil Nadu for Propagation of Buddhism Through Tamil
The famed Tamil Language scholar and Tamil Pandit Madulugiriye Wijerathne was honoured with the Buddha’s Light Award for the monumental contribution he has made for the propagation of Buddhism through the Tamil Language.
War and violence have been excuses for many Tamils to present their ‘economic migration’ aspirations as ‘political asylum’,
N. Sathiya Moorthy
Military Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya’s exposition that Sri Lanka will need foreign help to determine the number of deaths in ‘Eelam War IV’ stands to reason. He has said, and rightly so, that many have migrated through the years of ethnic conflict; some among the 300,000 freed from the LTTE’s clutches during the closing weeks of the war or hospitalised at the time had escaped to foreign countries. There is nothing new in the claim for it to be dubbed an imaginative, post-Geneva initiative.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A red-robbed Buddhist monk calmly picked up stones and hurled them at a security camera. Then, as police looked on, his followers smashed up a popular, Muslim-owned clothing store.
Last month’s attack on the Fashion Bug chain near Colombo, filmed by a local television station whose cameraman was attacked by the mob, was the most public outburst in a growing anti-Muslim campaign by Sri Lanka’s Buddhist nationalist groups.
The escalation in attacks and anti-Muslim rhetoric has caused fears of a new wave of ethnic violence in a country still recovering from a quarter-century civil war between the government, controlled by ethnic Sinhalese Buddhists, and a mainly Hindu ethnic Tamil rebel group.
“They just finished hunting the Tamils, without solving any of the issues, and now they are starting on the Muslim hunt. Virtually all minority communities are being threatened,” said Muslim political leader Azad Salley.
Indira Samarasekera: First Tamil Woman of Sri Lankan Origin to Become President of a Major North American University
Who is Dr.Indra Samarasekera?
She is the 12th president of the University of Alberta, one of Canada’s most respected research-intensive universities. Building strong international partnerships is a signature feature of her leadership. The International aspect involves German Research Centres, the Aga Khan University, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) apart from others.
Indira Samarasekera is probably the first Tamil to become the president of a major North American university. Samarasekera began her career at the University of British Columbia as a professor in the Department of Materials Engineering. Using her knowledge of heat transfer and stress analysis, she researched new processes of steel production involving a major emphasis on continuous casting and hot rolling. Samarasekera has also consulted for companies all around the world. Prior to her coming to the University of Alberta, Samarasekera, for five years, served as Vice-President Research at the University of British Columbia.
If Bodu Bala Sena is Allowed to Wreak Havoc a Muslim Counter-Extremism Deadlier than the LTTE May Emerge
“The history or the future of Sri Lanka does not belong to any group”.
Ranasinghe Premadasa (Speech on 12.11.1990)
Character can be fate, for both individuals and collectives. The answer to where Sri Lanka is headed depends, at least in part, on what Sri Lanka is.
In 1956, the dominant Sinhala opinion deemed that Sri Lanka was a Sinhala country; after two decades of resistance, the dominant Tamil opinion abandoned the struggle for equality, accepted that Sri Lanka was a Sinhala country and demanded a separate Tamil state on that basis.
None clung to the myth of Sri Lanka not being a country for Tamils with greater assiduity than Vellupillai Pirapaharan.
In 1956, SWRD Bandaranaike used the Tamil-bogey to come to power. Today the Rajapaksas are using the Muslim-bogey to perpetuate their power. Just as their politico-ideological forefathers told the Tamils to get back to Tamilnadu/India, the Sinhala-Buddhist supremacists of today are acting as if every Lankan Muslim is a dual citizen of Saudi Arabia, by birth.
Sri Lanka and India, although separated only by a channel, have never gotten along well. It is like the UK and France being at war with each other, centuries ago. Both Colombo and New Delhi are really distant neighbours. Their mistrust is so deep that one attributes all types of motives to the other. Yet, all their enmity is not over territory or policies but on the discriminatory treatment meted out to Tamils living in Sri Lanka.
Ven Maduluwewa Sobitha Thero
1. Abolition of Executive Presidency
The Executive Presidency (EP) shall be immediately and totally abolished with a return to a Parliamentary form of Government.
The best thing that can happen is for the present Government to agree to the abolition of the Executive Presidency and bring a constitutional amendment to that effect.
Sri Lankan Diaspora from Sinhala,Tamil, Muslim Backgrounds Are Investing in Students Outside Their Own Ethnicity and Religion
Who are the “diaspora”? The International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) describes them as “a community of people who live outside their shared country of origin or ancestry, but maintain active connections with it. A diaspora includes both emigrants and their descendants.” According to the World Bank, the official global diaspora remittances reached a record $500 billion in 2012. Sri Lanka, my home country, accounted for $5 billion of it sent by nearly 2 million Sri Lankans living abroad. For sending remittances equivalent to 8 percent of the country’s GDP, the Sri Lankan diaspora merit more than just a pat on the back. They deserve some serious attention from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, from the international community to local policy makers.
Muslim Community in Sri Lanka Feels it is Abandoned by Their Govt and Betrayed by Their Own Politicians
The speech of Ven. Galagodatte Gnanasara Thera at a public meeting in Kandy on March 17 shamed the nation and sent shudders over the spines of the island’s Muslim community.
Addressing the gathering Bodu Bala Sena Secretary Ven. Galagodatte Gnanasara Thera asked the Sinhalese to rise against the island’s Muslims, whom he described in very derogatory terms not worthy of a monk, besides accusing Muslims of converting Buddhists into Islam and treating Sinhalese girls and boys in their establishments as slaves.
Inciting them he also asked all Sinhalese girls working for Muslim owned establishments to leave. However he had conveniently forgotten to ask Sinhalese working in the Gulf to return home!
Dr. Devanesan Nesiah
The title of this article is a line from a beautifully haunting hymn written by Bishop Heber of Calcutta who, clearly, had an imperialistic mindset. He visited our island in 1825, and the hymn must have been written around that time. The next line reads, ‘The Heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone’.
Because of the racism implicit in it, this hymn is no longer sung in most churches. But in the light of the extended anti-Muslim hysteria sweeping the country, we may need to pose the question, ‘are we vile?’ Are Sri Lankans a nation? Are we one people? Are we a law abiding democracy? Are we a model of friendly co-existence?
Till a few decades ago the answers would have been a resounding no to the first question and an emphatic yes to each of the others. But now there are some fanatical groups claiming be Buddhists who seem determined to reverse each of these answers. We do remain the Isle of Serendipity, but at the pace at which we are destroying our physical environment, even this claim may soon ring hollow.
Continue reading ‘Where every prospect pleases, man alone vile’ »
“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
~Charles de Gaulle
In this fast changing world, most of those closet-gay guys and gals came out of their self-built closets and identified themselves as what they really are-either gay or not. The badge of sexual-preference was not one of disgrace anymore; on the contrary, it became a badge of honor, indeed. The changing world with its ever-increasing propensities for promiscuity began embracing various concepts of sexual preferences with no further inhibitions. The hang-ups that were hitherto embargoed by ‘conservative’ thinkers and pundits as ‘unnatural’ are being treated with ‘celebratory’ echoes. The long lines that were formed behind these once-closeted ‘complexes’ began to add more and more newcomers who earlier did not have either the courage of their sexual convictions or the knowledge based on science that would have shone more light on these behavioral concepts, an openness which would have made Oscar Wilde an instant celebrity instead of the castigated sub-human of yesteryear.
A Personal Story About a Sinhala Buddhist Student at Jaffna College Living With a Tamil Christian Family
Rod is R.D. Perera. We met in 1954 when he enrolled in the University Entrance class (HSC) at Jaffna College.
Before it became associated with the slogan of Eelam, Vaddukoddai’s sole claim to fame was that Jaffna College was located there. Apart from that Vaddukoddai was a cultural desert. There were no good restaurants, shops or other commercial establishments. There were a couple of thosai kadais and toddy spots under Palmyra trees for those who were inclined to patronize them (some senior students and staff members of Jaffna College included). The most exciting pastime of Jaffna College boarders was to steal the neighbours’ chickens for midnight feasts!
It was the practice those days for parents in the south and particularly Colombo to send their problematic sons to Jaffna schools. They figured that that a change of environment would help their sons to focus on studies without unnecessary distractions. The very problematic boys were sent to St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna famous for its stern discipline meted out by the Catholic priests, most of whom were Irish. The soft discipline cases were sent to the likes of Jaffna College and St. Johns College.
In a bizarre move tinged with “black humour” the anti-Muslim, Bodhu Bala Sena(BBS)is planning to form its own Muslim unit within its organizational structure in the near future.
Opposition to Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya Delivering Keynote Speech at South Asian Arts festival
By Valli Sanmugalingam and Ali Beydoun
In Sept. 2007, Mahmoud Ahmedinaejad, president of the authoritarian and oppressive Iranian regime, gave a speech at Columbia University, claiming that “women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedom” and denying that the Holocaust occurred.
The speech was met with uproar and protests from within Columbia University as well as from the media and general public, claiming that the University was providing a platform for Ahmedinaejad to promote his controversial ideas.
This Saturday, AU will be repeating history on our own Quad. The South Asian Arts Festival, sponsored by the School of International Service, will be presenting Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka Ambassador to US , as its keynote speaker.
Wickramasuriya is the official representative of another authoritarian and oppressive regime, and AU is disturbingly allowing him a platform to deny Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils on the island.
Continue reading ‘Opposition to Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya Delivering Keynote Speech at South Asian Arts festival’ »
A Crime is a Crime to the Bodu Bala Sena only if Perpetrator is a Muslim/Tamil/Christian and Victim is Sinhala Buddhist
“A state of permanent war….where violence pervades all spheres of life, where the rich flourish and the poor live in misery; a state that will be deserted by the best of its children?
Yuri Avnery (Countercurrents)
Last week, the Cimmerian darkness enveloping Sri Lanka was breached by a spark of resistance. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) decided to invite the lawful Chief Justice of the country, rather than the usurper, to grace its annual convocation.
In a country becoming habituated into fear and submission, the principled decision by the BASL – and its new president – was both rare and laudable. It demonstrated that courage is not dead in Sri Lanka. More pertinently it reminded the rest of society of the necessity – and the possibility – of resisting the Rajapaksa plague.
The Rajapaksas, shocked by this unexpected sign of independent life in the legal community, are resorting to their usual tactic of demonisation. A group of tamed SLFP lawyers accused the BASL and its new President of being LTTE proxies. Somehow the charge lacked vigour and credibility, probably because the Tiger has been dead, manifestly and uninterruptedly, for almost 4 years.
Therein stems the Siblings’ desperate need for a new enemy, an enemy terrifying enough to frighten the absolute majority of Sinhalese into mute compliance.
Weligama in Matara District of the Southern Province has become the latest venue of anti –Muslim activity in Sri Lanka.Weligama meaning “Sandy Village”in Sinhala is situated 144 Km from and is a well-known tourist destination in the Island.Although Sinhalese are the preponderant majority in the area the population of Weligama is diverse with Muslims,Tamils,Burghers and Malays living in amity there.
The controversial Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS)organization that has been conducting an on-going campaign against the Sri Lankan Muslims has now entered Weligama and is staging a public rally at 2.00 pm on April 3rd near the Pradeshiya Sabha office.
Text and Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Temple worship is an integral part of Hinduism. Illustrative of this “Kopuram” or the tower over the main entrance of the temple is splendidly covered with sculpted images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and celestial beings.
The tower is meant to be visible from afar, so that devotees can even say their prayers from a distance. A popular Tamil saying goes “Kopura Tharisanam Kodi Punniyam” worshiping the tower of the temple is goodness in a million fold.
Ardent devotees from High Security Zone in Jaffna, and have been displaced for more than 20 years,live in Kokkuvil
The “Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal” temple is situated in Nanthaavil, in Kokkuvil East in Jaffna District. Built in 1743, it’s one of the many famous “Amman” temples in the Jaffna Peninsula.
Continue reading ‘In Reverence of Goddess Amman: ‘Katpulaththu Manonmany Ambaal’ Temple at Nanthaavil’ »
New Archbishop of Canterbury Most Revd Justin Welby Greeted at Investiture in Cathedral by 17 year old Evangeline Kanagasooriyam
The Most Revd Justin Welby was today enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in a service that celebrated the diversity of the Anglican Communion.
As the Archbishop of Canterbury entered the cathedral, he was greeted by a fanfare and questioned by Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a young member of the congregation. He replied: “I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ.”
More than 2,000 people from around the world gathered in Canterbury Cathedral for a celebration marked by traditional elements of Anglican worship blended with contemporary music, vibrant Ghanaian dancing and African drums, a Punjabi hymn and a blessing spoken in French.
Continue reading ‘New Archbishop of Canterbury Most Revd Justin Welby Greeted at Investiture in Cathedral by 17 year old Evangeline Kanagasooriyam’ »
Each Time the Muslim Community Chooses the Path of Least Resistance the Attacks Against Them Seem to Intensify
“The attack on religious freedoms radicalises the polity and unleashes dangers that cannot be controlled even by those who foster them” Retired Supreme Court Justice C.V. Wigneswaran at the BASL Convocation on 30 March
Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem meeting with Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob J Carr and Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor, 2 April, 2013-pic via: twitter.com/bobjcarr
It played out like the perfect symphony in the end.
Crazed mobs attacked the Fashion Bug warehouse in Pepiliyana after night had fallen on Thursday, 28 March. They vandalized property and vehicles, destroyed merchandise and injured personnel, including the manager of the warehouse and a TV journalist. Seventeen suspects were arrested in an investigation overseen by Senior DIG Western Province Anura Senanayake. By Tuesday (2) morning, the suspects included three Buddhist monks who had surrendered to the police the previous day and were subsequently arrested. In a clear sign that the regime did not want to be associated with any attempted arrest of members of the Sangha, despite the ample video evidence of their role in the attack, the three offending priests surrendered a day before the matter was taken up and “settled” in court.
Fearless Fonny in Fresh Fight for People’s Freedom Inaugurates his Democratic Party Under Flaming Torch Symbol
More than three years after he made a bid for the presidency and 10 months after his release from prison, former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka yesterday inaugurated his political party under the symbol of the flaming torch, pledging to change Sri Lanka’s political culture and restore much-needed democracy.The Elections Commission formally registered the former General’s Democratic Party on Monday after a long-drawn registration battle.Fonseka hailed the birth of the Democratic Party as a defining moment in Sri Lanka’s democracy.
“This has been a difficult journey. We have endured a presidential election, parliamentary elections, a prison term, suppression and setbacks. We never gave up,” the former Army Chief told journalists and party supporters at the Solis Hotel in Kotte last afternoon.
Continue reading ‘Fearless Fonny in Fresh Fight for People’s Freedom Inaugurates his Democratic Party Under Flaming Torch Symbol’ »
We Call Upon Govt to Instruct Law -Enforcement Authorities to Stop Majoritarian Vigilantism Against Muslims and Christians-NCEASL
National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka
(Text of Press Release Issued by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka)
The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) is deeply concerned regarding the
prevalence in Sri Lanka of an organized campaign of hatred against adherents of non‐majority
In recent months Muslims and Christians alike have faced numerous attacks and violence against
their practice of worship. Additionally Muslim owned business establishments and Muslim women
in their religious attire have faced attack and assault.
TNA Expresses Grave Concern Over Attack on “Uthayan”Newspaper Kilinochchi Office by Armed Assailants
(Text of a media release issued by the Tamil National Alliance)
The Tamil National Alliance expresses its grave concern over an attack today, 3rd March 2013, by armed assailants of the Kilinochchi distribution office of the Uthayan newspaper.
Two staff were hospitalized after sustaining injuries, and property – including vehicles – has been damaged. The attack took place when a vehicle carrying copies of the newspaper for distribution arrived at the Kilinochchi office. The incident is the latest in a series of brutal attacks on Uthayan staff in the last few months.
Continue reading ‘TNA Expresses Grave Concern Over Attack on “Uthayan”Newspaper Kilinochchi Office by Armed Assailants’ »
Karu Jayasuriya M.P.
(Text of Media Release by Hon. Karu Jayasuriya UNP Member of Parliament Gampaha District – 3rd April 2013)
Once again the right of the people in the North to hold dissenting opinion has been threatened. The latest example is the attack on the office of the Udayan newspaper by goons.
According to the government democratic rights have been established not only in the North but across the country. There cannot be room for any kind of harassment in the North. The attack on the Udayan office has taken place under this background.
“Colomboscope”Arts Festival Panel Discussion Turned Into Pro- Sri Lanka Govt Propaganda Stunt on War
Perhaps most shocking was that they came in military uniform to an arts festival. It could have been a bold move to include a session on war reporting in the latest literary event in the Sri Lankan capital – Colomboscope. Sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank and organised by the British Council and Goethe Institute, the boundaries of freedom of expression should at least have been nudged forward a little.
YUDHANJAYA WIJERATNE (ALCH3MIST)
Once, in Europe, there was a country that had just gotten through a war. It wasn’t the best place to be. It wasn’t the richest country in the world. Nevertheless, it was home to large numbers of people from a variety of races. People were, by and large, getting along and getting up on their feet again.
Then some madmen came along and changed all that.
They incited racism. They incited hate. They incited riots. And finally, when all the reins were in their hands, they incited a holocaust. Perfectly innocent people turned against neighbors they had lived with for decades.
This was wartime Germany, back in WWII. An estimated six million people of Jewish descent died in the holocaust that followed.
Let’s not pussyfoot around the issue. This WAS germany: and this, unless we act now, is also where Sri Lanka is heading. What was started by the religious extremist group “Bodu Bala Sena” is now spiralling into chaos.
They call upon Centre to impose economic sanctions on island nation
Endorsing the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution on Sri Lanka, the South Indian Artistes Association, the apex body of film actors in South India, on Tuesday called upon the Union government to impose economic sanctions on the island nation till the safety and rights of Tamils there was ensured.
Continue reading ‘Film actors fast for Sri Lankan cause’ »
Upul Joseph Fernando
When the resolution against Sri Lanka was being tabled in Geneva, it was the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar, who appeared to be the busiest person, perhaps, even more so than our own Minister of External Affairs. She took special pains to instruct to the Pakistan High Commissioner in Geneva, Zamir Akram, to rope in the Muslim countries to defeat the resolution against Sri Lanka.
Akram had separate discussions with the countries of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation to convince them of the necessity to defeat the resolution. The decision by Kuwait, Mauritania, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to vote against the resolution was a sequel to these discussions.
Kandy people’s assembly met at the YMBA hall on 31 Sunday. This is the 3rd such assembly to meet, after Colombo and Kurunegala. All these were organised by the civil society organizations led by the Platform for Freedom. The Protest of the Opposition, the action alliance convened by the leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, supported this social programme.
The main idea behind this project is to give an opportunity to all areas, for the militant and radical leaders to participate in discussions. It is expected that such discussions will lead to protest actions against the policies of the government. Kandy people’s assembly was chaired by lawyers Navaratne Bandara, Widyaratne and a social activist.
Way back in 1994, four Colombo-based Indian journalists and the Sinhalese correspondent of an international news agency got a rare permission to visit Jaffna. Rare because, at that time, the northern peninsula was almost totally controlled by the Tamil Tigers, who had driven out the government forces in conventional battles. Journalists required permission from both sides to the island’s festering conflict — the government and the LTTE — as well as from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only agency which had been allowed access to the region by the Tigers.
That was a time when the Tigers were reportedly all set to make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) for their proposed Eelam state, but had baulked only for fear of India’s reaction. They were only too aware that without New Delhi’s nod, the international community would ignore their UDI. But the Tigers apparently believed it was only a matter of time. Therefore, prior to issuing permission for the visit the scribes were informed they had to carry their passports because “immigration clearance” to enter Eelam was mandatory.
Vasudeva Nanayakkara to Submit Cabinet Paper Seeking Ban on Bodhu Bala Sena,Ravana Balaya and Sinhala Ravaya
Indika Sri Aravinda
Minister of National Language and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakara is to submit a Cabinet paper seeking a ban on extremist groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya and Sinhala Ravaya.
The Minister told The Sunday Leader that the Cabinet paper is being drafted and will be submitted in two weeks time.
Those Responsible for the “Mutur Massacre” of August 4th 2006 Must be Prosecuted says French Charity ACF
NEW DELHI, (AlertNet) - The Sri Lankan government must find and prosecute those responsible for the massacre of 17 aid workers during the country’s 25-year civil war, French charity Action Contre La Faim (ACF) has said.
The killing of the aid workers, who were shot at point-blank range outside their office in northeast Sri Lanka in 2006, was the worst attack on humanitarians since the 2003 bombing of the United Nations compound in Baghdad.
“It’s important that those responsible be held accountable. If we want real peace and reconciliation and justice in Sri Lanka, any investigations conducted must be transparent which they have not been so far,” Pauline Chetcuti, ACF’s Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor told AlertNet by phone from Paris.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva yesterday called for legal action against those responsible for torturing and killing his party members between 1987 and 1990.
Addressing the meida in Colombo, he said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had campaigned against the killing of youth by the then UNP government’s death squads and later the People’s Alliance government in 1994 had worked tirelessly to punish those responsible for the Suriyakanda mass grave.
Silva said the UNP politicians in the area had a lot to answer for and current Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had been the army’s District Coordinator at that time.