Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Sri Lankan (Unitary) Mindset

I wanted to write a quick post as a corollary to the recent exchanges between Guru and Dayan in Colombo telegraph.  I was glad to read that exchange.  I was also very happy to see Justice Wigneswaran’s  speech. Hopefully more and more discussions will follow on the nature of Sri Lakan state. I had been arguing that the Sri… Read more »

UNHCR Overview: IDPs in Sri Lanka

  UNHCR Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence – Sri Lanka Publisher Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) Publication Date 29 April 2013 Cite as Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence – Sri Lanka, 29 April 2013, available at: [accessed 30 April 2013] Disclaimer This is… Read more »

A Never Ending Struggle

Provincial Councils were created at India’s insistence and the Indo-Lanka accord, and the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution. While it may have been conceived in the likeness of Indian states, it is but a pale imitation of that model. Unlike in India, in Sri Lanka, the President is the one who will, directly or indirectly, control the destiny of provinces through the Governor appointed by him…
The Governor is also the executive head of the province, and public service. He appoints the Chief Minister, and on his advice, the other members of the Board of Ministers. Decisions of the Board of Ministers are presented to the Governor who, at his discretion, has the power to accept or reject them. In other words, the decisions of the Board of Ministers, the elected representatives of the people, mean nothing!

Funds are allocated by parliament, on the advice of the President. Also police and land powers are outside the purview of the provinces, but the President can direct them through the bodies that exercise them. In effect, it is the President who decides everything for the provinces, through his Governor.

Thatcher, the ‘Freedom Sniper,’ and Tamil Refugees

The editor and the cover designer of the Economist weekly (April 13, 2013) have a load of gall and a crooked sense of humor to tag, late Margaret Thatcher as a ‘freedom fighter’ in its homage to ‘The Lady’. If Thatcher was a ‘freedom fighter’, where does one place the likes of Nelson Mandela and… Read more »

What Is the Narrative?

A fundamental question is: Why do terrorists attack the U.S.? The Narrative implies, rather overtly, that terrorists attack America because Allah told them to. (If this reminds you of Flip Wilson’s “The Devil Made Me Do It” you’re on target.) …

As far back as 2005, Scott Horton, writing on, noted, “for his book [Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism], Pape started with the bombings themselves – every documented case between 1980 and 2004 – and noticed some suggestive common threads. Foreign occupation, it seems – not religion – is the core motivating factor behind suicide terrorism. From Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank to Sikhs in India, from the jihadists of 9/11 to the secular Marxist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka – for all of these, it is ‘a nationalistic response.’”

Torture of Tamils Continues

Tamil Refugee Council Australia Statement on Kumar torture April 25 2013 The Evil Ways of Sri Lankan Regime Exposed on One Man’s Back by Tamil Refugee Council, Australia, April 25, 2013       Torture Claims Emerge from Sri Lanka by Heather Ewart,  Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 24, 2013

Review of ‘The Cage’

The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers In early 2009, during the closing weeks of the Sri Lankan civil war, the Tamil Tigers—a militant group that had waged a bloody, decades-long campaign to win independence for Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority—herded 300,000 Tamil civilians into a shrinking redoubt… Read more »

Land Deeds Distributed to Over 3000 Mahaweli Farmers

  Pres. Rajapaksa distributing deeds in pop-up tentPresident Mahinda Rajapaksa distributed land deeds to  3,000 farmer families in the Mahaweli L Zone under the theme of “Farmland Rights for you who give Golden Harvest to the Nation”, at a ceremony held at Sampath Nuwara Mahaweli grounds in the former conflict-affected Weli Oya on Saturday. Addressing… Read more »

Did the British Divide & Rule Ceylon?

It is no coincidence that the Tamil sense of justice was shaped by dissenting and nonconformist puritans of the newly emerged America…

In 1938, Tamils held 19.4% of the various government department jobs as a result of this investment in education and not because of favor from the British. This is not necessarily an outrageous percentage worthy of legislative level correction

HRW: Burma, Ethnic Cleansing

Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims by Human Rights Watch, New York, April 22, 2013 (Bangkok) – Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The 153-page… Read more »

Leahy Amendment Stronger on Paper Than in Practice in Pakistan

The law is sound in theory, but in practice the real impact on curbing human rights abuses is often tempered by the desire of the United States to advance its own security interests, even if at times it requires overlooking questionable human rights records.

Remembering Fr. Kili

by K. Sivapalan, ‘Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka,’ France, April 20, 2013 Rev.Fr. Mariampillai Xavier Karunaratnam (1951-2008), or ‘Kili’ Father as he was known affectionately was assassinated on 20th April, 2008 by a deep penetration unit of the  Sri Lanka Army. We lost two other members of NESOHR previously.Chandra Nehru  Ariyanayagam was killed in cold blood by… Read more »

Ceylon in 1940

Home movie shot by an American traveler to Ceylon in 1940.

Much Ado About Nothing

The strategy seems to be to get the Tamils to ask, demand, struggle, fight for something so minimalistic; to get them to feel and identify with the Provincial Council as an institution that will solve their problems.

The War May Be Over But The Idea Lives On

Former Tamil MP Ponnambalam puts it simply: “I think it’s dangerous for us to think about what is possible. If we start thinking about that, it only means assimilation. We must stop talking Tamil, we must give up our religion. We must be Sinhalese and Buddhist.”

OVER AND above the geopolitics and domestic Tamil politics that directly affects India, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ story raises a disturbing question. Can the desperate and continuing plight of a people be explained away by terrorism alone? For now, more than 22 lakh Tamils within Sri Lanka and an estimated 10 lakh in the diaspora, are asking this universally perplexing question. As their story also serves as a warning to other displaced people without a nation — while the world and the UN plays a double game, your idea of nationhood could be the next to disappear.

But even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils.

Attacks Choke Sri Lanka’s Press

“If you attack a journalist, you are likely going to get away with it – that’s the message,” said Fred Carver, director of Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, a London-based rights group.

“While there is little outright censorship, there’s a real climate of fear that makes it very difficult to be critical of the government,” added Mr. Carver, who says the Tamil press has been especially targeted.

Country Report: Human Rights 2012

Discrimination against the ethnic Tamil minority continued, and a disproportionate number of victims of human rights violations were Tamils.

Tamils Continue to Flee Sri Lanka

To escape this climate of fear, it appears that an increasing number of Tamils are fleeing Sri Lanka, boarding barely seaworthy vessels, bound for an uncertain future as asylum seekers. This is despite the government’s official effort to reconstruct the war-torn north of the country. “You have a significant number of people leaving postwar, at a point at which the government is assuring that economic development is prioritized and reconciliation is being effected in earnest,” says the CPA’s Saravanamuttu. The fact that so many people are choosing to go “seems to suggest people in the north don’t feel that way. They are voting with their feet, so to speak, and they are paying fairly large sums of money and risking life and limb to do it.” Saravanamuttu says that official numbers of the number of people leaving are unavailable, but to give just one example, over 6,000 Tamils arrived in Australia in 2012, some 30 times higher than the 2011 figure.