Monthly Archives: June 2015

Santhan’s Re-visit to 1977 and 1979

As such, Santhan strives to – and succeeds in – capturing a “local resonance” and a “response of the soil” to the political and social alienation of which both Northern and Southern Tamils were victims. Santhan’s Rails Run Parallel is a rare moment of unambitious honesty in a story teller trying to represent the above: a far cry from those who make writing stories out of the Lankan Civil war a livelihood and the means of a quick buck.

With Just 273 Political Prisoners in Custody, How Many Have Disappeared?

The recent revelation that only 300 prisoners remain in Government custody only confirms that the crimes committed by the Government are even more heinous than previously imagined. As such, no Sri Lanka government is going to facilitate the legal, administrative and political changes that domestic judicial institutions need to meet ‘international standards.’ The only way is for international justice to be dispensed by international courts.

Can Reconciliation Heal Sri Lankan War Wounds?

In the six years since the Sri Lankan army defeated the rebels, a measure of stability has returned…But Tamil leaders are not convinced that these efforts will be enough to unify the Tamil and Hindu north and east with the majority Sinhalese Buddhist south. They say that they are concerned that Sirisena’s moves are symbolic and don’t address issues such as the Tamils’ desire for greater autonomy and the withdrawal of troops.

Colombia: Agreement on Truth Commission

Firstly and for the first time as part of a peace process, the Conversation Table heard directly and received proposals from a group of victims of the conflict. The selection process of these victims was conducted by the UN and the National University, accompanied by the Episcopal Conference, who under the principles of pluralism, balance and common sense, sought to reflect the total universe of human rights violations and breaches of IHL that have taken place in the conflict, taking into account the different social sectors and populations, and the regional approach. The delegations were composed of 12 victims and the Table heard a delegation in each round, during round 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of talks.

Among the victimizing events that were represented, we heard testimonies on forced displacement, murder, torture, forced disappearance, kidnapping, sexual violence, extrajudicial executions and forced recruitment of minors, among others.

MGR Remembered – Part 28

by Sachi Sri Kantha, June 6, 2015 MGR Remembered Part 27 Prelude As of now, in 27 chapters (and approximately 87,000 words), I was able to cover MGR’s life until 1962. I need to cover the remaining 25 years of his successful career, in which he transformed himself as a politician and a chief minister… Read more »

The Palms Of Jaffna

Sri Lanka’s troubles hover over Dheepan In his seventh feature film, Dheepan, which won the coveted Golden Palm award at the 68th Cannes Film Festival recently, 63-year-old Jacques Audiard makes love, not war.Despite the fact that the film begins in war-torn Sri Lanka only to make its way into what can be described as a… Read more »

A Tiger Burns Bright At Cannes

Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, the story of a former Tiger’s second life in France, rendered partly in Tamil, has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes  by Gautam Bhaskaran,, India, May 29, 2015 Most journalists predicted that Todd Haynes’ lesbian drama, Carol, or Hsiao-hsien Hou’s The Assassin, a historical 9th century account of intrigues in the… Read more »

Writings of Tamil Tiger Women

Translations of some of the writings of iyakkam women — Writings of Tamil Tiger Women Iyakkam I will wait … by Samarvili (In “Velichcham” Pearl issue marking 25 years of publication, 2001. Note: Kin in this poem refers to fellow comrades.) Midnight… Vultures surrounded the village. Dozing villagers sacrificed to the demon. My eyes blinded in… Read more »

America’s Effusive Praise for Sri Lanka Continues

Richard E. Hoagland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, recently spoke at the Washington International Business Council. He began by speaking about Nepal and then moved on to address improved U.S. — India ties. He also spoke about Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Central Asia, U.S. business… Read more »

More Electoral Surprises in Sri Lanka?

The timing of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections has significant ramifications for the country’s domestic politics and Colombo’s relationship with the international community. Sri Lanka’s transfer of power in early January came as a surprise to many, although the lasting effects of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s electoral defeat are far from clear. Newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena promised… Read more »

The Blight of Militarisation

Maithripala Sirisena’s victory over Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan presidential elections in January 2015 was enabled by massive support from minorities in the country — the Tamils and Muslims. Clearly, the mandate was not just for a more accountable and democratic government that would reverse the creeping authoritarianism and family rule heralded by Mr…. Read more »

Only a Democratic South can Democratise the North

“Gotabhaya’s security state gradually expanded its tentacles to the South. He turned us into an unhappy and insecure people, who live in fear of the arbitrary powers of our own elected government. Our concerns were more intimate to us than the grievances of the North. However, they are an extension of a strategy that he experimented and later entrenched in the North.”

Addressing “Blocked Grief” in Jaffna

Six years after the end of the war the population in the North of Sri Lanka remains passive, ensnared in wartime mentality because they haven’t been able to express and deal with their sorrow and trauma. Professors from Jaffna University talk of a young generation incapable of envisioning a better future. While they demonstrated courage… Read more »

Sri Lanka Enters a Complex New Era

by Francesco Mancini and Gianluca Rubagotti, International Peace Institute Global Observatory, New York, May 29, 2015 Six years after Sri Lanka’s bloody civil conflict ended and a few months into the presidency of Maithripala Sirisena, this small island state in the Indian Ocean has entered a complex, transformative era. In four months, Sirisena has… Read more »

The Darker Side of Buddhism

The principle of non-violence is central to Buddhist teachings, but in Sri Lanka some Buddhist monks are being accused of stirring up hostility towards other faiths and ethnic minorities. Their hard line is causing increasing concern. The small temple in the suburbs of Colombo is quiet. An image of the Buddha is surrounded with purple… Read more »