Posts Categorized: Arts & Culture

Bad History Mars Indian Movie On Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination

Divyakant Solanki/European Pressphoto AgencyDemonstrators in Mumbai, Maharashtra, demanding a ban on the film “Madras Cafe” on Aug. 22. The movie “Madras Cafe,” which opened in India and elsewhere in the world recently, seeks to chronicle the Sri Lankan civil war through the events leading up to the assassination in 1991 of former Prime Minister Rajiv… Read more »

‘Uncivil War’

Passionate, committed, and deeply humane, these poems bear witness with unflinching honesty to the horrific violence of the Sri Lankan civil war. “Indran Amirthanayagam is above all the poet of the bloody Sri Lankan conflict and division. His work honours the sufferings of the living and the injustices dealt the dead, and for any reader,… Read more »

A Movie’s Killers Are All Too Real

If those murders are less well known than others (like the Khmer Rouge slaughter in Cambodia a decade later), it is partly because Indonesia has not undergone the kind of public reckoning that often follows such catastrophes. “History is written by the winners,” muses one of Mr. Oppenheimer’s subjects, who led a right-wing death squad in North Sumatra. “And we are the winners.”

He and his former colleagues, who still keep in touch and occasionally socialize with one another, lead comfortable, even privileged lives. Some serve in provincial or national governments. They speak at rallies of Pancasila Youth, a nationalist paramilitary group still apparently popular — and also still feared — for its role in wiping out suspected Communists almost 50 years ago.

Perhaps the most startling thing about the killers in “The Act of Killing” is that they seem to have no interest in denying, excusing or minimizing their crimes. On the contrary, they are candid, even boastful about what they have done, and eager to share their recollections of torture and murder. “Never forget” is traditionally the slogan of victims fending off revisionism, indifference and the passage of time, but in this case the killers themselves seem most interested in keeping the memory alive.

On the Sacrificial Ideology of the Liberation Tigers

…The concept of tiyakam, abandonment (of life), i.e. a rather specific Indian form of martyrdom, is cultivated by both male and female fighters. A martyr of the LTTE has not chosen like the Christian martyr to suffer in the mind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. He has taken up arms against the sea of troubles trying to end them by opposing them. The concept of tiyäkam that has its roots in the last section of the Bhagavadgitä was revived in the struggle for independence of India…

Resistance and Martyrdom

by Peter Schalk, TamilNation.org, UK, 1997 Professor Peter Schalk has written extensively on subjects related to the struggle for Tamil Eelam. This essay is excerpted from* Martyrdom and Political Resistance : Essays from Asia and Europe (Comparative Asian Studies, 18)  edited by Joyce Pettigrew published by VU University Press for Centre Asian Studies, Amsterdam. The book  is essential reading for… Read more »

Archaeological Sites Plundered

The North-Central and Wayamba Provinces are the worst affected. Since the war ended, archaeological and historical sites in the North and East are subjected to relentless pillaging.

Broken Paradise

Presenter Lakshmi Holmström MBE is a widely acclaimed translator of Tamil fiction and poetry. A collection of her translations of Cheran’s poetry is to be published this summer, titled ‘In a Time of Burning.’

War Crimes and Curry

http://nofirezone.org/trailer Publishing a book about a highly charged ethnic conflict in which tens of thousands have died is no path to a peaceful life. You only need to look at the racial abuse and filthy language in the comments sections of online sites frequented by Sri Lankans to see how intense the emotions still are…. Read more »

Haunted by Her Yesterdays

“Haunted by her yesterdays” is a new film by The Social Architects. There will be selected screenings on Friday to mark International Women’s Day, after that we will be working to make sure as many people as possible can see it. Watch this space for details…..Haunted by her yesterdays This documentary tells a story of silent… Read more »

The Real MIA in Sri Lanka

by Jack Healey, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angelos, February 19, 2013 (founder, Human Rights Action Center)  Bad Girls video It always starts with James Franco, doesn’t it? “Pineapple Express,” a Franco and Seth Rogen vehicle that came out in 2008, used “Paper Planes” in a red-band trailer for their film. Thus the artist M.I.A. became known outside… Read more »

Ini Avan: Hauntingly Beautiful But…

Ini Avan, Asoka Handagama’s latest film, in Tamil, has won international cinematic acclaim. And it is easy to see why. The film has interesting characters who within their confined destinies take some unpredictable turns and moves at a compelling and deliberate pace through carefully designed frames with strong aesthetic appeal that are also revisited, like recurring… Read more »

Jaffna Cooking from Very Far Away

Sambol in Jaffna is very important. There are a variety of sambols and I get to indulge in four types at Aliyaa — katta, seeni, pol and karupillay. Katta is similar to our sambal belacan but is prepared using spicy Maldavian fish while seeni is made of sweetened onions. My favourite is pol. Made with coconut, it has the right amount of spiciness and sourness. Karupillay, which is made with curry leaves, is moderately nice albeit a bit bitter.

Graphic Violence

As I sat in the small, sparsely furnished, concrete room, in a slum area of Chennai, with my old and dear friend, profusely apologising to me about the stench coming from the stagnant pond outside, and the now five-year-old girl sitting on my lap calling me Maama (uncle), still with her fat cheeks, I realised that this was the story I wanted to tell.

This family had survived eight months of vicious bombardment on a small stretch of beach, had seriously contemplated suicide together in the final weeks when they could not take the onslaught anymore, had lived through seven months of internment hell in the UN-built, government-run camps and then fled to India.

M.I.A.’s New Book

By contrast, M.I.A.’s self-titled book is a document of isolation and resistance, clearly the product of one person following an idiosyncratic path…
M.I.A.’s work speaks for the many people whose lives and stories are “missing in action,” which is partly the source of her pseudonym, M.I.A. ..
“If you wanted to hear the other story, you had to go find it,” Maya writes. She was aiming to bridge the gap. The art she made after that trip was a blueprint for the movement of her work in the years to come—it evolved from a documentary to film stills to photographs to stencils to prints to songs. She photographed and blew up the video stills of missing Tamils—some were “faces of girls her age, frozen in a moment of video, sometimes between life and death” and others had images of rockets, tanks, palm trees, and camouflage uniforms.

Prison Break

“I just had a call from an old school friend. His old Ayah’s son is a prison guard at Welikade. Apparently 35 Tamil political prisoners were killed by rioting inmates” he said. “These were mostly political prisoners awaiting trial”.

Tamil Poetry In Post-Colonial Sri Lanka

These are my last words
Equality, peace and freedom

Where there is no equality
There is no peace
Where there is no peace
There is no freedom

These are my last words
Equality, peace and freedom

You deny my equal rights?
You lose your own sense of peace
And your freedom