| March 2008 »

February 16, 2008

Feb 17-23: "If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more"-Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) American abolitionist, humanitarian





TW Weekly Features


Experience and experiment in politics-a false dichotomy

by Rajan Philips

Fourth of February, Mahinda Rajapakse brought forth a new argument to justify his flat out rejection of the real APRC proposals and the dubious adoption of its ad-hoc recommendation to implement the Provincial Councils system under the Thirteenth Amendment. [FI, Feb 17]

Tragic Crisis Surrounds The Colombo I.C.E.S

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

At the outset I wish to emphasise that I am both biassed and unbiassed on this subject.Having been associated with the ICES in the past , I have nothing but appreciative regard and affectionate goodwill towards it. [TC, Feb 17]

Upali Wijewardena: Memories of the Unforgettable Tycoon

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would have reached the biblical life span of three score and ten today (Feb 17th).

Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared twenty-five years ago just four days before his forty-fifth birthday. [TC, Feb 17]

Death in Damascus: Car Bomb Kills Imad Mugniyah “The Fox”

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

It was Tuesday February 12th. An explosion occurred shortly after 10. 30 pm in Tantheem Kafer Souseh , a suburban area of Damascus in Syria. It was a prosperous neighbourhood with an Iranian school and Police station in the vicinity. [TC, Feb 17]

Carnatic Music Genius Saint Sri Thyagaraja celebrated in Colombo

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Every Kirtana is a beautiful temple in which the great composer has installed the God of his heart for worship by those who sing and those who hear”-Rajaji

Carnatic Music Festival to celebrate the genius of Sri Thyagarajah was held at the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo on February 15th 2008 at dusk. Thyagaraja Aradhana was held for the second time in Sri Lanka.

The 161st annual Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana celebrations were held in Thiruvaiyaru on 27th of January 2008. Musicians from all over the state gathered and, sat before the Saint’s Samadhi on the banks of river Cauvery, sang “Pancharatna Kritis” and paid homage to him. [HA, Feb 17]

Ambassador Blake: US Favors set up of UN Rights Monitoring Office in Sri Lanka

Interview-Ambassador Robert Blake and Savitri Rodrigo for the Benchmark Business and Current Affairs Television Program [TC]

UN: Sanction LTTE, Karuna Group for Child Soldiers

The UN Security Council’s working group on children and armed conflict meets today for the second time since February 2007 to consider violations against children committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lankan government forces, and the Karuna group, an armed group that split from the LTTE in 2004 and now cooperates with Sri Lankan forces. [FI]

A statement by theRt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

The killing of a Pastor and theserious injury to his wife in Ampara by unidentified gunmen must becondemned by all true adherents of all religions. This violent actcallsfor a prompt and impartial investigation by the Police who must dealwiththe perpetrators under the law.I extend the condolences of our Clergy and Congregations to thePastor’sfamily and pray for a speedy recovery for his wife. [TC]

An agreement to fight some more

With the formal abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement by the Colombo government, the conflict in Sri Lanka is headed for a decisive phase. And it will be bloody.

By : Jayadeva Uyangoda

Sri Lanka’s descent into a sorry state of war has not been a source of great concern within the country. Indeed, many outsiders are more worried than Sri Lankans themselves about the inevitably destructive consequences of the intensifying war. Outside observers have been warning that there is no military solution to the ethnic conflict, that the war will produce only losers, and that an escalation will only further intensify the deepening humanitarian crisis. But within Sri Lanka, many, including both the government and the LTTE, seem to view the war as an inescapable reality. How does one explain this puzzle? [FI]

Tamil Translation of this article: யுத்தத்தை மேலும் வலுவடையச் செய்வதற்கான ஓர் ஒப்பந்தம்


Sri Lanka’s Return to War: Limiting the Damage

Sri Lanka is in civil war again, and there are no prospects of a peace process resuming soon. On 2 January 2008, the government announced its withdrawal from a ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This formalised a return to conflict that has been underway since 2006 but also presaged worse to come. The humanitarian crisis is deepening, abuses of human rights by both sides are increasing, and those calling for peace are being silenced. [FI]

Castro Retires: A Revaluation of Fidelismol

by Dayan Jayatilleka

Ailing revolutionary icon Fidel Castro permanently gave up the Cuban presidency on Tuesday Feb 19th , ending five decades of rule of the island marked by his one-man defiance of the United States. This article was written earlier in celebration of his 80th birthday is posted here to honour Fidel Castro’s retirement [TC]

N-E De-Merger Enables Central Government to Devolve More Power

by Rajiva Wijesinha

The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) recently presented interim proposals to provide a solution to the problems in the North and East of the country. The government has accepted these proposals, which were signed by thirteen political parties, making clear that a majority of the democratically elected representatives of the people of this country agree with these proposals. The special characteristic of these proposals is the ability to implement them without looking for any amendment of the constitution.

For a Free and Fair Election in the Batticaloa District

An Appeal by Civil Society Organisations and Concerned Citizens

We have come together as a group of concerned civil society organisations and citizens to express our firm solidarity with the people of the East in the immense challenge they face in the local government election to be held on March 10th 2008. [FI]

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution fundamentally flawed!

By Vindya Amaranayake

After more than 60 sittings, over a period of 18 months, the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), recently, heaved out its proposals, supposedly, to put an end to the two decade long conflict.

JVP Supports UN’s R2P Intervention in Haiti with Sri Lankan Army

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

An avatar is haunting the country. It is the avatar of foreign military intervention. In the aftermath of the unilateral withdrawal of the Ceasefire Agreement by the Rajapaksa regime and the growing civilian massacres, destruction and absence of the rule of law, there can be little doubt that the Government’s intention of a military victory is bringing grief and suffering to huge numbers of civilians of all communities of the people of Sri Lanka.

Education Minister Prevents Tamil Girl Admission To Sinhala School

In truth, Nethmi Lavanya Yogendra should have attained fame when the Year 5 scholarship results for 2007 were released late last year. Nethmi was placed second in the Colombo District after securing 190 marks at the scholarship exam held in August last year. [TC]

Kosovo Countdown: Lessons for Sri Lanka

by Dayan Jayatilleke

Kosovo is set to declare its independence from Serbia this Sunday. In his four hour long valedictory media conference, outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced the move as “illegal and immoral”. Serbia and Russia have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Russia , China , India and South Africa are among the countries which have opposed Kosovo’s declaration of independence. [FI]

Killing Prabhakaran Will Not Silence the Tamils

by C.V.Wigneswaran

How stupid would it be to think that militarily overcoming the LTTE or killing its head would solve the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka.The LTTE is the offspring of the ethnic problem itself created by the successive mono ethnic parliamentary majority in Sri Lanka. It was State terrorism on their part which created the Liberation Tigers. The ethnic problem concerns the denizens of the Northern and Eastern Provinces who had lived in their areas for centuries from pre historic times. [FI]

Batticaloa Fact Finding Visit-Feb 2008

conducted by Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)

With local government elections to be held in Batticaloa District on March 10, including one Municipal Council and nine Pradeshiya Sabhas expected to go to the polls, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) conducted a fact-finding visit to assess the situation in Batticaloa from February 8-11. [FI]

All Lands Home





Kosovo: A Bitter Struggle in a Land of strife

Chronology of the Crisis in Kosovo [NY Times]

Obama's candidacy shakes up racial politics

The contest for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a white woman, and Barack Obama, a black man, has scrambled 21st century identity politics, producing startling turns in an election that, whatever its outcome, will make history. [SFGate, Feb 16]

Lincoln Cottage: From Retreat to Monument

“If you look out the windows of President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home,” writes Edward Rothstein, “the idiosyncratic and intriguing museum that is opening to the public on Tuesday after a ceremonial event on Monday - you have to imagine what Abraham Lincoln might have seen during those summer evenings when he stood here.” [NY Times]

In pictures:Colombia's internally displaced

The people of Colombia have suffered civil conflict for more than 40 years. It is thought some three million people have been forced to leave their homes. Photojournalist, Hilde Tobro looks at the lives of those who stay and those who leave. [BBC]

Arts - Culture - Heritage





Keen actor, reluctant star

As the youngest actor to have got a Kerala State award for ‘Vaasthavam,’ Prithviraj says he wants to let the characters he plays do the talking.

I don’t want to become… the next superstar; I just want to be looked upon as a serious actor… [Hindu]

Blast from the past: Krishna Bhakthi 1948

P. U. Chinnappa, T. R. Rajakumari, K. R. Ramasami, SP. L. Dhanalakshmi, D. Balasubramaniam, N. S. Krishnan, T. A. Mathuram, P. A. Periyanayaki

A concoction of mythology, historical characters, novels and imagination kindled by foreign films, Krishna Bhakthi was produced by one of the most colourful personalities of south Indian cinema, S. M. Lakshmanan Chettiar, better known as “Lena”. [Hindu]

February 12, 2008

Feb 10-16: “Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.”-Euripedes (480-406 B.C.), Greek tragedian





AI to GoSL: ‘Make human rights the priority’

Amnesty International today called on the Sri Lanka government to make human rights the priority by allowing the organisation into the country to make an impartial assessment of its and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) human rights record, following accusations from Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella that the organisation was biased against the government. [TC, Feb 15]

Civilian casualties reaching appalling levels

Geneva, Colombo (ICRC)–The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply concerned about the growing number of civilian casualties, including children, resulting from the deteriorating security situation across Sri Lanka. [FI, Feb 14]

Court orders IGP to increase security to Mano

Court of Appeal today gave an interim order to increase Western Peoples Front Leader Mano Ganesan’s security to eight personnel with a security back-up vehicle. Security of Mano Ganesan MP was cut down by the government along with those of late parliamentarian T. Maheswaran and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem MP immediately after the budget voting in the parliament. Mano Ganesan is the Convener of Civil Monitoring Commission which is very critical of the government’s human rights record. [TC, Feb 14]

Reflections on the Current Situation in Sri Lanka

by Lionel Bopage

The government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has currently achieved several successes in its combat operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It captured the LTTE controlled eastern province, established its control there, and destroyed a number of LTTE arms shipments. These military offensives against the LTTE have also killed many civilians in the north and the east. If the LTTE were pushed against the wall, one could expect that their resistance could be stiff and suicidal. [FI, Feb 14]

Reference to Sri Lanka in Annual RSF Report on Press Freedom

Reporters Without Borders today accused public officials around the world of “impotence, cowardice and duplicity” in defending freedom of expression.

“The spinelessness of some Western countries and major international bodies is harming press freedom,” secretary-general Robert Manard said in the organisation’s annual press freedom report, out today (13 February) and available at www.rsf.org. “The lack of determination by democratic countries in defending the values they supposedly stand for is alarming.” [FI, Feb 14]

Each Generation has to re-fight its Grandfathers’ Battles

by Dayan Jayatilleka

Unfair criticism must be met with fair counter-criticism. If the criticism is private, so too should be the counter-criticism. Insofar as the criticism is public, so too should be the defence, and the counter-criticism. No self respecting state can respond in private, to criticism of it in public. [TC, Feb 13]

Germany Wants Ban Ki Moon to send special UN envoy to Sri Lanka

German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul has vowed to demand from the EU that it withdraws the General System of Preference Plus offered to Sri Lanka if the Sri Lankan government continues to insist on a military option to the ethnic issue. [TC, Feb 12]

Sri Lankan music duo featured on ‘Global Hit’

Public Radio International (PRI), producer of radio programs for public radio stations across the US featured Bathiya and Santhush, on its ‘Global Hit’ segment of weekly night broadcasting - ‘The World’, on Tuesday, Feb 12th. [TC, Feb 12]

13th Amendment is Not Workable And will Never Be a Success

by Rajavarothayam Sambandan

[Excerpts of the speech delivered by R. Sampanthan, MP in parliament on February 6, during the debate on the emergency dealing with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the APRC process]

“I am deeply convinced that we need to think from a fresh perspective and devise a new approach if we are to find a sustainable solution to the conflict in the north and the east. The violent conflict and the stalemate in the peace talks over the past years have gradually led to this issue progressing beyond the north and the east to engulf the entire country. [FI, Feb 12]

13th Amendment cannot provide genuine devolution

[The London based Tamil information Centre examines some important features of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka as detailed below]

Provincial Councils

Following the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of July 29, 1987, the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution was introduced in October 1987 providing for an elected provincial council, a provincial board of ministers with a chief minister and a provincial governor. A Provincial Councils Act was also introduced. [FI, Feb 12, 2008]

A Fraternal Message to Comrade Bala Tampoe and the Ceylon Mercantile Union

by Lionel Bopage

In the history of the left both internationally and locally, a critical appraisal of organisations and their leaders are rare occurrences. For many of the comrades on the left there are no grey areas in politics. Like mathematics it has to be black or white. However, the stark reality is that in politics like the legal sphere, there are so many shades of grey (and also grey matter sometimes). It was over these shades of grey that left has made it into an art form, with the left continually fragmenting into various factions and denominations. [TC, Feb 12, 2008]

Lawyer Imam Becomes First Muslim MP From Jaffna

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

History was made on February 5th when Rizwan Mohammed Imam was sworn in as a national list MP of the Tamil National Alliance which contested on the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi ticket during the last elections held in 2004. The 61 year old lawyer hailing from Moor street in Jaffna town became the first ever Muslim from Jaffna district to become a Parliamentarian. [TC, Feb 9]

Tamil Translation of this article: யாழ்ப்பாணத்திலிருந்து பாராளுமன்றம் செல்லும் முதலாவது முஸ்லிம் எம்.பி.ஆர்.எம்.இமாம் [ஊற்று]


Tigers Oust “King of Eelam” As TNA National List MP

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

MK Eelaventhan nominated as MP on the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) national list has been deprived of his Parliamentary membership. Eelaventhan which means “King of Eelam” had been in Parliament since 2004. A Muslim lawyer from Jaffna, Rizwan Mohammed Imam, has been appointed in his place. [TC, Feb 9]

In the Aftermath of the APRC Debacle

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi was unseated as MP for the Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareilly in 1975 when courts ruled in favour of an election petition filed by her chief opponent Raj Narain.In a controversial move she declared emergency rule and jailed her political rivals in the opposition. [TC, Feb 9]

Remerge NE province for meaningful devolution

By Dr. K. Vigneswaran

In The Nation of 3rd February 2008, Mr. Austin Fernando, my former colleague in the public service, who as an officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service had held several key positions, including the offices of Secretary in charge of the subject of Provincial Councils and Secretary in charge of the subject of Defence, has raised very pertinent questions regarding the Interim Advisory Council (IAC) proposed by the APRC in its Report submitted to the President on 23rd January 2008. [FI, Feb 9]

Checkmating devolution or genuine devolution?

By Austin Fernando

Cabinet has appointed a Committee chaired by the Prime Minister to discuss and formulate diverse ways and means to implement the APRC proposals and propose how the 13th Amendment could be implemented in relation to the APRC proposals. A Governor and an Interim Advisory Council (IAC) for the Northern Provincial Council (PC) are to be appointed. This has to be done legally, if the intention of the government is genuine. Otherwise, acting illegally will checkmate even this little devolution attempted. [FI, Feb 9]

“The Tiruchelvam I Knew”

by Kanaganayagam Kanag-Isvaran
President’s Counsel

O
n the occasion of the launch of “Senator Tiruchelvam’s Legacy” Selected Speeches of and Tributes to Senator Tiruchelvam Q.C., Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, 1st February 2008:

The year was 1973. I had moved into my residence at Barnes Place. Soon thereafter my father visited me, and as is usual, he commenced his peregrinations in Colombo, visiting his old friends and their visits in return. [TC, Feb 9]

“Rajaram, the Gentleman in Tamil Nadu Politics Passes Away”

Veteran Tamil Dravidian political leader K. Rajaram long hailed as a “gentleman in politics” (arasiyalil oru panpaalar) passed away on Feb 8th.

The Former Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker, born in 1926, K Rajaram died at a private hospital in Chennai at the age of 82. [TC, Feb 10]

All Lands Home




Valentine's Day

By Raymond Rajabalan

Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine’s cards, or gifting candy. It is very common to present flowers on Valentine’s Day. The holiday is named after two of the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. [MJ]

“Mind of the flower is the deed, that honey in the heart is our creed”

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Valentine’s Day, February 14th-Humanity’s day to love, inspire and cherish life. A day to reinforce that everyone “wants the mind of the flower is the deed, that honey in the heart is our creed” [HA]

Troubled Politics in Tamil Nadu

By Siva Sivapragasam

Tamilnadu Chief Minister octogenarian Muthuvelu Karunanithi is a troubled man these days.

He is facing an onslaught from his ally, the Congress party and his arch enemy- convent educated cinematic idol, former Chief Minister Jayalalitha .In a recent outburst he has declared “our self-respect is clearer than the crown of thorns that denotes power. We are ready to lose power if our self-respect is under threat”. The bone of contention that is rocking his boat is divisive politics, family squabble, Sri Lankan ethnic problem and the question of a successor after him. [MJ]


In pictures: Ivory Coast's taxing task

Rebel checkpoints are still a way of life in the north of Ivory Coast which for the last five years has been controlled by the New Forces rebels.

But under last year's peace deal, the region is seeing the return of government services.

During the crisis, millions in the north lived without government taxes, electricity bills, state police and courts. [BBC]

Arts - Culture - Heritage




“Movie Review: Bheema-‘Cool’ ma”

By Anand. J

For the makers, artists and technicians who have worked for Bheemaa, and for eager fans of Chiyan Vikram, all of whom have been eagerly awaiting its grand release - the long wait is over. Now, as the movie joins the Pongal blast, it’s celebration time for all of them! Does Bheemaa meet fans’ expectations? Vehemently, YES! [MJ, Feb 10]

“Movie Review: Indiralogathil Na Azhagappan”

By Anand. J

It is really a shocking and boring experience to every fan of Vadivelu who loves the actor for his non-stop comedy. After watched the film it seems like every one laugh on us! The much publicized and expected film is not only fails to make you laugh, and also becomes a big test for your patience for nearly 3 long hours. For the first time the actor fails to recreate the mass even in a single scene! [MJ, Feb 10, 2008]

“ Hitting the right key”

Kavita Krishnamurti on singing for Bollywood and beyond.

'I don’t sing as much (for films), because of the quality…'

She blew listeners off their feet with “Hawa hawai” and asked them “Chaloon neeche ya udh ke chaloon”, but playback singer Kavita Krishnamurti has always had her feet on the ground. Whether slogging to make it as a playback si nger, catapulted to the top with her Bollywood hits, quietly accepting her four Filmfare awards — and, much later, her Padma Sri — or associating herself with world music and the compositions of her husband, violin maestro L. Subramaniam, Kavita has remained charmingly low-key. In Delhi for the ‘Visions of India,’ programme produced by Subramaniam, Kavita is as much the wife as the collaborator. But has Bollywood been merged in the ocean of world music? [Hindu]


Feb 3-9: "The world is governed by self interest only." -Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805)

      Threats to Media Freedom in Sri Lanka Increasing Dramatically, Says Amnesty International

      In a new report released today, Amnesty International warned that hostilities by Sri Lankan authorities are escalating in the country. In addition, threats to the media and media freedoms inside Sri Lanka have increased dramatically. [TC]

      British Foreign Secretary comments on 60th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence

      He said:

      ‘The 60th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence is a time to reflect on the health and welfare of the nation and its people as it moves forward in the 21st century. The cycle of violence in Sri Lanka has worsened in recent weeks. Civilian lives have been lost from all communities and regions of Sri Lanka. The end of the formal 2002 cease-fire pagreement does not remove the obligation of all parties to the conflict to protect civilian life. [FI]

      “Nation building project continues to be a failure”

      By Rohan Edrisinha

      Sixty years ago, at the time of Ceylon’s independence from colonial rule, the country was considered Asia’s brightest prospect. Today, Sri Lanka is far, far away from that objective. Indeed, today Sri Lanka is a nation state in deep crisis and its Independence Day celebrations were held amidst bombs, fear and insecurity, not only in the north and east, but even in Colombo. Ten years ago at the 50th Anniversary celebrations, President Kumaratunga reflected that the country had failed in one of its major challenges, that of nation building. Today, the nation building project continues to be a failure, and sadly does not even seem to be a priority of the present political leadership. [FI]

      Tamil student among teammates killed at Fort Railway station

      “D.S. is a different kind of school. In fact, it is unique because here all ethnic and religious groups live under the same roof, in peace and harmony. This is exactly what the world requires. It is a global need which we practice at the college,” this is what Principal, Ashoka Senani Hewage, said about D.S. Senanayake College in a media interview in 2006. [TC]

      Jaffna born youth creates sensation in LA: First Tamil artist to release English rap CD

      A Jaffna born youth recently made a sensation in the Los Angeles when he became the first Tamil artist to release an English Rap CD.

      The launch was was held at a Hollywood Landmark Mansion which belongs to a Sri Lankan in Los Angeles. [TC]

      Sri Lanka at Sixty: The unfinished task of nation building

      by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

      President Mahinda Rajapakse in his address to the nation on our 60th independence day observed thus

      ”Our challenge today is to be true to the nation”.

      He also stated ” our resolve will take us to the creation of a truly free and independent nation in our motherland”

      Brave words indeed! [FI]

      IFJ Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting, Kuala Lumpur-Joint Statement to President and Government of Sri Lanka

      We, the representatives of journalists’ unions and associations across the Asia-Pacific region, meeting in Kuala Lumpur, appeal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government of Sri Lanka to protect the safety of journalists in Sri Lanka and uphold the rights of the media to report freely.

      What Dayan Jayatilake fails to understand….

      by Mano Ganesan

      A brief response to Dayan Jayatilake’s ‘Fighting Absolute Enemy‘:

      Mr. Dayan Jayatilake lectures on fascism. He has taken great efforts to identify the enemy. And tirelessly describes this enemy as the enemy of Sinhalese, Tamils and all the peoples of Lanka. [TC]

      Gotabhaya Rajapakse is making false allegations against me

      by Mano Ganesan

      I bet my head if Gotabaya Rajapakse proves any of his ‘LTTE link’ allegations against me. He has got his facts, if any mixed-up and he is in the state of confusion. It is because he is speaking out of vengeance. The Vengeance is over our Civil Monitoring Commission’s human rights campaign against abductions, extortions and extra-judicial killings and also reflection of the government’s anger that I did not follow the ’silence for perk’ paths of ministers Thondaman and Chandrasekaran. [TC]

      60 Years of Travel Along Ethnical Arrogant Path

      By Kusal Perera

      In all probability, this year’s Independence Day celebrations would be a show of military might with a strong call for patriotism. It would be a call to bear difficulties with a promise to end terrorism once and for all. [FI]

      New APRC proposals have divided Mahinda regime

      by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

      It is idiotic, to say the least, for the Government to tell the public after wasting time and money for one and a half years, that a part of the existing Constitution is the solution to the Tamil national problem or is the first stage to such a solution. [FI]

      Anandasangaree, Devananda, Petain and Quisling

      by Kumar David

      According to some Sunday (27th) newspapers Mr Anandasangaree will be anointed Governor of the proposed Interim Administration for the Northern Province and Mr Douglas Devananda appointed as Chairman of the Interim Council. Although the names Quisling and Petain have become synonyms for “traitor” Marshal Petain at least was a highly decorated soldier and in his own way an honourable administrator though Quisling was a rather more murky character. [TC]

      How “Col” Karuna Exposed Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapakse In Britain

      By Ranjith Jayasundera

      The sentencing of Karuna Amman in a British Court last Friday has burst open a legal and diplomatic Pandora’s Box for the Sri Lankan government. Given the rate at which evidence is piling up from all quarters to prove that the government spearheaded the smuggling of Karuna into the United Kingdom, it will soon be impossible to avoid the international ramifications that follow.

      Confession made by “Colonel” Karuna

      The following is an extract from Crown Prosecution Advocate, Robert Meikle’s speech at Karuna’s sentencing hearing, wherein he reads out of Karuna’s statement to the Metropolitan Police:

      He said he had been living in Sri Lanka and wanted to come to London as his family and children were in the United Kingdom. He told the investigating officer that the Sri Lankan Government gave him the passport and sent him to the United Kingdom. [TC]

      Sri Lankan Tamils after Sixty Years of Independence I

      by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

      Sixty is a magic number in the Hindu astrological calendar. Each year has a distinctive name.The names for these years number sixty . All years come and go in a cycle of sixty. So people born in a particular year will find themselves celebrating their sixtieth birthday in the year with the same name.The sixtieth birthday itself is regarded as a milestone and observed ceremoneously by many. [TC]

      Buddhism, Nationalism and Politics

      By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

      On 4 February 2008, Sri Lanka will be in the 60th year of independence. Although the Government will celebrate the day pompously, the people carrying the burden of the internal war and the high cost of living will have little cause to rejoice. Politicians, particularly those who have benefited tangibly and those anxious to seek power that could be easily abused under the system introduced to serve the self-interests of the power holders will brag about the past achievements and deceptively highlight some positives expected in the near future. [FI]

      The long journey towards real freedom

      by Rt.Rev Duleep de Chickera

      A Message to the Nation on the occasion of Sri Lanka’s National Day

      This year we celebrate 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. Our history as an independent people was interrupted and suppressed at the beginning of the sixteenth century with the invasion by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and the British. There is yet to be an apology from the former colonial powers, for the violence and exploitation to the economy and cultures of countries like ours. [TC]

      Sri Lanka at Sixty: Fighting the Absolute Enemy

      by Dayan Jayatilleka

      “The only question therefore is this: is there an absolute enemy and who is it in concreto?”-Carl Schmitt

      Sri Lanka turns sixty this Monday, February 4th. It has been in a single stage (albeit with many phases) of history from the year it turned 35, in 1983. For the past quarter century its destiny has been determined by the secessionist war. Now at sixty, the long war approaches its decisive peak, a highest stage of intensity which therefore also marks its last stage. [TC]

      Is Democracy Ready for Sri Lanka?

      By Subra S. Massey

      After 60 years of freedom from the Europeans Sri Lanka is fasts becoming an un-democratic and non-democratic country. When the current President, Mr.Mahinda Rajapaksa proclaims that negotiations will be held with the LTTE after they have been defeated in the war, I came to the conclusion that Sri Lanka is not ready for freedom and democracy. [TC]

      January 30th 1948: The Day “Mahatma” Gandhi Was Assassinated

      By Lloyd. R. Devarajah

      As I was playing truant and was very poor in my Tamil, I left St. Peter’s College Bambalapitiya where I was a student from 1937 and joined Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai on January 17, 1948. Jaffna College which was my father’s alma mater was founded by American missionaries in 1822. [TC]

      Parameters of Second Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka

      By A.K. Verma

      The cyclical politics of Sri Lanka are again at cross roads. The choice before the Sri Lankan Central Government is between expediency and statesmanship. The majoritarian complexes, as in the past, stand like an immovable rock limiting the options before the Government. [TC]

      Sri Lanka’s Underwater Defence Systems-Killing Two Birds with a Single Stone?

      by Commodore RS Vasan IN Retd.

      The news paper reports on 23rd January 2008 about the installation of the “Underwater defence systems” in Sri Lankan waters is indeed an interesting phase in the fight against the Sea tigers soon after the abrogation of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). [TC]

      2008 Report: Human Rights Watch Highlights Abuses in Sri Lanka

      Democracy Charade Undermines Rights

      The established democracies are accepting flawed and unfair elections for political expediency, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2008. By allowing autocrats to pose as democrats, without demanding they uphold the civil and political rights that make democracy meaningful, the United States, the European Union and other influential democracies risk undermining human rights worldwide. [TC]

      Interim Administration for Merged North-East Must be Set-up First

      By A.R. Arular

      Preamble

      This article was originally written by the author in 2001 under the title ‘Sri Lanka - The Way Forward’ and circulated in Colombo and Trincomalee. The article draws on authors own experience of implementing the 13th Amendment as Head of the Research Division of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat of the North East Provincial Council and how it cold be made a basis for resolving the so called ethnic problem. [FI]

      Negative Criticism of the APRC Proposals

      By Rajiva Wijesinha

      There has been much discussion recently regarding the proposals of the APRC which the Government has decided to implement. Much of this is based on ignorance and illogicality, and is symptomatic of a general tendency to look at matters in a negative frame of mind. [FI]

      Northern Province Requires Good Governance And Not Interim Administration

      by S.L.Gunasekara

      The 13th Amendment to the Constitution [forced down our throats by the Indian Government] was an unmitigated disaster which resulted in the creation of Eight ‘White Elephants’ called ‘Provincial Councils’ and a proliferation of political functionaries in the form of Provincial Ministers, Members of Provincial Councils and their ‘hangers on’ which drained the public purse of colossal amounts of funds which ought to have been used for the benefit of the People and not for the benefit of such functionaries. [TC]

      The Real A.P.R.C. Report Must Be Presented To Public By February 4th

      by Rohini Hensman

      What a fiasco! We were promised the long-awaited APRC proposals would be released on January 23rd, and what did we get? The 13th Amendment was taken out of the corner where it had been mouldering for twenty years, the cobwebs were dusted off, and it was presented to us as the solution to our problems

      APRC Proposals: Cover for Perpetuating Repressive Structures in the North-East

      by Rajan Hoole

      There is a disingenuously surreal quality about the President’s discovery that the Provincial Councils Bill of 1987 is the answer to giving the people of the North-East a say in their affairs. We need not detail his and his own party’s opposition to the Indo-Lanka Accord which the JVP used to trigger a bloodbath, whose continuing legacy is a nation wallowing in impunity. [FI]

      “Military thinking” of govt. cannot help resolve problem

      “Thirteenth amendment-no interim or final solution to ethnic conflict “Military thinking” of govt. cannot help resolve problem”-TNA leader R. Sampanthan

      by Lynn Ockersz

      So, the 13th amendment never came up in the APRC. The 13th amendment was something President Rajapaksa clung to as a last straw because he was not able to come up with a set of political proposals, which the international community was insisting he must do. Therefore, the 13th amendment is no interim or final solution to the Tamil question and can never be acceptable. [FI]

      2 Year Anniversary of the Abduction and Execution of the 7 TRO Humanitarian Workers

      Full Text of Press Statement by iTRO:

      Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) offices today took time to pay their respects and remember the 7 TRO humanitarian workers who were abducted on 29 and 30 January 2006 while traveling through the Welikanda area in the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) controlled Polonaruwa District. [TC]

      Sri Lankan defense secretary endorses media repression

      Full Text of press statement by The Committee to Protect Journalists, NY

      The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s brazen public call yesterday to censor the media and reintroduce criminal defamation laws. The comments were published in a Sinhala-language interview by Sri Lanka’s largest weekly, Sunday Lankadeepa, according to Free Media Movement spokesman Sunanda Deshapriya and veteran Sri Lankan journalist Iqbal Athas. [TC]

      Irresponsible comments and actions by ministers endanger journalists

      Full text of the press release issued by Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), Paris-based media rights advocacy group on Jan 29th:

      Reporters Without Borders appealed today to President Mahinda Rajapakse to rein in various government ministers whose inflammatory comments and incitements to violence have serious threatened the safety of dozens of Sri Lankan journalists. [TC]

      Maestro Murali: Spin Wizard of Sri Lanka

      by Dr. Baptist Croos F.S.C

      A nation’s history is embellished by the names of its illustrious sons and daughters ‘its ingenious inventors, chivalrous discoverers, statesmen, painters, scholars, entrepreneurs, patriots, artistes, sportsmen and the whole gamut of professionals.. The latest addition to this impressive galaxy is none other than Muttaiah Muralitharan, the spin-wizard or just ‘Murali’, as he is popularly called, who has made Mother Lanka proud by breaking the world-record for the number of wickets, previously held by the flamboyant Shane Warne of Australia. By any standard, Murali’s record is a remarkable achievement indeed! [TC]

      Will there be a third JVP uprising?

      by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

      The Government hastily removed the ill-fated health services department circular. It appeared like a bomb blast, disturbing the entire worker population and it disappeared before one could say ‘why?’ [TC]

      Caught Between Tweedledum and Tweedledee

      by Col R Hariharan (retd)

      Sri Lanka is all set to implement the 13th Amendment of the Constitution in full as recommended by the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) “as a prelude to the APRC proposals.” This is what the APRC has recommended to President Rajapaksa in its interim proposal (given in appendix below). And the President wanted it to do so and it has done it. Driving the devolution ghost is as simple as that, it seems. [FI]