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March 30, 2008

Mar 30 - Apr 5: "There is no forgiveness in nature." - Ugo Betti (1892-1053), Italian Judge, Playwright

Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka: Who is lying?

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

A democratic government that exercises the sovereign power of the people on their behalf has the responsibility to safeguard the rights and freedom of all citizens. The people too have responsibilities to their country and the entire society. The government’s responsibility is wide and specific. It is responsible for the unity, peace, development of all regions and the well-being of all citizens. Good governance, social justice and the rule of law are also its responsibility. Moreover from the standpoint of good international relations which are also essential for the welfare of the country, the government’ responsibility extends beyond its own territory. [FI]

How Northern War Theatre is turning into a Sri Lankan Quagmire

Doing the same in North, just as in the East is going to work-is the mistaken belief that is hovering major diplomatic, economic and militaristic burdens for the Government of Sri Lanka today, says Irasiah Ilanthirayan, the Military Spokesman of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Fighting a war for political reasons and unable pull out due to the fanfare shown at the start of the warfare is turning the Northern war front into a quagmire for Sri Lankan forces according to Irasiah Ilanthirayan. [TC]

Buddhist Activism Creates New Stir in Tamil Nadu

Reporting on events in Tibet, Myanmar and Thailand, the Associated Press recently headlined a news story ‘Monk led protests show buddhist activism,’;

“There is the responsibility of every individual, monks and lay people, to act for the betterment of society,” said Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile and a high-ranking lama to the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India, discussing protests in Tibet this month that were initiated by monks. [TC]

Democracy or Demoncracy?

By: Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

While the word ‘Democracy’ has only one meaning, in practice it has come to mean many things to many people. ‘Demos’ in Greek means ‘Common people’ and ‘Democracy’ is the rule by the common people. Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as, “The government of the people, by the people, and for the people”- a definition that cannot be surpassed for its precision, brevity and beauty. In countries such as Sri Lanka, what is practiced in the name of democracy should be more aptly termed ‘Demoncracy’. Demons as we all know are evil spirits. ‘Demoncracy’ thus becomes, ‘A government of the demons, by the demons, for a foolish people’. [FI]

International experts pull out but government backs human rights inquiry

The pull-out of an international expert group supervising a key human rights investigation has dented the credibility of the inquiry, said activists, but the government is confident the perpetrators will be brought to justice. [FI]

Are You Contradicting the fundamental basis of the whole Tamil struggle?

An Open Letter to Mr. Veerasingham Anandasangaree

By Kusal Perera

I chose to write this essay as an open letter addressing you, after reading the news item “Grave concern over STF pull out from East; TULF” in the online edition of the DM on 22nd March, that quotes you very much on that issue. As a prelude to this essay, let me go on record that I respect you as a Democrat who stands for a politically negotiated settlement of the ” North-East War” though I have my own reservations on how you approach it. [TC]

No Independent Election Monitors Invited-Sri Lanka Foreign Minister

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama this morning confirmed to the Liberal Democratic Party Shadow Foreign Secretary Edward Davey MP that no independent election monitors have been invited to oversee the credibility and legitimacy of the Eastern ‘elections’ that the Government of Sri Lanka is planning to conduct during the month of May 2008. [FI]

Are People of the East Interested in an Election for The Provincial Council

By MSM Ayub

Almost all major political parties in the country are currently making a fuss of the Eastern Provincial Council election scheduled to be held next month. Frantic efforts are on in making, breaking and confusing electoral alliances and winning Chief Ministerial post for certain communities. But how much are the people of the province interested in these alliances, positions and after all in this election itself. [FI]

Variable rains and flooding impact on rice harvest

Changing rainfall patterns in Sri Lanka have prompted later paddy planting by farmers and affected the country’s overall rice yield, government officials said.

Traditionally, rice farmers would begin planting in early October for the Maha harvest - the main growing season in the country. [FI]

UTHR (Jaffna) Finds Security Forces Responsible for Murder of 17 A.C.F Aid Workers in Muthur

A 29-page report released today by the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) names state security personnel responsible for the summary executions of 17 Action Contre la Faim (ACF) aid workers in Mutur, Sri Lanka on 4 August 2006. The report details the grisly killings, the role of senior police officials in the murders, and the failure of the government to properly investigate the crime. [FI]

Trinco and Muthur: The Truth Behind The Killing of Students and Aid Workers

by University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna)

On 4th August 2006 17 aid workers were extrajudicially executed in their Action Contre la Faim (ACF) compound in Mutur town. Through blatant cover up by the Sri Lankan authorities, their experts, Attorney General and diplomats overseas the facts of killings have been suppressed along with any potential association between this massacre and the killing of five students on the Trincomalee foreshore on 2nd January 2006. [TC]

Setting the Latest UTHR Report on Mutur in Context

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

The latest report from the Jaffna University Teachers for Human Rights claims to have pieced together the entire story of the killing of 17 ACF staff at Mutur. It now places responsibility for the killings on one Muslim home guard and two policemen, with the assertion that they must have been instructed by more senior policemen. The time of the killings is placed categorically in the afternoon of Friday August 4th, 2006. [FI]

Arrest Highlights Vulnerability of Journalists

Press Statement by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka [FI]

United in Fear: Travails of Detainee families

By Ronnate Tissainayagam

It was very early on a Saturday morning, we were all gathering in front of the Fort Railway Station. No we were not planning to go on a trip, We were the wives/sisters of the four journalists taken into detention on March 7th. Saturday is visitor’s day to the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). Family members of the detainees have to gather at the Fort Railway Station between 9 a.m and 12 noon. There they are checked, bundled into a police van and taken to the TID. [TC]

J.S. Tissainayagam: Terror Suspect or Prisoner of Conscience?

by Ameen Izzadeen

MY friend Jayaprakash Tissainayagam is in detention. A senior journalist and Tamil, he was arrested on March 7 by the Terrorism Investigations Department (TID) and he does not know why he is being detained. Yesterday, the supreme court took up a fundamental rights petition filed by him, challenging his detention.Is he a terror suspect or a prisoner of conscience?

Voice of America: Number of Missing Sri Lankan Tamils Increasing, Human Rights Groups Say

By Raymond Thibodeaux

As violence surges in Sri Lanka, so does the number of abductions and disappearance of mostly Tamil men. That is the assessment of human rights activists and international aid groups operating in the Indian Ocean nation. Raymond Thibodeaux files this report for VOA from Batticolao, on the eastern edge of Sri Lanka. [TC]

In Sri Lanka, Fear of Being 'Disappeared'

Government Offensive Against Tamil Rebels Also Claims Civilian Victims [Washington Post]

Arts - Culture - Heritage

Colourful festival of Sapparam at Sri Ponnambalawaneswarar

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Sapparam”- the colourful festival was held at Sri Ponnambalawaneswarar Devasthanam on March 19th. This particular festival takes place in the night at temples. The “Sapparam” is a lighted vehicle for the conveyance of the idol.

Gleanings on the film Periyar

K.S.Sivakumaran

Based on Periyar's life Gnana Rajasekharan has made an appreciable feature film, although in some respects it
lacks a total portrayal of the subject. The film is in colour and an actor Sathyaraj who usually shines in commercial films, plays seriously in the film, thus elevating his own stature as a fine actor as well as giving the film a kind of aesthetic rendition to a feature that might have been only a docu-drama. One also remembers Sathyaraj’s playing in another good film Vedam Puthuthu. [TW]

New journeys of discovery

Kalakshetra is exploring new directions and disciplines while nourishing and keeping alive the rich legacy of its founder.

These excursions are giving aspirants an enormous sense of history of the art and how art inter-relationships have worked in enriching dance. [Hindu]

March 22, 2008

Mar 23-29: "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." William Faulkner (1897 – 1962) American author, Nobel Laureate

Tigers Get Ready to Face the Mechanized Infantry of the Army in North

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

An important militaristic development is unfolding in the Northern theatre of war!.

The 57, 58 and 59 divisions of the army continue to battle it out with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) within the Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitheevu districts in the North - west, south and South - east of the Northern Province while the 53 and 55 divisions are engaging in combat along the Kilaly - Muhamaalai - Nagar Kovil axis inside the Jaffna peninsula. [TC]

Credibility of Batticaloa Local Authority Polls Amidst Culture of Fear

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

A proud claim by President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government during its military offensive in the Eastern province was that the armed forces were liberating Tamil civilians from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Rajapakse regime also boasted that no civilian was harmed when the security forces moved into the regions dominated by the tigers. [TC]

The “Illegitimate” Appointment of the North-East Governor

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Provincial council elections for the Eastern Province are scheduled for May 10th this year. According to gazette notification on March 13th, nominations for Eastern provincial polls will be accepted from March 23rd to April 3rd. It appears that the eastern provincial stakes would attract more political parties than the recently concluded local authority polls for Batticaloa district.

An Easter Message to the Nation

from the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

Easter is the Christian festival that celebrates the Raising of Christ after His death. This historic event known as the Resurrection, declares the defeat of all evil forces of greed, violence and destruction that culminated in the death of Christ, and proclaims a higher plane of life in which there is liberation from these evil tendencies. [TC]

Two languages: For a better tomorrow

“Do you want two languages and one nation or one language and two nations? Parity, Mr. Speaker, we believe is the road to the freedom of our nation and the unity of its components. Otherwise two torn little bleeding states may arise from one little state.” -Dr Colvin R. de Silva speaking after the Sinhala Only Act was passed in 1956, making Sinhala the national language of Sri Lanka

The Muthur Massacre: Are we any closer to the truth?

By Poornima Weerasekara

The thirteen men and four women who were killed in the deadliest attack on aid workers in Sri Lankan history would not have even thought for a moment that they were walking into a death trap. It is difficult to fathom what final thoughts crossed their minds while watching their colleagues being shot. [TC]

Newly resettled IDPs dream of life without war

The last 18 years of Kanavathipillai Thangarasa’s life have been in constant flux. The 62-year-old man and his family have been displaced from their home on numerous occasions since 1990 by fighting in eastern Sri Lanka between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [FI]

LRRP: D.B.S. Jeyaraj Responds to Brigadier V.U.B. Nanayakkara

Clarification on feature ‘LRRP Infiltration Demolishes Impregnable Tiger Terrain Myth’ in your March 12, 2008 issue:

Your kind attention is drawn to the above article written by Mr. D.B.S Jeyaraj, in which he has compiled a catalogue of killings and retaliatory attacks that have been attributed to a so-called ‘Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol of the Army.’ [TC]

‘We are better off without the LTTE’

S C Chandrahasan is the son of Samuvel Selvnayagam, a Tamil leader who was known as the Mahatma Gandhi of Sri Lanka. After the island-nation’s ethnic conflict began in 1983, Chandrahasan founded the Organisation For Eelam Refugees’ Rehabilitation. [TC]

Human Rights And Wrongs

by Qadri Ismail

Human rights is the last resort of the hopeless.

Its liberal advocates don’t see it that way. They find it heroic, the foundation of a new international order that will, when established universally, guarantee secure lives for everyone, everywhere ‘rom Tibet to Timbuktu. But would the subaltern, the oppressed ‘the target of human rights’ ‘necessarily agree ? [TC]

The 13th Amendment, Anti-Indianism and Sri Lanka’s Security Imperatives

by Dayan Jayatilleka

One of the most laughably absurd of all the criticisms directed against the incumbent administration, is that its commitment to the full and immediate implementation of the 13th amendment which makes for provincial autonomy, is somehow a betrayal of the election mandate of President Rajapakse as contained in his manifesto. This criticism, levelled by radical ultranationalists, betrays triple ignorance: ignorance of a Constitution and its role in the polity; ignorance of the election manifesto and mandate of the incumbent President; and ignorance of forms of government and systems of state. [FI]

‘After all, they are only arresting Tamils’

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

My neighbour confided to me in an aside the other day, that she was not sure what the fuss was all about anyway. “After all’ she said ‘they are only arresting Tamils, are’nt they.’ And after all, as she went on to say, heedless of the varying expressions on my face ranging from immediate anger, strong indignation to utter annoyance ‘most of them have sympathies with the LTTE, don’t they?” [FI]

Anura Bandaranaike: Up Close and Personal

by Gamini Gunaratne

My relationship with the Bandaranaikes started from the time of my father, K D Chandrapala, who was Village Council Chairman for Dompe and who maintained close links with S W R D Bandaranaike, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and, later, with Felix Dias Bandaranaike. [TC]

By Remy Herbert

The right to use one’s own language within their own country is not only an internationally recognized human right; it is also an important issue that has led to protracted conflict in several countries. [FI]

As Fighting Flares in Civil War, Key Buddhist Shuns Nonviolence

Draped in his burnt-orange robe, Athurliye Rathana strolled onto the veranda of a posh hotel here one recent evening and an entire wedding party adorned in fine silks knelt as one, in a gesture of respect and honor to one of the country's best-known monks.

"I guess I'm popular," said a slightly surprised Rathana, 45, rubbing his shaved head. "I knew our Sri Lankan people love monks. But I didn't know they loved the 'Parliament Monk.' " [Washington Post]

Arts - Culture - Heritage

On YouTube via Ootru.com ~ Song by Paventhar Bharathithasan:

Paventhar Bharathithasan (1891-1964), initially worked as a Teacher of Tamil language in the French territory of Karaikal. After interactions with Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar, he followed many of his traditions. Yet unlike Bharathiyar, Bharathithasan rarely used words derived from Sanskrit in his works.

Namakkal Kavignar Ramalingam has explained the ‘literary policy’ of Bharathithasan in a poem as follows: “Bharathithasan considered service to Thamizh as his mission in life; save the purity of his mother tongue; lead a virtuous life; change the idiosyncrasies arising from old traditions; and use new formats to convey revolutionary ideas."

Paventhar Bharathithasan wrote poetry in Tamil on an array of socio-political topics and also in praise of nature.

One such poem, ‘Virintha Vane’–(Opened sky) is presented here in YouTube.

In Pictures: Historic Naagathambiraan Temple Festival, Kilinochchi

Annual March Pongkal festival at the historic Naagathambiraan Temple in Puliyampokkanai near Kilinochchi was held Friday March 21st and continued throughout night to early hours Saturday morning, sources in Vanni said. [TW]

A Physician with a Purpose

by K.S.Sivakumaran

There is a physician by name Dr.S.Sivathas attached to the Mental Hospital, Angoda. He is in charge of two units there. A Graduate from the University of Yaalpaanam, Sivathas has a purpose as far as his profession is concerned: [TW]

Film on Tamil writer

The Rajya Sabha Member, Kanimozhi, on Saturday launched a short film featuring Tamil writer K. Raja Narayanan, whose life and story telling moments have been captured to educate the younger generation on the importance of upholding values in life. [Hindu]

Actor Raghuvaran Passes Away

The quintessential psychopathic baddie of Tamil cinema, the man who gave villainy on screen a good name, Raghuvaran died here at a private hospital after battling personal demons and a few other debilitating physical problems. [NewsToday]

Farewell, Raghuvaran! [Redif]

March 15, 2008

Mar 16-22: "Truth is not a crystal one can put in one's pocket, but an infinite fluid into which one falls headlong." - Robert Musil (1880 - 1942) Austrian writer

Egoists, fanatics, terrorists, ‘patriots’ and ‘traitors’ in turbulent Sri Lanka

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

With the resumption of the war early 2006, the twists and turns in the political process with a military component have exposed the confusing and contradictory roles of the egoists, fanatics, terrorists and pseudo patriots in turbulent Sri Lanka. [FI]

Anura Bandaranaike: The Crown Prince who was never Crowned King

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The saying "Always the bride'smaid never the bride" applied appropriately to Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike who passed away on Sunday March 16th at the age of fifty - nine.
Anura as he was popularly known, was always the "Crown Prince" waiting to be crowned. But coronation never came and now he has departed uncrowned as the prince who never became King. [TC]

Assassinating Tamil Parliamentarians: The Unceasing Waves

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Fifty-one year old Kiddinan Sivanesan was the latest in the long line of Tamil Parliamentarians and ex - Parliamentarians to suffer death through assassination. Sivanesan, a former co - operative society store manager and trade unionist, was returning home to Mallavi after attending Parliament when a claymore mine exploded . Both theTamil National Alliance MP and his vehicle driver were killed. [TC]

Antiquity, languages and politics of Sri Lanka

by Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

Sri Lanka, as we call her today, is an ancient land with an unfathomable history stretching into the mists of time. The attempt to understand her history, beyond the past few centuries, would be akin to the efforts of the proverbial five blind men to figure out an elephant. [FI]

Sri Lanka set to play another time buying exercise, Mano Ganesan tells visiting EU officials

Western Peoples Front Leader and Civil Monitoring Commission Convener Mano Ganesan MP met with visiting officials of the European Commission’s office of the external relations Director-General, Ms. Helen Campbell and Andrea Nicolaj yesterday (14th March) at the EU premises in Colombo. [FI]

Boston Globe Editorial: Sri Lanka's recurring fever

The government, under pressure from Sinhalese hard-liners, has opted to end the conflict by winning the war. Political and military leaders speak of crushing the Tigers by the end of the year. They insist the Tigers are nothing but terrorists and that once their funding from abroad is cut off, the army will solve the conflict over Tamil minority rights by wiping out the Tigers. [BG]

Election begins to solidify government control in the East

The overwhelming success of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), a breakaway faction of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in the 10 March local government elections in the eastern Batticaloa District has prompted the group, backed by the Sri Lankan government, to seek additional victories at provincial level. [TC]

Flash floods displace thousands in Sri Lanka North-East

More than 50,000 people have been hit by flooding in northwestern Mannar District in Sri Lanka since 12 March, the government said. The area has witnessed intense clashes between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the last six months, restricting access to relief agencies. [TC]

Basic Democratic Rights for Media Personnel

A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

Recent news reports about the continuing harassment and arrests of media persons are both disturbing and frustrating. Today the focus of the whole Nation is on the brazen and systematic violence against several Rupavahini media persons, and the recent arrest and indefinite detention without access to lawyers of a group of journalists associated with a news web site and printing press. [TC]

US State Dept. Report is an Extraordinary Rendition of events in Sri Lanka!

A panel discussion titled ‘War, Peace and Human Rights: Sri Lanka after the Eastern Elections’, was held on Friday, March 14th, on the sidelines of the Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council in Room XXIV of the Palais des Nations from 13:20 to 15:05. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Nalaka Mendis, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colombo. [FI]

Arts - Culture - Heritage

Why have the Windies Humiliated Sri Lanka?

by Nirgunan Tiruchelvam

Sri Lanka’s encounter with the West Indies is that of a rejected lover. For years, Sri Lankan fans have venerated the West Indian legends ranging from Constantine to Lara. In the pre-test years, cameo appearances in Ceylon by the West Indies were an integral part of the folklore. [TC]

In Pictures: Kokkattichcholai Sivan Temple

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

The temple in Kokkattichcholai is a “Thaanthondreeswarar”. It means a Sivalingam ’sprung up by itself’ and a temple was built later by the villagers in the vicinity over the course of time. The Sivalingam which sprung up by itself is called “Suyambulingam” as well. The Hindus believe that the Sivalingam is more than 10,000 years old. Devotees from various parts of the country travel to to the renowned Kokkattichcholai temple, during special holy days. They join devotees of lord Muruguan pilgrimaging to Kathirgamam during the season by foot, taking jungle paths, crossing rivers and mountains. [HA]

Ganesalingan presented with literary award

Says literature must help in ushering in a new society

Art and literature should have a scientific orientation, reflect reality and should not be based solely in imagination, Sri Lankan Tamil writer Se. Ganesalingan has said.

Delivering the acceptance speech at a function held here on Saturday to receive the SKM Ilakkiya Virudhu from Erode Tamil Ilakkiya Peravai Arakkattalai, the author of over 60 books, said literature should have a scientific temper. [Hindu]

Blast From the Past-Marmayogi 1951

M. G. Ramachandran, Serukalthur Sama, ‘Javert’ Seetharaman, M. N. Nambiar, Anjali Devi, Madhuri Devi, Pandari Bai and M. S. S. Bhagyam

Perhaps the most historically significant film of 1951 was K. Ramnoth’s Marmayogi, a Jupiter Pictures’ production made at Central Studios in Coimbatore. This film, a folkloric tale of kings, royal mistresses and rebellious princes was written by A. S. A. Sami who had planned it specially for M. G. Ramachandran. [Hindu]

All Lands Home

Tibetan Agitation: Some Larger Issues

By Col R Hariharan (retd.)

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s statement about the willingness of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao “to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama” in the light of the Tibetan leader’s assurance that he did not support total independence for Tibet and that he renounced violence, adds a new dimension to the agitation of Tibetans world over against Chinese rule in Tibet. [FI]

Pictorial: Holi, Celebrating everlasting love, life and joy in colours

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Holi-the Festival of Colours, is one of the major festivals in India. It signifies the end of winter and welcoming the spring. People smear each other with coloured powder and splash with water. The colours are traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi and Bilva and various other medicinal herbs. It is believed that, smearing with coloured powder has medicinal significance. People also believe that the bright colours represent energy, life and joy. It is originally known as “Holika”, an ancient festival of India. This is a festival that is as much a gateway to celebrate the arrival of spring as much as it is a way to celebrate the season of love.

Violence in Tibet as Monks Clash With the Police

Violence erupted Friday morning in a busy market area of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans brawled with Chinese security forces in bloody clashes. Witnesses said angry Tibetan crowds burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus. State media said at least 10 people died. [NY Times]

March 08, 2008

Mar 9-15: "No more wars, no more bloodshed. Peace unto you. Shalom, salaam, forever.”-Menachem Begin (1913-1992) Guerrilla Leader /Prime Minister of Israel

LRRP infiltration demolishes impregnable Tiger terrain myth

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The war between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres has been conventional as well as unconventional. [TC]

Responsibility to Protect (R2P): State sovereignty and international responsibility after Kosovo

by Rajan Philips

Last week I dealt with the internal failure of the Serbian State that led to Kosovo’s declaration of independence and placed this failure in the context of the overall disintegration of Yugoslavia. Here, I turn to the external side of the Kosovo conflict that has caused some exercising in Sri Lankan political circles. The government has expressed unreserved opposition to Kosovo’s declaration of independence, while its plenipotentiary in Geneva has warned the government to be vigilant against the undermining of Sri Lankan state sovereignty by Tamil separatism within and Western hegemonism from without. On the other hand, Tamil political websites have been giving self-serving publicity to Kosovo’s declaration of independence. [FI]

Kosovo and Sri Lanka: Internal Dissension Leads to External Intervention

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Former Thomian chaplain Rev.L.J.B. Fernando had a penchant for pithy comments during his short sermons. “Independence means in dependence of God ” was one.

I am reminded of this line as Kosovo made its unilateral declaration of Independence on Feb 17th. Has Kosovo truly gained independence ? or is it in actual terms,” in dependence” of the powerful West?

In short is Kosovo an Independent, sovereign state or a protectorate that is virtually a western puppet? [TC]
Tamil Translation of this article: கொசோவோவும் இலங்கையும் : உள்ளக முரண்பாடுகள் புறச்சக்திகளின் தலையீடுகளுக்கு வழிகோலும்

ICRC Draws Attention Towards Disappeared Male Relatives On Global Women’s Day

The International Red Cross focus on International Women’s day (Mar 8th) this year will be on the phenomenon of “disappearances of male family members” Of women.This humanitarian tragedy is widely prevalent in most conflict ridden areas. This is an issue of crucial importance where the Sri Lankan Government is specifically accused of involvement in disappearances. [TC]

President Rajapakse Has Got India On His Side

by Kusal Perera

“What allows this government of President Rajapaksa to survive?” This question wasn’t asked one year ago, in the same tone and seriousness, it is asked today. Today, much has changed, locally and internationally in relevance to the Rajapaksa regime. Today, much has changed politically within the government and in the Opposition, within and without parliament. To whose advantage and to whose disadvantage are all these happening ? Very simply, to the advantage of the Rajapaksa regime and to the disadvantage of the people. To all people, in every part of the country. “How” and “why” would be questions that follow. [FI]

Need for Increased Alertness Against LTTE

by B. Raman

An official statement issued by the headquarters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on March 11, 2008 on the high-profile visit of Lt.Gen.Sarath Fonseka, the chief of the Sri Lankan army and the architect of the successful counter-terrorism operations by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, to India in the first week of March,2008, is an indicator of the desperation of the LTTE and its bitterness against the government of India. [TC]

Sri Lanka arrests six in connection with news Web site-Committee to Protect Journalists

Six people affiliated with the Sri Lankan news Web site OutreachSL have been detained by the Terrorist Investigation Division of the Sri Lankan police force in Colombo since last week, according to Agence France-Presse and local news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the government of Sri Lanka to charge these Journalists and media workers or release them from police custody. [FI]

Tamil Journalists Arrested and Beaten by Police Acting on Wrong Information

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the fate of five Tamil journalists arrested by anti-terrorist police in Colombo in the past six days and urges the Sri Lankan authorities to explain why they are being held. [FI]

Sri Lanka Media Rights Group Expresses Concern Over String of Journalist Arrests

Expressing concern and ‘hoping due process will be followed regarding the arrested writers and journalists’, Sri Lanka Media Rights Group-The Free Media Movement (FMM) is pointing out that the journalists’ ‘rights are violated more often than not’, in a statement released today. FMM issued a statement after a string of arrests by the Sri Lanka Terrorist Investigations Department (TID) in the past few days. [TC]

Statements in the UN on Torture in Sri Lanka

Disappearances are currently a global problem. Today disappearances are current in countries suffering from internal conflicts such as Colombia, Nepal, the Philippines, the Russian Federation and Sri Lanka. [TC]

Sri Lanka: US Dept. of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices

Sri Lanka is a constitutional, multiparty republic with a population of approximately 21 million. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, elected in 2005 and the parliament, elected in 2004, both for six-year terms, share constitutional power. International observers generally characterized these elections as free and fair. However, in September parliament launched an investigation into allegations of a 2005 agreement between the current president and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to enforce an election boycott in the north and east, depriving Tamils of their right to vote. [FI]

HRW Video: Sri Lanka’s Ghosts

State Responsibility for ‘Disappearances’ and Abductions [TC]

Humanitarian Workers in Sri Lanka: Two Years of Killings and Disappearances

This is the preliminary report by the Law and Society Trust originally titled “Under Fire: Persons in Humanitarian Service “.The report dated march 07 2008 is about Killings and Disappearances of Persons in Humanitarian Service in Sri Lanka , covering a two year period from January 2006 to December 2007″ [FI]

A-9 Highway Closure Has Changed Life in Jaffna

The evening of 11 August 2006 is etched in the minds of those who live in the northern Jaffna peninsula. At around 5.30pm, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked the front lines that separated government-controlled Jaffna and areas under Tiger control farther south. The onslaught prompted the closure of the A-9 highway, the only land link between the peninsula and the rest of the island. [TC]

Violating the Constitution Continues From J.R to M.R.

by Dr. A.C. Visvalingam

President Jayewardene fathered the 1978 Constitution. He saw to it that, as President, he would be endowed with all powers other than to carry out sex changes, i.e. “to turn a man into a woman or vice versa”, as he himself put it. Towards this objective, he had Article 35 (l) of the Constitution worded as follows by a bunch of sycophantic constitutional lawyers without a protest from even one of his gutless party members: [FI]

NPC: Assassination is the Antithesis of Democratic Rule of Law

Statement by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka

The assassination of TNA Member of Parliament for the Jaffna District, K Sivanesan on his way home to his family and four children after in voting in Parliament is an abominable crime. He was killed in a claymore mine explosion within LTTE-controlled territory in the Wanni where his home was. The National Peace Council condemns this assassination of an elected Parliamentarian. So far three TNA parliamentarians have been assassinated since the resumption of fighting in 2005. This continuing pattern is the antithesis of the democratic rule of law that Sri Lanka needs to attain. [FI]

A Colombo “Male” Perspective On Women’s International Day

by Prasad Gunewardene

Come March 8, Women’s International Day, we are bound to witness Women’s Organisations coming out to scream for gender equality and to make other demands. The day glitters for some leaders of those organizations.

Diana would dress herself in the best saree with a mod cap her head. Jennifer would stand before the mirror, wear a cap to avoid sun burn and ask her daughter whether ‘Mummy’ looked pretty to lead the march. [TC]

Mahinda, Nixon, Humpty Dumpty’s Great Fall and All the President’s men.

By Dharisha Bastian

When Woodward and Bernstein wrote about their investigative reporting into Nixon’s Watergate crisis, they picked a fantastic title. “All The President’s Men” was derived from the nursery rhyme, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ in which “all the kings horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put humpty together again” and was meant to allude to the oligarchic policies of the Nixon administration. Sri Lanka under the Rajapaksa regime is not very different and the resurrection of the title seems apt, with apologies to two of the greatest investigative journalists in modern history. [TC]

International response to Sri Lanka war after the end of CFA

by Col R Hariharan (retd.)

The European Union’s decision to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) plus scheme provided for Sri Lanka’s exports for another three years from January 2009, despite its adverse reaction to the ending of the ceasefire agreement (CFA) by Sri Lanka government. (The GSP plus concession enables Sri Lanka to export its goods and products to the EU at reduced or exempted tax and duty levies.) This decision comes in the face of strong stand taken by Germany on this issue.

East Plans First Vote in Over 10 Years
by Somini Sengupta

Undeterred, the woman wagged a finger. “You admit you broke away from the L.T.T.E.,” she said. “Why are you blaming them now?” Then, finally, she said the unspeakable: “Why don’t you ask the government to give us a separate state?” [NY Times]

Take Aid From China and Take a Pass on Human Rights

by Somini Sengupta

Today, a shifting world order is bearing new fruits for Sri Lanka. Most notably, China’s quiet assertion in India’s backyard has put Sri Lanka’s government in a position not only to play China off against India, but also to ignore complaints from outside Asia about human rights violations in the war. [NY Times]

Ethnic Divide Worsens as Sri Lanka Conflict Escalates [NY Times]

A Buoyant Sinhlese Majority and a fearful Tamil Minority.

Arts-Culture-Heritage

Battles of the Blues in the Sizzling Sixties

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sitting down at the computer to write an article for the special “Battle of the Blues”supplement put out by the “Nation” revived pleasant memories of Royal - Thomian cricket matches and their related activities.

The cheering, jeering, shouting, running on to the grounds for the flimsiest of reasons, picking new fights, settling old scores,flicking flags and souvenirs, hooting the Royal tent prefects walking in front of the Thomian tent, tackling the College cops after the match,singing, dancing etc remain vividly etched in memory.

‘Sivarathri’-the spiritual night of Lord Shiva

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Mahasivarathri (”great night of Lord Shiva”) is celebrated on March 6th this year; it always falls on the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight. Mahasivarathri is considered the most important day for the devotees of Lord Shiva, and there are special celebrations at Sivan temples throughout the island. [HA]

Movie Review: A bullet through your brain

There’s not a chance in hell you’ll forget you watched Thotta. Selvaa’s idea of making Thotta unforgettable is by making every character say Thotta at least once in every line in the movie, if not every shot. [Hindu]

All Lands Home

Holi: Preparations for Hindu festival:

Colour powder sellers are busy meeting demands from all over India ahead of Hindu festival of Holi

Holi is the festival of joy, mirth and buoyancy.

Obituary-from the NY Times Archive

Menachem Begin, Guerrilla Leader Who Became Peacemaker

Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister who made peace with Egypt, lived much of his life in the opposition. A Jewish underground leader before Israel gained independence in 1948, he openly fought the established Zionist leadership of the struggle against British rule.

Then for nearly three decades, he headed Israel's major opposition party. [NY Times]

March 02, 2008

Mar 2-8: "It is better to destroy one's own errors than those of others"-Democritus (460-370 BC)

Angela Kane Visit: Mercury Rises in UN Glass House Over Sri Lanka

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Is Angela Kane bringing a cane to Sri Lanka”? was how a website speculated on the eve of the visit by the ,UN Assistant Secretary -General for Political affairs to Sri Lanka last week. [TC]

Kosovo independence: A lament for Yugoslavia and no cheer for ethnic states

by Rajan Philips

Kosovo’s declaration of independence on 17 February provoked a range of worldwide reactions, some recognizing Kosovo, others rebuking it, and a few remaining silent. Although the opposing responses were seen as illustrating the clash of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination, they were not based on any principle but mainly on expediency and/or self-interest. [FI]

Sri Lankan military bogged down in northern offensives against the LTTE

By Sarath Kumara

The euphoria in the Sri Lankan government and military over the prospects of a quick victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is beginning to fade. While the security forces regularly report the killing of LTTE members, little progress appears to have been made in seizing the LTTE’s major northern strongholds in the Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu districts. [TC]

Sri Lanka: The Case Against An International Monitoring Mission

A panel discussion titled ‘Sri Lanka: The case against an International Monitoring Mission’, was held today (Friday, March 07th) on the sidelines of the Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council in Room IX of the Palais des Nations from 13:20 to 14:45. It was attended by over 45 representatives from states, civil society organizations and the media. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at Geneva H.E. Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka. [FI]

Eminent Persons Group Quits Monitoring Presidential Commission Inquiry

The Sri Lankan Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse was dealt a severe blow as the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons unilaterally suspended its monitoring of Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe selected instances of human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The IIGEP stated that the Presidential Commission’s Public Inquiry Process so far falls short of International norms and standards. [TC]

‘Disappearances’ by Security Forces a National Crisis

The Sri Lankan government is responsible for widespread abductions and “disappearances” that are a national crisis, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the government to reveal the whereabouts of the “disappeared,” immediately end the practice, and hold the perpetrators accountable. [TC]

I am doing for Tamils what Mahinda did for Sinhala people in 1989

By Mano Ganesan

The victims of human rights violations during the 1989 period are activists, supporters and family members of JVP. It was a well known fact. Mahinda Rajapakse fought on behalf of their plight. That did not make him a member of JVP. He fought for the human rights of the people. JVP attacked sacred Dalada Maligawa. They threw bombs inside the Parliament. They killed Buddhist monks, politicians, police, security forces and their family members. But nobody accused Mahinda of dealing with JVP and supporting JVP’s terrorism against security forces. Today the victims are Tamils and most of them are accused of LTTE affiliation. [TC]

Put Spotlight on Burma, Eastern Congo, and Sri Lanka, says HRW

The UN Human Rights Council should draw attention to the neglected human rights crisis in Somalia, Human Rights Watch said today as the council began its first session of this year. The council, meeting in Geneva, should also intensify its engagement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka and Burma, Human Rights Watch said. [TC]

Conflicting Perceptions in War Reporting by Sinhala and Tamil Media

by MSM Ayub

“The Sri Lanka fighter jets have destroyed a place in Jayapuram in Killinochchi where some senior LTTE leaders had assembled”. “Reports from Killinochchi say that seven civilians have been seriously injured in an attack by the SLAF bombers”. These are two lead sentences of two news items appearing in two newspapers on January 18. But do not misunderstand, these were not two incidents. These news items referred to one and the same incident. [TC]

Provincial Councils Must Get Agrarian Services Powers Back

By Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne [President’s Counsel]

There is renewed interest in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Government states that it is keen to ‘fully implement’ the Thirteenth Amendment. Even those like the writer who agree with Prof. G.L.Peiris’s oft-quoted statement made in the nineties in the course of the Navaratnarajah Memorial Oration that the Thirteenth Amendment is ‘fundamentally flawed’ and who believe that any solution offered to the Tamil people must go beyond even the Constitution Bill of 2000 will be happy if the Thirteenth Amendment is in fact fully implemented. [FI]

No excuse not to implement it

by Rohan Edrisinha

(Expert in Constitutional Law and Colombo University Law Lecturer Rohan Edrisinha takes on the excuses trotted out on behalf of the government by SCOPP (Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process) and others over the President’s failure to appoint the Constitutional Council despite the fact that the minority parties have agreed on their nominee - former auditor General SC Mayadunne.) [FI]

President must take more time and do the right thing-Basil Rajapaksa

Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS staffer Namini Wijedasa says, “India did not force his brother’s government to agree to a full implementation of the 13th Amendment.” Excerpts: [FI]

The Philosophy and Legitimacy of Sri Lanka’s Republican Constitution

by Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

I am deeply honoured to have been invited to participate in this workshop which is part of the programme organized by the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Dr Colvin R de Silva, and to pay tribute to a generous and warm-hearted human being; a unique and dominant personality of our time. [FI]

All Lands Home


How large is your cutout? TN leaders believe their own hype on birthdays

If there's ever a situation where a democratically elected leader is made to feel like a medieval ruler, then it must be in Tamil Nadu.

It's now a signature of state politics that the birthdays of party czars are marked by unreal extravaganzas. The sycophancy levels at Mayawati's annual birthday-cum-fund collection bash may have come as a shock to TV audiences but in TN, it's just par for the course.

The cadre here -cutting across political parties—have for years been on an overdrive on birthday occasions. The celebrations are lavish and bizarre by any definition. [OutllookIndia]


NY Times in Pictures: India, Old and New

Auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, cars and buses clogging a road in New Delhi. As India develops, how it will contend with its expanding carbon footprint is under growing scrutiny from abroad.

In Pictures: Faces of War in Sudan

Abu Surouj, Sudan, after government forces and allied militias burned the town last month. Such attacks in Sudan are a return to the tactics that terrorized Darfur in the early, bloodiest stages of the conflict. [NYTimes]

Arts - Culture - Heritage

Tribute: Sujatha will live with us through his work

Sujatha's demise is an irreparable loss to the Tamil literary world. A prolific writer who covered everything under the sun ranging from social character to metaphysics, Sujatha was aware of all what transpired in the society, observed them, analysed them and always ensured these reflected in his writings. His sharp intellect made him "live" in his writings and he "lived" till his death. [Rediff]

Why I like... Kokila

by Madan, cartoonist and film critic

Being a film critic, I can recall about 350 films from recent memory, films I’ve seen in the past few years. But there are always films that make you nostalgic. Films such as Avargal or Agni Natchatram. [Hindu]

March 01, 2008

Feb 24-Mar 1: "To see the right and not to do it is cowardice" - Confucius 孔夫子 (551 BCE – 479 BCE) Chinese thinker and social philosopher

Theoretical understanding of the death of truce

22 Feb 2008, marked 6 th anniversary of the signing of the now annulled 2002 Agreement-TW revisits a feature published in January 2008:

by Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

“Why?” That was the question raised by many Sri Lankan watchers - and others — when they were stunned by the decision of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to terminate the February 2002 ceasefire agreement signed with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the major politico-military movement fighting to establish an ethnic Tamil state in the North and East of Sri Lanka. [FI] [Tamil translation of this article: ஒப்பந்த முறிவு குறித்த கோட்பாட்டியல் நோக்கு]

Sri Lanka’s Constitution - Obstacle to nation building

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

Like many deceptive phrases, ‘national integration’ and ‘nation building’ uttered by some political leaders in Sri Lanka at critical times have no practical meaning. For nation building, the entire population must first regard themselves as equal citizens of one country. 60 years of independence have been wasted in internal power struggles losing in the process even the common identity and mutual respect, trust and bond the people of all races had earlier. The gullible people believed their political leaders were really committed to the unity, national development (country-wide) and welfare of all citizens. [FI]

Ace Cinematographer of LTTE Dies in Action

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Last Sunday (Feb 17th) was a sad day for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as they lost in battle another senior stalwart who had rendered yeoman service to the movement for more than two decades.

Lt. Col Thava or Thavam as he was called was not one widely known to the world like tiger police commissar Suppiah Paramu Thamilselvan. But in his own, quiet way Thava has been responsible for portraying the LTTE in a positive light and projecting the Tiger cause worldwide. [TC]

Tigers Fight Fierce Defensive War on North-West Front

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In recent times there has been much media attention towards the continuing strife on the North - Western front. The North - West became the theatre of conflict after the LTTE was ejected from the Eastern province.

The Government shifted its focus towards the Mannar district and those parts of Vavuniya district under LTTE control after the fall of the East. [TC]

Evolution and Growth of Kosovo Liberation Army

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The fledgling state of Kosovo came into being one week ago. It’s 39 year old Prime Minister Hashim Thaci read out the break - away Serbian Province’s declaration of of Independence on February 17th. This was followed by a musilcal rendering of Beethoven’s “ode to joy”. The blue and yellow national flag of the new state was raised .

It was indeed a time of joy for Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians. After decades of non - violent and violent struggle the Kosovars had gained a country of their own. [TC] Tamil Translation: கொசோவோ விடுதலை இராணுவத்தின் பரிணாம வளர்ச்சி

Silent suffering and cost of living in Jaffna

I: The psychological trauma of an age old war

A recent survey conducted by a social organsitation in Savatkadu, Anaikottai Jaffna under the supervision of a psychiatrist, revealed the silent suffering of generations who’ve witnessed the war first hand.

II: No one to listen to our plea

“The cost of living is sky rocketing like the Kfir jets” said an old man standing along a road side in Jaffna. He was holding his loaf of bread tightly as though it was something precious. [FI]

Jayalalithaa: From Alluring Actress to Powerful Politician

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

India in general and its Tamil Nadu state in particular have spawned many colourful political personalities. Standing out among these figures is Ms. Jayalalithaa Jayaram the actress - politico of Tamil Nadu.

The Former chief minister and Anna - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (ADMK) leader turns 60 today (Feb 24th). [TC]

Serbia and Kosovo: Lessons for Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam

By Kusal Perera

Kosovo not only divided Serbia into two independent States, it also divided the world into two differing blocs. One that supports cessation and the other that does not. The major power blocs in the West had consented to accept Kosovo as an independent state even before it made the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on 17th February. The USA was thanked by thousands of Kosovans who came on to the streets of Pristina for giving them an independent country. [FI]

A country spins out of control

by Robert Muggah

As civilian deaths in the civil war climb quickly, the government shows no appetite for peace

Sri Lanka is quietly sliding into a humanitarian nightmare. Since the election of the nationalist government of Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005 and the resumption of war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) late last year, the number of civilian deaths has jumped sharply. [FI]

Tamil Separatist Demand is Rooted In Fiction

by Bernard Goonetilleke

The conflict in Sri Lanka is inextricably linked with the demand for secession, deceptively designed to wrench the sympathy of the international community. Last month, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), urged the United Nations to recognize “Tamil sovereignty” and end the conflict in Sri Lanka. [FI]

Ordinary Tamils Between Sinhala Communalism and Tamil Fascism

by S. Ratnajeevan Hoole

Sri Lankan Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke has put a good but inaccurate face on the Sri Lankan Sinhalese majority’s conflict with the Tamil minority.

First, he says weighting examinations was never intended to discriminate against us Tamils. I took the common Advanced Level exam in 1969 and was admitted to the engineering faculty. [FI]

Higher Education Essential to Progress than Higher Literacy Rates

by Prof. Wiswa Warnapala

It is indeed a pleasure to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Pre-Clinical Building of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya. This building, as the Vice Chancellor mentioned, represents yet another stage of the expansion of the Faculty of Medicine, and the aim is to increase the annual intake which, at present stands at 160. [FI]

Aftermath of Kosovo:Sri Lanka Needs Dual Strategy of “Balance” and “Deterrence”

by Dayan Jayatilleka

The Kosovo debate contains a microcosm of all that is right and wrong about Sri Lankan society. Some argue that in order to avoid a Kosovo outcome, all it takes is to “Just Say No” to the West and the outside world in general, while the others contend that what is needed is to “Just Say Yes”, or in a more nuanced variant, “Never Say Never” to the West (especially to the Big Boys) and the outside world. The two responses correspond to the political antipodes of the xenophobes and the appeasers. [TC]

State Level Injustice Towards Rama Mani Must Be Corrected

by Izeth Hussain

The main focus of this article is on the external aspect of the Rama Mani case, more specifically on the damage that it can do to our foreign relations. But it is relevant for my purposes to begin with a brief observation on its internal aspect. Reportedly Ms Mani had received a letter dismissing her with immediate effect from the post of Director at the ICES. [TC]

The Ceasefire Agreement Six Years Later

Annulment creates broader space to achieve sustainable peace

[Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP)]

The Ceasefire Agreement was signed six years ago by the then Sri Lankan Prime Minister, without consultation of the elected Executive President or even the Cabinet. Though he could claim a mandate for initiating negotiations, following the victory of his party in the 2001 Parliamentary Election, the failure to consult adequately can be seen as one reason for a structurally flawed document that contributed substantially and visibly to the erosion of the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. [FI]

So near and yet so far in Mannar War Theatre so far

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

 

[Desserted Arippu-Mannar South-Pic by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai] 

The mainland area in the north - western district of Mannar has become the primary theatre of war in recent times. The Island of Mannar from which the district derives its name is totally under Government control.

Though the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) maintains a clandestine presence in Mannar island, the tigers have never established territorial control over it . [TC]

Sri Lanka:”Land of Injustice”-by Anita Pratap

[TC]

Britain with Europe to take stronger position against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council

At a meeting organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Monday, 25 February 2008 at the Houses of Parliament, chaired by the Foreign Minister Lord Malloch-Brown, the Minister stated that Britain with Europe will be taking a stronger position against the Government of Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva next week [FI]

Human rights situation demands robust international intervention

Note to Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council by Tamil Information Centre:

The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) is a non-profit community-based organization involved in promoting human rights, peace and development in Sri Lanka for over 25 years. The TIC is submitting this document to members of the UN Human Rights Council for information and consideration at the sessions in March 2008. [FI]

Free Media Movement condemns confiscation of computer belonging to Dr. Rama Mani

The Free Media Movement (FMM) is both surprised and disturbed to learn that the CID has taken into custody a computer used by Dr. Rama Mani, the former Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), to check for “controversial” correspondence, as reported by The Sunday Times on 24th February 2008. [TC]

Responsibility to protect is a Frequently misunderstood concept

What is to be done when a government is unwilling or unable to stop mass atrocities being committed within its borders? That question has been asked far too many times in Africa - from Rwanda to Eastern Congo, from Somalia to Darfur.

Serbian foreign minister flays Kosovo UDI

By Vuk Jeremic

THE international system that has brought unprecedented prosperity to the world since 1945 is based on rules that apply without exception. This system is supposed to protect the basic, legitimate national interests of every country, whether rich or poor, strong or weak. Its binding principles include the sovereign equality of states, the respect for the territorial integrity and the inviolability of internationally recognized borders. [FI]

Present Tamil Plight Mainly Due to Ultra-Nationalism of SJV

by S. Rasalingam

As an aging Tamil who has observed Tamil-Sinhala politics since the 1940s, I cringe to see the continued repetition of simplified and historically incorrect hurling of accusation, even by people who recognize the need for building bridges between communities. People of younger generation do not know that politicians like D. S. Senanayake (DS) tried to create a “Ceylonese” nation. [FI]

Blast from the past: Praba Interviewed by Anita in 1984

Anita Pratap is the Indian scribe who has been granted the most number of interviews with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabakharan.

We reproduce an interview given in 1984. Many of the views expressed provide an insight into the tiger supremo’s mind and are relevant even today: [TC]

Escalating war fuels rising prices

By Saman Gunadasa

Since December, the Sri Lankan population has faced another sharp jump in the price of daily essentials, including rice, wheat flour, bread, milk powder and fuel. Many working families are now struggling to have three meals a day. [TC]

 
All Lands Home

Bhangra's DJ Rekha Takes the Dance Floor

Bhangra is the folk music and dance of the Punjab region of India, but it's become hugely popular in dance clubs around the world. Rekha Malhotra, who performs and records under the name DJ Rekha, is seen by some as a roving ambassador for the music. She's been throwing and DJing a party called Basement Bhangra at a New York City club for a decade, but she's just now putting out her first CD: DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra. [NPR]

Bananas, A Storied Fruit with an Uncertain Future

Americans consume more bananas than apples and oranges combined. Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, gives us a primer on the expansive history — and the endangered future — of this seedless, sexless fruit. [NPR]

Arts - Culture - Heritage

Imperial Entanglements & Literatures in English

K.S. Sivakumaran

With the kind courtesy of the Director of the U.S Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission in Colombo, the ebullient and erudite Tissa Jayathilake, I walked into the Pan Asia Hotel on Jan 04, 2008 to learn something that would broaden my horizon of understanding Literatures in English. I am a lover and student of English and World Literature as well as a High School teacher. [TW]

Tall puzzle!

In a career spanning 27 years, actor Raghuvaran has created an invincible slot for himself, on his own terms.

Probably no artist can go into hibernation time and again and bounce back like Raghuvaran has. The actor has done it at least thrice. “Yes! I often do a turn and turn about. Rajnikanth keeps asking me about it,” he guffaws, as you sit dow n for a chat in the greenery of the porch in his home in T. Nagar. [Hindu]