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July 27, 2008

July 27-Aug 2: "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." - Randy Pausch (1960-2008) American professor of computer science

Pictorial: ‘Honouring the courage of all who have dared to rebuild’

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Military Victory: Is it worth the price?

By Fr. Alex Dassanayake

The long protracted ethnic war has brought about such an amount of death in our country that one can hardly imagine: so many valuable lives lost — the, flower of the nation both in the South and the North, destruction of valuable property through bomb blasts, aerial bombings, land mine blasts and shootings, both on land and sea; thousands of widows and orphans, the maimed and the homeless; those who live in refugee camps for ten, fifteen years, undergoing untold sufferings and ever living in fear of fresh attacks. [FI]

Significance of SAARC summit for the LTTE

By MSM Ayub

One can interpret the ceasefire offer of the LTTE as an expression of weakness in the face of the intense military operations , also it may be considered as a ploy to attract the international attention in the light of the forthcoming South Asian Association of Regional Corporation (SAARC) summit which is already in the limelight of the world politics for several reasons. [TC] 

Neelan Tiruchelvam and the challenge before Sri Lanka 

by Lynn Ockersz

Neelan Tiruchelvam is continuing to tremendously sway hearts and minds in Sri Lanka and the very widely attended ninth lecture delivered in his memory on July 27th at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, by Prof. Gowher Rizvi, Director, Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, was ample proof of this. [TC]

Winning the War, winning the peace 

by Dayan Jayatilleka

"The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew, cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down” - Barack Obama , Berlin , July 24

We must not settle for a draw in a game we can win and are winning. As we draw closer to victory, those who wish to deny it to us will intensify their efforts.Let us do everything that can help us win the war, and desist from anything that may prevent or divert us. [TC]

Profile: Navanethem Pillay, New UN Human Rights Chief

United Nation's new commissioner for human rights, wants to be the "the champion of human rights in every part of the world" [BBC]

Some Thoughts on LTTE's Military Response

By Col R Hariharan  (Retd.)

During the last one week, Sri Lanka army has kept up its momentum of advance. According to defence sources, the troops of 57 Division are on the periphery of line Tunukkai-Mallavi, west of A9 highway. [TC] 

War-torn Sri Lanka no where near political settlement

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

The reality that Sri Lanka needs political solution to the problems pestering the entire population in varying degrees and that there is no militarily solution is widely recognized. Any devious move to avoid the required changes to the failed system of governing centrally will only prolong the suffering of the people. The unity and peace the country needs for moving forward will continue to elude with dire consequences. [FI]

The Colombo SAARC Summit: Big India and her small neighbours

by Rajan Philips

Founded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1985, and joined by Afghanistan in 2007, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation should by now have become not only a force among the global trading blocs but also a supranational plane for political and economic cooperation for the member states. [TC]

The Longest War: Sri Lanka’s Identity Conflicts & Conflicted Identities

by Dayan Jayatilleka 

This month, July, the 25th anniversary of July 83, has quite appropriately seen significant commentary in the press over the interrelated themes of the war, its character or its perceived character, and contending interpretations of Sri Lankan identity. [TC]

In Pictures: "Dhammapada and Other Works"

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Being an anti-war artist, Chandraguptha Thenuwara has sought to remind his fellow Sri Lankans of Lord Buddha’s teachings about tolerance and peace. The exhibition will remain open till 29th July 2008 from 10am-7pm. Chandraguptha Thenuwara is a senior lecturer at the University of Visual Arts in Colombo. He is also the Director of Vibhavi-Academy of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1993. [HA]

All Spruced up

By Namini Wijedasa

Tch. Can’t go anywhere in Colombo these days for the smell of wet paint. And God forbid that you should lean against anything. Every lamppost, garbage can, hosepipe and pebble from here to the South Pole is painted for the SAARC summit. [TC]

All Lands Home

In Pictures: Picturing Casualties

Zoriah Miller, the freelance photographer who took this image and others of marines killed in a June 26 suicide attack and posted them on his Web site, was subsequently forbidden to work in Marine Corps-controlled areas of Iraq. [NY Times]

Randy Pausch, 47, Dies; His ‘Last Lecture’ Inspired Many to Live With Wonder

Randy Pausch, the professor whose “last lecture” made him a Lou-Gehrig-like symbol of the beauty and briefness of life, died Friday at his home in Chesapeake, Va. He was 47, and had lived five months longer than the six months a doctor gave him as an upside limit last August. [NY Times]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

http://humanityashore.com/ha/archives/58Ganeshism: a celebration of Lord Ganesh in art

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Mahen Chanmugam has been painting for over thirty five years, and has devoted the last twelve to portraying Lord Ganesh. His art attempts to present the complex symbolism and iconography surrounding Lord Ganesh in a colourful, contemporary form.

With his paintings, Mahen tries to reach back to the past, while looking forward, balancing the challenges between the spirit of modernism and the need to capture the essence of a traditional art form, undiluted.

Drawing inspirations from the mythology and philosophies of Hinduism, his canvases are saturated with intense colour, evocative of the bright powdery pigments that decorate the entrance to Hindu temples. Bright fluorescent pink cells sit alongside lime-green lotus petals and multicoloured Chakras float across saffron skies, with tiny mirrors shimmering around silvery Ganeshes. [HA]

July 19, 2008

Jul 20 - 26: " Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness " - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD), Roman Statesman

Remembering the riots that triggered 25 years of conflict

For a quarter of a century, Selvadurai Sornalingam has treasured a faded, yellowing document. "It is a reminder of my honeymoon," he told IRIN, only half-jokingly.


He received the document when he registered at a welfare centre established in an airport hanger south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, during the fourth week of July 1983, when deadly anti-Tamil riots spread through the Sri Lankan capital and into outlying neighbourhoods. [TC]

LTTE's Ceasefire move: public relations or more?

By B. Raman 

On July 22, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam announced that it would observe a unilateral ceasefire coinciding with the forthcoming summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in Colombo from July 26 to August 4. It projected the proposed ceasefire as a goodwill gesture to extend its support to the "countries of our region, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives." [TC]

In pictures: School fear in Sri Lanka


Sri Lankan airforce planes fly over the northern Tamil district of Kilinochchi. The planes were not attacking this area, but everyone rushed for shelter. [BBC]

Mounting Sri Lanka bombing campaigns curtail school attendance in Kilinochchi

The environment of war and hostilities is drastically reducing the school and education activities in Mullaitivu and Kilincochchi districts, reports premier Colombo Tamil daily Virakesari. [TW]

National Guilt and Expiation: What happened at the end of July 1983?

By Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe

Former Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, Lakshman Wickremesinghe issued this message after the July violence of 1983. He passed away shortly afterwards thereby making this his last message. We reproduce it here as it is of poignant relevance at this time. Bishop Lakshman as he was popularly known is the paternal uncle of Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the maternal uncle of Rajiva Wijesinghe , secretary , ministry of human rights: [TC]

Escape to Freedom

Survivors of Sri Lanka's infamous Black July riots 25 years ago recall the terror -- and their relief to find a haven in Canada. [TC]

25 Years later: The haunting spectre of 1983

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj 

The last week of July this year would mark the 25th anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in the history of our island nation. It was the week when a racist rabble encouraged by those in power went against a helpless minority living within Sinhala majority regions of Sri Lanka. It was a shameful episode that created immense problems and caused great harm to the country’s image. Twenty five years have passed but the country is yet to recover from that fateful July. [TC]

Commemorating July 1983: Bridges that Continue to Hold

Statement by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka 

In July 23, 1983 law and order in Sri Lanka virtually collapsed as mobs went on a rampage, inciting anarchy and fear, uprooting Tamil people, looting and burning their property and killing many of them. [FI]

Challenges facing the church today

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, was chosen by the Archbuihop of Canterbury to deliver the sermon at the opening Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference of all Anglican Bishops world-wide held once in ten years. It is being held this year at the University of Kent at Canterbury. The following is the text of his sermon delivered at the Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday 20th July 2008: [TC]

War after the fall of Vidattlthivu

By Col R Hariharan (Retd.)

Keeping up the momentum of their offensive, Sri Lanka army's 58 Division and Commando troops advanced another 10 km to the north to capture Illuppakkadavai on Sunday July 20, 2008 close on the heels of their success in capturing the Sea Tiger base of Vidattalthivu on the Mannar coast on July 16, 2008. According to Defence sources, the Commandos pursued and attacked the cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fleeing  Iluppakkadavai, three km to the north on the A32 Mannar- Pooneryn road. [TC]

Impunity, a debilitating fixture in state culture

25 Years after the Welikada massacre 

by Rajan Hoole

Colombo’s Welikada high security prison was the scene of two massacres of Tamil political prisoners during the communal violence of July 1983, first after lunch on July 25 claiming 35 prisoners and second, about 4.00 PM on the July 27 claiming a further 18.


On both occasions Secretary of Justice Mervyn Wijesinghe asked Colombo Magistrate Keerthi Srilal Wijewardene to hold inquests with the assistance of Tilak Marapone and C.R. de Silva (the present AG) from the Attorney General’s Department. No culprits were identified and the case was hushed up. [TC]

The infamous white van: A symbol of shame

By Dr. Baptist Croos F.S.C.

The colour white generally stands for purity, truth, innocence and cleanliness, virtues we proudly cherish; virtues that are pivotal for our well being.

Unfortunately, with the subtle deployment of the infamous white van, this time-honoured traditional notion, so sagaciously handed down to us by our venerable forefathers, has been shattered in our resplendent island where white stands for duplicity, treachery, trauma, suspicion, fear and death! [TC]

Attack on free expression

By Kshama Ranawana

An on-line poll by the Asian Tribune asks “Should the Sri Lanka Government appoint a Press Commission, with full powers to probe the media?

And, I’d rather ask, should the people appoint a commission to probe all the attacks, physical and verbal that have been carried out against the Sri Lankan media, with impunity, in the recent years? [TC]

All Lands Home

In Pictures: Treasures From the Mughal Empire

"Akbar Fights with Raja Man Singh," from a copy of the Akbarnama. (circa 1600-03)  [NY Times]

In Pictures: Mandela celebrates 90th birthday

Nelson Mandela, one of the world's most revered statesmen and the icon of the anti-apartheid movement, has marked his 90th birthday by calling for the rich to do more for the poor. [BBC]

July 11, 2008

Jul 13 - 19: "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." - Will Rogers (1879-1935) Cherokee-American cowboy, Social commentator

Birunthan Park: 'Through this recognition he's going to live forever' [Toronto Star]

Sri Lanka's east in shadow of war

By Swaminathan Natarajan

A year after troops overpowered Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels in Sri Lanka's eastern province and took control of the area, normality has yet to return.

The government called the victory the "dawn of the east" and held a nationwide celebration on 19 July 2007, days after the last rebel stronghold fell.[TC]

South African to be next U.N. human rights commissioner [LaTimes]

Navanethem Pillay, currently serving on the International Criminal Court, was the first woman of color to become a high court judge in South Africa.

The daughter of a Tamil bus driver in Durban, she experienced human rights violations firsthand. Pillay earned a law degree at Harvard, but for 28 years during apartheid, she was not allowed to set foot in a judge's chambers as a lawyer because of her South Asian origins. In 1995 she became the first woman of color to become a judge on the High Court. [LATimes]

July: Life after 25 years

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Anoma Rajakaruna shares her photos of people in black and white. Anoma has captured many expressions and many environments. Every photograph speaks differently. As a film-maker, photographer and poet ,Anoma has well captured the many moods of men, women and children around the Island. The exhibition is divided as My story, her story, his story and their stories comprising 34 photographs.

The coordinates of national consciousness

by Dayan Jayatilleka

Any serious search for a solution to Sri Lanka’s problems has to be found within the known parameters of the people’s consciousness. Even if a solution outside those parameters is sought to be imposed from above and without, it will prove unsustainable. This is the lesson of Iraq. [FI]

A Political Solution and Conduits for Racism

By Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

Over the last year, I have been struck by the number of times I have been told that a political solution to our problems is not possible unless the two main parties get together. [TC]

The baseless hype about Prabha and his One-Four base

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

When a newspaper reported erroneously that Mark Twain had passed away the famous American humourist responded by writing that “reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated”.[TC]

Loss of collective ‘national interest’ after independence

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

The citizens of Sri Lanka have a country they regard as their motherland but do all regard it as their nation? They had this perception before independence when they all proudly identified themselves as Ceylonese and jointly campaigned for self-rule. The Ceylon National Congress was truly national before this word got tarnished. After independence, the natives regardless of their ethnic, religious and regional differences regarded themselves as joint heirs to the sovereign rights. [FI]

Conventional and unconventional wars: The end of one and beginning of the other

by Rajan Philips

Sri Lanka’s supposedly most successful Army Commander has spoken. According to General Sarath Fonseka, the Tigers are finished as a conventional army, if not already, certainly by next year. He has also added the caveat that the LTTE will not be totally eliminated and that as an insurgent force it could go on forever, fuelled by Tamil nationalism and bankrolled by Tamil expatriates. As military declarations go, this one was rather cautious and guarded, quite unlike the “Mission Accomplished” bravado that President Bush mouthed off on the Iraq war and has been egg-faced ever since. [TC]

What’s behind Sri Lanka President’s attraction to Tirupati Temple?


Nutrients awareness exhibition held in Kilinochchi

The exhibits showed maximizing the availability of essential nutrients by way of consuming various whole foods that are locally produced and widely available. [TW]

India chases the dragon in Sri Lanka

By Sudha Ramachandran

Gripped by civil war for over two decades, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a battleground for the two Asian giants - India and China. The looming struggle for influence has Delhi worried as the stage is on India's southern doorstep. [AsiaTimes]  

All Lands Home

I Wrote a Story, Not the Whole Story

By V.V. Ganeshananthan

Yalini, the protagonist of my novel "Love Marriage," turns 25 this month. "I was born in the early hours of the morning, on a day in late July," she says in the book. [Washington Post]



July 05, 2008

Jul 6 - 12: " Statistics are no substitute for judgment." Henry Clay (1777-1852) American Statesman

Canadian Tamils hold rally, condemn Ottawa's ban   [Canada.com]

LTTE Fishing in Tamil Nadu Waters

By Col R Hariharan (Retd.)

The political chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) B Nadesan has been vocal in talking to the media ever since the election in the eastern province concluded. In these "medialogues" the LTTE's concern on the political and military developments taking place in Sri Lanka was evident. The successful implementation of the 13th amendment in the eastern province would pave way for restoration of peace and security there. And that would be political loss of face for the LTTE. (Fortunately for the LTTE, this does not appear to be happening with the required alacrity. [TC]

Sri Lankans May Turn Against War Strategy, Defense Analysts Say

"People say they'll suffer the hardships as long as the government can finish the war,'' said Iqbal Athas, a Colombo-based correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's "military machine has yet to be badly dented'' and the group may have at least 10,000 fighters. [Bloomberg]

In Pictures: Countrywide Telegram campaign against media suppression

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Sri Lankan journalists, rights group activists and members of the civil society are seen sending telegrams at the Central Mail Exchange in Colombo,to the President urging for the protection of the journalists, while wearing a black face mask saying "Stop Media Suppression" in all three languages . [TC]

Pictorial: At Kilivetti camp, waiting to go home

Several Internally Displaced Persons at the Kilivetti welfare transit camp, in Trincomalee district - are being resettled in their villages. [TW]

Resolution of the conflict in Sri Lanka can only happen at the negotiating table

One thing is certain," insists Martin McGuinness in his office at Belfast's Stormont Castle. "The resolution of the conflict in Sri Lanka can only happen at the negotiating table. Nowhere else." [FI]

Future of Karuna, The Reluctant Rebel 

by Col R Hariharan (Retd.)

Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known  as Karuna Amman, the dreaded leader of Batticaloa during his days in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), must be a chastened man as he was flown into Colombo escorted by British security men on July 3, 2008. His return to Sri Lanka brings to a close the episode of his ill fated trip to the UK under a false identity that saw him sentenced to imprisonment by a London court in January 2008. [TC]

The Great Sri Lankan Conspiracy Theory

Something amiss with human rights

by Namini Wijedasa

When four criminals ambush a car in broad daylight near the Polhengoda army camp, brutally assault two innocent men with heavy wooden poles - and get away, never to be caught - you know something is amiss with human rights in this country. [TC]

The war president

Sri Lanka’s army chief says the government has won its 25-year war against the Tamil Tigers. This is not true

Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka’s president, shakes out his white outfit and spreads his bare toes with a satisfied air. “We have concentrated on the LTTE [the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam],” he says, “because unless we defeat them, we will have no peace and development.” In January he abrogated a ceasefire and stepped up a brutal two-year offensive against the no-less-brutal LTTE. This week his army commander, General Sarath Fonseka, claimed the operation had succeeded. The Tigers, said the general, had lost the capability of fighting as a conventional army. “We have defeated them. [The Economist]

Return of Karuna ~ From the archives of Transcurrents.com: Will “Col” Karuna Re-Appear Dramatically or Simply Disappear?

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj [TC]

Amnesty and HRW flays UK for releasing former LTTE leader

Human Rights Watch (HRW), has criticised the British government for allowing Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna Amman, a former Tamil Tigers leader, to return to Sri Lanka as a free man. [TW]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

Sri Rama Gnanamirtham Isai Velvi 2008

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

The 11th Sri Rama Gnanamirtham Isai Velvi (Festival of Music) was organised by the Colombo Kamban Kazhagam, which was held from March 15th-22nd 2008, at Ramakrishna Mission hall. Thyagaraja Aradhana was performed by the participating musicians and artistes on March 12th 2008, before the mega Festival of Music began on March 15th 2008.

Local musicians decorated the Isai Arnagu at dusk, while the Indian musicians decorated the Isai Per Arangu in the nights. The hall was packed with the Carnatic music lovers.[HA]

Sri Rama Gnanamirtham Isai Velvi 2008 Day 1

Sri Rama Gnanamirtham Isai Velvi 2008 Day 2

Sri Rama Gnanamirtham Isai Velvi 2008 Day 3