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August 23, 2008

Aug 24-30: "Strength does not come from physical capability. It comes from an indomitable will"- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

LTTE's Air Raid on Trincomalee and the Offensive Operations

by Col R Hariharan

The night raid by two light aircraft of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) air wing on the Trincomalee naval base on August 26, 2008 may be termed as moderately successful. The two aircraft were similar to the ZLIN piston-engined ones that had raided Katunayake air base on March 27, 2007 and in the subsequent attacks on Palali air base on April 24, 2007 and the Anuradhapura air field on October 22, 2007. As in all the four air raids earlier they evaded both the ground fire and the chase by Sri Lanka air force fighters to return safely to their home base. [TC]

Victory in PC Elections, a Vote for War or Yearning for Peace?

By Col.

As the results of the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections streamed in, it was clear that Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has turned his continued success in war to pay political dividends. The ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) scored resounding success capturing 20 of the 33 seats (securing 56.37% of votes) in Sabaragamuwa Province, and 25 of the 44 seats (securing 65.53% votes) in North Central Province. [FI]

A Call to protect civilians in Wanni

People of conscience are perturbed that the current war in the LTTE occupied Vanni places the majority of civilians at tremendous risk. Unarmed and trapped in this war zone, large numbers of civilians including children are caught in the intense cross-fire of a deadly armed confrontation. Thousands are already displaced and can flee only to places of temporary safety. [FI]

WSJ Op-Ed: Colombo needs to offer moderate Tamils a political settlement

Sri Lanka's military is now two months into a full-on offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels in their northern base. An end finally may be in sight to the war that has roiled the country for a quarter century. [FI]

CPJ: "Publishing a magazine should not constitute an offence"

Statement by Committee to Protect Journalists 

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Colombo high court’s indictment of journalist J.S. Tissainayagam today on terrorism charges for articles he published in 2006. [TC]

Mano Ganesan Carried Message From Chandrika To Prabakaran In 2005 About Offering Asylum To “Col” Karuna

Western Peoples Front leader and Colombo district Parliamentarian Mano Ganesan was sent as a special emissary to the Wanni  by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 2005 to convey a message to LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran. [TC]

Lessons of a Conflict 

By Ram Manikkalingam

Ceasefires and insistence on human rights protection may not help peace processes in strife-torn countries. [FI]

Sri Lanka's Foreign Policy: The Way to Go

by Dayan Jayatilleka, PhD [FI]

The Consequences of July 1983

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha [FI]

Towards Economic Development in the Northern Province

by Rohantha N A Athulorale [FI]

Education of thousands disrupted by fighting

Report by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [TC] 

Impending military victory, pending political questions

by Rajan Philips 

This is supposed to be the year of victory over the Tigers. Prime Minister Wickramanayake even predicted that the Sri Lankan troops will be in Kilinochchi before Sabragamua and North Central Provinces go to polls on Saturday. Regardless of when the troops will reach Kilinochchi, most observers seem to agree that the LTTE is not going to hold out much longer in its Vanni stronghold. The natural question is what is going to happen after that. In fact, there is more than one question and a military victory may not answer any of them. [TC]

The Tragic Phenomenon of Permanent Refugees

By Rajan Hoole

The pledge of government leaders not to leave the problem of terrorism to the next generation might have carried credibility, were the different components to a rational strategy in place. One should have been a federal settlement that would have left no doubt that the Tamils would enjoy equality, security and dignity as citizens of Lanka. Nothing approaching it has happened in 60 years of independence. [FI]

Foreign Minister Bogollagama’s antics and escapades

By Namini Wijedasa

Month after month, Rohitha Bogollagama continues to astound the country with his free-wheeling attitude towards public finance and his blatant abuse of the foreign ministry portfolio for the good of his own. [TC]

Indictment of Journalist J. S. Tissainayagam [FI]

August 16, 2008

Aug 17-23: "The greatest miracle of all, the human being." Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American Author

Northern Front: Retreating Tigers and Advancing Army

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In what appears to be a co-incidence the military fortunes of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been declining on the Northern battlefront ever since our Lady of the Rosary was relocated from her traditional abode at Maruthamadhu (Madhu). [TC]

Indictment of Tissainayagam An Assault on Press Freedom in Sri Lanka

Statement by International Federation of Journalists 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed that Sri Lankan authorities are taking the unprecedented step of applying the country's draconian anti-terrorism law to seek to condemn senior journalist J.S. Tissainayagam for pursuing his profession. [TC]

Tens of Thousands at Risk in Sri Lanka as Fighting Escalates

Statement by Amnesty International

The Sri Lankan military and the opposing Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are putting tens of thousands of displaced civilians at risk as fighting continues in the Wanni area of northern Sri Lanka [TC]

War, Peace & Relations Across Palk Straits

By Col. R. Hariharan (retd) 

The Eelam War is entering the messy phase. During the last two weeks, in Mannar sector the security forces have progressed up to Mulankavil (southeast of Nachikuda on the Mannar coast) on A32 road to Pooneryn. They are leaning on lineTunukkai-Mallavi, West of Mankulam on A9 highway increasing the threat to Pooneryn and Kilinochchi defences of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [TC]

What is the Future of Sri Lanka?

by Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole

This is the full text of a speech delivered on Aug 17th 2008 at a seminar organized by the Canadians for peace in Toronto. [TC]

I.D.P.'s in the North face humanitarian catastrophe

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

“Humanitarian catastrophe” was the description given by the so – called International media when the Caucasian conflict began displacing people .

Initially it was a humanitarian catastrophe only to to Russian and other pro – Moscow media when 34,000 people became internally displaced persons (IDP’s) due to Georgia’s military adventure. [TC]

Desperate plight of Tamil civilians By Ethirajan Anbarasan [TC] Tamil Translation: தமிழ் பொது மக்களின் பரிதாப அவலம்  [ஊற்று]

Beneath the evasive negotiated settlement

by Dr. S. Narapalasingam 

The BBC world service programme ‘Insider’s Debate’ on Sunday 27 July 2008 with Lyse Doucet in the chair started with the questions - What is it like to try to sue for peace between two bitterly-opposed factions? To be in the same room as Northern Ireland adversaries Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley? How do you begin to get the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government to talk to each other? [FI]

I.D.P.s: Need for National legal framework in Sri Lanka

By Andres Angel

'The ongoing ethnic strife between Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority has led to one of the worst crises of internal displacement in South Asia. In terms of the proportion of the population, Sri Lanka has one of the world's largest IDP populations. Internal displacement in Sri Lanka predominantly stems from conflict-related violence caused by the clashing of the government's armed forces with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Disregard for human rights has traditionally caused displacement as rebel and government forces indiscriminately assault, arrest, and abuse civilian populations.'[FI]

All Lands Home

In Pictures: Pradeeban Peter-Paul

Sri Lanka born Canadian in the Olympic Table Tennis Team [Canada.com]

Olympic Pictures of the Day: August 17 August 16 August 15 August 14 August 13 August 12 August 11 August 10 August 9

NY Times in Pictures: Olympics Opening Ceremony

A land struggle  

by S. Viswanathan

For the Dalits of Ittikkal Agaram, Tamil Nadu, trying to cultivate the land allotted to them has been a struggle against caste-Hindu hostility. [Frontline]

August 10, 2008

Aug 10-16: "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist" - Golda Meir (1898 - 1978) Fourth Prime Minister of Israel

Not many pluses: A brutal military campaign threatens Sri Lanka’s exporters [The Economist]

LTTE, government endangering lives of tens of thousands of newly displaced around Wanni

Thousands of families who fled the recent fighting between Sri Lankan forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must be allowed to move to safer areas and to receive necessary humanitarian assistance, Amnesty International said today. [TC]

The Assassination of ministers Kadirgamar and Fernandopulle

by B. Anton Jeyanathan [TC] 

China’s Influence in India’s Neighbourhood

by Col.R.Hariharan

China is using the space provided by India’s reluctance to sell weapons to Sri Lanka for political reasons to increase its influence in Sri Lanka’s strategic spectrum. So the possibility of the Hambantota project ending up as a remake of the Gwadar episode in Pakistan is very much there. [TC]

The Spectre of Dravidastan

By R.Venugopal


Dayan Jayatilleka's review of Tamil Nadu and the Indian model is a sensible, measured, lucid articulation of the problem at hand. His article makes a compelling and convincing logical exposition of the parameters within which the possible settlement of the ethnic conflict can meaningfully take place - and partisans of all stripes should be forced to read it. [FI]

1983 July Anti – Tamil Violence – State Terrorism

by Izeth Hussain 

In 1958, ten years after Independence, Sri Lankans of my generation were shocked by the anti-Tamil riots. We had complacently assumed that that was the sort of thing that was endemic in India but could never take place in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Second Death Anniversary: Kethesh Loganathan - A committed, engaged individual

By Dayan Jayatilleke 

Kethesh Loganathan was one of those 'best minds'. He was above all else a committed, engaged intellectual.

He was indubitably one of the sharpest analytical intellects, one of the finest Sri Lankan minds of his day.

He and I had a generation, social background, ideological formation and historical-political experience in common. [TC]

Tamil Nadu, the Indian Model and devolution

by Dayan Jayatilleka 

The devolution debate has been sharpened by the highly interesting and significant results of the public opinion poll recently conducted in Tamil Nadu, with regard to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue and its internal arrangements [FI]

TMVP must retain arms until LTTE is eliminated

By S.L. Gunasekara 

Once upon a time, not so many years ago, Muralitharan Vinayagamoorthy alias Karuna was not only a  self confessed member of the LTTE and the undisputed leader of that gang of terrorists in the East, but also their principal `killing machine’ who led most of their major campaigns to the great detriment of our Republic. [TC]

My plea to the LTTE leadership

by Dr K Chandradeva 

I am not a politician nor do I belong to any political/militant organisation.  I was deeply disturbed and disappointed with the strategy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and wrote the following article (see the link below) about two and a half years ago. [TC]

A bleak assessment on post PC elections

By Kusal Perera

The SAARC came with a thundering bang and left with a hollow whimper. It’s back to usual business that’s provincial council elections with a national impact. It’s about who would catch a windfall, to come out smiling. Political windfalls don’t come by ever so often to a political leader, however calculating and cunning he or she could be. [FI]

A Year of Anniversaries: From Puran Appu to the Hartal

by Dayan Jayatilleka 

This is a year beaded as a necklace with anniversaries. Some are past us, some ahead. Some are international, the others national. Some are of heroism, others of tragedy and darkness. All are significant. All teach us something, provide occasions for reflection. [TC]

Reporting on Human Rights in Sri Lanka: [FI]

Turning the trends that define our times to our advantage

by Christopher Warren  

News in a human rights framework

by Jacqueline Park

Gender equity in media charter

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

All Lands Home

In Pictures: Russian bombing campaign in Georgia [NYTimes]

Q & A: Violence in South Ossetia

Violence has escalated in South Ossetia, a breakaway province of Georgia and one of the “frozen conflicts” of the former Soviet Union. The conflict heated up dramatically in the early morning of August 8, 2008. Georgia declared that it intended to restore constitutional order and launched a large-scale military offensive. Russia sent additional troops to South Ossetia, saying they were reinforcements to Russian peacekeepers who are in the area to monitor a 1992 ceasefire between Georgian and South Ossetian forces. [HRW]

August 02, 2008

Aug 3-9: "It is remarkable to what lengths people will go to avoid thought." -Thomas Edison (1847-1931) American inventor

NY Times OpArt: on 08/08/08

Access to newly displaced "critical" 

Access to thousands of civilians who have fled fighting between government forces and the Tamil Tigers in the northwestern Mannar District between June and July was critical to prevent further hardship, according to UN officials. [TC] 

Provincial Election Campaign: Battling for the Centre? 

by Pradeep Peiris

Today, the UNP, the SLFP and the JVP have zeroed-in all their resources to the Sabaragamuwa and North Central provinces. Ministers, Members of Parliament and the Pradeshiya Sabha politicians across the country have all been entrusted with specific tasks in this provincial council election campaign. These tasks are based on their individual capacities. Some of them strategize the campaign, some others speak at the rallies while others –unskilled labourers – have been assigned the popular traditional tasks of intimidating and harassing their opponents which has often been effective in election campaigns in Sri Lanka. [FI]

HRW: Sri Lanka Government Misusing Emergency Regulations

The Sri Lankan government should release a prominent journalist and two others connected to a website critical of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The three have been held without charge since March under emergency regulations. [FI]

Frontline positions shift rapidly in Northern theatre of war

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Significant strides made by the armed forces on the one hand and consequential withdrawals (strategic or otherwise) by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the other, have caused rapid shifts in the frontline positions of both sides in the northern theatre of conflict. [TC]

Military and the Mess Up in Media Relations

by Col R Hariharan (retd.)

"The Sirasa TV crew who went to cover the opening of the second flyover in Kelaniya met with hostility from the bodyguards of Minister Mervyn Silva. An eye witness at the scene claimed that the minister had inquired whether a Sirasa TV crew was present and upon identification had ordered his guards to forcibly remove the video tapes from the camera." News item in a Colombo daily August 5, 2008. [TC]

Tamil separatism survives on the strength of Sinhala nationalism

By Kusal Perera

Reminiscing “Black July” is almost over. There were plenty of articles in most of our print media and in web portals with differing points of view on “Black July”. Yet what was missing in most of that discussion was a reading about the LTTE psyche, 25 years after the Black July. Does the LTTE work towards achieving any justification or sympathy from the South for their struggle, liberation or separatist war or what ever label one may wish to stick on it in the South? This is the single most important question the South needs to ask itself.  The southern political leadership had from the very beginning of the conflict opposed this Tamil homeland complete. [FI]

Army gaining advantage as fighting rages in the North

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj 

Medical personnel travelling last week from Government controlled Vavuniya to the hospital in Tiger controlled Puliyankulam were surprised to find the town deserted and hospital closed.

It was then that they came to know of the latest orders issued by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the helpless civilian population under their control in the Northern mainland known as Wanni.

All civilians living between Puliyankulam and Kanakarayankulam along the Jaffna – Kandy road known as A – 9 highway had been instructed by the LTTE to leave their dwellings and re-locate to areas between Oddusuddan and Puthukkudiyiruppu in the Mullaitheevu district. [TC]

Dr. Nesiah: President wanted me to quit the commission
by Namini Wijedasa

Devanesan Nesiah - veteran public servant and activist - controversially quit the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Violations of Human Rights after counsel for the army and STF, Gomin Dayasiri and S L Gunesekera, claimed a conflict of interest due to his involvement in the Centre for Policy Alternatives. The CPA had obtained the CoI’s permission to intervene on behalf of the victims and of civil society. In his first interview since the resignation, Dr Nesiah (emailing us from Australia) said he left because the two counsels had attacked and threatened him constantly. [FI]

SAARC and the Tamil National Question

by P Shantikumar

Sri Lanka is obviously drifting towards a two state solution. The easiest way to tell that is by looking at the manner in which successive governments had unleashed brutal military terror against hapless Tamil civilians to what is essentially a political problem. If war is said to be the extension of politics then it follows, at least in the Sri Lankan context, eventual solution is inevitable secession. To try and impose any other solution would only result in continuation of the war – which means a very resourceful island continuing to burn itself – because of the Sinhala Political Establishment’s ineptitude and selfishness. Only the Sinhalese can settle this conflict amicably. [FI]

Assassination of Alfred Durayappah

by Tissa Devendra 

1975 was my fifth year as Government Agent of Trincomalee District. I now counted twenty-two years in nine District Kachcheries and looked forward, at long last, to working in a Department or Ministry in Colombo. A call from on high dashed my hopes. [TC]

Tamil Nadu Survey finds support for Tamil Eelam and LTTE but also for arresting its leader

A just-released survey by Ananda Vikatan, The popular Tamil weekly magazine of Tamil Nadu shows a small yet surprising comfortable majority (54.25 percent) of people in Tamil Nadu supporting the LTTE, while only 17.4 percent oppose it. 28.34 percent said they supported LTTE before the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. [TC]


In memory of my father

by Rohini Hensman 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of Back July 1983 is an appropriate time to remember my father, C.R. (‘Dick’) Hensman, who died peacefully on 9 July 2008. At that time, under the pseudonym L. Piyadasa, he wrote a book – Sri Lanka: The Holocaust and After (published by Marram Books in 1984) – which documented and analysed the events not only of that fateful day but also of the periods preceding and following it. [TC]

Arts - Culture- Heritage

Ballet in Pictures: Kaaraikkaal Ammaiyaar, embodiment of prayer and devotion


By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Kaaraikaal Ammaiyaar” means the mother of Kaaraikaal. She was born in Kaaraikaal, which is situated in Tamil Nadu. Her childhood name is Punithavathy, meaning a pure one. She is called “Kaaraikaal Ammaiyaar” due to her exceptional devotion to Lord Siva.

The students of the Fine Arts Society of the Saiva Mangaiyar Vidyalayam known for their talents and commitment under the guidance of their Guru Smt.Triveni Shankar presented this unique story as a ballet. Together with the students two wellknown Indian artistes Ashwatha Shrikanth and Nikhil Raveendran of Nrityaalaya Kerala joined in presenting the Shiva Thaandava dance. The ballet was performed at Kathiresan hall in Bambalapitty on July 26th 2008 at dusk. [HA]