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January 23, 2009

Jan 25 - 31:

17 Killed and 39 Injured in Bombing of Church Premises at Suthanthirapuram

From Sri Lanka to Darfur:Funeral Procession of Massacred Innocents

by Bernard Kouchner

'Modern" war disgusts us in the tragic consequences it has for civilians. [TC]

MIA says Tamil Civilian and Tamil Tiger are like a square and a circle

Oscar and Grammy award nominated singer Maya "MIA" Arulpragasam interviewed by Tavis Smiley of PBS: [TC]

National Govt needed for peace through power-sharing plan

By H. L. Seneviratne

We as a nation are once more face to face with a choice of paths, the path of reason which will lead us to happiness and prosperity, and the path of delusion which will lead us to misery. [TC]

Two of a Kind:Lasantha Wickrematunge and Vijaya Kumaratunga

By Dr. Carlo Fonseka

The premeditated murder in cold blood of the lawyer-politician-journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge in broad daylight, on a highway, in a high security zone is a matter about which I find it impossible to remain silent. If I remember rightly, it was Martin Luther King Jr. who memorably said that our lives begin to end on the day we become silent about things that matter. [TC]

African National Congress urges ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Civil Society Organisations deeply concerned by situation in the Vanni

As civil society organizations that have consistently highlighted the intensifying humanitarian crisis in the north of Sri Lanka and that are deeply concerned about the immense civilian suffering, we once again appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka, the LTTE and the international community to take immediate steps to respond effectively to the unfolding catastrophe. [FI]

UN human rights chief deplores deteriorating situation for civilians in Sri Lanka

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Thursday she was deeply concerned by reports of the rapidly deteriorating conditions facing a quarter of a million civilians trapped in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, and of alleged human rights abuses and a significant number of civilian casualties, as well as the huge displacement. [TC]

‘We must love all Tamils the way we love Muralitharan’

by Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

Muttiah Muralitharan claimed his 500th ODI wicket, just two less than Wasim Akram. The whole of Pakistan and those in the Gaddafi Stadium cheered loud when Muralitharan achieved the feat of being the second bowler in the world to have grabbed 500 ODI wickets. [TC]

Winning the war and losing the future for the Sinhala South

By Kusal Perera

It's all now a talk of living in a country free of "terrorism". The Separatist Tigers are almost eliminated. Driven to the forests of Mullaitivu and restricted to lick their wounds, till they are completely annihilated as promised by the Defence head. [TC]

Prabhakaran Living in a world of illusion Like Hitler in the Final Days

By B. Raman

An organisation headed by a leader, who understands only terrorism, is unlikely to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the international community. [TC]

Post Mullaitheevu: Tigers have plan A, Plan B and Plan

By Dayan Jayatilleka

The trick is to grasp the main needs of the present while being able to see into the future, with its problems and prospects, while being aware that the choices we make today, in the here and now, will determine the shape of tomorrow. [TC]

Beyond Sri Lanka’s ‘War on Terror"

by Darini Rajasingham Senanayake

It looks like one of the more winnable conflicts in an age of the global ‘war on terror’. The Sri Lankan government appears to be on the brink of announcing victory in its drawn-out battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [TC]

Amnesty charges Govt and LTTE of violating laws of war

Reports emerging from Sri Lanka suggest that government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are violating the laws of war by targeting civilians and preventing them from escaping to safety. [TC]

Govt just cant blame everything on the LTTE says HRW

The Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) should take immediate steps to allow thousands of civilians trapped in a shrinking conflict zone safe passage and to ensure that they receive desperately needed humanitarian aid, Human Rights Watch said today. [TC]

Hard to Achieve Peace When 'They Just Want the Tamils... Wiped Out'

by Stephanie Nolen

Sri Lanka's National Peace Council has long had two goals: first, a negotiated end to the country's 25-year-old civil war, and second, a political solution based on federalism.

"I suppose the first goal is gone," Jehan Perera, the council chair, remarked with a bit of dry despair a few days ago. [TC]

'How can people say this is peace?'

by Stephanie Nolen

In the local office of Sri Lanka's national Human Rights Commission here in this eastern seaside town, they have statistics: Ninety-eight people were abducted in this area last year, snatched off the streets by the infamous white vans with no licence plates that are used by government security agencies. Eighty-five other Tamils simply disappeared. At the commission they have case files and police reports. [TC]

Sri Lanka: Major humanitarian crisis unfolding

"People are being caught in the crossfire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling and several aid workers have been injured while evacuating the wounded. The violence is preventing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from operating in the region," said Jacques de Maio, ICRC head of operations for South Asia in Geneva. [TC]

Killing of Civilians:Hands of Both Govt and LTTE are Tainted

By Col R Hariharan

The security forces have captured Mullaitivu, the last bastion of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This is comes as the icing on the cake of their achievements in the war against one of the toughest insurgent forces in the world, which has no hesitation in using terror tactics. [TC]

After Mullaitheevu: Fate of Prabhakaran and Future of LTTE

By Col R Hariharan

The capture of Mullaitivu, the last big town under the control of the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in a way came about as abruptly as Kilinochchi on January 25. [TC]

Torn apart by unrest, Tamil family longs for freedom

by Stephanie Nolen

Vavuniya, Sri Lanka: When he saw the pair of young women walking up to his front door, Anthony T knew his family had not escaped.

Months before, he had at last succeeded in scraping together loans for $50,000 (U.S.) and paid a smuggler to get his son to Canada as a refugee claimant. He got his oldest daughter into pre-college bioscience studies. He thought, then, that his children might be spared. [TC]

Wanni war and the tragic plight of trapped civilians

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Wise King Solomon when faced with the task of determining maternity of an  infant had an innovative solution. He announced that the baby would be cut in half and given to both women claiming it. While the false claimant agreed, the actual mother was not ready to let her child die . She asked Solomon to hand over the infant to the other woman rather than let the child die. [DM]

How many more?

By Kshama Ranawana

Lasantha Wickramatunge is dead. A strident voice brutally stilled. Hot on the heels of his assassination an attempt was made on the life of yet another veteran journalist, Upali Tennekone, the Editor of the sinhala weekly, Rivira. [TC]

A Historic Inauguration: Insider as Outsider

by Rajan Philips

The most anticipated American Presidential Inauguration is over. American modernity has not dispensed with rituals but has added its own to those of the old world. [FI]

Sri Lanka can build peace only with new spirit of the Obama Age

by Dayan Jayatilleka

So the darkest hour was indeed just before the dawn – however dark the hour and however faint the dawn. I refer to the torment of the Gazans which was brought to a halt in time for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. [TC]

Sri Lanka – Need for a major national overhaul

By: Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

In Sri Lanka, the LTTE has been driven into the Mullaitivu district and is being besieged by the Sri Lankan armed forces. [FI]

Amnesty International: Media must be allowed to work freely and safely

CPA alarmed by increased threats and attacks against media [FI]

How Racism violates basic Human Values

by K S Sivakumaran

How Racism violates basic Human values was the underlying themes in many of the International and Indian films I saw during the International Film Festivals held in Goa and Kerala states in India during November- December. [TW]

January 16, 2009

Jan 18 - 24:

Defeating terrorism must not be at cost of civilian killings

by Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam

While there is no room in the world for terrorist organizations, their defeat cannot come at the expense of thousands of innocent civilian lives.

Human Rights Watch writes to Mahinda about illegal detention of three Tamil Journalists

The New York based  Human Rights Watch has written to President Mahinda Rajapakse about the "illegal" detention of three Tamil journalists in Sri Lanka. The full text of the letter is given below: [TC]

Over 100 civilians killed and 300 injured says Mullaitheevu Government Agent

By C. Bryson Hull

Nearly 100 civilians have been killed in artillery exchanges between Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tigers since the weekend, a top government official working in the area controlled by the rebels said on Thursday. [TC]

After Killinochchi: Crouching Tigers Waiting To Pounce

by P.C.Vinoj Kumar

The dream of an independent homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka, or Eelam, still burns bright in Tamil Nadu, despite the fall of Kilinochchi, the de-facto capital of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) controlled territory in north Sri Lanka. In Tamil Nadu, a state where the LTTE continues to enjoy some political support despite it being a banned outfit in India, the LTTE's retreat from Kilinochchi is seen as a tactical move. [TC]

Six former US Ambassadors write to President about Lasantha’s killing

The ambassadors, Marion Creekmore (1989-92), Teresita Schaffer (1992-95), A. Peter Burleigh (1995-97), Shaun Donnelly (1997-2000), Ashley Wills (2000-03) and Jeffrey Lunstead (2003-06), while accepting that the government was engaged in a necessary fight against terrorism, in a stinging letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse in their personal capacities have said that the foundations of democracy had come under assault following the killing of Wickrematunge. [TC]

Britain endorses war on LTTE while emphasizing human rights and political solution [TC]

TNA wants International community to prevail on Colombo to end war [TC]

Ethno political conflict in Sri Lanka

By A.R.M. Imtiyaz and Ben Stavis

This study examines ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The major thesis is that politicization of ethnic distinctions by major political parties has fuelled an ethnic violence and conflict in Sri Lanka. [FI]

Celebrating war victories as those of majority community is warped idea of patriotism

By Shakuntala Perera

Long grown to the idea of patriotism being the refuge of scoundrels, it was indeed refreshing to hear Mr. Barak Obama actually extolling its virtues on Tuesday night. Delivering his inaugural address to the nation as its 44th President, he brought new meaning to the word and where it stands in the new world order. [TC]

Lankan Politicians are Utterly Ignorant or Terribly Dishonest

By Prof. S.T.Hettige

A significant feature of the 1978 constitution is that it has ensured that there will always be an election around the corner. [FI]

Sinhala educated parliamentarians cannot even speak Sinhala

by Jayatissa Perera

The great Sinhala scholar Ediriweera Saratchandra used to say that those who knew only Sinhala did not know even Sinhala. Hence the verse "Demala Saku Magadha Nohasala Sathata Dhadha/Sihala basin sekevin Kiyami padhabendha" or to those who are uneducated in Tamil, Sanskrit, Pali, I shall in brief, versify in Sinhala. [TC]

Prabakaran Is Presumably Fighting His Last battle In Conventional warfare

by Col.R.Hariharan

The battle being waged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to defend Mullathivu in the face of the Sri Lanka security forces’ onslaught may well be the last conventional military operation by Tamil insurgent leader Velupillai Prabakaran in the two-year-long “Eelam War IV.” [TC]

Like Palestine, in Sri Lanka  Today, hope is a four letter word

By Qadri Ismail

Bulldozed from the land, bombarded from the air and sea, brutalised in general, one would think the Palestinian people would make a sensible calculation, put their hands up and surrender. They don’t. [TC]

Lasantha Assassination: Significance beyond who did it and why

by Izeth Hussain

I never met Lasantha Wickrematunge and here I am referring to him familiarly as "Lasantha", that is to say as if he were a lost friend of mine. [TC]

Whither the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Recent developments on the war front in Northern Sri Lanka have caused bewilderment and disappointment to many supporters and sympathisers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [dbsj]

Reflections on the role of LSSP in Sri Lankan politics

by Rajan Philips

A. J. Wilson, the Political Scientist, credited N. M. Perera and the LSSP with three landmark achievements in Sri Lankan politics: being the single most reason that forced Britain to free Sri Lanka and transfer power in 1948; founding the trade union movement that proved to be the bulwark of parliamentary democracy as long as it lasted; and postponing the day of reckoning for national unity by the principled opposition to Sinhala Only in 1956. [FI]

President must do the right thing by implementing practical measures

by Atticus

John Maynard Keynes, the economist, is widely quoted as saying "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?" The quote comes to mind when reflecting on the current attitudes to devolution. The facts relevant to devolution have changed fundamentally in the last few decades. Views, however, are stuck in a time warp. [TC]

LTTE oppression makes Wanni civilians hate LTTE

by Gomin Dayasri

Those making the crossing from around Mullativu are a different lot, from others who crossed during the last few months. They know it is twilight time for the sun god awaiting a call to be beheaded. Escape, he must, if he is to survive but before he could, those who lived in his domain have decided to move. They are certain that the LTTE is destined to lose, so why wait? [TC]

Tamil Nadu State to be "paralysed" until Colombo declares ceasefire [TC]

Liberation Leopards Leader ends fast: Over 100 arrested for damaging 35 buses [TC]

LTTE Chief appeals to diaspora while Tigers prepare for "Final Battle"

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The old saying “All roads lead to Rome” is  one  that had its roots in the period when the Ancient Roman  empire was at its zenith.The new saying icurrently in vogue in Sri Lanka seems to be “All roads lead to Mullaitheevu”.

Several fighting elements of the Sri Lankan army  have either moved  in or are moving into the North – eastern district of Mullaitheevu. In a related move , particular formations of the armed forces are targeting Mullaitheevu town. [DM]

Lasantha's killing places all of us in common dilemma

By Rajan Hoole

When faced with someone’s violent death, the question inevitably arises, why him or her and not me? It is a question we dare not try to answer. To do so is to seek false comfort. We have to face it with humility, as a duty and debt cast on us. One day perhaps we might understand. The divine economy has no place for personal vanity -something the killers of this world have in abundance. [TC]

“Those who killed Lasantha were cowardly Barbarians”

By Dayan Jayatilleka

It was instituted by the premier organizations of the profession to which he dedicated his life. Lasantha Wickrematunge was an Editor of a mainstream English language newspaper. He was thus a member of that tribe of which my father was a renowned elder. [TC]

How Mahinda reacted when heard of attack on Lasantha

by Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge

While the government attempted to drown out the cries of outrage and sounds of weeping over the brutal murder of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge with the pounding of bombs in the north, its claims of victory on the military front may now not be enough to hold the regime together. [TC]

Why Sirimavo refused to visit Jaffna after 1964 cyclone

By Neville Jayaweera

In the last week of December 1964 a cyclone of unprecedented ferocity devastated the Northern Province. The fishing villages of Myliddy, Kankesanturai, Point Pedro, Nargakovil and several areas within the Jaffna district were reduced to a wilderness of sand dunes, stagnant salt water and windswept debris. In the Myliddy fishing village alone, several hundreds lost their lives at sea. [TC]

Mangala to ask Barack and Hillary to investigate Gotabhaya

Moves are on to request US President elect Barack Obama and Secretary of state designate Hilary Clinton to investigate the conduct of a US citizen Gotabhaya Rajapakse in Sri Lanka.

Opposition political leader Mangala Samaraweera is behind moves to investigate the Sri Lankan defence secretary for alleged acts of state terrorism in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Gota instructs Police to arrest MTV News Chief Chevan Daniels

Moves are on to interrogate and then detain Mr. Chevan Daniels , the news director of MTV/MBC media network whose studio at Pannipitiya was attacked by a terror squad in civil garb two weeks ago.

Instructions have been given by defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse to the Police that Daniels who is of Tamil descent should be interrogated and then detained on the grounds that he was a Tqamil tigers. [TC]

Germany – Sri Lanka diplomatic row due to Lasantha funeral

A diplomatic row has broken out between Germany and Sri Lanka after the funeral ceremony of slain “Sunday Leader” editor Lasantha Wickrematunge.

Both countries are at loggerheads with each other over some comments made by German envoy Jurgen Weerth at Lasantha’s funeral. [TC]

Four Journalists including Iqbal Athas flee abroad after Lasantha killing

Four prominent journalists have fled Sri Lanka in the aftermath of “The Sunday Leader” editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s brutal assassination in broad daylightby motor cycle gunmen in civilian clothes and helmets.

The journalists had allegedly received reliable tip – offs from within the defence ministry that they were on the hit list of the sinister forces behind Lasantha Wickrematunge’s killing and the attack on Sirasa/MTV studio. [TC]

Left front not for Left Bloc government with UNP

By Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The political atmosphere of France is pervaded with the idea of the “Left Bloc.” After a new period of Poincare-ism which represents the bourgeoisie’s attempt to serve up to the people a warmed over hash of the illusions of victory, a pacifist reaction may quite likely set in amongst broad circles of bourgeoisie society, ie, first and foremost among the petty bourgeoisie. [TC]

The Story Behind  Lasantha Becoming  Columnist "Suranimala"

by Vijitha Yapa

Many words have been written about Lasantha Wickrematunge over the last days, but words have failed me. Overcome with grief, I wonder whether Lasantha would still be alive today if we had not trained him to be an investigative journalist. That pang of conscience will haunt me forever [TC]

Biggest LTTE mistake which brought curses upon the Tamil community

By A. M. M. Naoshaad

Since my entry into Parliament in April of 2008, I have always maintained that I am an opponent of war. I would like to start with what Henry Ford said in his writings, “My Life and Work.” It states, I quote: [TC]

Only voices of sanity are those who continue to cry out in pain

by Shanie

One of the salient features of the Buddha’s forty-five year ministry was a rational approach in his teachings and in his own search for truth. In his wandering mission, he once arrived in the Kingdom of Kosala where the learned Kalama people lived. [TC]

Ethnicity based registration and the Sri Lankan identity

By Gamini Weerakoon

Ever since I read reports that all citizens of this country will be compelled to register themselves in terms of 'ethnicity' there has been a rising rebellion inside me. I have no qualms about declaring my race. In fact I have been called a "Sinhala Pirapaharan" by no less than R. Sampanthan of the TNA at a function during the time I used to blast Pirapaharan and the LTTE in editorials and columns I was writing at that time. [FI]

Creeping dictatorship under guise of democracy?

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa's strident outburst this week against dissenters in the media underscores the fact that we now live in a dictatorship cloaked in an exceedingly thin guise of a democracy.[FI]

January 10, 2009

Jan 11th-17th: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.” - Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) philosopher

Amnesty International writes to Indian Foreign secy urging protection for civilians in the Wanni, Sri Lanka

More than a quarter of a million people, mostly Tamils, face immense hardship and are running out of safe space in the face of intensified fighting between the two sides. This population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is trapped between the approaching Sri Lankan security forces and the LTTE, which has imposed restrictions on their ability to leave and is using them as an involuntary pool of recruits and labourers. [TC]

Massive displacement of civilians amid escalating conflict [FI]

Lasantha, my Editor and Friend

by Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Lasantha Wickrematunga was my editor and friend over the last one and a half decades.  He was an intrepid fighter against corruption, partisan and plucky, mischievous always and Macchiavellian sometimes, he dared to dissent and to push to the hilt the media’s contribution to a vibrant functioning democracy in Sri Lanka. [TC] 

Why we don’t trust “Independent” and “Impartial” investigations in Sri Lanka

By Sumanasiri Liyanage

Two incidents that happened within a period of 48 hours signified a major blow to media freedom and democracy in Sri Lanka. In the first incident, the main complex of Sirasa TV was attacked and its equipments were destroyed. According to reports, this attack was carried out by about group of 20 armed persons. [TC]

From Richard to Lasantha: A Tale of Two Assassinations

By Dr. Rajiva Wijesinha

Eighteen years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Inquest on a System’ about the murder of Richard de Zoysa. Hearing of the tragedy that had befallen Lasantha Wickramatunga, my mind went back to that essay, because here too was an individual who was larger than life, whose political progress was a remarkable record of the recent political history of this country, and whose murder raised similar questions to that of Richard. [TC]

Lasantha Wickrematunge Speaks After Death via Editorial of Jan 11th 2009

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last. [TC]

Killing Lasantha the worst example of media suppression

An interview with media activist Sunanda Deshapriya [TC]

Before and after Kilinochchi, and now Elephant Pass

by Rajan Philips

It is possible and it is necessary, morally and politically, to defend the rights of the Tamils and Muslims to political equality in Sri Lanka, and criticize at the same time the LTTE’s destructive intransigence and the government’s deliberate inaction towards a political solution. [TC]

Prabhakaran not Sinhala Nationalists destroyed federal concept

by Gomin Dayasiri

A Prabhakaran dead can be more menacing than a Prabhakharan alive. Prabhakaran missing could be still worse. The call to surrender laying down arms is to place the pill under his tongue - Prabhakaran fears to face Tamils without arms and ammunition. Prabhakaran dead or alive would not matter, if the legitimate grievances of the Tamils are attended, without leaving it in the freezer. [FI]

A Final Farewell: Family Gives  Up Lasantha To God

By Dharisha Bastians

In the heat of the midday sun, unprecedented crowds, estimated at over 7000 people, gathered to mourn slain Sunday Leader Editor in Chief Lasantha Wickremetunge on January 12. For a capital city that slumbers through political and economic upheavals, save for occasionally complaining about them at cocktail parties, such a call of conscience was groundbreaking. [TC]

The people especially the Tamil people are with Lasantha

by T.Sabaratnam

This column joins the people of this country to salute Lasantha Wickrematunga the undaunted fighter for the establishment of a transparent, secular, liberal democratic Sri Lanka. [TC]

Lasantha Received Threat : "If Writing Continued You Will Be Murdered"

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti

The truth is, Lasantha spoilt us for any other editor. He nurtured us and kept us bonded in such a way that we worked out of sheer love for him. And now that he is gone, it is the spirit he created that continues to bind us and made us keep our noses to the grindstone, just so that we don’t fail Lasantha or defeat his mission. [TC]

You can kill the messenger but the message will live on

By Arjuna Ranawana

In the corridors of power whether it be Temple Trees, or the lush temples of the JHU monks, there must be a sigh of relief that Lasantha Wickrematunge is dead.

For at least for a while, those corrupt deal-makers running the country may feel safe to carry on regardless. [TC]

Lasantha : a voice cries freedom from beyond the grave

by Peter Foster

Back from Beijing (where I spent last week, apologies for lack of posts) to report, with the heaviest heart, the murder of one of Sri Lanka's bravest and most controversial journalists.

Lasantha Wickrematunge, 50, was stabbed and shot to death in broad daylight last Friday as he drove to work at The Sunday Leader, the liberal Colombo-based newspaper he edited [TC]

Lasantha is the Latest in a Long List of Assassinated Media Personnel

by Lionel Bopage

In a country where, it seems, shooting the messenger has become the norm, yet another journalist who sought to highlight everything that is wrong with Sri Lanka today, has been brutally gunned down. [TC]

Lasantha Assassination was the work of those who understand neither truth nor power

By Rohan Samarajiva

I did not know the assassinated Mr Wickrematunge. So I do not know whether he would have been honored by mixed metaphors from Chairman Mao.

But it does seem appropriate for a life that served the people; and a death that leaves a very large void. Imagine what the landscape would be without the Tai mountain; that’s what the mediascape in Sri Lanka is now. [TC]

We Have Nothing to celebrate but much to Shed tears For

by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

"Special program to mark conquest" said the headline of front page news item of the Sunday observer 4 January that gave the details of celebration. Who the conqueror is clear, though it is not so clear who the conquered is. Disposing few hundred LTTE rebels cannot be a conquest. [TC]

The Christmas season and Sinhala triumphalism

by Old Pachyderm

Being the season of goodwill and in an effort to display a tangible commitment to the spirit of that season, the writer’s partner organized, for the third year, a Christmas party for those who’d worked for us in the year past. As is traditional at that time of the year, the gathering was replete with soft drinks, cake, short eats, party favorites and all the other trappings one has come to expect at that time of year and at a gathering of this nature. As is typical of such events, the activities were directed primarily at the workers’ children, pretty well all of whom were present and seemed to really be enjoying themselves. [FI]

Not only Tamils but Muslims and Christians also live in fear

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

We are forced to come together by the actions of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Initially we were discussing the plunder made through petrol prices. Then came the cruel blow given to the Sirasa media. A crime that earth could not bear. It is an attack not only against the Sirasa establishment but also against people, a lost of precious wealth to the country. [FI]

Kilinochchi and Gaza, Lasantha and Sirasa/MTV studio

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Lasantha Wickremetunga was murdered, in broad daylight at a busy junction, less than forty eight hours after the wanton attack on the Sirasa/MTV studios. These twin crimes against an editor and a media organisation, reputed for their strident opposition to the Rajapakse administration, denote either an unforgivable dereliction of duty on the part of the security establishment or official complicity. [TC]

Lasantha the loving father of three children

When The Sunday Times asked whether I would write an article about Lasantha for its latest edition, I doubted I could muster the emotional strength to write even a sentence, let alone an article. I am broken-hearted, my mind is in a daze and I feel numb. I will, however, attempt to write a few words. [TC]

LTTE has enough fight left for a potent counter attack

By Lasantha Wickrematunge

For over a decade, Kilinochchi had been the political nerve centre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which had wrested it from the Sri Lankan security forces after fierce battles in September 1998. It was at Kilinochchi that the Tigers entertained foreign dignitaries, and where the Peace Secretariat—their political headquarters—was housed. It is also where the LTTE had a cemetery for its war heroes. [TC]

Will the security forces lose the war if journalists criticise it?

by Namini Wijedasa

Moments after learning of Lasantha Wickrematunga’s daytime murder, one of my colleagues fervently combed through the intrepid editor’s last column to see what he might have written that got him killed. [TC]

Wining on War Front and Losing on Other Fronts

By Col R Hariharan

In just a week after the fall of Kilinochchi, the Sri Lanka security forces captured Elephant Pass, the last stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the A9 Kandy-Jaffna highway, the vital lifeline of the Northern Province on January 9. This was not unexpected as Elephant Pass was becoming unviable to defend as the security forces pressed on their offensive after capturing Paranthan in the south on January 1 [TC]

January 03, 2009

Jan 4 - Jan 10th: "Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy" - Isaac Newton

Lasantha: Fearless Editor who spoke truth to power

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge was brutally assassinated in broad daylight on a public road. He was murdered on January 8 by cowardly minions for courageously speaking truth to power.

Refusing to be silenced by the powers that be, the fearless editor of “The Sunday Leader” fought valiantly against overwhelming odds to expose corruption, nepotism, misgovernance, racism and militaristic triumphalism.

The motto of “The Sunday Leader” was “unbowed and unafraid”. Lasantha personified the motto in every way and remained to the very end, unbowed and unafraid. [DM]

"Sunday Leader" Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga shot and hacked to death by Motor Cyclists in civils

Lasantha Wickrematunga, the courageous and Independent editor of the English weekly “The Sunday Leader” was shot and hacked to death by gunmen in civilian garb riding motor cycles.

[More pics on Yahoo! News

The shocking incident occurred near the Bakery junction at the land side end of Temple road in Attidiya.

Fifty year old Wickrematunga was first taken to Kalubowila general hospital where emergency surgery was done.

Thereafter he was to be taken to the National Hospital where additional surgery was required. [TC]

CPA Condemns brutal murder of Senior Journalist Mr. Lasantha Wickremetunge [TC]

The war against media and The Sunday Leader By Vimukthi Yapa [TC]

"We may not agree with his views but you dont shoot a man in cold blood" [TC]

Dying for Journalism: Lasantha Wickrematunge of Sri Lanka By Jyothi Thottam [TC]

Tigers in Dunkirk-type evacuation from Jaffna Peninsula

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

I don’t usually like to compare battles fought by the Sri Lankan armed forces against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) to those of world war one and two. [DBSJ

What ‘Political Solution’? ‘What’s the problem?’

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

Despite the disturbing developments since introducing the 1972 and later the 1978 nationally incompatible Constitutions that denied the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural island, peace, progress and prosperity, there are some Sinhala nationalists, who still question the need for a political solution to what many regard as a pressing national problem. [FI]

Army takes Pallai, Soranpatru and Puthukkaadu Junction on A-9 Highway

Soldiers of 53 and 55 divisions stationed in the Jaffna peninsula gained some more territory on Thursday January 8th by moving into areas vacated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). [TC]

59 Takes over Vatraappalai Temple while 58 Seize Murasumoddai

The Sri Lankan armed forces made two significant gain on the Wanni northern mainland front on Thursday January 8th. [TC]

LTTE kills Lt. Col. Nalinda Kumarasinghe in Jaffna

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) currently withdrawing from the Jaffna peninsula delivered a big blow to the army on Thursday Jan 8th as a high – ranking army officer was killed. [TC]

US Ambassador Robert Blake on the key role of media in society [FI]

Three "real" reasons behind Govt. proscribing LTTE

Notwithstanding claims by the government headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization was proscribed because it failed to release the people allegedly held through force in the Wanni, the real motives according to authoritative govt sources were different. [TC]

Karuna feels humiliated by Gen. Sarath Fonseka's remarks

Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP)leader and national list MP , Vinayagamurthy Muraleetharan alias “Colonel Karuna” is reportedly feeling humiliated by some remarks made by Army commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka to the media. [TC]

Fierce fighting in Murasumoddai as Army moves East along A-35 highway axis

Murasumoddai about 2 km to the east of Paranthan junction along the Paranthan – Mullaitheevu road has become the latest theatre of fierce fighting in the North [TC]

Army moves in as Tigers withdraw from Vadamratchy East and Pallai

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Wednesday January 7th 2008 continued withdrawing from entrenched positions in the Jaffna peninsula and evacuating cadres to the northern mainland.  [TC]

Triumphalism after Kilinochchi is continuation of politics of humiliation

by Dr.Kumar Rupasinghe

The victory over Kilinochchi by the Sri Lankan armed forces is a decisive victory. There is no question about this. The President proudly announced the fall of Kilinochchi and General Fonseka went into great detail to exemplify the battlefield strategies of the armed forces and crowds in several cities lit crackers to celebrate the victory. [TC]

Will Peace Finally Come to Sri Lanka?

By Barbara Crossette

In recent days, events of importance to South Asia have been unfolding in Sri Lanka, where decades of civil war have all but destroyed the international reputation of what was once the region's most progressive and democratic country. The Sri Lankan army, on the march against an armed ethnic Tamil movement, has seized the rebels' de facto capital and is closing in on the last strongholds of the group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [TC]

"Terror squad" which attacked MTV-MBC studio had "Militaristic Style" say eye-witnesses 

Several eye – witnesses to the attack on the MTV – MBC Studio in Panniitiya allege that the “terror squad” responsible conducted itself very efficiently in militaristic mode. [TC]

Army military intelligence unit suspected for attack on Sirasa

The Sri Lankan Police tasked with the responsibility of investigating the attack on MTV/MBC studio (Sirasa) at Pannipitiya are displaying a marked reluctance to discharge their duties satisfactorily in probing the incident and apprehending the culprits responsible. [TC]

Attacking Sirasa TV: Who wants to create a headless Sri Lankan nation?

by Nalaka Gunawardene

Sirasa’ literally means ‘head’ in Sinhala. In the past 15 years, ‘Sirasa’ has also emerged as one of the most popular brands in Sri Lanka. It is the flagship name of Sri Lanka’s leading private TV broadcaster, MTV Channel (Private) Limited. [TC] 

Political compromise should follow military victory in Sri Lanka

By Ashok K. Mehta

Could it be that Sri Lanka's quarter-century battle against a fierce insurgency is nearly over? The government's capture of Kilinochchi, the northern stronghold of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, represents a major victory. But the military can't win this war alone, and the next phase of the war could see the Tigers turn to guerrilla warfare to continue their fight. Winning the fight will require a combination of military subjugation of remaining Tiger fighters and a political solution for the majority of the country's Tamil population. [TC]

What can and should Tamils do if LTTE (Tamil Militancy) fails?

by E. A. V. Naganathan

There are in my view two insuperable and inevitable objections to the militarism advocated by the LTTE. Firstly, it is out of date. [TC]

Governor is obstructing devolution of power to Eastern Provincial Council

by M.M. Abul Kalam

The maiden statute of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) enacted early November is yet to get the assent of the EPC Governor. As a result the EPC is unable to implement the statute as scheduled with effect from 1/1/9. But the Governor instead of giving the assent has referred this to Attorney General. He has not referred it direct to the AG but through the President. [FI]

Army takes Kilaly and Muhamalai as Tigers withdraw to Puthukkaadu junction

The Sri Lankan armed forces scored two more significant successes when troops belonging to 53 division captured the Kilaly and Muhamaalai areas by Tuesday January 6th evening. [TC]

India, USA, UK, Japan call for political solution After Capture of Kilinochchi.

In a significant development after Kilinochchi was captured by the Sri lankan armed forces, several important countries like the United States of America, Britain , India and Japan have called on the parties in Sri Lanka to pursue a political solution. [TC]

India’s RAW observes Sri Lanka’s North from air in secret hi-tech plane

By S. Venkat Narayan

A day after the Sri Lankan army took over Kilinochchi, the so-called administrative capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and pushed the harried rebels to the northern jungles of Mullaithivu, India has sent a select team of officials from the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) on a secret surveillance mission across the Palk Straits. [TC]

Terror squad attacks Tamil owned MTV/MBC Radio-TV station in suburban Colombo

In what was described as an audacious commando – style operation a terror squad numbering 12 – 15 masked men in civils launched a crippling attack on the premises of MTV/MBC Radio – Television transmission station and media studio. [TC]

Vandalised MTV/MBC tied up with SLT to provide World Class transmision [TC]

Battle for Eelam shifting to battle for Tamil Nation State

By Kusal Perera

Kilinochchi was captured fuelling stronger hopes in the Sinhala polity of defeating the LTTE completely and “separatism” for good. ‘Separatism’, as the JVP hastened to explain after the Kilinochchi occupation on January 02nd, is the ideological base on which the LTTE works and interprets the concept of a “separate Tamil State” in the land of Eelam. [TC]

In search of the elusive “Moderate” Sinhalese

By Saranga Wickramasinghe

They feel guilty over the absence of their presence and in some cases unable to be in Sri Lanka due to security reasons; some Tamils are directly LTTE connected and it’s their strategy to get involved with some politically affiliated Sinhalese. [TC]

Eatsern Governor may be impeached by Provincial Council

In what is described as an unprecedented development the Eastern Province governor Mohan Wijeywickrema is likely to be impeached by a joint resolution passed by the Eastern Provincial Council [TC]

Mahinda says "zero civilian casuaty policy" but TNA lists serious "collateral damage"

While Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has gone on record that the armed forces are implementing a “Zero Civilian casualty policy” in the embattled Northern province the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has issued a press communiqué listing various incidents causing damage to the lives. Limbs and prperies of innocent civilians [TC]

Why does war against Tigers prevent a political package being offered to Tamils and Muslims?

by Shanie

The headline in a website this week read "Sri Lanka defeat spirited Tigers". The reference was of course to the victory that the Sri Lanka cricket team secured over Bangladesh in the First Test concluded on Wednesday. [FI]

Self inflicted assault on its own credibility by government

by Professor Ashley LS Perera

Since the Supreme Court ruling on the price of petrol there has been a variety of views expressed as regards the desirability or otherwise of the proposed price revision. [FI]

Tigers constructing new defence line from Iranaimadhu to Ooriyaan

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)organization has begun constructing new defence lines to prevent the Sri Lankan armed forces from moving further into tiger – controlled territory to the east of the Jaffna – Kandy road known as A – 9 highway. [TC]

Army Captures More Places in Eastern Wanni  After LTTE Withdrawal

The Sri Lankan armed forces have made significant gains in the Eastern Wanni region after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) began withdrawing from several areas held by them earlier. [TC]

Army moving into Elepahnt Pass as Tigers begin withdrawal

The Sri Lankan armed forces have started moving into the “Aanai Iravu” or Elephant pass region as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) commenced withdrawing from the area. [TC]

Demand in Tamil Nadu for New Delhi to recall Indian Envoy Alok Prasad from Colombo

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Shree Alok Prasad is in hot water as passions in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu are boiling over the manner in which he has been conducting himself. [TC]

Tigers after Kilinochchi: What can they do? What will thy do?

by Col. R. Hariharan

The often asked but seldom answered question "what after Kilinochchi?" has become more relevant after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) lost Kilinochchi on January 2 and along with it control over most of its domain in the north. After Kilinochchi, two major actors in the war scene – the government of President Rajapaksa and the LTTE -will be reworking their agendas to suit the emerging environment. [TC]

After Kilinochchi: Victory within sight but there are pitfalls

By Dayan Jayatilleka

With the liberation of Paranthan and Kilinochchi, the war has pivoted decisively in favor of the Sri Lankan armed forces and against the LTTE. We are winning a ground war, not against sporadic suicide bombers or home made rockets causing single digit casualties over long years, but against a ferocious insurgent foe fielding large  formations, armed with heavy artillery, fast boats and light aircraft. [TC]

Killinochchi and Gaza: A Tale of Two Invasions

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Killinochchi is an important milepost in the Fourth Eelam War, an outstanding victory for the Lankan Forces and a significant defeat for the LTTE. The Tigers’ response to the fall of Killinochchi was both characteristic and portentous - a suicide blast near the Air Force Headquarters in Colombo. [TC]

Calling  "Soul"less Kilinochchi a"ghost" town is an understatement - eyewitness account

by B. Muralidhar Reddy in Kilinochchi

A team of selected media persons were taken by the Sri Lankan government to Kilinochchi town that came under the control of the Armed forces after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) withdrew from their former de – facto administrative capital.

Among the journalists was B. Muralidhar Reddy the Colombo correspondent of the Chennai – based “The Hindu”. [TC]

LTTE After Kilinochchi - Q & A

by B. Raman

I have received many questions in response to my article on the capture of Kilinochchi, the so-called administrative capital of the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), by the Sri Lankan Army on January 2,2008. I will attempt to answer some of the questions: [TC]

Our widows and their widows = Our boys and their boys

by Lakshan Jagath

Crackers are lighting everywhere in the country truly they are well wishers of the Security forces or our heroes or our boys. Many people were with smiling faces and while some were enjoying within. People were brought to the streets as pre organized by the governing party for political mileage but some joined voluntarily as they really decide to celebrate. State buildings quickly responded towards the official state declaration with national flags being hoisted. [TC]

Remember Baby 81 of Dec 26th 2004 Tsunami?

By Thooya Thamarai in Kurukkalmadam

 

It’s true that children live in a world of their own. One such child lives in Kurukkalmadam in Batticaloa, is four years old, playing the character of bold knight using an old broomstick as a jousting stick. [TC]

Whither "Vinaya"?: Two prominent bikhus among "Golden Key" investors

The controversial crisis concerning Golden Key credit card company has caused utter panic among numerous persons in Sri Lanka who had invested huge sums of money in it because of the excessive interest provided. [TC]

Estranged wife of Chief Justice New Deputy - High Commissioner to S.A.

Sri Lanka’s scandal – ridden foreign affairs ministry has reached an all time low under thie government headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse of which Rohitha Bogollagama is minister of Foreign Affairs. [TC]

Dr. Jayalath wants Gotabhaya to arrange a Wanni trip for him

United National Party parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena who has filed action against Gotabhaya Rajapakse for debarring him from worshipping at the Madhu Church now wants the defence secretary to arrange a trip for him to go to the Wanni and see at first hand problems faced by innocent civilians there. [TC]

Kilinochchi: From debacle in 1998 to triumph in 2009

By Shamindra Fernando

“Jeyaraj asserted that it would be foolish on the part of the LTTE to keep on fighting a defensive war as the army was at the gates of the last defence ring after penetrating the second line of defence. He acknowledged that the first defence ring had been virtually demolished.” [TC]

Dont tell me Sri Lanka is not a failed State

by Old Pachyderm

In judging whether a country is a failed state or not, I have chosen to measure life in Sri Lanka by my experiences and those of my family and friends.

Here is a litany. [TC]

An Overview of Central and North-Western Provincial Council Polls

by Shyamajith Fonseka

As 2009 dawns, there is oodles of attention being paid to both Central and North Western Provinces, due mainly to the election that is to be held in February. Nomination papers have been submitted by candidates of political parties, and the election campaign itself has begun in earnest with colourful posters displayed at all vantage points. [TC]

Dr. Jayalath wants Gotabhaya to arrange a Wanni trip for him

United National Party parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena who has filed action against Gotabhaya Rajapakse for debarring him from worshipping at the Madhu Church now wants the defence secretary to arrange a trip for him to go to the Wanni and see at first hand problems faced by innocent civilians there. [TC]

Despite Kilinochchi Victory The War is By No Means Over

by Commodore RS Vasan IN (Retd)

After of two months of siege and intense battle between the LTTE and the SL armed forces, Killinochchi the de facto capital of Eelam fell to the advancing troops on the second day of the New Year. [TC]