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August 27, 2010

Aug 29 - Sep 4:

Constitutional changes in Sri Lanka: Cabaret Dance by Burqua-Clad!

By: Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

We have glimpses of the unimportant among the constitutional changes contemplated. However, what has been revealed is not what we need. [TC]

Addressing needs of stressed children

MULLAITIVU, 31 August 2010 (IRIN) - Few studies of children in Sri Lanka have examined the daily stress they continue to face since the tsunami and civil war, focusing instead on the direct impact of both, according to two studies in the latest Child Development journal. [TC]

We knew my father would be found guilty until proven innocent

by Apsara Fonseka

Almost two weeks ago, after six whole months of illegal detention and many court cases, my father’s first court martial case convicted him of doing politics while in uniform. [TC]

Outline of submission made to commission on lessons learnt and reconciliation-by Jayantha Dhanapala

I have been surprised and disappointed by the many distortions of my presentation appearing in the Sri Lanka media and the commentaries based on these erroneous and selective reporting. [TC]

Mannar - Tamil misery continues

By a special correspondent
Exclusive to BBC Sinhala service

The alert and watchful eyes of weary soldiers scanned every vehicle passing through the checkpoints. [TC]

Mahinda Rajapakse means to be President for life

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Tomorrow, perhaps the future” - WH Auden (Spain 1937)

The charade is finally over. President Rajapakse has informed Sri Lanka’s Micawberian Opposition that he intends to remove presidential term-limits and run for a third (and, the Grim Reaper permitting, a fourth and a fifth…) term. [TC]

20,000 Workers from India will Arrive Soon to build houses in northern Province

By Chris Kamalendran

A 20,000-strong Indian workforce will arrive in Sri Lanka to carry out mega housing projects in northern districts.

Garment factories exploiting Northern girls, union charges

By Chris Kamalendran

A garment sector trade union leader charged yesterday that some garment manufacturers were seeking cheap female labour from the one time battle areas of the north.“Factory workers were leaving due to poor wages, work and living conditions [TC]

TNA willing to work with government on resolving key issues: An Interview with TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran

By Arthur Wamanan

Q. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has not been vocal in recent times. Has the party changed its stance on the solution for the ethnic issue after the end of the war?

Well, the TNA has a manifesto on which we contested the election. In that, we have specifically stated that we are looking for meaningful devolution of powers in terms of constitutional reforms.[TC]

If the UNP is to preserve itself and survive it has to change

by Dayan Jayatilleka

Was Opposition firebrand, lawyer, karateka and pop vocalist Dayasiri Jayasekara right when he warned several weeks back that the UNP stood in danger of electoral extinction, like the Old Left in general and the LSSP in particular? [TC]

Sri Lankans must thank for JVP and ex-Chief Jutice for saving us from PTOMS

by Dayan Jayatilleka

The Lessons Learnt process is turning into quite an exercise in public pedagogy and performance, though it could be better.[TC]

So called court martial of Sarath Fonseka is contrary to natural justice principles and Article 25 of ICCPR

By Ranil Wickremesinghe

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) guarantees to every citizen the right and the opportunity to be elected at periodic elections to ensure the free expression of the will of the electors (Article 25).[TC]

Fonseka's Perils of Playing Politics and its Implications

By Col R Hariharan

For General Sarath Fonseka who revamped a demoralised Sri Lanka army and led it to final victory in the nearly three-decade long campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, its aftermath had not been peaceful.[TC]

Can India build a meaningful military relationship with China?

By Col R Hariharan

The recent India-China stand-off over the issue of a Chinese visa for Lt General BS Jaswal, a serving commander of Northern Command, has highlighted the tenuous nature of existing ties between the two countries. [TC]

Internal armed conflicts, humanitarian laws and the curious transformation of a former diplomat

By Kalana Senaratne

Numerous reports suggest that Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala had some interesting things to say when he appeared before the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recently; about aspects relating to the interference of certain States in the internal affairs of other States; about the R2P concept; about the Sri Lankan Armed Forces carrying out a daunting humanitarian operation, saving 300,000 innocent civilians kept as a human shield by the LTTE and thereby preventing a certain ‘holocaust’ (The Daily News, 26 August 2010; The Ministry of Defence (defence.lk), 25 August 2010) [TC]

The Defence Secretary and Myself: KP speaks out - 4

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

QUESTION: Thank you for relating these details about these important events of the recent past. Your input provides fresh insight into these matters. But now I want to ask you about the present. [dbsj]

Spectacular Street Parade of a Sparkling Silver Cart

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed” ~ Rabindranath Tagore, (1861-1941), (Indian Poet, Playwright and Essaiyist.Won the Noble Prize for Literature in 1913)


The Silver Vel cart decorated with fresh flower garlands, lines of electrical bulbs in Yellow and traditional cloth hanging paraded through the main streets of Colombo. [HA]

UN official calls on donors to ‘stay the course’ to help displaced

by UN News Centre

The top United Nations humanitarian official in Sri Lanka is appealing to the international community to “stay the course” in helping displaced persons return to their former communities in the wake of last year’s end to the country’s protracted civil war. [TC]

Gordon Weiss: "Who wants to portray the boat people as a security threat?"

Tamils of a different stripe

by Gordon Weiss

The Tigers are history and Sri Lanka’s ethnic minority remains under the government’s thumb. Think about it – who wants to portray the boat people as a security threat? [TC]

Not a crime to seek asylum - Mennonite Central Committee, Canada

by Gladys Terichow

WINNIPEG, Man. – It is extremely regrettable that the Tamil refugee claimants who arrived in Canada in early August by boat arrived under such a cloud of suspicion, says a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) spokesperson. [TC]

The ‘Boatophobia’ debate: Dehumanising asylum seekers and refugees

by Swati Parashar

Counter terror experts and security analysts are back in action and what do they fear this time? [TC]

Sri Lankan who crewed Tamil Tiger boat free to seek refugee status

By Lincoln Tan

A Sri Lankan citizen who was a crewman on a gun-running boat for the Tamil Tigers has been given the right by the Supreme Court to apply for refugee status in New Zealand. [TC]

August 20, 2010

Aug 22 - 28

Keep dignity of Tamil refugees in mind during immigration debate - Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Vancouver

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver
Statement by Archbishop J. Michael Miller

The arrival of 492 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka has generated much discussion about Canada’s immigration policy and the appropriate means of dealing with the men, women and children who recently came by ship. [TC]

Allow Sri Lankans to seek the protection of Canada while overseas - B’nai Brith Canada

As public debate regarding the plight of the 492 Tamil refugee claimants intensifies, B’nai Brith Canada has warned against allowing racism to creep into public discourse on the issue and recommended three proactive solutions. [TC]

My trip to Jaffna: "That somewhere life was taking root again…"

Sri Lanka’s Andi Schubert finds hope amid ruins

I was traveling to the North with my uncle, to visit his home – a home he was rebuilding for the second time. [TC]

Tamil politics and Tiger strategy in perspective

by Dayan Jayatilleka

KP’s story continues to provide insights into the history of the LTTE, Tamil politics and the contemporary history of Sri Lanka. One disclosure stands out. [TC]

Why refugees turn to smugglers

by Amarnath Amarasingam

In 2007, the Tamil Tigers approached Sabalingam Kumarasamy and asked him to work for them.

When he refused, the Tigers arrested him — he was released six days later only after agreeing to collaborate with them. To escape this enforced recruitment and fearing further trouble, he approached a smuggler who offered to take him to Canada. [TC]

Video: Reaction to the Tamil boat: Curious comparisons

By Seth Klein

If the 492 Tamil asylum-seekers who recently arrived by boat on B.C.'s shores are "queue-jumpers," then I guess my parents were too. See, they came as Vietnam War draft dodgers from the U.S. in 1967. [TC]

Myths and Realities about 490 Tamil Refugees on MV Sun Sea

by No One Is Illegal.org

Myth 1: They are illegals who are jumping the queue.

There is no ‘queue’ for refugee claimants. Refugees are forced from their homes in emergency situations due to human rights abuses committed during wars, military occupations, or persecution against a minority group. [TC]

Hambantota and the Delhi-Beijing-Colombo triangle

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

It is not that Sri Lanka’s foreign relations are not in need of repair, especially after five dismal years between Lakshman Kadirgamar and GL Pieris, but it is ironic in the extreme when the criticism comes from the UNP or its sympathisers. [TC]

'Sri Lanka has become my home' - Gill Westaway, Director, British Council

by Steve A. Morrell

Country Director, The British Council, Gill Westaway is an unavoidable adjunct to the British Council. [TC]

Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims remember Fr Jim Brown, who disappeared during the war

by Melani Manel Perera

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims together to remember Fr Nihal Jim Brown, an ethnic Tamil Catholic priest, who disappeared on Aug. 20, 2006. [TC]

It is very hard to imagine a Tamil diaspora minus Toronto: "Thank you Canada, Thank you Brian Mulroney"

by K.T. Kumaran

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand - William Butler Yeats, Irish Poet (1865 – 1939)

Tamils fleeing their homeland amidst continuing ethnic pogroms of the Sinhala State remember with certainty, the gracious manner in which Canada’s 18th Prime Minister Hon. Martin Brian Mulroney touched their lives, twenty years ago in August, 1986. [TC]

Two tales of Sri Lankans: 'Loss of humanitarian aspect and Canada's own historic benevolence towards the world's less-fortunate'

from the Opinion columns of The Ottawa Citizen

by Mohan Samarasinghe

A ship arrived in B.C. and tempers flared around dinner tables in suburban Ottawa.

Spurred by radio talk show hosts, many Canadians shed their benevolent skins and began bellowing that the 492 Tamil men, women and children who arrived on the smuggler-operated ship MV Sun Sea should be sent packing, back to sea. [TC]

How Prabhakaran met his death: KP speaks out - 3


Question: What happened finally to your plan of rescuing Prabhakaran and his family by helicopter? Why did the plan not take off?


It’s a very sad story………

After Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony asked me to rescue his family members by air I devised a plan and made preliminary arrangements. I arranged for a ship to be kept waiting at a far –off port beyond the reach of the Sri Lanka navy. I also made arrangements to buy a second-hand helicopter from an Ukrainian contact. [dbsj]

Religion and Ethnicity among Sri Lankan Tamil Youth in Ontario

By: Amarnath Amarasingam

The Sri Lankan Tamil population in Canada has been increasing in size since the first refugees arrived in the early 1980s. [TC]

Saravanabava Enum: by Seyvita Sooriakumar

Karnatic Keerthanams by Seyvita Sooriakumar (13) of Toronto, Ontario, Canada: [TW]

August 13, 2010

Aug 15-21

Four years later, Sri Lankan families have still not received justice in the ACF case

On World Humanitarian Day (19August) Amnesty International recalls the many humanitarian workers who have fallen victim to human rights violations in Sri Lanka and the families of victims who have been frustrated in their pursuit of justice. [TC]

Sri Lanka is developing again. But not all can celebrate

from The Economist

Rebuilding, but at a cost

Aug 19th 2010 | Trincomalee

WEARING a crisp blue shirt, Kumaraswamy Nageswaran gestures dejectedly to a towering fence that keeps him from his village and his three acres of farmland on the Trincomalee coast. [TC]

Collective trauma in the Vanni

A qualitative inquiry into the mental health of the internally displaced due to the civil war in Sri Lanka

by Dr Daya Somasundaram
Department of Psychiatry, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka [TC]

New comers to Toronto: 'I think what we owe those people is fairness' - Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

Comments made by the Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today, when asked by about Immigration in Toronto [TC]

Tamil Boat Refugees and Canada: How soon we forget

By John Moore, Special to the National Post

You're shivering in the sharp cold of a winter's night outside of the hottest club in town. [TC]

Majority of Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India reluctant to return home

by R.K. Radhakrishnan

A majority of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who have been in India for a decade or more, are reluctant to go back to their nation, according to M. Mutia Kalaivanan, Director of Rehabilitation. [TC]

Sri Lanka working towards being free from threat of land mines

By Vidya Abhayagunawardena

The ongoing mine action program in Sri Lanka is very much impressive compared to other countries in the world today. Since 2002 the Government of Sri Lanka and the international community have under taken a large scale mine action program in the North and East of Sri Lanka. [TC]

Generosity on the part of Sinhalese and pragmatism on the part of Tamils is now required

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

History tells us that ports are not only a driver of rapid development but a multiplier of modernization, and the Deep South, which after centuries of neglect has generated and benefited from a provincial power shift, will never be marginalised again. [TC]

Human smuggling or Tamil Tigers - A Story from the 'Ocean Lady'

By Amarnath Amarasingam

After the MV Sun Sea was boarded and escorted into Canadian waters two days ago, speculation has been rampant about whether there are members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) on board, and whether this is an instance of human smuggling.[TC]

A Refugee At Mind

by enna da

I'm a stain, or so they claim
because they are so White clean- exceptionally supreme
And I'm not allowed here because I'm dirty [TC]

An ex-Sri Lankan on migrants' flight

by Vasuhi (Balachandran) Collins

I was surprised to read that, according to the 2006 census, there are no Sri Lankan families living in the Victoria area and none who list Tamil as their mother tongue (Aug. 14). [TC]

UNHCR encouraged by Canada's handling of Tamil boat people case

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 17 August 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. [TC]

None of the Passengers on MV"Sun Sea" are ex-LTTE combatants

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Contrary to reports, none of the Sri Lankan Tamils who paid $ 40,000 to $ 50,000 each for passage to Canada are ex-LTTE combatants involved in Eelam war IV. [TC]

'I’m less inclined to take Sri Lanka govt conclusions about who’s on the boat and why they’re there' - Bob Rae

Send Them Back an Old, and Awful, Refrain

by Bob Rae

Canadians have been caught up in the drama of the arrival of a small boat with 500 people aboard. They have travelled for several months on the Pacific Ocean, turned away in Thailand, Australia, and given the cold shoulder everywhere else until they reached the western shore of Vancouver Island, escorted by the Canadian navy.[TC]

The Battle to Define Again the Soul of Canada

by C. L. Cook

The small boat, traveled from across the world recently, its passengers a desperate collection of men, women, and children fleeing brutal repression in the wake of a failed popular uprising, has provided Canada an opportunity to define for itself just of what it is constituted and for what it will stand. [TC]

Why we Canadians should welcome boatful of Tamil refugees

by Harsha Walia

From the Komagata Maru carrying 376 Punjabi passengers and the SS St. Louis travelling with 900 Jewish asylum seekers, to the boats with 600 people from China's Fujian province and the Ocean Lady that docked in B.C. last year with Tamil refugees - there is something about boatloads of migrants that triggers a national hysteria. Perhaps it is the realization that the expanse of ocean is not enough to enforce the divide between the West and the so-called Third World. [TC]

As the ship arrived, feeling proud of Canada

by Bob Russell

Working at my desk early yesterday I watched the arrival of the ship of Sri Lankan refugees just as dawn broke. [TC]

Sinhala nationalist mind set seems incapable of comprehending what Tamils are articulating

Revisiting Jaffna

by Dushy Ranetunge

Jaffna remains one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful cities with the lagoons, the long roads across the sea connecting its many islands, stunning beaches, the calm lagoon like sea, many beautiful Hindu temples, the many excellent centres of education, the Portuguese fort and its gentle peoples who are to a great extent bilingual and perhaps the most hardworking and productive in Sri Lanka. [TC]

KP speaks out ~ 2 – An interview with the former LTTE chief

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(continued from last week)

Question: So how did the return occur? How and why did you re-join the movement?What was your role during the last days of the war?

Answer: That’s another long story.

I was now out of the movement and leading a quiet life in Thailand with my family.I had no idea of returning to the movement though my wife felt that I would always go back if asked by Prabhakaran himself. [click here to read in full ~ dbsjeyaraj.com]

Apart from punishing the Rajapakses want to humilate Sarath Fonseka to the maximum

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Some months ago, Defence Secretary and Presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapakse threatened to send the former Army Commander, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, to the gallows. [TC]

Rajapaksa onslaught on basic rights is a common threat to all our citizens

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

The Samurdhi officials have shown that there is still a way. By refusing to tolerate the barbaric injustice done to a colleague and by using their collective strength to resist the über-power of the power-wielders, they compelled the Rajapaksa regime to digress, however temporarily, from its habit of impunity. [TC]

If leadership change remains deadlocked the UNP will decay at its centre and disintegrate at its base

by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

He who says A, must say B”. Those who, with good reason, lament the prospect of a new constitution reflective of the dominant ideology and power relations, must also admit and criticise the factor that makes this possible. [TC]

Migrants will get support from Tamil community: advocate

The Tamil migrants who braved a cargo ship to make their way to Canada will be given all the support they need to start the next chapter of their lives, says an advocate who believes they will be successful in their transition. [CTV]

August 07, 2010

Aug 8 - 14

Fate of ship steered by two forces – Ottawa and Tamil diaspora

by Anthony Reinhart

Almost as soon as the Sun Sea set sail, two Canadas scrambled to respond – and how they get along could decide the fate of hundreds of asylum seekers, present and future. [TC]

Sri Lanka’s Premier Tamil Daily “Virakesari” Celebrates 80 Years of Publication

By: Siva Sivapragasam

When Mahatma Gandhi visited Sri Lanka, one of his requests was for the Tamils to start a Tamil Newspaper in Sri Lanka. [MJ]

Ahilan Arulanantham wins prestigious Human Rights award 

US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) is very pleased with the recognition accorded to Ahilan [MJ]

NGOs question tighter access to Sri Lanka's north

by IRIN News

For years, the Tamil Tigers restricted access to the northern areas of Sri Lanka under their control, but after the decades-long civil war ended a year ago, the government relaxed security checkpoints and most NGOs were given access to the war-affected population in the north. [TC]

Peace and stability enable more vigorous contribution by China to Sri Lanka's economy - Vice-Premier of China 

China welcomes the current situation in Sri Lanka, characterized by durable peace and stability, and looks forward to intensifying its initiatives to offer Sri Lanka every assistance in developing its economy and strengthening its infrastructure, Mr. Li Keqiang, Vice-Premier of China, told Prof. G.L. Peiris, Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, in Beijing on Wednesday. [TC]

U.S. Members of Congress have made a valiant push towards reconciliation in Sri Lanka - Tamil spokesman

Fifty-eight U.S. Members of Congress have signed a letter urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call for international investigations into alleged war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war. The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) has long supported such a probe. [TC]

Full Text: Letter signed by US lawmakers urging independent international investigation of Sri Lanka war 

58 US lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to call for an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes that occurred during Sri Lanka's civil war.

Full Text: Evaluating the effectiveness of measures to investigate incidents during conflict in Sri Lanka - Office of War Crimes Issues, US State Dept

Report To Congress on Measures Taken by the Government of Sri Lanka and International Bodies To Investigate Incidents During the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka, and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Such Efforts [TC]

US Report Shows No Progress on Accountability in Sri Lanka - HRW

One Inquiry ‘Ineffective,’ a Second Raises Concerns

by HRW

(New York) - A US State Department report released on August 11, 2010, shows that Sri Lanka has not yet conducted an effective investigation into laws-of-war violations by government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the final months of the war that ended in May 2009, Human Rights Watch said today. [TC]

Remembering Lakshman Kadirgamar on Fifth Anniversary of his Death

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Independence dawned for Sri Lanka then Ceylon on February 4th 1948. The union jack was lowered and the national flag raised at the stroke of midnight. [dbsj]

Omanthai! Omanthai! Succour for the Tamil Thousands in Sri Lanka, May 2009

by Prof. Michael Roberts

The citizens of Thamileelam who struggled out of the inferno of war in the north-east corner of the northern Vanni during the months of January-May 2009 journeyed on foot or boat. [TC]

Govt focus on resettling "New" IDP's resulting in "Old" IDP"s being overlooked

by Mirak Raheem

In June 2010 the Minister for Resettlement, Milroy Fernando stated that there were 60,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka and that the Government would resettle them by August 2010. [TC]

Forced into fighting and still missing 

by IRIN News

Parvathi Kumar has no idea whether her son is in detention, or worse. He was abducted by the Tamil Tigers in January 2009, and she has not heard from him in more than a year. [TC]

'Not every Tiger is necessarily guilty of crimes' - Amnesty International

By James McDonald

The Aug. 4 news story "U.S. monitoring Sri Lankans aiming for North America, asylum" quoted a former Pentagon official who advocated summarily sending approximately 200 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers, now on a boat heading toward North America, back to Sri Lanka. This is a dangerous, ill-considered position. [TC]

Sri Lanka Using Sama, Dana, Bheda and Dand strategy against Tamil Diaspora

by Col. R. Hariharan

Sri Lanka appears to be following Hindu philosophy’s four ways of dealing with people - Sama, Dana, Bheda and Dand - in defusing the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora’s potential to incubate separatist militancy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) kind. [TC]

Why Central highlands of Sri Lanka were made a World Heritage Site

by L C A de S Wijesinghe

The World Heritage Committee, the decision-making body on matters connected with the World Heritage Convention, met in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil, from 25 July to 3rd August 2010. A major item on its agenda was to decide on nominations that had been made by member states for inscription of properties in the World Heritage List. [TC]

People must demand that govt should take immediate action against Mervyn Silva

By Sumanasiri Liyanage

Why do we need laws? If all of us are law-abiding citizens, laws may become redundant. Someone has remarked that laws are needed to restrict and limit the actions of the heartless people.

Go, Thora, Go; Thomians become Asian Schools Rowing Champions

by S.Muthiah

Go, Thora, Go,” the girls from Colombo shouted, and responding to the shouts from their sister school, Bishop's College, the boys from St. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia, a suburb just south of Colombo, came up with an all-out effort to row away with the honours — just as the shouting girls had done — at the recent Asian Schools' Rowing Championships held near Muttukkadu. [TC]

Villages destroyed, residents driven out to develop tourist sector

by Melani Manel Perera

On 17 July, masked men wielding weapons destroyed the homes of residents in Panama and Ragamvila, two coastal villages in northeastern Sri Lanka. Police and troops who now occupy the area have prevented residents from coming back. Locals accuse the government of taking their land to promote tourist development. [TC]

MIA on YouTube (and the Sri Lankan government)

by Malik Meer

Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam (born 18 July 1975), better known by her stage name MIA, is a Sri Lankan/British songwriter, record producer, singer, rapper, fashion designer, visual artist, and political activist." [TC]

Tamils in Sri Lanka seeking asylum: A need no more or not?

by Rev.John Barr

After UnitingWorld’s the Rev. John Barr returned from visiting the war-torn north of Sri Lanka in June, he described his journey as one of the most challenging and confronting trips he has ever experienced. Here is his reflection. [TC]

The UNP is the only party in Sri Lanka with a future

by Mangala Samaraweera

This week marks a momentous occasion in my political journey. After 22 years of politics in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a party to which I have given the best years of my life, I have now joined its arch rival, the United National Party (UNP). [TC]

How Girl Guides in half-sarees from Jaffna came to Colombo in 1922

by Amy Rose Thomas

Girl Guides, as many as 100, from all over the country will converge in the south and then head to the north in true Guiding spirit to help set up libraries in three schools in Jaffna. [TC]

This is a govt of the Rajapaksa, for the Rajapaksas, by the Rajapaksas

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

After a lull, the onslaught on the media has resumed. “We need to maintain emergency laws to ensure the safety and security of the nation,” the Prime Minister informed parliament, days after the slash and burn attack on the Siyatha office, located in a downtown Colombo high security zone. [TC]

The ghost of Anton Balasingham haunts the Sri Lankan state

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Whether it is aware of this or not, a spectre is haunting the Sri Lankan state — the spectre of Anton Balasingham. The Sri Lankan state defeated and virtually destroyed Velupillai Prabhakaran’s LTTE, but it couldn’t and didn’t destroy Anton Balasingham’s LTTE. [TC]

I Joined Govt to Help Tamils and not to betray them - Prabha Ganesan

by Shanika Sriyananda

Parliamentarian Prabha Ganesan who pledged to support the government on Thursday to help reach a two-third majority, said the weak Opposition could not address the grievances of the Tamils and the only leader that could solve the national problem was President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government, which would be in power for the next 15 years. [TC]

MIA on YouTube (and the Sri Lankan government)

by Malik Meer

"Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam (born 18 July 1975), better known by her stage name MIA, is a Sri Lankan/British songwriter, record producer, singer, rapper, fashion designer, visual artist, and political activist." [TC]

Villages destroyed, residents driven out to develop tourist sector

by Melani Manel Perera

On 17 July, masked men wielding weapons destroyed the homes of residents in Panama and Ragamvila, two coastal villages in northeastern Sri Lanka. [TC]

 “KP” speaks out: An interview with former Tiger Chief

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

It was one year ago on August 5th 2009 that Thambiaiya Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias “KP” was taken into custody in Kuala Lumpur at First Tune Hotel on 316 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman road.The former chief arms procurer of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) was brought to Colombo the following day. [dbsj]

‘Lions’ and the ‘Tigers’ of Sovereign Sri Lanka

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

The ‘Lions and Tigers’ here are not the four-legged animals that live in forests away from human habitats but the two groups of natives in the war-torn island, who opted to embrace the lion and the tiger as their distinct emblems after the British colony, Ceylon (Sri Lanka since 1972), became an independent self-governing State in 1948. [TC]

Dystopian Politics: UNP suicide, a Clown Minister, and two Crossovers

by Rajan Philips

Two weeks ago I wrote that “everything is predictable in Sri Lankan politics but nothing bears a positive outcome”. Well, not everything is predictable it turns out from the events of the last two weeks. Who would have predicted a longstanding supporter of the UNP setting himself on fire disgusted by party infighting and its falling support in the country?[TC]

Speculation rife on more crossovers following today's Digambaam and Ganesan formal announcement

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Two Tamil MP's P. Digambaam of National Union of Workers & Praba Ganesan of Democratic Peoples Front crossed over to the Govt formally today [TC]

Arrest perpetrators of the attack on Siyatha TV - Free Media Movement

It is now a week since the news room of Siyatha Television was destroyed by masked gunmen. The Free Media Movement (FMM) is concerned that the authorities have not been able to shed light on the perpetrators of this attack even after one week. [TC]

Prageeth's Disappearance 200 days ! Sathyagraha and seminar  on August 10th

A silent protest (sathyagraha) and seminar aimed at forcing the authorities to find Prageeth Eknaligoda will be held on August 10, 2010. The silent protest (sathyagraha) and the seminar is organized by Alliance of Media organizations to mark the 200 days since the disappearance of media personal Pradeep Eknaligoda. [TC]

Of histories and identities -11th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture

The lecture was delivered on August 1st at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute

by Prof. Romila Thapar

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust and the International Centre for Ethnic Studies for inviting me to deliver this lecture. I feel immensely privileged. I am also grateful for this opportunity to express my admiration and regard for Neelan, and for his insistent upholding of the rights that make for a just society. [TC]