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October 30, 2010

Oct 31 - Nov 6:

The Significance of Deepavali

by Kandiah Neelakandan

There are two mythological legends associated with Deepavali. The first Deepavali was held to celebrate the return of the Rama, King of Ayodhya, his wife sita and brother Lakshmana to Koshala after a war in which he killed the demon Ravana. It was getting dark, so people along the way lit oil lamps to light their way. [TC]

The challenge of devolving power to Tamils within a unitary state

Text of a presentation as part of the Global Asia Institute Speaker Series (2010), National University of Singapore by Prof John Richardson

[Professor of International Development, School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C.; Visiting Professor, Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy, and Global Asia Institute, National University of Singapore] [TC]

US and India must make clear to the world that fostering autocratic governments such as Sri Lanka's is unacceptable

The price of ignoring Rajapaksa

By Grace Williams

As India and the United States prepare for President Obama’s trip, China’s expanding economic and military influence is at the top of the agenda. [TC]

The applicability of International Humanitarian Law to internal armed conflicts

By Nirmala Chandrahasan, LL.B, LL.M, Ph.D,,Attorney-at-Law.

In the context that I have been lecturing on the subject and as there appears to be some uncertainty as to the application of International Humanitarian Law i. e. the laws of war to non international (Internal armed conflicts ), I am here in setting out the legal position in brief. [TC]

"Prime Minister" Rudrakumaran Announces His Transnational Tamil "Cabinet"

Visvanathan Rudrakumaran, Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) in a press statement today named three deputy Prime Ministers and his cabinet . The text of the press statement is as follows: [TC]

Devolution in Sri Lanka: ‘Some of out of the box’ thoughts

By: Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

The possibility of an independent Tamil Eelam within the island of Sri Lanka is as dead as a 'DODO' now. Those who yet expect it to become a reality are living in a world of fantasy. Those yet actively scheming to resurrect the Tamil Eelam project should be aware that they are also simultaneously digging a mass grave for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. What are the alternatives? [TC]

Thousands of Tamils still detained, torture alleged

By Lee Yu Kyung

It seems no one bothers about “them” in Sri Lanka. No lawyer or rights groups in the country dare to talk of “their” basic rights. Do they deserve to be abandoned or “disappeared”? [TC]

LG bill is death trap to smaller parties as both SLFP and UNP are acting like LTTE - DPF Leader Mano Ganesan

The apprehension on the minority representation has been one of the major the core issue debated over the years in respect of electoral system under the chairmanship of minister Dinesh Gunawardene. [TC]

We acknowledge that the situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka continues to be difficult

by Jason Kenney

(Jason Kenney, the federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, visited The Globe and Mail editorial board on Monday, Nov 1st. The following is an edited transcript of that meeting, which focused on the government's new legislation regarding refugee claimants and human smuggling, and the recent situation with refugees coming from Sri Lanka.)

Obama's 'Deepavali' visit to New Delhi and it's Implications for Sri Lanka

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Except for the single piece by an Indian columnist (a former senior civil servant), there is hardly any mention, leave alone assessment, in the Sri Lankan newspapers, of a portentous event with (at least) indirect implications for our country, and which has been discussed in publications and seminars from Washington to Delhi, Islamabad, Tokyo and Djakarta. [TC]

Anglican Church Submissions Before Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

The Church of Ceylon (the Anglican Church of Sri Lanka) forwards a copy of our written submissions to the above for the information of all concerned persons.

A summary of these submissions were orally presented when the Rt.Revd. Duleep de Chickera – Bishop of Colombo, the Rt.Revd. Kumara Illangasinghe – Vicar General of Kurunegala, the Ven. Philip Nesakumar – Archdeacon of Jaffna met the commissioners on the 29th of October 2010 [TC]

"Remember me in your Eid-ul- Alha prayers" – Rizana Nafeek

By M.S.Shah Jahan

My dear Sri Lankan brothers and sisters,

This may be the last Eid-ul- Alha – Haj festival for me in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or even from this world, as I believe my fate will be decided soon. If I am found innocent I will be sent back home, otherwise I may be beheaded in due course. [TC]

"I dont like to use the term 'student supppression' simply because there is no such thing"

An Interview with SB Dissanayake by Chamitha Kuruppu

Admitting the Government has launched a campaign to eliminate JVP-led student movements crippling the university system in the country, Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake points out such moves should not be misinterpreted as student suppression. [TC]

Some TV channels and newspapers are brazenly inciting mob anger against me

by Arundathi Roy

(This is the text of the statement issued by writer Arundhati Roy after BJP woman cadres staged a demonstration at her residence on Sunday October 31st.In a troubling development concerning media ethics sections of the mainstream TV had advanced knowledge of the demonstration and were on the spot long before the protestors were on the scene)

A mob of about a hundred people arrived at my house at 11 this morning (Sunday October 31st 2010.) They broke through the gate and vandalized property. They shouted slogans against me for my views on Kashmir, and threatened to teach me a lesson. The OB Vans of NDTV, Times Now and News 24 were already in place ostensibly to cover the event live. [TC]

Jwala Kumari Shah: From Maoist Rebel to Member of Constituent Assembly

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Each person must live their life as a model for others” ~ Rosa Parks,(February 4 1913- October 24 2005), African- American Civil Rights Activist

Jwala Kumari Shah is a Constituent Assembly member from the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

She has been an active fighter for 12 years while being with the Maoist. She spent several years underground fearing for her safety. She is married to a fellow party member and has three sons. [TC]

Student radicals protesting against modernising reforms can happen only in Sri Lanka

by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Name a country that has developed successfully without first rate universities, or at least one? Not a single! [TC]

TNA ready for a structured dialogue for acceptable Political Solution

An Interview with R.Sampanthan by Arthur Wamanan

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is willing to hold talks with other Tamil parties in its bid to work together for the betterment of the people, says its parliamentary group leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan. In an interview with The Nation, Sampanthan said he was not aware of any moves to change the party leadership, asserting that any change would be brought about in a democratic manner. [TC]

Why did ex-CJ Sarath Silva ask the President and not the Judiciary to Protect the rights of Sarath Fonseka?

by Kalana Senaratne

There are speeches which remind us of the past: the distant, as well as the recent past; the forgotten, as well as the unforgettable past. Such a speech was delivered by Mr. Sarath N. Silva recently, in defence of Mr. Sarath Fonseka (at a petition-signing ceremony on 25 October, 2010). [TC]

Banning landmines in Sri Lanka by signing treaty would make country become "Wonder of Asia"

By Vidya Abhayagunawardena

Since independence in 1948, Island nation of Sri Lanka has faced two types of internally originated human destruction and debacles which were the Southern insurgencies (in 1971 & 1988) and a nearly three decade long North and East conflict which ended in 2009. [TC]

Excessive closeness between Beijing and Colombo is breaching comfort levels in New Delhi

By Namini Wijedasa

New Delhi is deeply worried about Beijing’s rapidly developing relationship with Colombo and is likely to raise this with Sri Lankan leaders when Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visits at the end of November. [TC]

Not a single well-known Tamil in audience for Colombo lecture by Prof.G.L.Peiris

by Gamini Weerakoon

There’s a marked similarity in the mellifluous flow of words of American President Barack Obama and our own Prof. G. L. Peiris. Their oratory serves as a wonderful wrapping paper to cover the cracks beneath. In the case of Obama the cracks are his own creations but with our ‘professori’ the cracks are the makings of: you know who. [TC]

Thou Shall not criticise the Rajapaksa Brothers and the Armed Forces

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

WikiLeaks’ revelations have inflamed all our noisy propagandists… They are relieved. If the Americans are allowed to do it, so are we. Indeed the Americans are not allowed and neither are we.” — Gideon Levy (Haaretz – 26.20.2010)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked Saudi Arabia to pardon Ms. Rizana, the Lankan maid convicted to death for ‘killing’ a child in her care, while she herself was still a minor. For the sake of the hapless Ms. Rizana and her sorrowing family, one hopes that the Saudi authorities do not respond to this international plea the Rajapaksa way. [TC]

The last Sinhalese to run a business in Jaffna is back

by Dr.Kavan Ratnatunga

Anula Meier Radalage has the distinction of having been the last Sinhalese to run a business in Jaffna before the conflict with the LTTE ended in May 2009. Her guest book lists special envoys Erik Solheim and Yasushi Akashi, many ambassadors, heads of missions and other VIPs who had stayed at her place- Anouk Swiss Chalet. [TC]

Rifana Nafeek case is a wake-up call for Sri Lankan Govt

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As people in Sri Lanka and beyond pray for the stay of execution of Rizana Nafeek convicted of killing an infant in Saudi Arabia while working as a housemaid in 2005, we can only be appalled at the cruelty of a world that permits such outrages. [TC]

Why is there no elected council for the Northern Province?

by M.S.M. Ayub

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has reminded the country a long forgotten matter that is highly important in respect of the ethnic problem and national reconciliation. [TC]

"'Mahinda Chinthanaya’ has moved to ‘Mahinda Hinsanaya’ and ‘Mahinda Vindanaya'"

By Chamitha Kuruppu

Reputed Economist and UNP Member of Parliament Dr. Harsha de Silva, while talking about the crony capitalism in the country, warns that the situation is only going to get worse within the new set up, where economic management has been completely concentrated among a very few people. [TC]

People who oppose economic policies of govt are being threatened with elimination - Dr. Harsha de Silva MP

By Marianne David

In waging the economic war, people who oppose economic policies cannot be eliminated and nor can calls be made for their elimination, asserted UNP Chief Economist and MP Dr. Harsha de Silva. [TC]

'Public sentiment in Sri Lanka seems to be in favour of Fonseka’s release'

By Rick Westhead
South Asia Bureau, Toronto Star

COLOMBO— When Sarath Fonseka resigned as Sri Lanka’s top army general to run for president, supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa viewed the move as pure betrayal. [TC]

Sarath Fonseka is not a special case but just another convicted prisoner

by Edither G. Perera

A politician has said that the government has ignored the request for an exercise machine made by Sarath Fonseka. This news item appeared on 20.10.2010 in The Island. He may be considered a special case by the politicians. But the Prisons Department would consider him just another convicted prisoner. [TC]

October 23, 2010

Oct 24 - 30:

Rajapaksa's big cover-up: Young lovers and naked women had better watch out

Sri Lanka's moral policing

from THE ECONOMIST

DAMAGE to Sri Lanka’s wondrous Sigiriya frescoes—5th-century depictions of lovely women with ample and mostly bare breasts—sent President Mahinda Rajapaksa clambering up to the rock fortress that houses them for an anxious look. Yet contemporary portraits of the barely-clad female form offend the eye of Mr Rajapaksa’s po-faced regime.

Since he was re-elected in a landslide in January, Mr Rajapaksa has sought to make good on a campaign promise to “create a society with good values and ethics”. [TC]

Ensure image of Tamil Canadians is no longer tarnished by hurtful and false stereotypes - Canadian Parliamentarian

Recognition of the Tamil Canadian Community

Derek Lee, Member for Scarborough – Rouge River, rose in the House today, Oct 28th 2010 to recognize the many important contributions made by Tamil Canadians to this nation. This is a transcript of his words: [TC]

Kankesanthurai to Kathirkamam (North to South)

By S. V. Kirubaharan in France

During our school holidays, we travelled extensively to all parts of Sri Lanka, making maximum use of my father’s first class railway warrant. [TC]

Answer given by British Prime Minister to question on Sri Lanka War Crimes Tribunal

Following is the question raised by British MP Siobhain Mcdonagh on Sri Lanka and answer given by the Prime Minister David Cameron. Question and answer are excerpted from the Hansard [TC]

Power sharing under Thirteenth Amendment better than Federalism or Zero Devolution

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Was the war worth fighting to a finish? Was it a good thing that a crushing defeat was imposed on the LTTE? Is Mahinda Rajapakse’s leadership preferable to that of the available alternative, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe? [TC]

Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds

By Arundhati Roy

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning's papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir.

I said what millions of people here say every day.

I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. [TC]

China campaigns against Burma war crimes inquiry

By Colum Lynch

The Chinese government has launched a high-octane diplomatic campaign during the past two months aimed at thwarting the Obama administration's plan to back an international probe into possible war crimes by Burma's military rulers. [TC]

Argentinean judge petitions Spain to try civil war crimes of Franco

BY Giles Tremlett

In a stark reversal of roles, an Argentine judge has taken a step towards opening the first comprehensive investigation into the human rights abuses of General Franco's dictatorship in Spain. [TC]

Funds and access problems hinder commencement of major livelihood support programmes for widows

by IRIN News

Tens of thousands of war widows cannot be reached due to a lack of funds, say officials, despite efforts to help them adjust to life after the conflict in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

There are 89,000 widows in the north and east, Mohamed Hizbullah, the deputy minister for child development and women’s affairs, told IRIN. [TC]

We can only hope Sri Lanka ceases to be a place from where people must flee

By Sachini Weerawardena

"There is no reason why anybody should leave Sri Lanka out of any fear. They have the freedom to live anywhere" - Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Much has been written about Asylum seekers and the unsafe conditions in which they attempt to cross over to foreign lands at great personal risk [TC]

Ex-Chief Justice Sarath Silva asks President to do for Fonseka what Judiciary did for Mahinda earlier

By Kelum Bandara

Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who signed the public petition yesterday demanding the release of retired General Sarath Fonseka said even President Mahinda Rajapaksa would have been destined for something different if the judiciary had not upheld his human rights in the past. [TC]

A Texan Tamil's Jambu-stained words hurled at the Sri Lankan President

By Sebastian Rasalingam, Toronto

It is with deep pain and a sense of futility that I read the seemingly well-articulated "ataappali" of my fellow Tamil George Willy in Texas, directed at President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his visit to the US. [TC]

If Sarath Fonseka can be treated this way then what could be the plight of ordinary Tamil or Sinhala persons? 

by M.A. Sumanthiran

Hon. Deputy Chairman of Committees,

At the determinations of salaries for judges of superior court, when those salaries and allowance are being raised and right at the outset I wish to state that we agree with the motion for the determinations that have been placed before the house. [TC]

Young religious visit their own suffering brothers and sisters in Northern Sri Lanka

by Rev.Fr.Lasantha de Abrew s.j.

Although I am no more involved in the North- South Dialogue Desk of the Jesuit Ministry, I keep my awareness alert to the suffering and pain of our own in the North in various ways to kindle the fire of my Priestly Life. [TC]

History may not be kind to Jason Kenney as it was to Gustav Schroeder

by Guidy Mamann

Captain Gustav Schroeder was a very courageous and righteous German.

In 1939, he was the captain of the MS St. Louis when it set sail from Hamburg to the Americas with 937 refugees aboard, all but seven of whom were Jews fleeing death at the hands of the Nazis. [TC]

Flood of poor Mennonite refugees brought Public Safety minister Vic Toews' parents to Canada

By: Bruce Cheadle

OTTAWA — There’s a global reces sion and Canada’s economy is not immune.

Shiploads of strange, foreign refugees — economic migrants and oppressed minorities — have been landing on our shores, fleeing civil war, economic up heaval and famine. [TC]

Chinese projects in Sri Lanka and the Karadiyanaru explosion

by Namini Wijedasa

It is no secret that the People’s Republic of China has granted — and continues to offer — massive amounts of loan aid to Sri Lanka. [TC]

Torture of suspects in police custody fourishes in Sri Lanka

by Ranga Jayasuriya

Two decades since the end of leftist insurgency and the supposed dawn of peace, the torture method hadn’t outlived its use. Now police use it on suspects in police custody. [TC]

Why are the AI, HRW and ICG reluctant to appear before Sri Lanka's LLRC?

by Kalana Senaratne

The past record of Sri Lanka’s commissions of inquiry has been so poor that ‘failure’ seems to be the predominant ‘home-grown’ quality of those commissions. [TC]

Children born in southern Sri Lanka "but people call them refugees"

by Charles Haviland
BBC News

Nails are being hammered and beams secured in Silavatturai. SJM Shajahan, a good-natured man in his 40s, watches and helps the men at work. [TC]

The Anatomy of an E-mail: Response by  Dr.Nihal Jayawickrama

Two weeks ago, Dr Dayan Jayatilleka alleged that I had drafted a constitutional amendment in the 1970s in an abortive attempt to enable Mrs Bandaranaike to extend her term of office. [TC]

Prevailing realities in the noble search for reconciliation

by Dr M.A. Mohamed Saleem

Sri Lankan conflict that spanned over three decades causing several thousands dead, massive disruption of social order, and destruction to economic capacities and infrastructure may take many years to rebuild. [TC]

The closest Sri Lanka came to national security state

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Let us not be evasive. There is a model of the National Security State that is not that which is described by the Washington Post earlier this year in its stunning expose Top Secret America (or by more radical critics of the US). [TC]

Why are we not outraged about child rape in Sri Lanka?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

"Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban…. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it…” — George Orwell (Proposed Preface to Animal Farm)

Every day, three children are raped in Sri Lanka….. Why aren’t we outraged? [TC]

Now, about those ships, Mr. Toews...Flood of poor Mennonite refugees brought minister’s parents here

By: Bruce Cheadle

OTTAWA — There’s a global reces sion and Canada’s economy is not immune.

Shiploads of strange, foreign refugees — economic migrants and oppressed minorities — have been landing on our shores, fleeing civil war, economic up heaval and famine. [winnipegfreepress]

Amid Sri Lanka’s boom, life for Tamils remains bleak

by Rick Westhead
Toronto Star, South Asia Bureau

TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA—The weathered wooden bench that serves as an open-air confessional booth at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church doesn’t enjoy much down time nowadays. [TC]

A one-eyed view of Sri Lanka

by Antony Loewenstein

A Western journalist visits the Sudanese capital Khartoum to interview President Omar al-Bashir. The reporter, after calling him "controversial" due to his "bloody" record in fighting terrorism, gives the leader a platform to explain his views and tactics. [TC]

Brothers who tamed the Tigers

by Rowan Callick

His office is in the Defence Ministry - his brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, holds the title of Defence Minister - a British colonial era building bristling with armed soldiers, alongside a highly fortified military base on a prime location on Colombo's beautiful sandy foreshore. [TC]

Human Rights Watch, Crisis Group and Amnesty Should Have Used The LLRC as a Forum

By M.S.M. Ayub

Three International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs), namely the London-based Amnesty International (AI), the Brussels-based International Crisis group (ICG) and the New York-based Human rights Watch (HRW) had earlier this month rejected an invitation by the Lessons Learnt and reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to testify before it. [TC]

Higher Rationale for Commission on " Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation"

by National Peace Council

The National Peace Council recently took the opportunity to make its submissions before the Presidential Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation. [TC]

October 15, 2010

Oct 17 - 23:

Canada’s proposed anti-smuggling legislation violates refugee rights – Amnesty International [TC]

The man who served under nine Prime Ministers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka

from dbsjeyaraj.com

An Interview with Bradman Weerakoon by Marianne David

Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon turns 80 today (Oct 20th). He really needs no introduction, having done Sri Lanka proud on many occasions in his many capacities and served the nation to the fullest of his ability in public service for half a century.

Bradman as he is generally known has served under nine Prime ministers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka namely Sir John Kotelawela,SWRD Bandaranaike,Dudley Senanayake,Sirima Bandaranaike,JR Jayewardena,Ranasingha Premadasa,DB Wijetunge and Ranil Wickremasinghe. [dbsjeyaraj.com]

Kailasapathy was responsible for critical re-thinking about early Tamil History and Society

by Kesavan Veluthat

IT was by the turn of the last century that the corpus of literature in Tamil known popularly as “Sangam literature” was brought to light from near oblivion. [TC]

"Tamilnet" site is best witness to the separatist project being lost

Dr. Susantha Goonatilleke

Tamilnet, the Internet organ of the now defeated LTTE is still banned in Sri Lanka. To access it, one has to go through proxy servers, that is, one needs to put "Tamilnet.com" in a web page like "http://proxify.com/". It would have been prudent to have blocked the site when we were at war but blocking the site now is self defeating. [TC]

ICG, HRW and AI prefer to voice allegations from afar, than subjecting their assertions to scrutiny by the LLRC

The Ministry of External Affairs responding to the rejection by the ICG, AI and HRW to an invitation extended to these organizations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to make representation before the Commission has said, "it leaves room to believe that these Organizations would by far prefer to voice allegations from distant parts of the world, rather than jeopardize their claims to credibility by subjecting their assertions to scrutiny under the transparent and legally sound process afforded by the LLRC". [TC]

Pope Benedict elevates Sri Lankan Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith as Cardinal

By Commodore Shemal Fernando, RSP, USP, MSc

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour" are the words that sprang from the heart of Mary, our Heavenly Mother, at a time when she experienced her special election by God for a unique mission.

The top secret world created by govt in response to terrorist attacks

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“I think Sri Lanka is an easy target for human rights groups. It is easy to criticize Sri Lanka as it is a democracy and it is easy to criticize America.” - Prof Stephen P Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings (The Island, Oct 18, 2010)

Even if one concedes that Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch may, between them, have a point or two in their criticism of Sri Lanka and the LLRC, surely the best way to have established such a point would have been to accept the latter’s invitation and participate to the fullest possible extent in the LLRC space in the glare of the global media? [TC]

BBC Audio Slideshow: Sri Lankans find a home in London

by Debabani Majumdar

About the contributors:

Paul Sathianesan, a councillor in Newham, came to London as a refugee in 1985 with one bag. The bag, his immigration papers and a box of earth from his native village in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, has been donated to the Museum of London to document Tamil immigration.

Throughout 1985 Geetha Maheshwaran went to airports along with her father, one of the founders of Shree Ghanapathy Temple in Wimbledon, and brought refugees to the temple. The Wimbledon temple and High Gate Hill Murugan Temple in Archway gave shelter to hundreds of refugees for months.

Dr Arumugam Puvinathan also came to London as an asylum seeker in 1992, with his wife and baby son. He currently works as a GP in London and also runs workshops for Sri Lankan Tamils who suffer from the trauma of the war and losing relatives. [BBC]

"Your Excellency return us to paradise, return us to paradise"

Full text of speech delivered by Houston-based Attorney George R. Willy, during a recent event in Houston, Texas, USA, welcoming President Mahinda Rajapaksa:

"Do not make the mistake that parts 58 riots. Do not hold back Tamils who want to get into Universities. Do not make the Tamils feel like they are second class citizens. Respect their religion, and respect their language. There is something about the Tamil people you need to know Your Excellency. To them their language is God. There are only few cultures in the world. Which has such devotion to the language." [TC]

Sri Lankas powerful leader should seize time by the forelock

Text of Editorial appearing in "The Hindu" of October 18th, 2010

The presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was in New Delhi as chief guest at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, gave Prime Minister Manmohan Singh another opportunity to flag the need for a political settlement of the Tamil question and urge the Sri Lankan leader to act decisively in this regard. [TC]

Lankan constitution and democratic rights

S. G. Punchihewa

"Questioning the law and speaking the truth cause fear of death in our country. There is a large number of institutions of law, and also there are commissions, orders and circulars in abundance [TC]

Hague must insist on independent investigation into war crimes when he meets his Sri Lankan counterpart, says Amnesty

Amnesty International today urged the Foreign Secretary William Hague to demand an independent international investigation into alleged war crime abuses in Sri Lanka when he meets his Sri Lankan counterpart, Professor GL Peiris, tomorrow. [TC]

What Gen. Fonseka requires is justice not pardon - Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera

Having just returned to the country from travel overseas I wish to express my disapproval and disappointment with the recent sentence and imprisonment of Gen. Sarath Fonseka. [TC]

"Go Ahead,Loot,Get Up and Scoot": Commonwealth theme song for India

by P.Sainath

The Commonwealth Games over, we can now return to those of everyday Indian life. For all the protests, though, there was nothing in the corruption that marked the Games that does not permeate every town and city, all the time. [TC]

Who are the ‘enemies’ in the "economic war" of post-war Sri Lanka?

By Kalana Senaratne

The victory Sri Lanka achieved in its war against the LTTE was a significant one. [TC]

Tamil MP's tell Mahinda: "Trust us, we will work with you"-Prof. G.L. Peiris

by S. Venkat Narayan

Sri Lankan Minister for External Affairs Gamini Lakshman Peiris says the Tamils at home and abroad are responding favourably to the sincere efforts President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has been making to improve their lot since the so-called Eelam War IV ended 17 months ago. [TC]

The police attack on the university student’s demonstration and on journalists

Statement by Free Media Movement

The Free Media Movement considers the attack on the university students demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Higher Education and journalists who were reporting the incident as dastardly act and denounces it. [TC]

Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission replies to AI, HRW and ICG

This is what the Commission has said in a response to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group which turned down the invitation to appear before it. [TC]

"LTTE engaging in overseas activities only" Sri Lanka Minister of External Affairs says

Interview with Geeta Moha, NewsXLive

"There is no danger of LTTE regrouping, rearming and starting a war again, that is simply not possible. But other activities they are engaging in overseas," says Sri Lanka Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Gamini Lakshman Peiris. [TC]

The trouble with Sri Lankan political and civil society

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Everyone’s an amateur psychologist. That’s the trouble with Sri Lankan political and civil society. Instead of listening to or reading what someone says and treating it on its merits, the name of the game is to speculate on what motivated him. [TC]

Opposition cannot resist the Rajapaksa juggernaut by trying to be more ‘patriotic’ than the Rajapaksas

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

"So in the body politic, as in the body personal, non-resistance to the milder indulgences paves the way for non-resistance to the deadlier.” — Milton Meyer, They Thought They Were Free

The Rajapaksas are leading Sri Lanka into the abyss of tyranny gradually, measure by insidious measure. Hitler raved about peace; the LTTE had a spokesman for human rights. [TC]

Inter-dynastic rivalry between ascendant and declining dynasties

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Opposition to dynastic rule is laudable but not when it comes from a member or faithful serf of a deposed or earlier dynasty, whose only problem is with which dynasty rules rather than the phenomenon of dynastic rule itself. [TC]

Militarizing post -war SriLanka while Rajapaksaizing the military

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“If people are frightened that their security is threatened, they will gravitate towards strong leaders”. Noam Chomski (Imperial Ambitions)

The war is over. But defence expenditure keeps on increasing. According to media reports, the defence allocation for 2011 will be Rs.214 billion as compared to Rs.201 billion for 2010, an increase of Rs.13 billion. [TC]

Defending the indefensible: Rejoinder to Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr Jayawickrama’s opening is of a piece with the rest of the article, the thrust of which is a falsification of Sri Lanka’s contemporary political history and truly a defence of the (truly) indefensible. [TC]

NY Judge Asks: Are Tamil Tigers A Threat To US?

by Associated Press

More than three years after federal agents locked up a Sri Lankan immigrant they say was the top U.S. representative of the Tamil Tigers, his fate may hinge on a complex question: Was the rebel group a terrorist threat to Americans? [TC]

Pro-poor growth and Economic growth in Sri Lanka - A critical analysis

By Vidya Abhayagunawardena

After the nearly three decade war in the North and East which ended in 2009, Tsunami in 2004, two insurgencies in the South (1971 & 1988), other internal economic disturbances and global economic recessions/turbulence, Sri Lanka is now experiencing healthy and impressive economic growth rate [TC]

Rapprochement necessary between the Govt and TNA

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(Continued from last week)

The decision taken by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)to oppose the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on a matter of principle placed the party in an unenviable position of antagonising the Mahinda Rajapaksa government.

The task of spearheading the Parliamentary opposition against the amendment should have been rightfully that of the United National Party (UNP). The hopelessly divided UNP abdicated its responsibility by opting to walk out of Parliament and engage in extra-parliamentary protest demonstrations. [dbsj]

"LTTE engaging in overseas activities only" Sri Lanka Minister of External Affairs says

Interview with Geeta Moha, NewsXLive

"There is no danger of LTTE regrouping, rearming and starting a war again, that is simply not possible. But other activities they are engaging in overseas," says Sri Lanka Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Gamini Lakshman Peiris. [TC]

Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops "hide behind chauvinistic forces" and refer "huge human tragedy caused by ex-candidate Fonseka" as "valuable services"

Sri Lanka’s Christian Solidarity Movement has criticized a call by Sri Lankan bishops for the release of jailed ex-presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, saying that the appeal fails to recognize “the breakdown of the rule of law” in the nation. [TC]

October 08, 2010

Oct 10 - 16:

Sri Lanka: No footprints on the sands of time

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The overall situation in Sri Lanka at the present time is not something anyone truly concerned about the land described once as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean can be proud of or be happy about. The decadent political culture deteriorates gradually. The corruption, nepotism,crime, sycophancy,the rise of the mediocracy coupled with the decline in democracy and rule of law are all issues that compel those who feel and those who think to cry out for the beloved country. [dbsj]

Full text: Amnesty, HRW & ICG joint letter declining invitation of Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)

Thank you for inviting Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group to appear before Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). [TC]

Crisis Group Refuses to Appear Before Flawed Commission

Critically, there is no requirement that the Commission investigate the many credible allegations that both the government security forces and the LTTE committed war crimes during the final months of conflict last year, as detailed in Crisis Group's May 2010 report War Crimes in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Amnesty demands Sri Lanka war crimes probe

Amnesty International has declined an invitation to appear before Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and calls again for an international inquiry into the evidence of war crimes and other abuses during the civil war. [TC]

Human Rights Watch: "There is little to be gained by appearing before a fundamentally flawed commission"

“There is little to be gained by appearing before such a fundamentally flawed commission,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka demands an independent international investigation.” [TC]

Memo of Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma reveals Commonwealth has abandoned human rights commitment

By Julian Borger

The Commonwealth has abandoned its commitment to defending human rights, according to a leaked document obtained by the Guardian in which the secretary general tells his staff it is not their job to speak out against abuses by the 54 member states. [TC]

VOA News: Sri Lankans Detained in Thailand Face Deportation

by Ron Corben

Thai authorities have arrested more than 100 Sri Lankan Tamils this week because of fears they might be taken illegally to destinations such as Canada and Australia. [TC]

The last farewell to my wife: An Eulogy to Kwa Geok Choo (1920-2010)

By Lee Kuan Yew

Ancient peoples developed and ritualised mourning practices to express the shared grief of family and friends, and together show not fear or distaste for death, but respect for the dead one; and to give comfort to the living who will miss the deceased. [TC]

Rhyme, Reason, & Realism in Tamil Politics

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

As far as Tamil politics go, intrinsically and as a sub-set of Sri Lankan politics, the touchstone is not the 18th but the 13th amendment. More: the dominant trend throughout the political history of Tamil nationalism has been an absence of rationality and realism. Has the TNA failed the tests of both pragmatism and principle? [TC]

Asai Rasiah: Power of a painter and his paintings

By Marisa de Silva

Soft spoken and mild mannered, Asai Rasiah, the elderly art master, greets us warmly as we enter his humble home in the heart of Jaffna. [TC]

Thailand arrests Tamils waiting to hear status of UNHCR for refugee (asylum) status - Sydney Morning Herald 

Thai immigration authorities, 'fearing human smuggling gangs were preparing to traffic Sri Lankan Tamils to Canada and Australia, arrested 130 Tamils in a sweep of residences in Bangkok.'

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, quoting diplomatic sources - the arrested, "are all people who have applied to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) for refugee (asylum) status and they have been waiting (in Thailand) until their applications have been determined." [TC]

India's decision to invite President Rajapaksa to attend the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony criticised

By Saroj Pathirana

Activists have criticised India's decision to invite Sri Lanka's president to attend the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in Delhi. [TC]

Sri Lanka North crying out for more private investment

by IRIN News

More private investment, especially in agriculture, is urgently needed in Sri Lanka’s former conflict zone in the north to lift the local population out of dependence, say experts. [TC]

Commonwealth is losing its reputation as a standard-bearer for human rights

by Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah

The allegations in Saturday's (October 9) edition of the London-based Guardian newspaper that the Commonwealth secretariat has abandoned its commitment to defend human rights could not have come at a worse time. [TC]

Voice of America Editorial: The end of Sri Lanka's conflict has brought impressive dividends

Sri Lanka's Future Holds Promise

VOA News Editorial, Oct 9, 2010

Sri Lanka's future holds promise. So said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake. [TC]

The Inspiring Influence of India on Sri Lanka

By D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke

When we refer to the interaction of India and Sri Lanka in whatever field, we assume that India and Sri Lanka are two separate countries, but there was a time in the distant past when India and Sri Lanka were a single land mass. [TC]

The enigmatic relationship of Anoma and Sarath Fonseka

by Namini Wijedasa

The wives of some army officers might be forgiven for expressing surprise at the anguish Anoma Fonseka today shows over the government’s treatment of her husband, Sarath. [TC]

If Sarath Fonseka dies in prison he will not only be a military hero but also a political martyr

by R.M.B Senanayake

The President keeps insisting that the family of Sarath Fonseka must ask for a pardon and his release. But that would be an admission of guilt.  But he does not think he is guilty nor do many other people who have rallied around his cause. Does the law demand confession? Doesn’t he have a right to act according to his conscience? [TC]

Silencing Sri Lanka's anti-Govt voice

By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Colombo

In Sri Lanka this year it has well and truly been a case of the mighty falling, as the man that led the military to victory against the Tamil Tigers found himself placed in detention swiftly after losing his bid to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential election in January. [TC]

Video: Interview withh R.I.T. Alles, founder principal of D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo 7

by K. Thirukumaran

D.S. Senanayake College named after the first Prime Minister, renowned as what best of public edcuation and ethnic harmony could bring to post independent Sri Lanka. [TC]

Turbulent politics of the Tamil National Alliance

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Chartering a pragmatic political course based on principle may appear to be a paradoxical venture to many. In the knitty-gritty world of practical politics being principled and pragmatic would sound like a contradiction in terms.

Recent events however indicate that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is attempting to adopt a pragmatic approach based on principle. [dbsj]

The burial of democracy - A response to Dr Dayan Jayatilaka’s spurious allegation

by Dr.Nihal Jayawickrama

In an article published in a Sunday newspaper, and in a recycled version published on a popular website, Dr Dayan Jayatilaka continues his defence of the indefensible Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. [TC]

My father is not like other people who will apologise to save their necks

By Apsara Fonseka

We will be appealing to the courts in the legal manner.

We do not plan to appeal for a pardon without knowing exactly what we are supposed to appeal for. [TC]

"If my husband continues to remain in prison I will take over political mantle in his name" - Anoma Fonseka

An Interview with Frederica Jansz

In an emotionally wracked interview with The Sunday Leader Anoma Fonseka, wife of the imprisoned former Army Chief and decorated war hero Sarath Fonseka bared her feelings and the terrific trauma she is undergoing as her husband she says remains a political prisoner. A victim of revenge, vengeance and hate. [TC]

North-Eastern Provincial Council and Chief Minister Varatharajapperumal

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The LTTE opposed the 13th amendment. However, the LTTE could not stop the formation of provincial councils [TC]

October 02, 2010

Oct 3 - 9: "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind" - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

'Sarath Fonseka': The Grand Plaything of Sri Lanka's Politicians

By Kalana Senaratne

“This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang, but a whimper.” (TS Eliot)

Sarath Fonseka’s emergence as a politician was of immense political benefit to a number of politicians and political parties in Sri Lanka; not necessarily for good reasons though. [TC]

'Release Sarath Fonseka in recognition of his valuable service to the nation'- Catholic Bishops

The Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka in a Statement issued today,06th Oct, has appealed to His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to " consider releasing Mr. Sarath Fonseka in recognition of his valuable service to the nation even at the cost of nearly losing his life. [TC]

Ex-army chief Fonseka loses seat as MP

from BBC News

Sri Lanka's former military commander has lost his parliamentary seat after a military court sentenced him to jail for 30 months, authorities say. [TC]

UNP blunders in bringing no confidence motion against Prof. G. L. Peiris

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP

The motion brought by the United National Party against the Minister of External Affairs seemed a heaven sent opportunity for the government to clarify a number of issues regarding the External Relations of this country over the last few years. [TC]

Prashanth Sellathurai: Son of Sri Lanka born parents wins Gold medal for Australia at CWG

Prashanth Sellathurai (DOB 1, Oct 1986) is an Australian gymnast; his parents migrated to Australia in 1983 from Sri Lanka. [TC]

Sri Lanka’s Eighteenth Amendment: A Charter for Dictatorship

By Rohini Hensman

Sri Lanka’s claim to be a democracy has been tenuous for years, but the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution by parliament on 8 September 2010 dealt it a fatal blow. It changed Sri Lanka into a de facto dictatorship like Zimbabwe and Myanmar, where it is abundantly clear that elections alone cannot unseat Mugabe or Than Shwe. [TC]

There has been both contraction and expansion of democratic space in Sri Lanka

by Dayan Jayatilleka

The recent Asia Society question and answer session with External Affairs minister GL Peiris, was describes by veteran journalist Thalif Deen, head of the IPS New York bureau as a “lively interaction”. [TC]

Reconciliation is A process that goes beyond forgiving, forgetting or repenting

by J.V.Thambar

The long drawn conflict was addressed by Government, religious bodies and NGOs towards rendering humanitarian services and respect for human rights alongside peace negotiations. [TC]

USA - Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program - Persons born in Sri Lanka eligible to apply

The online registration for DV-2012 DV Lottery begins noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT -4), Tuesday, October 5, 2010, and ends noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT -4), Wednesday, November 3, 2010. [TC]

Commonwealth Games fiasco is a much needed reality check for India

by Kalpana Sharma

The Commonwealth Games have begun — and the common man or woman must wonder what all the fuss is about. Why has the media, those consuming the media, politicians, athletes, sports officials from around the Commonwealth, and even the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, been so hugely engaged in a 10-day event in one city in India? [TC]

War amputees fight for new limbs

by IRIN News

JAFFNA, 4 October 2010 (IRIN) - More than 16 months after the Sri Lankan government ended a 26-year civil war by defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, thousands of amputees await help. [TC]

Sarath Fonseka: Doomed in a vicious feast of a President

by Thrishantha Nanayakkara

On Feb. 3 2010, I wrote here about how Sri Lanka stepped into post-war peace over one of the most violent presidential elections ever recorded. However, I never thought post-war peace and new rule of law would grow up to be strong enough to make the united opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka end up in jail. [TC]

UNP changes stance on a political solution based on fedaralism

by M.Y.M. Ayub

The BBC’s Sinhala service, Sandesaya quoted United National Party (UNP) General Secretary Tissa Attanayake on September 26 as saying that there was no need for a federal political solution in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa defends govt position on Sarath Fonseka issue

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says those politicians now shedding crocodile tears for incarcerated Sarath Fonseka never uttered a word in support of him during the Eelam war IV. [TC]

How China and India Displaced the West in Sri Lanka

By Amantha Perera

As a Sri Lankan military offensive destroyed the last remnants of the Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency in May of last year to end a quarter century of bloody civil war the country faced a problem at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva: [TC]

Whither Sri Lanka after successive victories?

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

The controversy over the post-war developments climaxed with the approval of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution by the Sri Lankan Parliament on 8 September 2010 by more than the required two-thirds majority. The controversial Amendment was introduced as an urgent bill to be considered immediately by the legislators, bypassing the normal procedures of gazetting and granting time for the public to examine and express their views. [TC]

There was no unilateral declaration of Tamil Eelam by me - Varatharajapperumal

Let me tell you first what led to the creation of the PCs. PCs were established by the 13th amendment, which was a result of the Indo-Lanka peace accord, as a solution to the ethnic conflict. [TC]

More freedom for the Rajapaksas mean less freedom for the Sri Lankan people

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people…” — Charlie Chaplin ~ The Dictator

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech to the UN General Assembly consisted of the usual banalities and platitudes, with one outstanding exception. That exception was a perniciously riveting idea symbolic and symbiotic of the Rajapaksa ethos, a transformative concept which, if implemented, would negate much of the progress made in the sphere of human rights in the last few centuries and normalise tyranny in the name of anti-terrorism. [TC]

Country is Becoming "Socialist Democratic Republic of Who Cares Sri Lanka"

by Namini Wijedasa

Now we have news that, in a cabinet reshuffle due next month, five deputy ministers are to be allotted portfolios. This will instantly raise the number of ministers from 41 to 46. [TC]

Sri Lanka is a malfunctioning democracy with a tendency to neo-patrimonialism

BY Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The other day I was discussing contemporary Sri Lankan trends over lunch with a friend, an LSE educated professor who is on the faculty of the LSE, who promptly proffered his parallel: “Russia’s Putin and Russia under Putin… but can the model sustain without natural gas and oil reserves?” [TC]

War Hero Sarath Fonseka Now Prisoner No: 0/22032 at Welikade Jail

Ex –Army Chief Sleeps on ground and stands in queue for meals

It was close upon midnight Thursday when former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was escorted into an isolated cell in Ward "S" at the high security Welikada Prison. Fonseka, now Prisoner No: 0/22032, changed from a national dress into an ill-fitting jumper, the regular attire for convicts and slept the night on a mat on the cement floor. He had only one pillow. [TC]

Ayodhya case verdict changes the past to justify politics of the present

by Romila Thapar

The verdict is a political judgment and reflects a decision which could as well have been taken by the state years ago. Its focus is on the possession of land and the building a new temple to replace the destroyed mosque. [TC]