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January 28, 2011

Jan 30:

What our country consequently needs is a new political will 

By Rt.Rev.Duleep de Chickera

(Independence Day Message from the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, Metropolitan’s Commissary and Vicar General of the Diocese of Colombo)

The celebration of independence is an important event in the life of any Country. It is an appropriate occasion to assess the quality of life of our people and our journey towards national integration. [TC]

Rajapaksa Presidency has distressing similarities with early days of Ben ALi and Mubarak regimes

by Harim Peiris

President Ben Ali of Tunisia’s thirty year rule ended late last month, when popular unrest and street protests in that once calm and seemingly idyllic country erupted across the country and brought an unforeseen and abrupt end to a long rule that had provided stability and initially rising prosperity to Tunisia. [TC]

What really happened when President Rajapaksa went to the USA?

By Upul Joseph Fernando

Sri Lanka (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sudden tour of the United States was shrouded in mystery. Though speculations were rife , the aims and objectives of the tour are still a secret. {TC]

'LTTE bore a large part of the responsibility' - Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State

"I’m not sure I’d call that a model for how I’d want to see", Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake remarks on the view of the final phase of the LTTE-Sri Lanka war being held by "some strategists as a model for effectively putting down a terrorist insurgency," which was mentioned in a recent article of The New Yorker magazine [TC]

“Neither Epigraphy nor Pali chronicles say Dutugemunu was a Sinhala”

Many of you would have read part one of JL Devananda’s article posted on my blog under the heading “I DID NOT SAY MAHANAMA THERO WAS A RACIST OR THE MAHAVAMSA WAS A RACIST DOCTRINE”.

I am now posting the second and concluding part of the article with the expectation that the process of unlearning and re-learning would continue in the ensuing debate [dbsjeyaraj.com]

"I did not say Mahanama Thero was a racist or the Mahavamasa was a racist doctrine"

The article by JL Devananda “Mahavamsa Mindset:Re-visiting Political Buddhism in Sri Lanka” that was posted on my blog some weeks ago evoked a passionate discussion although I did feel that some readers had missed the essence of what the writer was actually trying to say [dbsjeyaraj.com]

Livelihood of Sri Lankan Tamil Fishermen must not be endangered by Indian Fishing Trawlers

By V. Suryanarayan

Two recent incidents, allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan Navy, have sent shock waves throughout Tamil Nadu. [TC]

Controversial Sri Lankan official speaks in Framingham

By Brad Petrishen
Daily News staff/The MetroWest Daily News

FRAMINGHAM — A Sri Lankan diplomat and former military official whom many accuse of war crimes spoke at Edwards Church yesterday, denying the claims against him and asking Sri Lankans to move forward. [TC]

The naivety of boycotting an event to ‘send a clear message’ about the plight of journalists

by Kalana Senaratne

Having boycotted the Galle Literary Festival (GLF), what happens if those writers, who stayed away, say Orhan Pamuk and his partner Kiran Desai, decide to visit Sri Lanka for a brief holiday? [TC]

Galle Face Green to be vandalised by twenty-first century savages

by Gamini mWeerakoon

Most great cities around the world have public places that have acquired historic sanctity and are left untouched even by eager modernisers who develop an itch to leave behind puny constructions for their immortality. [TC]

Rajapaksa state prefers wallowing in extravagant dreams to dealing with insalubrious realities 

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Minister, Professor G.L. Peiris has a dream. In his dream Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the Queen of England, arrives in Hambantota, followed by 53 three heads of state, to attend the 2013 Commonwealth Summit. [TC]

Whither reconciliation under the incompatible system and disconcerting situation?

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

PART I ~ The adverse consequences of structuring the system to fulfil the ambitions of one political leader are well known. [TC]

Ramifications of crackdown on LTTE in Switzerland

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The crackdown on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the Swiss Federal Police on January 11th where ten top tiger activists were taken into custody is a development of enormous significance. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka military extending its influence over civilian affairs, things are not looking good for democratic accountability

by Vijay K Nagaraj
Research Director, International Council on Human Rights Policy

The Sri Lankan military is getting a makeover. Now that the war with the Tamil Tigers is over it is time to wash off the stains and spruce up. [TC]

Blazing a Trail: the purpose and project of Chandra de Silva

5th death anniversary of Sri Lanka’s leading Nursing Educationist

by Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

Trixie Marthenez’s book “Those Delhi Days (1950-54)” tells part of the story. Chandra Samarasinghe was barely out of her teens when she set off to New Delhi from Colombo in 1950, to start a new chapter in her life. [TC]

January 23, 2011

Jan 22 - 29:

Video: In spite of 'peace' life remains difficult, in some cases worse for Tamils

Sri Lanka search for missing continues

by Prerna Suri

It's been a year since Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to power after defeating his one-time military general in a presidential vote. [TC]

In Pictures: GLF ~ 5th Galle Literary Festival commences

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

The most companionable of all festivals~Michael Morpurgo~ English Author, Poet,Playwright & Librettist [TC]

Sri Lanka: Stonewalling on Wartime Abuses, Civil Society and Media Face Threats, Intimidation - HRW 

Jan 24, (New York) - The Sri Lankan government refuses to investigate alleged war crimes despite growing evidence of widespread atrocities during the civil war that ended in 2009, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2011. [TC]

Killings of Tamil Nadu Fishermen Cast Negative Light on Bilateral Ties - The Hindu

Relations between India and Sri Lanka have never been better. Yet the recent killings of two Tamil Nadu fishermen, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, have cast a negative light on bilateral ties. [TC]

The extraordinary courage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa

By Dr.Carlo Fonseka

One of the defects of my character is timidity. That must be why I have inordinate admiration for leaders with so much courage. Even as well-informed and intellectually sophisticated commentators on international affairs have been warning us, we are living in dangerous times. [TC]

Dayan Jayatilleka Challenges Reporters Without Borders at UNESCO Symposium

Newly appointed Permanent Delegate of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka participating in the International Symposium on the Freedom of Expression at UNESCO in Paris questioned the right of Reporters without Borders (RSF) to stand in judgment of legitimate member states. [TC]

Attack on Maha Bodhi Society leaves Lankan monks in Chennai shaken

By R.Vasundara

CHENNAI: The Sri Lankan Maha Bodhi Society on Kennett Lane, Egmore, is barely distinguishable, crammed in between hotels and lodges that crowd the street. [TC]

Sri Lanka: Terror campaign against Tamils reemerges

By S. Jayanth

Death squads operating in collusion with the military have once again begun to terrorise Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka despite the end of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009. [TC]

Karunanidhi like Ban-Ki-moon is victim of Mahinda Rajapaksa's diplomacy

by Upul Joseph Fernando

The Indian media last week reported that supporters of the political party who staged protests against the distribution of calendars carrying the photograph of Sri Lanka (SL) President Rajapaksa in the Schools of the Tamil Nadu were arrested despite the fact that during the SL war and after until recently , there was bitter resentment against the name of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tamil Nadu. [TC]

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women meets with non-governmental organizations ~ Discusses Situation of the Rights of Women in Bangladesh, Belarus and Sri Lanka [TC]

'Looking forward to provide cultural and educational resources to the entire Jaffna community' - US Ambassador Ms. Patricia A. Butenis

The American Corner in Jaffna: 'A place that will connect Jaffna with the rest of Sri Lanka and the world'

Full Text of speech by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ms. Patricia Butenis the at the opening of American Corner in Jaffna

Vanakkam. Good afternoon to all of you, and thank you for coming to the opening of the American Corner in Jaffna. I am delighted to be here today for this important event, which expands the American partnership with the people of Jaffna. [TC]

Legitimacy crisis envelopes the world over the issue of "investigations"

By Kalana Senaratne

This is not another critique of Amnesty International (AI) or any of the international human rights organizations. But reference needs to be made to the interesting press release issued by AI (dated 19 Jan, 2011), and some issues arising from it. The press release asks the US to investigate President Rajapaksa, who is on a ‘private’ visit to that great land of freedom, hope and justice, the US. [TC]

Batticaloa crop losses: Will 're-learning' from natural disasters ever stop?

by Lareef Zubair

Drawing on our studies of weather, climate, disasters and contributing to water management in Sri Lanka operationally for the last decade in Sri Lanka, there are some lessons and resources - unfortunately, in Sri Lanka,. as in other places, we just keep seem to be relearning them after every disaster whether it be the 1978 Cyclone and Floods, the 2001-2 drought, the 2003 Floods and Landslides, the 2004 Tsunami and now this. [TC]

“Veedu Nokki”…………Homeward Bound After 28 Years

By A.Jeyapalan

War in Northern SriLanka comes to an end. Commotions of emotional despair slowly fade in to the daily routine of the expatriates’ lives, here in Australia. [TC]

V. N. Navaratnam: A personal tribute to the former Chavakachcheri MP

BY Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha

On January 29th, it will be twenty years since the death of V.N. Navaratnam, Member of Parliament for Chavakachcheri for many years(1956-1983). [TC]

Residents of Jaffna gripped in a fear psychosis

by M.A.Sumanthiran

(Full text of speech in Parliament by TNA National list parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran on January 20 th during adjournment motion debate)

“Honourable Deputy Chairman of Committees, I move for the adjournment of the house to discuss a matter that is urgent, a matter of which notice was given with regard to serious security situation that has arisen particularly in the Jaffna Peninsula and generally in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. [TC]

Is Sri Lanka becoming "Hub of crime" and "Criminal miracle of Asia"?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Forget justice and fair play; forget altruism; unadulterated selfishness alone should compel us of the South to pay attention to the wave of violence engulfing the North. [TC]

Family bandyism, corruption and repression cause fall of dictator in Tunisia

by Gamini Weerakoon

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the deposed Tunisian president was described as being ‘ubiquitous’ by an AP report last week. Like all Third World strongmen he had his picture plastered all over the country. As the second president of Tunisia, he ruled the country undisturbed for 23 years. [TC]

National question must not be treated as a rift between the Sinhalese and Tamils with Muslims caught in the middle

BY Dr. A. C. Visvalingam
President, CIMOGG

Newspaper reports about the recent meeting between President Rajapakse and the media has given encouragement to those who value freedom of expression. [TC]

The caste factor in the Tamil nationalist uprising

By Neville Jayaweera

The opportunity to pose this question in writing came my way when Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan’s book, "Public Writings on Sri Lanka" arrived on my desk about three months ago with an invitation to review it. [TC]

Dayan Jayatilleke assumes duty as Ambassador in Paris

The newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador to France, with accreditation to Spain and Portugal, and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka assumed duties at the Embassy in Paris on January 17. [TC]

January 14, 2011

Jan 16 - 21:

Full Text of State Dept. briefing on President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to US 

QUESTION: What’s your understanding of the visit of the – or what do you know about the visit to the United States of the president of Sri Lanka? [TC]

Ban's Sri Lanka war crimes panel stuck in New York

By Colum Lynch

Sri Lanka has cut off direct talks with a U.N. panel set up in June to promote accountability for war crimes during the final stages of the country's bloody 2009 offensive against Tamil separatists, U.N. officials told Turtle Bay.

The panel had been planning a trip to Colombo to question senior officials responsible for addressing massive rights violations during the conflict, but that visit is now unlikely. [TC]

Significant humanitarian needs exist from flooding in East as well as from former conflict areas in North, UN says

Senior United Nations relief official Catherine Bragg today stressed the world body’s continued commitment to helping Sri Lanka tackle its growing humanitarian needs, as she wrapped up her three-day visit to the South Asian nation. [TC]

Deputy UN humanitarian chief urges increased assistance for returnees

20 January 2011 – The deputy United Nations humanitarian chief today called for greater efforts to assist former internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka who have returned to their villages and are facing daunting challenges trying to rebuild their lives. [TC]

No War, No Peace - The Denial of Minority Rights and Justice in Sri Lanka - Minority Rights Group International Report 

Human rights violations in Sri Lanka continue unabated against ethnic Tamils and Muslims who fear an increasingly nationalist government, a new report by Minority Rights Group International says. [TC]

Investigate visiting Sri Lankan President - U.S. Urged by Amnesty Int'l

(Washington, D.C.) The United States should investigate Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa, who arrives on a surprise visit to the United States today, for his alleged role in perpetrating torture and war crimes, Amnesty International said today. [TC]

Ancient temple stitched back together 

By Sivaramakrishnan Parameswaran
Producer, BBC Tamil Service

A 1,250-year-old temple has been saved from collapse using "granite stitching" in southern India.

The Kailasanathar Temple in the town of Uthiramerur is more than 1,250 years old, according to studies of its inscriptions. [TC]

UPFA govt has not done "enough" for the Tamil people or areas traditionally inhabited by them 

by Sumanasiri Liyanage

When Rahul Gandhi made a statement, on rationally justifiable ground, that he was concerned about the fact that the government of Sri Lanka had not yet done enough for Sri Lankan Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, many people for multiple reasons got angry and even began lamenting about the breach of sovereignty of Sri Lanka as a nation. [TC]

Sri Lanka is wasting the peace dividend

Editorial, The Globe and Mail - Jan 17, 2010

The government of Sri Lanka is squandering an important opportunity to build lasting peace. Though its treatment of Tamils has been substantially moderated since the civil war’s end 18 months ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is still engaging in some oppressive policies toward them. [TC]

Sri Lanka and the Spectre of an International Investigation

By Kalana Senaratne

To rephrase the words of Marx and Engels: a spectre is haunting Sri Lanka – the spectre of an international investigation. More specifically, a demand has been made by the West, and will be made in the future too: a demand for an international investigation. [TC]

Stronger Civil society and International response needed to deal with the flood crisis

by National Peace Council

Recent heavy rains across Sri Lanka have caused flooding and landslides that have left tens of thousands homeless, caused several deaths and affected over a million people. The flood crisis continues to be serious. [TC]

The Batticaloa floods of 1957-1958: A personal account

by L.C.Arulpragasam

The months of November and December of 1957 were marked by torrential rains in the Batticaloa District leading to the biggest flood of the 20th century - till the floods just now of January 2011. [TC]

Namal Rajapaksa is innocent of wrong-doing until and unless found guilty

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Impunity is to a country what cancer is to a body; it creeps in unnoticed and spreads with gathering-speed, inexorably annihilating everything healthy and functional in its path [TC]

Thai Pongal in Batticaloa: Floods hit harvest festival

By Mel Gunasekera

Jan 15, BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka's minority Tamils would normally celebrate their annual harvest festival Saturday, but instead they are struggling to survive the worst flooding in living memory. [TC]

Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Past, Present and Future

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

"Thai Piranthaal Vazhi Pirakkum" is a popular saying in Tamil about the month of January or "Thai" in Tamil. It’s meaning in English would be something like this – "When January is born, a way will dawn".

The birth of January in the Hindu Almanack is in mid-January according to the Western calendar. It generally co-incides with the Tamil harvest festival called "Pongal" or "Thaippongal".It is usually a season of Thanksgiving and celebration.

Amidst the atmosphere of festive joy, it is also a time of individual and group reflection where the past is re-examined critically, present re-assessed pragmatically and future plans renewed optimistically.[dbsj]

[TW] Thai Pongal Greetings from:

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak

Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff 

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

NDP Leader Jack Layton

January 09, 2011

Jan 9 -15

Help those affected by the flood: An Urgent Appeal by All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama 

By M.S.Shah Jahan

Dear all,

As you all know the East and the North Central province of Sri Lanka are under flood catastrophe. Over a million people of all races are engulfed by water for the last three days and unreachable to supply of basic items. [TC]

Ramakrishna Mission Sri Lanka East appeals for flood relief helping hands [TW]

Methodist Headquarters in Sri Lanka capital collecting flood relief supplies [TW]

Sri Lanka Floods in Pictures - [BBC]

Mannar diocese offers proposal for genuine and lasting Tamil-Sinhalese reconciliation

by Melani Manel Perera

Bishop Rayappu Joseph and two priests from his diocese submit a report to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), calling for complete transparency on what happened between 2002 and 2009 as a step towards finding an effective and lasting solution to the ethnic conflict

Record rains increase urgency of climate change adaptation

by IRIN News

COLOMBO, 12 January 2011 (IRIN) - Ongoing storms have dumped more rain in one eastern district of Sri Lanka than witnessed in a century, according to the country's Disaster Management Centre (DMC). [TC]

The New Yorker's ~ Postcard from Sri Lanka: After the War [TC]

Prabhakaran and LTTE were architects of their own misfortunes and disasters

By Upul Joseph Fernando

The confidential letter sent by the erstwhile Foreign Minister of Norway ,Jan Petersen to former Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran which was exposed by ‘Wikileaks’ had shed light on a hitherto unknown side [TC]

Thousands displaced as torrential rains and floods hit Sri Lanka – UN [TC]

Submission by the Catholic Diocese of Mannar to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

At the outset, we must express our disappointment that previous Commissions of Inquiry have failed to establish the truth into human rights violations and extrajudicial killings they were inquiring and bring justice and relief to victims and their families. [TC]

'146,000 people still unaccounted for during the last phase of fighting' 

Emotional people have flocked to testify before the Sri Lankan commission looking into the final years of the country's war. Many of those who bore witness in the former war zone said their close relatives had disappeared. Charles Haviland was granted rare access to the hearings in the north-western town of Mannar. [BBC]

Thai Pongal: 'An opportunity for all Canadians to recognize the tremendous contributions of the Tamil community' - Minister Jason Kenney [TC]

Tamils likely safe from persecution in Sri Lanka, Refugee Board says

by SUNNY DHILLON

Your life is not in danger just because you’re a Tamil who has been sent back to Sri Lanka, says a new policy introduced by Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. [Globe and Mail]

10 dead and over 800,000 affected due to rain from various parts of Sri Lanka [TC]

Something Tamils can accept with dignity and self-respect should be given says Chandrika Kumaratunga

By Kelum Bandara and R. Sethuraman

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, after a long period of silence, expressed herself in an exclusive interview with Daily Mirror at her residence in Horagolla [TC]

The Forthright Journalist  Who Changed Sri Lankan Journalism

Tribute to Lasantha Wickrematunge on Second Death Anniversary

By Sunalie Ratnayake

A recollection of facts

Two elongated years have come into conclusion, precisely as of today (January 8, 2011), since the incongruously horrendous cold-blooded murder of one of the most outspoken, clear-cut, intrepid and young Journalists that may have ever set foot on planet earth, in aspects of a noteworthy epoch of time in history, to date. Indeed, a Sri Lankan Journalist Par Excellence, who requires no introduction by any means, not only on the segment of his motherland Sri Lanka, but also, on the phase of the earth. [TC]

International Tamil Writers Conference concludes colourfully in Colombo

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Colourful dance at the grand finale of the first International Tamil Writers Conference in Colombo [HA]

"Mahavamsa Mentality": Can the charge of "Racism" leveled against the chronicle be sustained?

Bandu de Silva on “Sinhala Buddhism” and “Mahavamasa mentality”

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The article by JL Devananda titled “The Mahavamsa Mentality: Re-visiting Sinhala Buddhism in Sri Lanka” was posted on my blog last mont. As expected the controversial viewpoint expressed continues to elicit diverse and very often passionate responses. [DBSJ]

Jaffna communities living in fear as violence returns

Fear has returned to haunt communities and parishes in the Jaffna Peninsula following an upsurge in violent crime that has prompted the return of neighborhood watch groups. [UCANews]

Is this govt thinking before leaping or thinking after leaping?

by Kalana Senaratane

Checks and balances are vital not only to separate and demarcate the powers and functions of the principal branches of the State but also to ensure no single branch becomes overly powerful, hegemonic, or monarchical. Checks and balances are absolutely essential during these times in Sri Lanka, due to a very simple reason: the existence of a strong and powerful government. [TC]

Ranil Wickremesinghe is the main obstacle preventing re-establishment of democracy in Sri Lanka

by Sumanasiri Liayanage

Marx began one of his brilliant essays, the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte with a correction of Hegel’s idea that history necessarily repeats itself. [TC]

Recruitment of Tamils to the police force to serve in the Northern and Eastern provinces

by Lynn Ockersz

At long last, the Lankan state has taken what may be seen as a few ‘baby steps’ towards addressing some hitherto unmet crucial needs of the Tamil-speaking citizenry of the Northern and Eastern provinces. [TC]

Palmyrah is synonimous with the Northern Peninsula

by Randima Attygalle

Palmyrah or Thal or Panei is synonymous with the northern peninsula of Sri Lanka; its splendour often romanticised in verse, cinema and all forms of art associated with the region. [TC]

Rajapaksa plan is to impose a "Pax Sinhala" by force and maintain it through fear

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

The ‘Sinhala Only’ National Anthem is a reality. Its inaugural manifestation took place at a tsunami commemoration ceremony in Jaffna, at the tail-end of 2010. The students of Jaffna Hindu College and Vambadi Girls School were compelled to sing the National Anthem in Sinhala, a language they are unfamiliar with; provincial authorities, under orders from Colombo, ignored the complaints of the students about the impossibility of learning the pronunciation of unaccustomed words in a very short time. [TC]

The Rajapaksas have a proven capacity to normalise the preposterous

BY Tisaranee Gunasekara

"We must be horrified.” — Stephane Hessel, French resistance hero (The Alternative Information Centre)

Last week the Rajapaksa regime sold 10 acres of land located opposite the Galle Face Green, to Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, for US$125 million. Little wonder the brothers are rearing to evict 65,000-75,000 low-income families from Colombo. [TC]