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January 29, 2012

Jan 29 - Feb 4:

Return and re-settlement of displaced persons in the North: A TNA overview 

 

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has begun the commendable task of comiling and releasing informative reports on crucial issues affecting the people of the North and East. The latest in this series is one pertaining to the return and resettlement of displaced persons in the North. [DBSJ]

M.I.A. to sing with Madonna at Super Bowl half-time show

M.I.A., whose real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam, worked on Madonna’s new single Give Me All Your Luvin with rapper Nicki Minaj. [TC]

Will French President Sarkozy survive politically with his Robin Hood tax? 

by M. S. Shah Jahan

“What we want to do is provoke a shock, to set an example. There’s no reason why deregulated finance, which brought us to the current situation, can’t participate in the restoration of our accounts,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said during a live prime-time television [TC]

Sri Lanka Reader plans to do much and therefore achieves too little

by Gananath Obeyesekere 

This massive, ambitious project by a distinguished historian of religion contains a series of essays that span a long time period from Sri Lanka’s mythic origins to the terrifying 25-year insurrection of the Tamil Tigers – the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – and its ­final eradication by the Sri Lankan army. It is difficult to review a comprehensive collection of this magnitude without bringing to bear the reviewer’s own prejudices. [TC]

Northern Muslim Expulsion: The Quest for Redemption

By Santasilan Kadirgamar

Before Sri Lanka’s war, there was a noteworthy Muslim presence in Chavakachcheri, a well-known town in the Jaffna peninsula that was completely destroyed in a major battle in 2000.

The town’s name comes from the expression chaavaka cheari, meaning the camp of the Javanese, the people known today as Malay Muslims. [TC]

IMF tranches for Sri Lanka: Costly money or costly political choices?

By Dr. Arujuna Sivananthan

On the 30th of January, Sri Lanka’s Central Bank announced that it would not draw down the withheld 800 million US dollars (USD) of its International Monetary Fund (IMF) standby facility citing its high interest rate.

In a world starved of capital, disbursing the withheld tranches would have posed a simple conundrum to the IMFs board and shareholders. [[TC]

Sri Lankan Accountability: Australia must add its Voice to Canada and UK

by Elaine Pearson

As nations such as Canada and Britain weigh in on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka, it’s time for Australia to add its voice.

After all, promoting human rights is a crucial part of foreign policy, as Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is keen to say. [TC]

The Sri Lankan connection of Swami Vivekananda

By Priyadarshi Dutta

Hello Friends

Narendranath Dutta known as Swami Vivekananda was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsar and founded the Ramakrishna mission that performs commendable service in many parts of the world including Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

Rajapaksa does a U-turn on 13th Amendment

By R.K.Radhakrishnan

After promising to go beyond the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution to find a solution to the Tamil ethnic problem, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has done a U-turn and said the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) would now have to suggest a solution [TC]

The Fog of an Uncivil War in Sri Lanka

By MARK MCDONALD

But the fog of war still has not lifted in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka said Tuesday that it would not be sending a review of alleged war crimes to the United Nations for discussion. There’s no need, a senior government official said, because its international critics in New York won’t be persuaded anyway. [NYTimes]

South Asian Think Tank IPCS researcher critiques LLRC Report

Hello Friends,

The Report released by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)has been receiving mixed responses.

The latest critique that I read was from the South Asian Think tank – Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi ,India.It is written by an ICPS staff researcher J.Jeganaathan based in Delhi who is their Sri Lanka specialist. [DBSJ]

TNA and PSC:”Intelligent realism” Must prevail in Tamil politics

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Even if everything the TNA says is true, it is still making a mistake, or perhaps two or three, and is on the verge of yet another wrong turning in the history of error that marks over half a century of Tamil politics.

If the TNA’s fears of prevarication on the part of the government are well-founded, it is only furnishing greater opportunities for it by failing to participate in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee. [TC]

Onus is on govt to solve problems without denying their existence or postponing their resolution

By Jehan Perera

The government’s approach to problem solving after the end of the war has been two fold.

One is to set up mechanisms that would give a different perspective on the problem. With the overall improvement in the country’s post-war situation evident to both citizens and foreign visitors alike, the government has its own story to tell. [TC]

Break in and search by ‘unknown’ persons of ‘Viluthu’ Office in Colombo condemned

We, the following undersigned citizens, strongly condemn the attack on the Viluthu office in Colombo between the night of the 23rd of January and early hours of Tuesday morning, the 24th January. The office was broken into and searched by unknown persons. [TC]

Formal dialogue needed at UN Human Rights Council to discuss both the LLRC and UN reports on Sri Lanka

By Louise Arbour

Hello Friends

Louise Arbour is a distinguished Canadian whose name is not unknown to many in Sri Lanka. She served as a Judge on the Canadian Supreme Court and also the Ontario court of Appeal.

Louise Arbour was the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in Hague.It was she as chief prosecutor who indicted Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes. It was the first time a serving head of state was called to account before an international court. [DBSJ]

England cricket team’s forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka should be called off

by Robert. J. Evans
(Sri Lanka’s killing fields have put it beyond the boundary
There are compelling reasons why the England cricket team’s forthcoming tour should be called off argues South Asian affairs expert and former MEP Robert Evans.)

For years one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game, Muttiah Muralitharan, represented his country as the only Tamil in a team of otherwise Sinhalese players. Sri Lanka is an island of some 20 million people of whom three quarters are Sinhalese Buddhists with just 15% being Tamil or Hindus. [TC]

The Dilemma of Tourism in Sri Lanka: Increasing numbers in tourists risk projecting an unsustainable fantasy over reality

by Keshia Jacotine

Sri Lanka now finds itself between two empires; Britain and China.

For nearly 150 years, Sri Lanka (then known as “Ceylon”) was part of the British Empire. Before that, both Dutch and Portuguese settlers exerted control over parts of the country for years.

Sri Lanka is now considered to be one of China’s “String of Pearls”; each pearl refers to a point of strategic interest for China along its sea-lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea. [TC]

Complacency in defence of human rights rarely comforts anyone but the oppressor

by John Baird

Good evening, I am pleased to be with you tonight and it’s a real pleasure to be back in London – one of the world’s truly great cities and one of my personal favourites. [TC]

Sea Tiger commander Soosai’s wife Satyadevi speaks out 

Hello Friends, 

Thillaiambalam Sivanesan alias Soosai was the former commander and special commander of the naval division of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) known as “Kadal Puligal” or Sea Tigers. This native of Polygandy in Vadamaratchy fought to the very end and died in Mulllivaaikkaal in Mullaitheevu district on May 17/18th 2009. [DBSJ]

US may be having evidence laying command responsibility on civilian leadership for alleged Sri Lankan war crimes

by Emanuel Stoakes

The extrajudicial killing of civilians, surrendering soldiers and dissident journalists under the direction of the Sri Lankan government has been alleged by a former general in the Army who was extremely well-placed to comment on military activity during the island nation’s bloody civil war. [TC]

Prevarication in Implementating LLRC Recommendations by Govt Reflects its Belief that These “Games” can Continue Without Inevitable Repercussions

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

It is quite amusing to see the government and all its men using the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) as a barely inadequate fig leaf to cover its total lack of adherence to the substance of the Commission’s recommendations.

Unacceptable excuses for delay in implementation

Here and overseas, we are being told that the LLRC report was not quite the ‘whitewash’ that it was expected to be. [TC]

Armed pro-govt mobs protected by police hijack Black January media protest outside Fort Railway station

Pro-government protesters, some armed with clubs, seized the promenade outside Fort Railway Station on Wednesday, to prevent media activists from observing “Black January,” a month when many of Sri Lanka’s journalists were attacked over the years.

This was despite the Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeyratna making an order that media activists be allowed to stage their protest at the venue, without disturbing road traffic. [TC]

Sinhala weekly Ravaya edited by Victor Ivan celebrates silver jubilee

By C.A. Chadraprema

The Sinhala weekly Ravaya celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The present writer spoke to its editor Victor Ivan who was exulting over two things in particular – having been able to publish the newspaper for 25 years without folding up the way so many other publications did and secondly, that nobody in the newspaper had been harmed in any way during that tempestuous two and a half decades. [TC]

One blunder govt has made is treating the Jaffna peninsula and Vanni as though they were similar – Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

By Namini Wijedasa

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, advisor to the president on Reconciliation, has spoken openly and more emphatically on the need for the government to do more for people in areas affected by the war. Excerpts from the interview:

QUESTION: You are one of the few members of the government still talking actively about reconciliation. How would you define the term? [TC]

‘We should not consider demands of the TNA as those of the Tamil people’ – Karuna Amman 

by Arthur Wamanan

Deputy Minister of Resettlement and Vice President of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan says that priority should be given to address the immediate needs of the Tamil people. In an interview with The Nation, Muralitharan blamed the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for making impracticable demands while ignoring the basic needs of the affected people

QUESTION: What is the latest situation of the resettlement process? [TC]

Military involvement in infrastructure projects negates economic benefits like employment and income generation

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Some walls should never be built; some should never be breached.

Many of Sri Lanka’s most devastating ills emanated from our habit of building unnecessary walls, and demolishing necessary ones. [TC]

January 21, 2012

Jan 22-28:

50th Anniversary of abortive coup d’etat conspiracy in January 1962

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Fifty years ago on Sunday January 28th 1962 the people of the Island nation known then as “Ceylon” were rocked by a special news bulletin in the afternoon on “Radio Ceylon” (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation)that interrupted regular programming . The shocking announcement repeated ad nauseam by a male voice on Radio stated that a conspiracy to stage a coup d’etat had been foiled. [DBSJ]

LLRC Report will not satisfy some whose minds are fixed on vilifying Sri Lanka

By Ravinatha Aryasinha

At the outset, I wish to thank Geoffrey and the ‘Friends of Sri Lanka’ for this timely initiative of convening this ‘Sri Lanka Briefing’, and for all those who have taken time out on a busy afternoon to be present here today. [TC]

‘Sri Lanka needs our constructive support rather than constant harassment’ – Geoffrey Van Orden

Brussels - MEPs from many different European countries and political parties, as well as EU officials from the Commission and External Action Service and other involved individuals, met in the European Parliament yesterday for a roundtable discussion on recent developments in Sri Lanka. [TC]

GCE (AL) Exam Z score issue: Expert Advice not Fact-Finding Commission Required

By Dhara Wijayatilake

Much is being said about the Report of the five-member Committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to report on matters relating to the District ranking error that occurred in the 2011 G.C.E A/L results. [TC]

Sri Lanka Heading Towards Inevitable 20 Percent Depreciation of the Rupee

By Dr. Arujuna Sivananthan

Hello Friends,

‘It’s the economy stupid’ was the popular phrase publicised widely by the Bill Clinton team during the Presidential elections campaign of 1992. [DBSJ]

Irresponsible diaspora sections cause many problems in Jaffna

By Rajasingham Jayadevan

Hello Friends

Rajasingham Jayadevan is an accountant based in London, Britain. He has been and continues to e a political activist concerned about the future and well-being of Sri Lankans in general and Tamils in particular [DBSJ]

Refugee Hearings Begin in Toronto for Tamil Asylum Seekers who Arrived in Vancouver on “Ocean Lady” Ship

by Stewart Bell

Toronto • More than two years after the smuggling ship MV Ocean Lady arrived off the West Coast carrying 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, the first public hearing to determine whether to accept them as refugees took place on Monday. [TC]

GCE A/L-2011 results Fiasco: Govt Must Urgently Undertake Complete, Comprehensive review

by Prof.R.P.Gunawardane

I have watched with great pain of mind the events and developments that took place after the release of the results of GCE A/L Examination held in 2011. [TC] 

Why SM Krishna’s visit to Sri Lanka cannot be called ‘successful’

by Satish Chandra

As is customary, official circles in India have hailed External Affairs S M Krishna’s four-day visit to Sri Lanka [ Images ] from January 16th to 19th 2012 as ‘successful.’

Rowdyism at Rameswaram by Tamil Nadu ‘activist’ mob

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Rameswaram (Rameshwar)in the South of Tamil Nadu state in India is revered by Hindus all over the world as a place of tremendous religious significance.The Island town was the scene of an ugly rumpus on the tenth of this month when a well-known Sri Lankan Tamil businessman visiting for a religious purpose was victimized in a deplorable act of rowdyism. He was apparently targeted because of his relationship to President Mahinda Rajapaksa through marriage. [click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: Rowdyism at Rameswaram by Tamil Nadu 'activist' mob]

Sharing land powers is part of the devolution process enshrined in the constitution

By Austin Fernando

Hello Friends

The sharing of powers over land between the Provincial and Central Governments is currently a raging controversy. The “lands” issue has become one of the primary issues on which the Government and Tamil National Alliance (TNA)are finding it difficult to reach agreement upon.

President Rajapaksa’s pronouncements on the subject tend to convey an impression that the TNA representing the Tamil people is making a fresh,unreasonable demand which will not conceded. The reality however is that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the Provincial Councils act have already defined the sharing of land administration powers although it may be ambiguous and may not be satisfactory. [Click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: Sharing land powers is part of the devolution process enshrined in the constitution]

Political leaders to attend Human Rights conference 

The Canadian Human Rights Voice (CHRV) is organizing a non-partisan event on February 1st, 2012 ( 10 am till 6 pm ) in Parliament Hill, Ottawa, to discuss Canada’s responsibilities to respond to the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Sri Lankan Navy accused of pelting stones on Tamil Nadu boats fishing in the sea and damaging 200 boats

by G.Pramod Kumar

The weird stone barrage by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil fishermen from Rameshwaram near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) on Saturday, brings forth a vexed issue that seems to perpetually escape resolution. [TC]

Sri Lankans face lack of justice, weak rule of law, land grabbing and censored media from an increasingly authoritarian Govt

by Human Rights Watch

January 23, 2012

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government in the past year failed to advance justice and accountability for the victims of the country’s 26-year-long civil conflict, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012. [TC]

Senate cannot be a solution to the demand for autonomy in managing local and provincial affairs

by National Peace Council

During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna gave support to the Sri Lankan government’s intention to have a Parliamentary Select Committee work out the modalities of a political solution to the ethnic conflict. [TC]

Island Mystique: Three startling differences Between India and Sri Lanka

By Alaka M.Basu

Hello Friends

A friend sent me an interesting article that appeared in “The Telegraph”published in Kolkota (Calcutta). It is written by Alaka M.Basu who is a professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University,USA.

Ms.Basu was in Sri Lanka on a holiday recently and is captivated by its charm like most travellers to our lovely Island “where every prospect pleases”. [Click here to read in full ~ dbsjeyaraj.com: Island Mystique: Three startling differences Between India and Sri Lanka]

Destructive Rajapaksa governance will cause the debilitation of every major Lankan institution

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

False paths, credulously followed… – Gunter Grass (Eulogy on Christa Wolf)

Good warriors often make bad leaders. Those who are good at winning wars are not necessarily good at governance — “with their serial signature fiascos

The AL results imbroglio is, and seems destined to remain, unresolved. [TC]

Southern political activists enroute to Jaffna for protest demonstration obstructed by Army and Police at Puliyankulam

By Ranga Jayasuriya

Nearly a thousand political activists who were heading to Jaffna to take part in a protest campaign against the abduction of two of their colleagues had a taste of the bitter post-war reality in the North even before they could reach the peninsula.

Twelve bus loads of activists were held up at impromptu check points and barriers for no apparent reason, though the military and the police spun ludicrous stories to validate those ad hoc measures which were primarily intended to sabotage the protest. [TC]

The politics of deception surrounding the “13th Amendment plus” announcement

By Namini Wijedasa

A visiting Indian dignitary last week took it upon himself to reveal the Sri Lankan government’s latest position on power-sharing.

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at a media briefing on Tuesday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa told him he would fully implement 13th Amendment”plus”. [TC]

Rajapaksa onslaught on democratic institutions and popular rights is a common threat danger to the South and North

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“O let my land be a land where liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath” (Langston Hughes)

Speaking with many tongues is a time-tested Rajapaksa way of obfuscating issues and evading trouble. But occasionally this deceptive habit helps reveal what the regime would dearly want to conceal. [TC]

Violence and its Moral Dilemmas:Fidel According to Dayan

by Asanga Welikala

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s book, Fidel’s Ethics of Violence: The Moral Dimension of the Political Thought of Fidel Castro, is a significant contribution towards understanding one of the enduring intellectual dilemmas in the theory and practice of politics: the ethics of the use of violence.

Dayan’s ambitious project in this book is to offer a comprehensively worked out theory for the ethical use of violence, for both revolutionaries and states, based on the political thought of Fidel Castro. [TC]

Will bankrupt Greece set fire to world economy?

By M. S. Shah Jahan

Greece owes 367 billion dollars. Who is going to bail out? The other European countries. Ireland owes 565 billion dollars. Who is going to bail out? Rest of Europe. How much Italy and Spain owe? One trillion dollars each.

Who is going to bail out them? France, Britain and Germany. How is their money position? They are struggling. [TC] 

Tolerance is the foundation of sustainable development and peaceful society-Hon. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Address by Hon. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India ‘Evolution of Noble Nations’ at the launch of National Action Plan and declaring 2012 As the year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka [TC]

January 14, 2012

Jan 15-21:

Thai Pongal ~ The festival to celebrate prosperity

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Thai Pongal is celebrated on 15th of January 2012 by the Tamils all over the world. It’s a festival of thanks giving. It is also known as harvest festival.  [HA]

Bhi Bhiman: A Folk Soul Singer with Sri Lankan Heritage

by The World.org

Singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman has been dubbed as Sri Lanka’s Woody Guthrie. [TC]

President Rajapaksa must Address Specifics of a Political Settlement

Hello Friends

India’s respected newspaper “The Hindu”has experienced a change at the Editorial helm with the Editor in Chief Narasimhan Ram stepping down with effect from January 19th 2012.

The Hindu’s national bureau chief Siddharth Varadarajan has succeeded him as Editor. [DBSJ]

Sinhalese, the majority, will see the light if only they had enlightened leadership

Thirteen plus not Thirteen minus

by Dushy Ranetunge in New York

The Thirteen amendment was “forced” on us to reverse on going fracture of the republic, caused by tribalists trying to drag it into the past and reverse history into something Sri Lanka never was. [TC]

Govt to withdraw controversial land circular and present new circular

The writ application filed by TNA National List M.P., M.A Sumanthiran challenging the Land Circular (2011/04) was taken up today (19th January 2012) in the Court of Appeal. [TC]

Lankan Tamil doctor accused of helping LTTE wants UK job back

By Agence France-Presse

A Sri Lankan doctor who admitted aiding the South Asian nation’s Tamil Tiger separatist group began his appeal on Tuesday to be allowed to resume work in Britain. [TC]

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna reaches out to people of Northern Sri Lanka 

Hello Friends

As most of you are aware India’s minister of External Affairs SM Krishna is currently in Sri Lanka. Krishna is a Kannadiga and a former chief minister of the South Indian state of Karnataka.

All Sri Lankans need to learn English for national integration, development and prosperity

by S.Anthonithasan Croos

The Ten Year National Plan – milestone towards a Trilingual Sri Lanka

A Ten Year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka will be launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on January 21, 2012. This is yet another strong initiative of the President to create long lasting peace and harmony among all Sri Lankan communities, through a steady and far-sighted language policy.

This initiative should be viewed as a gradual evolution and a major stride from the President’s declaration of the year 2009 as the Year of ICT and English. [TC] 

TNA does not speak out against India in support of Tamil people in Sri Lanka on any important matter

By S L Gunasekara

In the heyday of the LTTE, the TNA had it good. [TC]

Thaippongal celebrations at Temple Trees

A pictorial perspective

Hello Friends,

Thaippongal” is the traditional Tamil Thanksgiving festival that augurs bountiful harvests and good fortune. It is known as “Thamizhar Thirunaal” and “Uzhavar Perunaal”. [DBSJ]

‘I have been damned by the establishment in Sri Lanka and its proxies in Australia’ – Gordon Weiss

An Interview With G.Pramod Kumar for “First Post”.

Hello Friends,

The book written by former UN official in Sri Lanka Gordon Weiss titled “The Cage:The fight for Sri Lanka and the last days of the Tamil Tigers”has made huge waves. [Click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: 'I have been damned by the establishment in Sri Lanka and its proxies in Australia' – Gordon Weiss]

Sri Lanka subscribes to universality of values but there is a problem

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I look at the issue of accountability primarily as a political scientist and from a comparative politics point of view. And I am struck by the fact that what I consider to be an exemplary progressive democracy, Brazil, headed by Dilma Rousseff, who was herself an guerrilla and a political prisoner, tortured by the military junta, has only now, some weeks ago, instituted a commission of inquiry into the conduct of the military junta from 1964 to 1988. [TC]

Institutionalization of family bandyism in the politics of Sri Lanka

by S L Gunasekara

Our late colonial masters, the British, have an institutionalized system of ‘family bandyism’. Their Head of State will always be from one family. [TC]

‘President Rajapaksa assured commitment to pursuing the 13th Amendment plus approach’ – Indian External Affairs Minister

Remarks by Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs of India Mr. S.M. Krishna at a Media Interaction

I am pleased to be in Sri Lanka again. At the outset, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Hon’ble Minister Prof. Peiris and the Sri Lankan Government for the warm hospitality extended to me and to my delegation. [TC]

Devastating critique of LLRC Report by the TNA

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hello Friends

The controversial report presented by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has evoked much interest in many different circles. It is being projected by some as Sri Lanka’s effective response to the demand for an International accountability mechanism on the one hand while others criticize it as falling far short of International standards [DBSJeyaraj.com]

City of Toronto proclamation: January 2012 Tamil Heritage Month

TNA rejects LLRC report as failing to meet international standards of accountability and right of victims to truth, justice and reparations

The Government of Sri Lanka suffered a big blow today when the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamils rejected the report presented by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation(LLRC) that was appointed by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a domestic mechanism to probe past events related to the ethnic conflict and recommend proposals aimed at ensuring accountability and effecting ethnic reconcilation. [TC]

Tamil Americans wary of Sinhalese Sri Lankan embassy staff in Washington

By Emily Wax

Despite differences that spurred civil war and cost tens of thousands of lives, the Tamils and the Sinhalese from Sri Lanka have at least one thing in common: a love of tea. [TC]

In Pictures: Bountiful Pongal Greetings from Nedimala-Dehiwala

 

Bountiful Pongal Day tweets & tweetPics via twitter.com/DushiYanthini [TC]

US Justice Dept suggests immunity for President Rajapaksa in Torture Victim Protection legal action

Excerpts of court documents filed by US Justice Dept. on Jan 13, 2012, in response to US intentions sought by the District Court of District of Columbia, in the matter of Torture Victim Protection legal action, Kasippillai Manoharan, et al., v. Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa: [TC]

Over 60 percent of households in the Northern Province are food insecure

Sri Lanka – A Food Security Assessment Report
by World Food Programme

This report presents the results of an in-depth study of food security in Sri Lanka, a country emerging from decades of violent conflict and still recovering from the worst flooding in recent history. [TC]

Cricket team crisis due to dressing room divisions?

Hello Friends

The drastic decline in the Sri Lankan cricket teams performance in recent times is a cause for concern and worry among all lovers of the game who root for our Lankan lads. [DBSJeyaraj.com]

Name of Sarath Fonseka is part of history that cannot be obliterated 

by Gamini Weerakoon

A politician’s desire to be remembered is only natural. To be remembered forever would be the acme of political desires. What better way would a Sri Lankan desire be remembered than for his name be inscribed in the Mahavamsa.

(The Mahavamsa we have to explain to those uninitiated in our history is the record of kings and their reign said to have commenced around 2500 years ago and continues to date.) [TC]

Are our diplomats and hired PR firms doing enough in the international arena?

by Namini Wijedasa
Nobody can accuse Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Washington, of not trying his best. But his best–even when nurtured by an expensive PR company–is evidently not enough.

The genial and approachable Wickramasuriya was the subject of a widely circulated email last week. The title of it was, ‘When an Idiot was made an Ambassador.’ Wickramasuriya is by no means an idiot. [TC]

UN Human Rights Committee Wants Sri Lanka to Investigate and Prosecute “Murderers” of Peiris

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The continuing failure of Sri Lanka’s institutions of justice is well demonstrated in the most recent Views of the Geneva based United Nations Human Rights Committee (UN Committee) calling upon the Sri Lankan State to effectively investigate and prosecute the murderers of a small time businessman in Negombo after he, his wife and their two children had been repeatedly intimidated and threatened by police officers whom they had angered. [TC]

The 670 km Walk from Dondra to Jaffna in aid of a Childrens ward (cancer)for Jaffna Hospital

by Rajah Kuruppu

A recent event that underlines the innate good nature of man was the great Walk from Dondra in the South to Jaffna in the North covering a distance of 670 kms. to generate funds to build the Paediatric (Children’s) Cancer Ward in the Jaffna General Hospital.

The Walk named Trail, a journey of 27 days was undertaken in the month of July from 1st to the 27th [TC]

Will Southern and Northern opposition join hands to defeat measures empowering Rajapaksas and disempowering people of Sri Lanka?

BY Tisaranee Gunasekara

“A historic victory can wreak as much havoc as a historic defeat”
Tony Judt (Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten 20th Century)

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has spoken: the dead Tiger might arise.

If the Tiger does rise from the ashes of an annihilating defeat, a lion-share of the credit for that near-miraculous resurrection would belong to the Rajapaksas. [TC]

Mahinda regime put petrol to the fire by creating a problem in the A-Levels results issue

by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

In recent months, people in Lanka have seen a dramatic increase in the number of protests involving thousands of university students. Many of these turned violent after clashing with the police, who tried to stop their campaigns.

Last week Jayewardenepura student demonstration was stopped at Colpetty junction, but there was no clash. [TC]

Tiger fascism is no more but Sinhala supremacism has made a triumphant return

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Tiger fascism and Sinhala supremacism: two inimical but mutually sustaining extremisms which have been the bane of post-independence Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Sinhala supremacism created a language issue, prevented its resolution and enabled its metamorphosis into an ethnic problem.

Tiger fascism rendered a negotiated settlement of the war impossible and murdered many Sinhala and Tamil moderates who stood for a devolution-based political solution to the ethnic problem. [TC]

January 08, 2012

Jan 8-14:

In Pictures: Pre-Pongal stroll through Bambalapitty

Bountiful tweets & TweetPics via twitter.com/DushiYanthini

 

Garland maker is seen busy in Bambalapitty. [TC]

Thai Pongal ~ the charming festival of Thanksgiving

by K. Thirukumaran

The farmers’ markets around towns and villages bustle with activity during days preceding Thai Pongal. The bountiful harvests parade the markets, and the final day the market convenes prior to Pongal known as Pongal Santhai (Pongal market) especially lavishes with prosperous sentiments. [TW]

Thai Pongal-Thanks Giving Festival auguring bountiful harvests and good fortune

by Gamini Jayasinghe

Thai Pongal is a “Thanks giving ceremony” celebrated by farmers in particular to thank the nature spirit- the sun- and farm animals for bringing prosperity to agriculture with plentiful harvests. [TC]

Official says a video which depicts four US service members urinating on corpses in Afghanistan is authentic

Two of the four US Marines seen in a videoappearing to urinate on dead Afghan bodies have been identified, a Marine Corps official told the Reuters news agency.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Marines believed the video was authentic. [TC]

Is enough being done to address the security concerns of women in the North and East?

By Ayesha Zuhair

The report of the International Crisis Group (ICG) on ‘Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East’ alleges that that violence against women in Sri Lanka’s mainly Tamil-speaking North and East is on the rise and that women in the region face “a desperate lack of security” in the aftermath of the armed conflict.

The Crisis Group report, released on 20 December 2011, asserts that women continue to live in fear of violence from various quarters and victims have little means of redress. [TC]

‘LLRC recommendations can contribute to the process of political reconciliation’-Canadian Foreign Minsiter 

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Jan 11, 2012 issued the following statement on the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission: [TC]

Canada to spend $11 million updating diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka

via [Canada.com]

LTTE linked overseas groups want armed struggle to resume in Sri Lanka

By Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Hello Friends

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s younger sibling and secretary of the Defence and Urban Development ministry is arguably the second most powerful man in Sri Lanka. [DBSJeyaraj.com]

7 persons remanded for 15 days in Rameswaram for ‘attack’ on Sri Lankan businessman Thirukumaran Nadesan 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Rameshwaram Police has cracked down on the Tamil Nadu political activist mob that attacked Sri Lankan Tamil businessman Thirukumaran Nadesan [TC]

President Rajapaksas’s relative Nadesan attacked in Rameshwaram by Tamil Nadu political activist mob 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj 

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s extended family member Thirukumaran Nadesan has been”attacked” by agitators in Rameshwaram, TamilNadu [TC]

"Rethink policy to empower Sri Lankan Tamils economically"

Set up industrial training and engineering institutions: G. Parthasarathy

In the present-day world where politics is invariably trumped by economics, India has to have a drastic rethinking of its policy in favour of economically empowering the Tamils in Sri Lanka as a sustainable solution for their rehabilitation, former diplomat G. Parthasarathy said on Sunday. [TC]

By ignoring Tamil and Muslim issues the national opposition is conducting a one-eyed democracy campaign 

by Mano Ganesan

Speech made by Mano Ganesan leader of the Democratic People Front, at the NSSP annual convention

It is Answering Time for the southern Sinhala establishment. Tamils in particular and the Sri Lanka onlooker world community in large are the petitioners. [TC] 

We need to ensure a sane language policy that Provides maximum opportunities to all our citizens 

by Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha

It was an honour to be present at the launch of the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, and I must congratulate Dr Ganesh Devy, your founder, on so successfully pushing through this initiative, a landmark venture after the pioneering work of Grierson nearly a century ago. [TC]

Remembering Lasantha, with love

By Marianne David

Hello Friends

It was three years ago on this day (January 8th ) that former Editor of “The Sunday Leader” Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge was brutally murdered in broad daylight on his way to work by “unknown”assassins. [via DBSJeyaraj.com]

Current crime wave generated by ruling family acolytes is unprecedented in annals of modern Lanka

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Look over the edge of the abyss, and consider how close we are to losing what we have created here. Ask yourselves if the time has not arrived for us to come to our senses, to break out of our paralysis, to demand for ourselves, finally, the lives that we deserve to live”. David Grossman (2006 Rabin Memorial Lecture – New York Review of Books -11.1.2007)

The unprecedented victory over the LTTE is being followed by equally unprecedented, albeit less felicitous, events. [TC]

Any Solution Addressing the Concerns of Tamils and Muslims must not be at the expense of the Sinhalese

by Javid Yusuf

To gain an accurate understanding of the Muslim community’s approach to the rebuilding of Society it is necessary to first comprehend a Muslim’s outlook to life itself.

For Muslims, religion is the most important aspect in life and hence the approach to public affairs would be premised upon a system of values that Islam embraces. [TC]

LLRC report places govt in the dock over five issues 

by Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne

The full report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is in public domain, after it was presented in parliament on 16 December, by the Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. He in fact made it very certain that the recommendations would be carried out to the letter.

The report and its recommendations do not satisfy the Tamil organizations. There is no mention of war crimes, crimes against humanity and there is no mention of a need to investigate such crimes. [TC]

Firm Duty of this Presidency to Listen to inconvenient ‘truths’ in the LLRC report 

by Kishali Pinto Jayewardene

Several months ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared to the world that the ‘truth’ in regard to the last stages of the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and government forces will be revealed by the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) commissioned by himself (see Sri Lanka’s state run daily newspaper on 26th October 2011). [TC]

LSSP welcomes LLRC report as positive, constructive basis for achieving reconciliation and national unity 

by Dr.Tissa Vitarana
General Secretary, Lanka Samasamaja Party

The LSSP welcomes the LLRC Report because it provides a positive and constructive basis for achieving reconciliation and national unity.

It is a balanced, serious and comprehensive report that also makes available, as a separate Annexures publication, all the data drawn on by the LLRC Commission in preparing its report in a transparent manner. [TC]

Tamil problem is not ‘Instant Noodles’ nor ‘Kothu Rotti’ 

Namini Wijedasa Interviews V.Aanandasangaree

Nothing has improved for the Tamils of the North even two-and-half years after the war, said Veerasingham Anandasangaree, secretary-general of the Tamil United Liberation Front, last week. Excerpts from the interview:

QUESTION: How would you analyse the progress of talks between the Tamil National Alliance and government?

ANSWER: Both sides are just marking time. [TC]

no Rajapaksa has condemned the alleged crimes of their henchman 

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Nothing is closer to the law of the jungle than a system of distorted laws and procedures” – Haaretz Editorial (2.1.2012)

President Rajapaksa won the Eelam War, with the help of countless others (including the imprisoned Gen. Fonseka). In fairytales, the hero who saves a country from some deadly peril is rewarded with kingship and a happy ever-after ensues. In real life, when heroes claim countries as their reward, tyranny beckons and tragedy happens. [TC]