Jul 22 – 28:

‘Black July’ 1983: Remembering the Horrors of a Pogrom

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The tragic history of post – independence Sri Lanka records that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have been subjected to mass –scale mob violence in the years 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. The anti-Tamil violence of July 1983 was the most terrible and horrible of them all. [DBSJ]

Eastern Provincial Elections and The Muslim Congress – 1

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The advent of elections to the Eastern Provincial Council has caused the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to come under the media spotlight during the past week. There was much interest and speculation over the course of action to be adopted (or not adopted) by the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Muslim people.

Since the Tamil-speaking Muslims are now the single largest ethnic group in the sprawling Eastern Province, the voting pattern of the ethno-religious community would very much be the determining factor at the forthcoming provincial polls. With the SLMC being the foremost Muslim political party, having a significant vote bank in the east, the political conduct of the party assumes crucial importance in an eastern poll. [DBSJ]

Jul 15 – 21:

Story of Waning Western Influence in Sri Lanka Should Not Be Over Blown

by Alan Keenan

We need to be careful here. While there is some truth to some of the arguments in this piece and in the Washington Post article that inspired it, it misses some crucial points. To wit: [DBSJ]

Connections Video: Land in post-war Sri Lanka

Featuring on the Connections Programme of Jul 16, 2012 are:

Over the last couple of weeks, the people of the North under the leadership of Tamil Political Parties such as the Tamil National Alliance, raise concerns with regard to land acquisitions by the Government, by holding demonstrations in the North amidst strong intimidation and opposition. [TW]

Vocalists across the Palk Straits join for a duet

by Saba-Thambi

A beautiful melodious song “Aval Oru Melliya Poonkaatru” rendered by two accomplished musicians is becoming popular among the You-tube viewers. Padmashree Hariharan of South India & Sarangan Sriranganathan of Sri Lanka have joined together to create a catchy melody which is luring the young and old music listeners and carnatic and fusion music lovers. [TW]

TNA to field Muslim Candidates also for Eastern Provincial Poll

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) regarded as the chief political formation of Sri Lankan Tamils is gearing up to face the forthcoming elections to the Eastern Provincial council under the house symbol of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)without aligning with any other political party or group.

Earlier the TNA was exploring the possibility of tying up with either the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC)on a common symbol or contesting together with the chief opposition United National Party(UNP). [DBSJ]

United List to be Submitted for Sabaragamuwa Polls Under CWC Symbol on July 16th

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In a significant political development, strong grassroots pressure exerted by the Tamils of Sabaragamuwa province has led to political parties representing the interests of Up Country Tamils sinking their differences and uniting to contest the forthcoming provincial council polls by submitting a combined list of candidates under the symbol of cockerel. [DBSJ]

Jul 8-14:

Significant Honor With Tamils from Around the Globe for Sri Lanka War Crime Reports

Tim King & Robert O'Dowd - Two former U.S. Marines battling today for civil justice

by Tim King | Salem-News.com

Our role with Salem-News.com has brought honors in the past; however this weekend in Baltimore was the scene of the most significant event of our professional lives.

I was asked to be the key note speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, it is the largest gathering of North American Tamils held each year and this was a special 25th Anniversary Jubilee Event. [Salem-News]

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa shoots from the hip as well as the lip

by Col R Hariharan

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, is perhaps the most controversial personality in Sri Lanka. He is interviewer’s delight because of his forthright, no-holds barred comments are sure to be a hit.

At the same time, he is media man’s nightmare because Gotabhaya does not allow critical comments go unchallenged and makes no bones about it (pun not intended). [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka Tamils Issue Brought from Sidelines into Centre Stage of Tamil Nadu Politics

By Col R Hariharan

Sri Lanka air force personnel who had completed part of their technical training at Air Force Station, Tambaram, Chennai were taken off the course and sent to Bangalore after Ms Jayalalitha, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, raised a hue and cry over their presence in Tamil Nadu.

The irrepressible chief minister will no doubt count this as a small victory in her ongoing political confrontation with her bête noir M Karunanidhi of the Dravida Munnetrda Kazagham, a favoured partner of the ruling coalition in New Delhi. [DBSJ]

From Welikada to Vavuniya: Tale of Thamilini’s Transfer-2

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Monday July 2nd 2012 was a red letter day in the life of Subramaniam Sivakamy alias Thamilini. The 40 year old former women’s division political chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)formally began her period of rehabilitation on that day at the Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centre (PARC)in Poonthottam, Vavuniya.

Rehabilitation is a prerequisite to her ultimate release. [DBSJ]

Jul 1 – 7:

Assaulted Tamil prisoner dies in custody in Sri Lanka

2 incredible things I’ve seen today in print – 500 LTTE prisoners hatching intl conspiracy, a news website had plans to overthrow govt. [TW]

Connections Video ~ Space for Right to Dissent

Featuring on the Connections Programme of Jul 2, 2012 are:

The Right to Dissent: Under Threat? [TW]

From Welikade to Vavuniya: Tale of Thamilini’s transfer

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Subramaniam Sivakamy alias Thamilini was transferred from the Colombo Remand Prison(CRP) in Welikade to the Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centre(PARC)at Poonthottam in Vavuniya on June 26th.The former woman political commissar of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)was transferred on an order to that effect issued by Colombo chief magistrate Rashmi Singappuli on June 22nd.

The transfer is perceived as the forerunner of Thamilini’s eventual release after undergoing a period of rehabilitation at Poonthottam PARC which functions as a cooperative training centre. [DBSJ]

Jun 24 – Jun 30:

Provocative Speech about Mullivaaikkaal by Minister Ranawaka will Bring Disrepute to Country

By Chackravarthy

“One Mullivaikkal is enough. Don’t try to get 100 more.”

Oh God the British never told the French ‘one Waterloo is enough. Don’t try to get 100 more’. What kind of a speech is this? Is this the tolerance Lord Buddha taught or his disciples learnt?

A Tamilnadu newspaper in her editorial said, ‘Emperor Asoka, seeing the killing, blood shed and the destruction in the battle field, vowed not to wage war again and accepted the peaceful path of Lord Buddha. Here a minister who calls himself as an ardent follower of Gautama glories war. How come’?

Mervyn De Silva: Reminiscences about a Journalist Colossus

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Recent events in the sphere of English journalism have caused shock waves among members of the fourth estate. Things seem to have taken a turn for the worse in a land where giants in journalism flourished once. It is against this bleak backdrop that I write about one such colossus-Mervyn de Silva – who passed away on June 22nd 1999.

Even as I write, I am mindful that many have written much about Ahangama Vithanage Mervyn Douglas de Silva known generally as Mervyn de Silva. Apart from the “up,close and personal” perspectives of his son Dayan, many eminent persons ranging from Neville Jayaweera to Bradman Weerakoon and Desmond Fernando to Asanga Welikala, have stated all that has to be said about the Mervyn phenomenon.

Democracy, Development and Devolution was the Premadasa Plan to solve the Ethnic Problem

by B Sirisena Cooray

(88th Birth Anniversary of Ranasinghe Premadasa was on June 23rd)

The ethnic problem did not end with the war. The ethnic problem has to be resolved to make peace work and prevent the next war.

Development, democracy and devolution: that was the Premadasa plan to resolve the ethnic problem. President Premadasa believed that to make Tamil people feel like Sri Lankan citizens, a power-sharing arrangement, restoration of democracy and rapid economic development were equally necessary.

‘We Failed to find Solutions to Problems because we addressed issues by Ethnicity and not Nationality’

by S. Skandakumar

Your Excellency, John Rankin, High Commissioner for Britain in Sri Lanka, Eminent Excellencies of the International Diplomatic Corps, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

When Carlo your President invited me on behalf of his committee to this evening’s function, I said to him, “Carlo I am four years into retirement, I have spent it all in relative hibernation in Haputale and many feel that soon I will be ready for the Archives “…to which his response was ‘Ah that’s just the profile we are looking for !!”
Continue reading ‘‘We Failed to find Solutions to Problems because we addressed issues by Ethnicity and not Nationality’’ »

International Widows’ Day on June 22nd Commemorated at Nedunkerni for the First time in Sri Lanka

by Rajani Iqbal

A group of war widows in the Nedunkerny region of the Wanni District celebrated the International Widows’ Day on 22nd June, 2012 at the conference hall of the Nedunkerny Pradesa Sabai.

This meeting was organized by an NGO in collaboration with the relevant officers of the Divisional Secretary of Nedunkerny who had arranged for the distribution some material for income generation activities provided by NGOs.

Misconceptions and misinterpretations of Sampanthan’s presidential address at ITAK convention – I

By Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan

Reading through some of the articles that have appeared recently, following upon Mr Sampanthan’s Presidential address at the ITAK Convention, it appears to me that there is a big trust deficit. Interpretations are being put on words, and inferences drawn which are not justified by the plain meaning of, or the relevant context in which they have been used.

The tallest man in Sri Lanka is an Ex-LTTE Combatant

By Camelia Nathaniel

Gunasingham Kasendran is considered the tallest man in the country. Standing at a staggering 7 ft 3 inch, he is currently part of the government rehabilitation programme for ex-LTTE combatants at the Rehabilitation Centre in Kandakadu, in the Polonnaruwa District.

Dismissal of Lalith Allahakkoon by ‘Ceylon Today’ is worrying-RSF

(Text of statement issued by Reporters without Borders/Reporters sans Frontieres)

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the reasons that led the management of the newspaper Ceylon Today to force its editor in chief Lalith Allahakkoon to resign on 13 June. The journalist, who received no letter of dismissal, arrived at his office on 16 June to find that access to his computer had been blocked.

Achieving stability through reconciliation in divided or post-conflict societies

By Cillian McGrattan

The idea that divided or post-conflict societies can achieve stability through reconciliation represents something of a paradigm shift in peace-building theory and practice.

Arguably, thanks to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ideas that the past should be represented as something remote (as in post-war, post-Nuremburg Germany) or unarticulated (as in the Spanish pacto de olvido) no longer hold traction within national or supra-national discourses.

How the Irula Tribals of Tamil Nadu extract venom from live snakes

By Thulasi Muttulingam

The Irulas are a South Indian tribe who have traditionally based their livelihood on being snake catchers. Up until 1972, they were able to make an adequate living selling snake leather, but with the Wildlife Protection Act India passed that year, their livelihood became illegal.

Maldives: Competing ‘probe reports’ take the focus away

by N Sathiya Moorthy

Two interim reports from the two sides, so to say, and the focus is slowly slipping away from the work on hand for the National Commission of Inquiry (CNI) probing then Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed’s resignation of February 7. It is back more ore less in the realm of politics and public-spat.

The break-up of states: Political and economic logic of disintegration

by Selcuk Colakoglu

As the Cold War ended, the international system entered a process in which it was afflicted by secessions, sometimes bloody and sometimes peaceful. After 1990 there was a general trend for countries to break up and while countries entering a union was the exception.

Six Key Challenges Faced by Sri Lanka in Foreign Relations Sphere

By Salma Yusuf

A widely held belief among the populace is that the discourse on foreign policy remains the sole prerogative of those in the highest echelons of political power; that is, until presented with a statement by the likes of well-known American political activist, Ron Silver, who declared: “I can’t talk about foreign policy like anyone who’s spent their life reading and learning foreign policy. But as a citizen in a democracy, it’s very important that I participate in that.”

The rise and fall of the ethnic mall experience in Canada

by Dakshana Bascaramurty

They all made boastful, superlative-ridden claims: The Largest South Asian Indoor Shopping Centre in the GTA! The Biggest Chinese Mall in North America! North America’s First Tamil Plaza!

Govt has conformed to all three conditions of the IMF- Harsha de Silva

By Marianne David

MP and consultant economist Dr. Harsha De Silva yesterday alleged that THE UNP’s criticism over the mismanagement of the economy and the Central Bank as well as the EPF’s investments in banking stocks have been emphatically validated by global rating agency Standard and Poor’s.

Sri Lanka Civil Society Statement on Rio +20

All the nations once again will meet in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 to discuss the future of the world and the very survival of the humankind. However, in general no nation has a success story to share other than so called growth and increase of per capita income which is based on the over exploitation of the natural resources.

SLWJA wants ‘Ceylon Today’ Management to respect editorial independence of Editorial Staff

The Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association is extremely disturbed by the recent turn of events at Ceylon Today newspaper, where the editor in chief and respected journalist Lalith Allahakkoon was unceremoniously removed from all his duties by the management due to what we understand as Mr Allahakkoon’s refusal to publish politically motivated and potentially libelous news stories sanctioned by the top management.

Burmese Refugees In Thailand: Implications Of Suu Kyi’s Visit

by Panchali Saikia

A major highlight of Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to Thailand was her visit to the Mae Sot refugee camp in June 2012. The Mae Sot camp is the largest among the nine refugee camps in Thailand, with nearly 50,000 refugees of which most are Karen ethnic nationals of Myanmar.

Palestinian Nationalism, Alive Despite Israeli Instruments Of Control

By Hasan Afif El Hasan

From day one after the 1967 war, Israel’s actions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem suggest the occupation was not temporary and underscore Israel’s desire to erase the concept of the Palestinian nation by undermining the connection between the people and their land or history. In an effort to incorporate as much as possible of the occupied lands, Israel governed the occupied lands by making distinction between the land and its Palestinian inhabitants and referred to the Palestinians only as ‘Arabs’.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Commissioning Should Be Deferred

by M.G.Devasahayam

It is famously said: “In public domain, truth is not the truth, perception is the truth”. This adage could be related to the discourse on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). While the arguments in favour of the plant is that it will generate electric power essential for ‘development’, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) say that the plant will be ‘destructive’ to the life and livelihood of the Project Affected People (PAP).

UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Brazil-Will There be a Successful Outcome?

By Martin Khor

The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 (known officially as the UN Conference on Environment and Development) was a landmark event which launched “Sustainable Development” as an internationally accepted concept.

Imminent dissolution of Eastern PC: CA allows move to amend prayers in petition

By S.S.Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (19) allowed the move by the Petitioner to amend the prayers in the Writ application challenging the imminent premature dissolution of the Eastern Provincial Council.

The Bench comprising Justices S.Sriskandarajah (President C/A) and Deepali Wijesundera fixed the matter to be supported on July 11 with the amended prayers.

The Mystery of the ‘Missing’ Tourists

by Srilal Miththapala

All newspapers carried headlines a few days ago stating that May 2012 tourist arrivals have increased by 17.5% from last year. It is reported that the May arrivals of 57,506, were higher than even that of April, which showed only a 9% increase YOY. So far, the total arrivals for 2012 up to end May is 327,627, which is almost an 18.2% increase over last year.

What should the security forces do when there’s no war to be fought?

By Kath Noble

What should the Security Forces do when there’s no war to be fought? Now that three years have passed since the defeat of the LTTE and pretty much everybody is convinced that there will be no resurgence, this would seem to be a pertinent question to ask. Of course vigilance is needed.

‘We cannot create equality; we have to strive towards equality’ – Vasudeva

by Ayesha Zuhair

Social exclusion has been long identified as a key trigger of internal conflict. It represents an impediment to the achievement of national objectives such as peace, stability and economic prosperity.

The higher the levels of exclusion in society, the more fertile the grounds for conflict – and a return to violence cannot be ruled out so long as inequalities continue to persist.

The Dangers of Creating a ‘Separate Identity’: Pakistan on a Slippery Course

By Sajjad Ashraf

Pakistan has embarked on a slippery course by proposing the division of southern Punjab into two provinces, on linguistic grounds. Similar separatist tendencies in other provinces could split the federation.

The Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka

By Amnesty International

A statement issued on June 13th 2012 by Amnesty International for the UNHRC sessions in Geneva from June 18th-July 8th 2012

Sri Lanka is not fulfilling many of its international human rights obligations. Impunity remains the norm for gross violations of human rights, including alleged war crimes. Gross and systematic human rights violations continue to take place.

People Smugglers Target Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in South India With Passage to Australia Promises

By Ben Doherty and Som Patidars

A PEOPLE-SMUGGLING network is targeting Tamil refugees in southern India, promising them safe passage across the Indian Ocean and Australian citizenship when they arrive.

But boats have already been lost. Refugee advocates say at least two boats, carrying up to 50 people, disappeared off India’s south coast late last year.

Measures necessary to enable Sri Lankans to identify causes of disunity among themselves and generate solutions

By Salma Yusuf

Whoever said that demand must drive supply was certainly not talking about reconciliation. However, the relevance and applicability of the philosophy and its wisdom in a post-war reconciliation setting cannot be overstated.

Modernised State of the Art Palmyrah Research Institute to be opened in Jaffna

by Chamikara Weerasinghe

The government will open the re-developed Palmyrah Research Institute in Kaithady, Jaffna, soon. The institute became defunct from 1995 due to the war in the North.

Katuwana incident is aimed at all political parties fighting for the people

by Karu Jayasuriya

A situation is emerging in the country where, permission is needed from goons to engage in politics. It is well known that these gangs who suppress opposing political views using iron bars during the past era had the blessings of some politicians or politically powerful persons.

Jun 17-23:

Displaced Sampur residents file fundamental rights petition against demarcation of heavy industries zone in their lands

A number of residents of Sampur, in the Trincomalee District filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court on Friday 15 June 2012, challenging the demarcation of a Special Zone for Heavy Industries (SZHI) through Gazette Extraordinary No. 1758/26 issued on 17 May 2012. [DBSJ]

Sequence of events relating to editorial crisis at ‘Ceylon Today’ newspaper

By Lalith Allahakkoon

(This is the full text of a public statement issued to the media by Lalith Allahakkoon the Editor in Chief and Editorial Director of “Ceylon Today”about recent events that have caused an Editorial crisis in the English newspaper published in Colombo)

1. At around 7 p.m. on the night of Wednesday June 13, Executive Director of Ceylon Newspapers Mr. Dushyantha Basnayake summoned me to his office and said there were several issues to be discussed. Firstly, he informed me that the management had decided to terminate the employment of Senior Cartoonist at Ceylon Today Wasantha Siriwardane. [DBSJ]

My special relationship with The Sunday Leader

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Former British Prime Minister and statesman Winston Churchill is credited with the phrase “special relationship” in emphasising the time-tested bonds and enduring affinity between Great Britain and the United States of America.

I can think of no better phrase other than those famously Churchillian words to describe my longstanding links with The Sunday Leader as the newspaper celebrates its 18th anniversary.

My special relationship with the Leader began with the birth of the newspaper itself in 1994 and has continued ever since. It consists of four different phases. [DBSJ]

‘The Road I had Chosen of my own Free Will Became a Less Lonely path to Follow’

by Aung San Suu Kyi

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Dear Friends,

Long years ago, sometimes it seems many lives ago, I was at Oxford listening to the radio programme Desert Island Discs with my young son Alexander. It was a well-known programme (for all I know it still continues) on which famous people from all walks of life were invited to talk about the eight discs, the one book beside the bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, and the one luxury item they would wish to have with them were they to be marooned on a desert island. [DBSJ]

Jaffna Like The Rest of The Island Held a Warm Vibe

by Gunvanthi Balaram

From the magnificent stupas at Anuradhapura to the street food of Colombo, from the Cave of Celestial Maidens to the beach at Galle, Sri Lanka offers many changes of scene.

Stories apart, what did I remember best about Sri Lanka, my mother asked me when I got home. “The lotus ponds of Anuradhapura and the lagoons of Jaffna,” I replied. “And, mmm, the egg-hoppers in Colombo’s cubby-hole eateries.” [DBSJ]

‘Work is worship’: The work ethic success of the Sri Lankan Tamils

by Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

I have often wondered why we, as a nation, cannot progress as rapidly as our neighbour – India. Any political analyst would of course heap the blame on the politicians and the political authority. I have pondered whether in fact this was true.

All politicians are voted to power by us and we sometimes condone their activity. When Monnekulama was convicted for bribery by the Talgodapitiya Commission and disfranchised for seven years, he re-contested the Kurunegala seat and won again. [DBSJ]

Jaffna Public Library: Painstaking construction and painful destruction

by Charles Santiapillai

Although the Jaffna man’s mind is preoccupied with money and matrimony, yet the thing that he treasures most above everything else is education and scholarship. For a Jaffna man, it’s the books, and not dogs, that are his best friends. He would pay more attention to a good book than to his dissatisfied wife.

Books keep him company both in times of happiness and distress. They are one of the main sources of his knowledge. The best and inexpensive place for easy access to books has always been the library. [DBSJ]

Sri Lankan Investment Board Signs $4Billion Industrial Zone Deal with Indian Industrial Firm

Sri Lanka has signed its largest foreign direct investment (FDI) deal valued at $4 billion with an Indian company.

Gateway Industries, an Indian venture, will oversee operation and management of a special industrial zone for heavy industries in Trincomalee district.

Board of Investment (BOI) chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando Friday hailed the signing of this landmark project by BOI as an indication of the growing investor confidence in Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

University academics are now campaigning with the slogan “6% of GDP for Education”

By Camena Guneratne and Harini Amarasuriya | Open University of Sri Lanka

Almost one year ago, we wrote an article suggesting that there were signals from the academic community that it was waking up from a long slumber.

We wrote about the fact that the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) was moving away from, primarily a battle for salaries, to addressing a range of issues affecting not just higher education, but education in general. [DBSJ]

Why malign Lasith Malinga alone for allegedly putting self above country?

by Edward Gunawardene

The story of Lasith Malinga is the story of a poor rustic, who because of his rare talents in cricket, has shot to stardom. Another log cabin to White House or a Dick Whittinghton story. He is today one of the most sought after and one of the highest earners in international cricket.

In fact, today he enjoys celebrity status in the world cricket arena. It is, indeed, an achievement to be admired. [DBSJ]

Katuwana Killings: Remove Gotabhaya and appoint career Administrator as Defence Secretary

by Mangala Samaraweera

Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana accepted that two persons including a woman died due to an unarmed gang shooting at a Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) local meeting held in Katuwana in the Hambantota district on 15 June (2012).

He said, a group of unidentified men on motorcycles had opened fire at the meeting killing and injuring people. Police sources said, around 100 JVP supporters had attended the meeting and the gunmen had arrived on 03 motorcycles. [DBSJ]

President’s London Visit: ‘Our Side of the Story’

President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga last week summoned a press conference at the old parliament now serving as the presidential secretariat to tell “our side of the story’’ of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent London visit.

As is well known, LTTE supporters succeeded in getting a session of an event organized by the Commonwealth Business Council cancelled as the president was due to make the keynote address there. External Affairs Ministry Monitor Sajin Vas Gunawardene, External Affairs Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama and High Commissioner Chris Nonis were associated with Weeratunga at this briefing called to place what happened in London in the proper perspective in the context of the propaganda mileage the LTTE was able to derive from the cancellation. [DBSJ]

Facebook loses face as share prices plunge $42 Billion in 10 days

by Selvam Canagaratna

“On Wall Street, he and a few others – how many? – three hundred, four hundred, five hundred? – had become precisely that . . . Masters of the Universe. There was . . . no limit whatsoever!” – Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)

In the midst of an unprecedentedly precipitous share-price plunge wiping out social networking giant Facebook’s value by over $42 billion in just ten days, the Wall Street Journal, which inevitably mirrors its owner Rupert Murdoch’s unbridled corporate greed, caught the crummy essence of the street it’s named after when, on the third day of the IPO (May 21) it observed matter-of-factly:

“Investors that shoot for IPO allocations needn’t worry that a high stock price overvalues the company if they are confident they can find a ‘greater fool’ willing to pay more.”

Jayalath Jayawardena writes to Pope Benedict about Mannar Bishop

Senior UNP parliamentarian, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has appealed to His Holiness Pope Benedict the XVI to use his good offices to dialogue with the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that the Bishop of Mannar continues his mission without threats, intimidations and false allegations.

In a letter to the Pope, the MP says: “Since the beginning of 2012, adverse comments about the Bishop by some chauvinistic and communal minded Government Ministers, and media owned, controlled and sympathetic to the Government have intensified. Meaningless accusations were made that the Bishop aspires to be the Cardinal of “Tamil Eelam”, that he is involved in a conspiracy against the government supported by the INGOs and that he is disturbing Muslim – Tamil harmony. [DBSJ]

Dudley Senanayake: Unchallenged integrity and loyalty

By Ilica Malkanthi Karunaratne

Dudley Senanayakes’ 101st birth anniversary is on June 19th

The birth anniversary of the late Dudley Senanayake, is always tinged with nostalgia. It is inevitable, that the thoughts of those of us who knew him, should linger on all that he was and what he did during his lifetime. He was far above the usual norm of politician and was a statesman extraordinaire, even known as such, far beyond our shores.

As media headlines today reek of violence of one sort or another, of rape, of murder, of abductions; which all speak of a total breakdown of law and order, one is reminded time and time again, of the late Dudley and all he stood for. [DBSJ]

‘I have no illusions about the basic selfish thrust of all foreign policy’

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP

To cite the preamble to this dialogue between Asian and European Liberals, we agree that, ‘from a liberal standpoint, it is mutually beneficial for countries to engage in trade, and free trade is one of the means to lift countries out of poverty.’

Unfortunately this ideal is under attack for a variety of reasons, and most of the attacks come, it should be noted, from powerful countries. Thus we need to worry – and I hope Liberals in the West will help us to overcome this worry, given their own ideals – as to whether, again to cite the preamble, ‘trade, instead of forging a mutually beneficial partnership between developed and developing countries, has been a mechanism to subject the latter into a dependent relationship.’ [DBSJ]

Full-fledged Hospital at Mullaitheevu Functions at Full Capacity

By Shanika SRIYANANDA in Mullaitheevu

It was 11 am, the OPD of the District General Hospital Mullaitheevu was crowded. People from all walks of life and all corners of the district get treatment from the hospital. Located close to the A-34 Highway, the hospital, damaged by the LTTE, has now turned into a fully-fledged hospital with the latest medical equipment and more treatment facilities. [DBSJ]

Foreign policy challenges: Diplomatic honeymoons or unbridled engagements?

By Salma Yusuf

A widely held belief among the populace is that the discourse on foreign policyremains the sole prerogative of those in the highest echelons of political power – that is, until presented with a statement by the likes of well-known American political activist, Ron Silver, who declared: ‘I can’t talk about foreign policy like anyone who’s spent their life reading and learning foreign policy. But as a citizen in a democracy, it’s very important that I participate in that.’ [DBSJ]

Co-existence with Crocodiles: Learning to Live Together

by Charles Santiapilai and S. Wijeyamohan

One of the surest signs of ecological richness and diversity of a country is the number of predator species it supports.

Larger the number of predator species, the greater is the biodiversity. The existence of predators carries the implication of the presence of a much larger and more complex ecological community and millions of years of evolutionary struggle. [DBSJ]

‘Work is worship’: The work ethic success of the Sri Lankan Tamils

by Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

I have often wondered why we, as a nation, cannot progress as rapidly as our neighbour – India. Any political analyst would of course heap the blame on the politicians and the political authority. I have pondered whether in fact this was true. [DBSJ]

Jun 10 – 16:

Children in former Sri Lankan war zones still traumatised by military

Children’s advocates in Sri Lanka say the heavy military presence in the island’s former conflict zones, especially in the north, continue to traumatise children who experienced the civil war. [Radio Australia]

Ethnic Cleansing of Muslim Minority in Myanmar?

By Marwan Macan-Marcar

Reports of sectarian violence in western Myanmar have exposed the plight of 800,000 Muslim Rohingya, a persecuted minority that a regional human rights body described in 2006 as facing a “slow-burning genocide”. [DBSJ]

Carlton Tournament and ITAK Convention: Two contrasting insights

by Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Two contrasting insights into reconciliation were on display in the last ten days – one in the field of sports and the other in the field of politics. [DBSJ]

Storify: ‘Western Myanmar Unrest’

Myanmar is on a very uneven and fragile road towards democracy but seven people have been killed in three days of riots in the country’s western region. The coastal state of Rakhine saw Buddhists once again fighting Muslims including Rohingya migrants, most of whom are stateless. [TW]

Rise of Kurdish diaspora leader could awaken sleeping dragon of Kurdish Nationalism

A sleeping dragon awakes: Kurds Take Centre Stage in West Asia

by James.M.Dorsey


As popular uprisings and post-revolt transitions change the political, economic and social structures of the Middle East, Kurds, the world’s largest nation without a state of their own, are emerging as the force that could spark a redrawing of borders and rewriting of minority rights in West Asia. [DBSJ]

Corruption, Nepotism and the Carlton Sports Network

By J.C.Weliyamuna

A Governance Analysis of Frequency Allocation & TV Rights in Present Sri Lanka

Frequency Allocation- A Grand Corruption?

Understanding the State capture by Kleptocrats does not require a dedicated study; it is easily recognizable. For the benefit of keen students of governance, let me begin this article with the definition of Kleptocracy:  [DBSJ]

Appalling treatment for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees by their ‘brethren’ on Tamil Nadu

By Kath Noble

Sri Lankan refugees have been making the news again in recent days. A group of 40 whose claims of persecution have been rejected by the UK was sent back to Colombo at the beginning of the month.  [DBSJ]

‘Gota’s War’ by Chandraprema: Glaring omissions but quite thorough

by Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.

C A Chandraprema’s book on the war against the LTTE is an immensely interesting read.

I had wondered how effective he would be as a writer of a sustained narrative, for his columns, though informative, can sometimes be turgid and repetitive. But his book combines a racy narrative with convincing detail, and I think makes clear the immense achievement of the government in dealing with the LTTE. [DBSJ]

‘I acted in conformity with the mandate given to me by His Excellency The President’ –Tamara Kunanayakam

by Ayesha Zuhair

Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative (PR) to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, has accused Navanethem Pillay, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, of playing the political agenda of the US and Western powers. [DBSJ]

The Role of international law in contemporary diplomacy

By Dr.Amrith Rohan Perera

(Text of the Romesh Jayasinghe -Memorial Oration delivered by Dr Amrith Rohan Perera PC at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo on May 30, 2012)

I first heard of Romesh Jayasinghe from his father, the late W T Jayasinghe, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs, as it then existed, under whom I had the privilege of first serving in that establishment.  [DBSJ]

Good old days of the Galle Fort: Golden memories

by Faiza Thassim

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka’s coastline, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy town of Galle lies the quaint old peninsula that is the Galle Fort. Originally built by the Portuguese and then modified by the Dutch in the 17th century, this little enclave shot to fame after it was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1988.  [DBSJ]

Report of the jury on the public hearing on Koodankulam and state suppression of democratic rights

Public Hearing Committee:

Justice A.P. Shah,
Former Chief Justice of Madras and Delhi High Court

Geeta Ramaseshan,
Advocate, Madras High Court

Prof. Prabha Kalvimani
Irular Tribes Protection Association

Date of Public Hearing: 14 May, 2012
Published: June 2012

Organized by:
Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle.  [DBSJ]

Disaster management drama at Nakkaneri village in Tamil Nadu

by S. P. Udayakumar

Actors on Stage:

-The Cheranmahadevi Sub-Collector, Mrs. Rohini Ramdas
-The Radhapuram Tahsildar, Mr. Subramanian
-150 policemen
-An assortment of revenue and health department officials
-A bigger group of NPCIL officials
-Another group of paid laymen
-Behind the Screen (in the NPCIL Township)
-The District Collector, Dr. R. Selvaraj
-The Superintendent of Police, Mr. Vijayendra Bidari
-NPCIL officials  [DBSJ]

‘Statements may be made by leaders but Eeelam is our ultimate goal’- Sivagnanam Shritharan MP

By Paul Newman

Sivagnanam Shritharan, 43, is the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Sri Lankan Parliament from Kilinochchi. Elected in 2010, he was earlier the head master of the Kilinochchi Mahavidyalayam in Kilinochchi, where LTTE leader Velupillai Prab  [DBSJ]

Connections Video ~ ‘Promising answers’ and ‘addressing issues’ of political prisoners

Featuring on the Connections Programme of Jun 11, 2012 are:

– Youth Unemployment matters in Post war Sri Lanka
– Promising Answers for Political Prisoners
– Lakshan Dias on ‘Addressing issues of Political Prisoners
– Police Department takes over Colombo Checkpoints [TW]

ITAK and TNA leaders exploit the people while living in comfort

by K.S. Sivakumaran

Here are some idealistic suggestions for better harmonious living in this blessed country:

Discourage the activities of those ruthless people masquerading as genuine Sinhala Buddhist clergymen involving themselves in political, anti-social activities.

This applies to all priests and ‘kurukkal’ and ‘mowlavis’ in every denomination. Some of these politicized monks garbed in so-called sacred robes behave in a shameful manner, both in parliament and outside. [DBSJ]

Insulting Lankan VIPs in Tamilnadu amounts to insulting Tamil culture!

By Chackravarthy

Well every thing started with the 11th International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) held in Colombo from June 3 to 5th 2010. In a way it was an Ill conceived – white elephant project that failed drastically to give the desired result as the sponsors had no deep knowledge about Bollywood or Indian politics. [DBSJ]

How has Northern Province economy fared since the end of the war in 2009?

by R.M.B.Senanayake

At a recent seminar on the peace dividend, the speaker Dr Muttukrishna Sarvanandan drew attention to the fact that the share of government services which includes defense services is a high of 53% in the Northern Province.

He was quoting from the Provincial GDP data prepared by the Department of Census & Statistics and published by the Central Bank given below. [DBSJ]

The spectre of separatism and the language of self-determination

by Kalana Senaratne

From its inception in late 1949 as the Tamil Federal Party, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) – a party which, as the late Lakshman Kadirgamar once claimed in Parliament, was founded by a “dedicated group of principled men” – has been in the forefront of Sri Lankan (and Tamil) politics. It has come to play a dominant role in the writing of different chapters of Sri Lanka’s post-independence political story. [DBSJ]

Sampanthan’s speech at ITAK Convention: Intentions, interpretations and implications

BY Rajan Philips

Whether he intended it or not, TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s speech in Batticaloa two weeks ago has stirred up a hornet’s nest. The occasion was the 14th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), once known in English as the (Tamil) Federal Party. The speech became the subject, and the object, of interpretation in the editorials and commentaries from last Sunday onward. Their burden is Sampanthan’s mysterious allusion to the right of “external self-determination” of the Tamils and non-violent pursuit of their “soaring aspirations.” [DBSJ]

Present University Grants Commission Chairman got appointed due to serving President in election campaign and drafting his manifesto

by S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The University Grants Commission (UGC) never ceases to amaze me by its ability to posture through high principles which it never practices. Indika Sri Aravinda reports (Leader, 3 June) that the UGC will henceforth fine illegal doctorates and that according to the UGC Chairman, issuing doctorates for a payment is illegal. [DBSJ]

‘I run orphanages and vocational training centres in the North’ says ex LTTE Chief ‘KP’

by Arthur Wamanan

LTTE’s one time global arms procurer and financial controller Pathmanathan alias KP, accusing the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) of misleading Tamil youth in this country by spreading false propaganda, expressed regret at Tamil politicians’ failure to live up to the expectations after government had restored peace in the once war-torn areas [DBSJ]

Is Sri Lanka heading towards another July ’83 with Muslims as the Target?

By Latheef Farook

Is Sri Lanka heading towards another July 1983 type pogrom?

This is the growing fear in view of the repeated threats on mosques and madrasas provoking Muslims. In the midst of this turbulence, the Criminal Investigation Department’s call for a list of mosques and madrasas – no information on worshipping centers of other religions was sought — has sent shockwaves among beleaguered Muslims. [DBSJ]

Pope hopes for a ‘global joint solution’ to Sri Lanka’s reconciliation

The “steps taken to favour socio-economic development, and reconciliation among the communities hit by the long internal conflict which has affected” Sri Lanka, and the hope that “a global joint solution may soon be found corresponding to the legitimate expectations of all the parties involved” dominated this morning’s meeting between Benedict XVI and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. [TW]

Buddhism in Tamil Nadu: The ‘Buddha Samy’ of Thiyaganur

by A. Srivathsan

In most ways, Thiyaganur is a typical village in Tamil Nadu. Matchbox houses with gleaming white walls and red earth tiles, fields with irregular patterns, a provisional store that sells garishly coloured beverages, and the occasional bus chugging through. The lime-washed temple, in this village 80 km north-west of Tiruchi, has a familiar air about it too. Until one gets closer. [DBSJ]

Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2012 Commonwealth book prize

Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka, a former advertising copywriter, has won the Commonwealth book prize for his highly praised debut novel Chinaman: the Legend of Pradeep Mathew.

Narrated by the alcoholic former sports journalist WG Karunasena, the novel is the story of his quest for Pradeep Mathew, a devastatingly talented Sri Lankan spin bowler who appears to have been expunged from historical record. Despite its cricket focus, Karunatilaka promises in the book: “If you’ve never seen a cricket match; if you have and it has made you snore; if you can’t understand why anyone would watch, let alone obsess over this dull game, then this is the book for you.” [DBSJ]

Jun 3 – 9:

Parliament is becoming increasingly irrelevant

By M. A. Sumanthiran

This is a timely motion that’s being brought to the Parliament, reminding us all that private members’ motions that are debated and approved must be taken seriously, since they are approved by Parliament. They cease to be labelled a private member’s motion once it is approved by Parliament because it is something the Parliament agrees with, and therefore from that point onwards there must be a seriousness attached to it. [DBSJ]

‘Pulathup Puligal’ (LTTE) protest against Mahinda in London

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Mahinda Rajapaksa was let down badly by the London based Commonwealth Business Council that had invited the Sri Lankan President to deliver the keynote address in a symposium organized by it for the Diamond jubilee of accession to the throne by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.

Intense political pressure mounted by Tiger and pro-tiger elements in Britain and Europe resulted in the C’wealth Business council abruptly cancelling the event in which Mahinda Rajapaksa was to participate on June 6th 2012. [DBSJ]

Rajapakse besieged in London, after Gota denies Tamil region

by Dushy Ranetunge in London

On the eve of the Presidents visit to the UK to attend the Queens Diamond Jubilee, Gotabaya in his usual finger wagging style told the BBC that the north cannot be recognised as a “Tamil” region.

Front page of ‘The Independent’, Thursday, June 7, 2012

In the run up to the first Presidential election, Mahinda Rajapakse told his Sinhala Buddhist electorate that he is from the “south”. Was he not indicating that he was from the Deep South, which is hard line Sinhalese? [DBSJ]

‘One cannot have true reconciliation without accountability’

Remarks by Amb. Michelle Sison at the Confirmation Hearing of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jun 6, as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka & Maldives Nominee: [TW]

Time for introspection running out for Sri Lanka

Rajapaksa’s action replay in UK

by Col R Hariharan

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s key note speech at the Commonwealth Economic Forum organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and the City of London today was called off by the organisers “due to pressure of pro-LTTE elements in London” as the Sri Lanka High Commission claimed. Though the Scotland Yard was ready to provide assured security, the CBC “decided it was not in their interest to stage the event” according to media reports.

However, CBC website merely said: “After careful consideration, the morning sessions of the Forum… will not take place.” [TW]

Meeting Ranjini: A Day at the Villawood Detention Centre

by Niromi de Soyza

As soon as I step into the reception room which reminded me of a sterile hospital cafeteria, a woman with long dark hair in a black blazer catches my eyes. The epaulettes on her jacket give her small skinny frame an air of authority.

I recognise the young woman easily as Ranjini, she looks exactly like in the pictures splashed across newspapers and news media over the past few weeks – sparkling eyes, a big bright smile and the unmistakable side-parting of hair. [DBSJ]

Storify: Sri Lanka President at Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Storifying tweets and Videos published during the stay of President Rajapaksa in London, Jun 4-6:

Smoke in Park Lane as Tamils burn another effigy outside president’s hotel ~ Watch Sri Lanka President meeting the queen. Top story on Channel 4 News: [TW]

Commonwealth Institutions seem unable to lend a helping hand with Sri Lanka

By Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah

The Queen will be joined by both Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose country will host the next CHOGM, and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, who has said that he will not attend CHOGM unless the Sri Lankan government addresses human rights violations. [DBSJ]

‘My Appeal is That the Sinhala and Tamil People Must Live Together’

Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Interviewed by Ayesha Zuhair

We have tried to find an acceptable solution within a united Sri Lanka for quite some time. Let us leave aside the LTTE era. Even before the LTTE era, during the days of my leader Mr. Chelvanayagam, Mr. Amirthalingam, and subsequently after the end of the war in 2009, and in the course of our bilateral talks with the Sri Lankan government, we submitted proposals in writing which contemplated an acceptable political solution within the framework of a united, undivided Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

An effort is on to drive a wedge between traditional moderates and one-time militants

By N. Sathiya Moorthy

At the annual conference of the ‘Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK)’, which he heads as the elected president, the nominated chief of the larger Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R. Sampanthan, made a few points.

One, the ITAK was the leader/ guiding spirit of the TNA and that the Sri Lankan Tamils (SLT) have for long accepted the ITAK as reflecting their aspirations. [DBSJ]

‘Killing fields’ protest: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee lunch hit by 3,000 strong march in central London

Mr Rajapakse was jeered as he swept through the main gate in a Range Rover. His car did not carry a flag because of security concerns. [London Evening Standard]

President Rajapaksa’s London address to Commonwealth Economic Forum cancelled

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In an unexpected,sudden development the Commonwealth Economic Forum the event in which Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to deliver the keynote address has been called off.

The Commonwealth Business Council that had organized the event made a special announcement announcing the decision. [DBSJ]

Tamils deported to Sri Lanka from Britain being tortured, victim claims

by Shiv Malik

The British government is forcibly deporting asylum seekers who are then tortured in Sri Lanka, according to the testimony of one victim who was left scarred and suicidal after a brutal two-week ordeal.

The victim told the Guardian he was tortured over the space of 17 days after being deported from the UK last year. His torturers accused him of passing on to British officials information about previous beatings at the hands of state officials and other human rights abuses, to ruin diplomatic relations between the two countries. [The Guardian]

Murugesu Sivasithamparam the ‘Lion of Udupiddy’: Tenth Death Anniversary Tribute

M. Sivasithamparam (July 20, 1923 - June 5, 2002)

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Panchamum Noiyum Nin Meiyadiaarkko, Paarinil Menmaigal Verini Yaarkko” (If famine and disease are for your true followers for who else then are glories in this world) – Subramania Bharatiyaar in his Ode to the Motherland’s (India) freedom.

Veteran Sri Lankan Tamil political moderate leader, Murugesu Sivasithamparam, passed away peacefully after a brief illness in the Colombo National Hospital at 1:50 a.m. on June 5 2002. [DBSJ]

President Rajapaksa visit to London draw protests

Why is British Queen to lunch with Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa, unapologetic overseer of atrocities and war crimes’, Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights queried on his twitter feed on Friday, June 1. [TW]

Video ~ Militarization and Eviction: Plight of people from Mullikulam and Ashraff Nagar

Features on the Connections Programme of Jun 4, 2012 include:

A glimpse of Home: Residents of Mullikulam attend a Special Mass

Evicted from Ashraff Nagar : Residents seek legal redress [TW]

Pope Benedict to express concern over Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph’s safety to President Rajapaksa at Vatican

Rev Rayappu Joseph

by D.B. S. Jeyaraj

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is expected to express concerns over the personal safety of most reverend Rayappu Joseph the Catholic Bishop of Mannar-Vavuniya diocese in Sri Lanka when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa calls on him at the Vatican later this week.

President Rajapaksa scheduled to visit Britain on June 3rd for a four day trip connected to the Diamond jubilee celebrations of her majesty Queen Elizabeth the second is expected to arrive on June 7th at the Vatican where he has been granted an audience with Pope Benedict. [DBSJ]

May 27- Jun 2:

Priests from any religion to be debarred from contesting parliament?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

United National Party(UNP) Parliamentarian& & Bar Association (BASL) president Wijedasa Rajapakshe wants priests debarred from becoming MP’s.

He has with the consent of Opposition & UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe submitted a private members bill seeking a Constitutional amendment. [DBSJ]

Gota’s BBC Interview: ‘Absolute Truth’ about Tamils and the Northern Province

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The recent interview given by Defence and Urban development secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Charles Haviland of the BBC in Colombo has resulted in the “Archaeological expert” of the Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU) showering praises on the presidential sibling.

image courtesy of BBC ~ Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: Sri Lanka north 'not just for Tamils'

JHU parliamentarian Ven.Ellawela Medhananda Thero in a statement to the “Dasa Desin”programme has described the utterances of the Defence secretary as “the most honest truth expressed in this century”. [DBSJ]

Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism Generally Perceives Muslims to be a Grave Threat

By Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

The recent attack led by Buddhist monks on the Khairya Jumma mosque located in the so-called “sacred zone” of the Dambulla rock temple in the central province is important even though it did not develop into a larger scale clash between the Buddhist and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka.

The Dambulla Khairya Jummah mosque had been in existence for over 60 years and the mosque trustees have legal documents regarding its construction. [DBSJ]

Connections Video: 18th May commemorative events in North

Connections is a TV series from Young Asia Television; featuring on the Connections Programme of May 28, 2012 are:

I. TNA Commemorates War Victims: [TW]

HRW Urges UK to Suspend Deportations of Tamils to Sri Lanka due to Reports of Returnees being Tortured

The United Kingdom should immediately suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims, Human Rights Watch said today. The next scheduled deportation of Tamils from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka is due to take place on May 31, 2012. [DBSJ]

Revival of community courts in Rwanda to strengthen reconciliation

By Moara Crivelente

The ethnic aspect which is usually defined as a cause of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis – either historically fundamented or discursively constructed, and instrumentalized by political leaders – has deep roots with which society has to deal. [DBSJ]

Why and How People in Tamil Nadu are Protesting Nuclear Energy

By S.P. Udayakumar

We have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s. This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. [DBSJ]

Regional Advisor of UNESCO writes to Secretary General on plight of Tamils

Hasan Mohammed Jinnah with Superstar Rajinikanth

Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, Regional Advisor (Asia-Pacific Region) for Human Rights and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has written to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Secretary General, Dr. Tae Sul Kim towards emphasizing the United Nations taking measures in establishing the Independent State of Tamil Eelam, a report in Viduthalai newspaper said. [TW]

Text of Presidential Address by Rajavarothayam Sampanthan at 14th National Convention of ITAK in Batticaloa

My greetings to all respected delegates of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi

pic courtesy of: virakesari.lk

I sincerely welcome you all – the life and vitality of our party – to our National Convention here in Batticaloa.

As those in service to the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi, which has become the political symbol of the Tamil Nation, with its own political culture and ideals, we are proud to gather here for its 14th National Convention in the year 2012. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka army may never come a truly national one

Why military matters in the North?

by Col R Hariharan

pic: news.lk

With the army already bloated beyond national requirements it may never come through in any sizeable numbers to make Sri Lanka army truly a national one. And that is all the more reason for the government and defence establishment to scale down the numbers and reduce presence of army in the North. [TW]

How do the Liberals respond to the global war on ‘terror’?

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP | Leader – Liberal Party of Sri Lanka

Let me first express my thanks to our hosts, the Civic Will Green Party of Mongolia, for having invited the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats to their country, and arranging this very timely seminar.

The Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, which has supported CALD so graciously over the years, was established to promote freedom, and it is this core value of Liberalism that we must see as the bedrock, not only of our own philosophy, but also of equitable and sustainable development all over the world. [DBSJ]

Sampanthan and Senathirajah re-elected in B’Caloa as President and Gen Secy of ITAK

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)formed in 1949 is currently holding its 3-day long 14th national convention in Batticaloa town.

In Batticaloa, May 26, 2012-pic: Tamilwin

The ITAK is presently the chief constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) which contests polls under the ITAK symbol of House.

Other constituents of the TNA like EPRLF&TELO have been clamouring for registration of the loose alliance as a separate political party. [DBSJ]

Sarath is only one of the political prisoners

by Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The parties of the opposition who joined in the campaign of Virodhaya, the VV, were jubilant that general Fonseka was given freedom. If there are restrictions, obviously we should continue our campaign for release of political prisoners.

In any case Sarath is only one of them. There are more than 800 such political prisoners, who are variously dubbed as Tigers, Sinhala Tigers, etc. [TW]

Fasts limelight plight of Tamil political prisoners and the missing

A day long fast was observed in Vavuniya on Thursday May 24th calling for release of Tamil political prisoners and seeking information on missing kin.

Several Tamil parliamentarians, members of municipal bodies in North and East and officials of Tamil political parties attended the fast along with families of missing and in detention without charges. [TW]

The State of Human Rights in Sri Lanka – 2012: Amnesty International Annual Report

The government continued to arbitrarily detain, torture or ill-treat people and subject people to enforced disappearance. It failed to address most instances of impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

The government rejected repeated allegations of war crimes committed by both sides of the conflict that ended in 2009, prompting Amnesty International to reiterate calls for an independent international investigation. [DBSJ]

May 20 – 26:

Military scale down necessary in Sri Lanka North and East

In this, the ninth edition of ‘Ask the High Commissioner’ series, High Commissioner H.E . John Rankin also responded to the question, “if there is a need of scale down of military presence in Northern SriLanka”, and pointed that, “there needs to be a scaling down of the military presence in the North and East of Sri Lanka.” [TW]

Sarath Fonseka: Historic confluence of twin processes

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The “release” of General Sarath Fonseka Former Army commander and erstwhile contender for the 2010 Presidential stakes from jail due to remission of his prison sentences by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has infused fresh excitement into the Sri Lankan Political scenario. [DBSJ]

International action urged to provide accountability in Sri Lanka

Remembering the Third Anniversary of the End of the Civil War in Sri Lanka

Excerpts from speech by Hon. Jean Schmidt of Ohio in The House of Representatives, Friday May 18, 2012: [TW]

Credible Sri Lanka plan of action on LLRC yet to be determined

Excerpts of speech by Hon. Michael G. Grimm of New York in The House of Representatives, Friday May 18, 2012: [TW]

Unlawful killings by security forces in predominantly Tamil areas

US States Department Human Rights Report on Sri Lana for 2011

The major human rights problems were unlawful killings by security forces and government-allied paramilitary groups, often in predominantly Tamil areas, which led many to regard them as politically motivated, and attacks on and harassment of civil society activists, persons viewed as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathizers, and journalists by persons allegedly tied to the government, which created an environment of fear and self-censorship. [TW]

Second war to be tougher than first for Fonseka 

By Col R Hariharan 

The presidential pardon to General Sarath Fonseka (officially it is ‘ex-General’ as he has been stripped of his hard earned rank) after he completed only two years of a three-year jail sentence should come as no surprise. [TW]

Sri Lanka Civil Society action on LLRC Recommendations

In a situation where you have one soldier for every eight citizens, that you still have disappearances, and you can still have people daring to fly Tiger flags at a political rally..[TW]

Shared cultures and heritage for conflict resolution: A South Asia perspective

 By Dr.Sudharshan Seneviratne

The crippling impact of war and conflict, unleashed on most societies, has come to stay as a permanent feature and self perpetuating dynamic. Even after thousands of years of destruction to life, mind and matter, we have failed to learn from history [DBSJ]

Storify tweet digest: Fonseka released. Is it a ploy to deflect attention from Sri Lanka govt’s lack of accountability for war crimes?

US embassy in Sri Lanka has welcomed the release of former army Commander Sarath Fonseka. [TW]

Ex-general to work for strong opposition

by R.K. Radhakrishnan 

Having watched the opposition parties lie in disarray from the confines of the prison here for over two years, the former Army chief, Sarath Fonseka was clear what the first step needs to be: “The need of the hour for the country is to ensure that there is a strong opposition.”

In his first interview after emerging from prison, he told The Hindu: [The Hindu]

Legacy of war – unemployment and homelessness

Life is slowly returning to normal in northern Sri Lanka, but three years after a decades-long conflict was officially declared over, jobs and housing are the prevailing concerns of returnees.

Most of the estimated 448,000 people displaced before or during 2008 by fighting between government forces and rebels wanting an independent Tamil state have returned to the Northern Province, according to the latest figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). [IRIN]

Congressman Danny Davis hopes for Sri Lanka peace and stability its citizens rightly deserve 

by Congressman Danny K Davis (D), Illinois, Marking the 3rd Anniversary of the “End of Civil War in Sri Lanka’ | Delivered in the 112th Congress on the Legislative Day of 17th May, 2012

Thank you Madam, Chairman

It is my pleasure to rise today, to note the 3rd Anniversary of the ending of the civil war in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Devolution and the concept of concurrency: Abolition or reform?

by Asanga Welikala

Among proponents of devolution as a means of power-sharing in Sri Lanka, one of the key bones of contention about the Thirteenth Amendment has been the Concurrent List. [DBSJ]

It is not possible to remove Armed Forces camps from North and reduce attention to national security

by Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the nation, at the Armed Services Humanitarian Victory Parade, Galle Face, Colombo on May 19th 2012)

I need not state afresh that this day – the 19th of May – is now a great historic day in our country. [DBSJ]

When you read the book “Gota’s War” you learn that it does not means Gota won the war single-handedly

By Dr. Sarath Amunugama

I consider Mr. Chandraprema’s book “Gotas War” which was launched last week to be the finest and most comprehensive description and analysis of the fratricidal ethnic conflict which affected Sri Lanka for over six decades. [DBSJ]

Is G.L. Peiris lying about not giving the US a ‘very serious and good plan’?

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Last week, Lankan society was electrified by the news that the Rajapaksas regime would accord Gen. Sarath Fonseka an unconditional pardon, on Saturday the 19th. It would have been a fitting act indeed. The 3rd anniversary of defeating the LTTE fell on May 19th, and Gen. Fonseka, together with Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, comprised the politico-military triumvirate which led Lankan Forces to that historic victory. [TC]

Disturbing questions about National Savings Bank and The Finance Company

by Dr A.C.Visvalingam | President, CIMOGG

Recently the Board of the National Savings Bank (NSB) sought to explain why it purchased shares of The Finance Company (TFC) from two or three of the latter’s directors with a premium exceeding 50% of the market value at a time when the entire Stock Market was in dire straits. [TC]

May 22: Fortieth Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Republican Constitution

by Dr.Tissa Vitarana

Forty years ago, on May 22, 1972, at the Navarangahala in Colombo, the Parliamentarians of Sri Lanka concluded two years of sitting there as the Constituent Assembly, by passing and accepting the new autochthonous Constitution of Sri Lanka. [TC]

We are engaged in Revolutionary Praxis as advised by Marx

by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Central bank governor Ajith Cabraal said “This would include the fact that Sri Lanka has recorded a more than 8% growth for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011, and a projected growth of 7.2% this year. [TC]

If the past was the happy country of our memory the LTTE would not have come into being

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

In the collective memory of the Sinhala South, the past was a happy country, a place where all Lankans lived in amity and harmony. Vellupillai Pirapaharan spoilt it all by igniting a war out of nothing.

Three years after the victorious ending of the Eelam War, Sri Lanka is busy returning to that mythical past. The lessons a people learn from history depends on the history they remember and believe in. [TC]

Being a Treasure Hunter would have been a lot more fun than this Writing Job

by Namini Wijedasa

I have missed my vocation in life. I should have been a treasure hunter.

I fault my parents for this. They never told me it would be so easy, or so painlessly lucrative. All you need is a good archaeological site (and we’ve plenty of those), some basic implements—and a backhoe. These are large, heavy and conspicuous but easily available [TC]

Assets of those linked to terrorism to be frozen

By Chandani Kirinde

Assets of those designated by a Competent Authority as engaged in terrorist activity will be liable for seizure, according to new regulations formulated by the External Affairs Ministry. [TC]

China is so rich that it can now dictate the economic policy to the rest of the world including the USA

By M.S.Shah Jahan

When China wakes, it will shake the world” – Napoleon Bonaparte. Yes he warned 200 years ago. Truer words were never spoken. Chinese dragon has awakened now and it is about to shake the world to its foundations – starting with the United States. [TC]

We need freedom to create with and for everybody living in Sri Lanka

By Rasaiah Loganandan

Mr.Jeyasankar says that there has been a statement in the leaflets like this, distributed at the premier of the drama “Theatre needs no spoken language and it evolutes sans spoken language several decades ago” says the leaflet” [DBSJ]