« 150 Years Later: the story of tea » by The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)

In 2017, we celebrate 150 years of tea production in Sri Lanka. To mark this anniversary, several events and activities have been planned throughout the year in Sri Lanka and internationally, including a Global Tea Party, International Tea Convention and a charity auction organised by a variety of stakeholders such as the Ceylon Tea Traders Association, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Tourist Board and tea companies.

While there is much reported in the media around these events, the anniversary celebrations and the future of Ceylon tea, there is little to no mention whatsoever of the tea plantation workers without whose contribution the industry would not exist.

There has been a lot of research and advocacy for decades on the rights of tea plantation workers, life conditions, wages and hardships faced by the workers and their families. In comparison to other parts of Sri Lanka, poverty, nutrition, maternal and children’s health statistics of plantation communities are poorer and further exacerbated by issues related to inadequate housing, alcoholism, gender based violence and unemployment especially among youth. Opinion polls conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives show that the community is badly impacted by the economy, have made serious cut backs in the household expenditure and feel little sense of empowerment as citizens of the country.

GroundviewsVikalpa and Maatram have previously created new media stories, in all three languages across their respective platforms, that highlight the hardships faced by the tea plantation workers.

With the objective of creating more visibility and awareness and to ensure that key narratives do not remain invisible during this significant anniversary, CPA’s civic media output over four weeks will be anchored to key issues facing the tea plantation workers to coincide with the 150-year anniversary celebrations in order to take advantage of the momentum gathered by the celebrations. As Sri Lanka strategises the future of the tea industry, it is critical that the official discussions and reflections seriously consider issues faced by the workers who sustain the industry. The output will focus on the change (or lack thereof) in the lives of the workers 150 years since the start the industry, including a plethora of issues faced by them and their families, challenges for the future, areas for reform and strengthening rights. Content will be in all three languages, through short-form video, photography, long-form journalism and other interactive media.

Download this statement here.

source: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)

New articles on religiosity among Tamil Hindu youths in Norway by Valen Kleive

Hildegunn Valen Kleive has recently published two articles (one in English and another in Norwegian) looking at religiosity among young Tamil Hindus in rural Norway.

The first (in English), ‘Belonging and Discomfort: Young Hindu Religiosity in Rural Norway’ is published in the Nordic Journal of Religion and Society and may be accessed here.

The second ‘Mestring og balanse. Trekk ved ung hindureligiøsitet’ is published in Prismet and may be accessed here. An English translation will follow at a later date.

Film Screening of « DEMONS IN PARADISE » at ICES Auditorium, on 8th August 2017, at 4.30PM

Synopsis

Sri Lanka, 1983: Jude Ratnam was five years old. He fled the massacre of the Tamils instigated by the majority-Sinhalese government on a red train.
Now a filmmaker, he takes the same train from the south to the north of the island.

As he advances, the traces of violence left by the 26-year-old war, which turned the Tamil’s fight for freedom into self-destructive terrorism, pass before his eyes.
Reminiscing about the fighters and Tamil Tigers, he unveils the repressed memories of his compatriots, opening the door to a new era and making peace possible again.

Demons in Paradise is the result of 10 years of work. For the first time, a Tamil documentary filmmaker living in Sri Lanka is showing the civil war from the inside.

« Navaly Church bombing remembered 22 years on » by Tamil Guardian

« On 9th July 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the St Peter’s Church in Navaly and the nearby Sri Kathirgama Murugan Kovil, which were both sheltering displaced Tamils from army bombardment.

A total of 13 bombs were dropped on the sheltering shrines, killing 147 on the spot with many more succumbing to injuries later. »

to read more: http://tamilguardian.com/content/navaly-church-bombing-remembered-22-years

« India offers help to Sri Lanka’s Northern province » Meera Srinivasan (The Hindu)

India has expressed willingness to further partner Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial administration in development initiatives, emphasising the need for a clear economic programme identifying specific areas.

to read more : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-offers-help-sri-lankas-northern-province/article19189330.ece

« No more bottom trawling in Sri Lanka waters from Thursday » by Steve Creech The Sunday Times)

« On Thursday, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Mahinda Amaraweera will set a global precedent by proscribing one of the world’s most destructive forms of fishing — bottom trawling — in Sri Lankan waters.

In doing so, the minister will be reiterating the Government’s commitment to sustainable exploitation of the country’s vital fishery resources. Fish contributes around 65 percent of the protein intake for Sri Lanka’s 20 million people.

The prohibition is also intended to buttress northern fishermen’s repeated demands for an immediate end to illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lanka waters. As many as 1,500 Tamil Nadu trawlers have been reported fishing illegally in Sri Lanka waters, using bottom trawls. »

read more: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170702/news/no-more-bottom-trawling-in-sri-lanka-waters-from-thursday-248236.html

« Something is rotten in Sri Lanka » by Meera Srinivasan (The Hindu)

For a long time, Sri Lanka was a leader in the region in two key areas – public health and civic conservancy. But over the last year, the country is facing a major challenge in both, the most visible manifestation being the recent dengue epidemic that has claimed over 200 lives.

to read more : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sri-lankas-public-health-crisis/article19194197.ece

« Disinformation in Sri Lanka: An Overview » by Groundviews

Editor’s Note: This discussion note was prepared in the run up to the Digital Disinformation Forum, held on June 26 and 27. Excerpts of this were used in a moderated discussion on the media’s efforts to build resilience to disinformation. 

Fake news became a buzzword around the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. However, it’s something we have been grappling with in Sri Lanka for years. Fake news, is news created with the intent to deceive. However, the term has also been distorted over the years. Not only has it been used by people to dismiss news they don’t like, but it has also become confused with reporting that requires correction, as the Washington Post pointed out. In fact, saying something is ‘fake news’ doesn’t necessarily make it so – Trump himself often accuses entire publication houses as being fake.

To understand how and why fake news has been such a persistent problem in Sri Lanka, it’s necessary to understand a little about the political context. Sri Lanka is still recovering from nearly three decades of civil war that, among other issues along lines of language, land, ethnic politics, education and employment, has sowed deep and enduring divisions between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil communities.

For decades, politicians have deliberately pandered to the Sinhala majority community and their needs in order to gain political mileage- from as back as 1956, when Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike passed the Sinhala Only Act, which made Sinhalese the official language of administrative service. In the run up to elections, politicians, news outlets and social media have all put out information designed deliberately to mislead.

Read the article in full here.

Source: Groundviews

« Respectable Gentlemen and Street-Savvy Men: HIV Vulnerability in Sri Lanka » by Sandya Hewamanne in Medical Anthropology

We are glad to provide a link for e prints for Sandya Hewamanne’s new article in Medical Anthropology on HIV vulnerability and migrant workers in Sri Lanka.
In this article, the author investigates how particular discourses surrounding class specific understandings of sexual behavior and female morality shape awareness and views of the disease and personal vulnerability. Although both groups belong to the working class, those employed by the transportation board consider themselves government servants and, therefore, “respectable gentlemen.” Construction workers identify easily with their class position, recognizing and sometimes trying to live up to the stereotypes of free sexuality. These different perceptions directly affect their concern and awareness of risk factors for sexually transmissible infections and safe-sex practices. While the “respectable gentlemen” consider themselves invulnerable, the “street-savvy men” learned about risks and took precautions to prevent STIs.

Author information

Sandya Hewamanne

Sandya Hewamanne is the author of Stitching Identities in a Free Trade Zone: Gender and Politics in Sri Lanka (2008) and Sri Lanka’s Global Factory Workers: (Un) Disciplined Desires and Sexual Struggles in a Post-colonial Society (2016). She teaches anthropology at the University of Essex, United Kingdom.

« Les pratiques et représentations du religieux dans la sphère publique à Sri Lanka : le cas du nationalisme bouddhiste » par Hadrien Schmitt

Nous avons le plaisir de partager un lien pour télécharger le mémoire de Master en relations internationale d’Hadrien Schmitt qui porte sur « Les pratiques et représentations du religieux dans la sphère publique à Sri Lanka : le cas du nationalisme bouddhiste ». Ce travail, dirigé par Docteur Anthony Goreau-Ponceaud, à été réalisé dans le cadre du Master  « Affaires politiques et internationales, mention Gestion des risques et développement » à Sciences Po Bordeaux.

Lien pour télécharger le mémoire : SCHMITT_HADRIEN_2017_PDAPS_152870

Résumé

Ce mémoire de recherche a pour ambition de rendre intelligible les phénomènes complexes qui composent le nationalisme religieux, et ce dans un pays : Sri Lanka ; sur une religion : le Bouddhisme. Religion de l’ethnie majoritaire, les Cinghalais, le Bouddhisme à Sri Lanka est devenu structurant dans le champ politique depuis l’indépendance en 1948. Nous tâchons d’en retracer les origines, depuis les temps lointains du Mahavamsa, jusqu’à son renouvellement doctrinal sous l’égide de Dharmapala. Nous essayons également d’expliquer les facteurs expliquant son renforcement, ainsi que sa radicalisation. Nous questionnerons ainsi les rapports du nationalisme bouddhiste cinghalais avec les minorités ethniques et religieuses de Sri Lanka, et notamment avec les communautés tamoules et musulmanes.

Référence: Schmitt H.., 2009,« Les pratiques et représentations du religieux dans la sphère publique à Sri Lanka : le cas du nationalisme bouddhiste », mémoire de Master Affaires politiques et internationales, mention Gestion des risques et développement, Bordeaux, Sciences Po Bordeaux, p.127

« Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History » Edited by Zoltan Biedermann and Alan Strathern

UCL Press has announced the publication of Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History, edited by Zoltán Biedermann and Alan Strathern. Note that in addition to the hardback and paperback editions, the book is available at no cost as a pdf file.

For more information, go to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/…/sri-lanka-at-the-crossroads-of-histo…

« Where is the Conscience of Human Rights? », Monthly Academic Circle of the Department of Social Studies (OUSL), 19th June 2017 at 2.30 p.m. at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala

Monthly Academic Circle

Department of Social Studies (OUSL)

Invites You for a Talk and Panel Discussion

Topic

Where is the Conscience of Human Rights?

By

Prof. Tobias Kelly, The University of Edinburgh

[Tobias Kelly teaches social anthropology at the School of Social and Political Science,

University of Edinburgh, and is coeditor of Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy, and the Ethics

of State-Building].

Panelists

Dr. Deepika Udagama (Chairperson, Human Rights Commission)

Professor Jonathan Spencer (The University of Edinburgh)

Dr. Farzana Haniffa (University of Colombo)

Moderator: Dr Sepalika Welikala (Open University of Sri Lanka)

Date and Time:

19th June 2017 at 2.30 p.m.

Venue

Faculty Board Room

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Open University of Sri Lanka,

Nawala

Contact for more info: Athula (0712279246/smasa@ou.ac.lk)

« Caste in a Tamil Family On Purity and Pollution in Post-war Jaffna » by Zehra Hashmi and Prashanth Kuganathan

Written using the voice of Zehra Hashmi, an ethnographic narrative examines caste in transition in Jaffna, centred around a Vel.l.āl.ar family that lived in the peninsula throughout the duration of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which came to an end in May 2009. Based on field research and interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013, the authors find that interlocutors struggle to make meaning of post-war changes.

to read more : http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/21/commentary/caste-tamil-family.html

« Sri Lanka’s elusive housing logic » by Meera Srinivasan

Recently, Sri Lanka’s cabinet cleared a proposal to build 6,000 prefabricated houses for war-affected families in the island’s Tamil-majority north and east. What ought to have been a basic, brick-and-mortar effort to rebuild homes has turned out to be a major controversy, as the government appears persistent to push a deal that it alone finds logical.

to read more : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sri-lankas-elusive-housing-logic/article18956520.ece