« Témoin des violences civiles survenues à Colombo à la fin du mois de juillet 1983 » par Vincent Faugère

Ces photos ont été prises à Colombo à la fin du mois de juillet 1983, dans le secteur de la gare ferroviaire. A cette époque, je voyageais, avec mon père, à Sri Lanka et dans le sud de l’Inde. J’avais 15 ans. Nous étions arrivés dans l’île le 2 juillet, par avion, en provenance de Paris. Au début de ce même mois, nous étions à Weligama quand nous avons été victimes du vol de nos papiers. Nous avons ainsi dû revenir à Colombo, et ce à plusieurs reprises, pour des raisons administratives.
Un journal de bord, tenu durant ce voyage, me permet de retracer en toute petite partie les événements dont nous avons été témoins pendant ces quelques jours. La situation était confuse et il ne m’en reste que de lointains souvenirs. Une chose est sûre : la ville était en proie à des violences. Un couvre-feu était décrété. Des Tamouls étaient tués et des trains bondés fuyaient la capitale.
Lundi 25 juillet. Nous arrivons en train dans la gare de Colombo-Fort envahie par la foule. Dehors, des incendies toujours en cours témoignent des violences commises à l’encontre des Tamouls. Tous les commerces sont fermés. Un couvre-feu est décrété et nous sommes contraints de rester et de dormir dans la gare, ce que nous ferons également les jours suivants.
Mardi 26 juillet. Toute la ville est déserte et silencieuse. On peut voir des échoppes et des bâtiments mis à sac, détruits, brûlés.
Mercredi 27 juillet. La vie reprend partiellement. Des queues se forment devant les quelques magasins ouverts. Il est très difficile de trouver de quoi se nourrir. Vers 15 heures, toutes les boutiques ferment et les rues se vident de nouveau. De même, la gare est presque déserte.
Jeudi 28 juillet. Dans la matinée, la gare est envahie par la foule. Aux alentours de 10 heures, sept Tamouls sont tués à coup de pierre par des civils et leurs corps sont mis à feu devant des milliers de spectateurs impassibles. L’Armée et la Marine interviennent et font évacuer la gare. Vers 15 heures, nous sommes interpellés par la police, ainsi qu’un groupe de touristes de six nationalités qui a, comme nous, trouvé refuge dans la gare. Les forces de l’ordre nous réclament les pellicules de nos appareils photos. Face à notre refus, nous sommes emmenés au poste de police. Nous réussissons à dissimuler une partie de nos pellicules. Nous sommes finalement transportés en camion, avec  quatre personnes tamoules, dans un camp de réfugiés. On nous sert un repas et nous repartons aussitôt. Nous roulons dans la ville déserte. Les quatre Tamouls sont déposés, pour la nuit, dans un collège catholique. Quant à nous, nous sommes conduits jusqu’à une auberge de jeunesse, dans le quartier de Bambalapitiya.
Vendredi 29 juillet. Nous sommes de retour à la gare de Colombo-Fort vers 7 heures. Dans la matinée, on assiste à d’importants mouvements de foule. Les gens courent dans les rues et fuient un danger qui reste invisible. On entend des coups de feu au loin. Des soldats et des policiers patrouillent devant la gare. Il se dit qu’un commando tamoul prépare une attaque. Mais aucun assaut n’a lieu. Nous quittons Colombo en train ce jour-là, en direction de Negombo.
Voilà ce que je peux dire aujourd’hui de ces quelques jours passés à Colombo lors de ce Juillet Noir. Nous avons poursuivi notre voyage dans l’île jusqu’à la fin du mois d’août, sans incident grave, en essayant d’éviter les zones de tension. A plusieurs reprises cependant, nous avons été arrêtés par des militaires et des policiers qui braquaient leurs armes sur nous. Dans les villes, le couvre-feu était souvent de rigueur. Durant ce séjour, nous nous sommes également rendus dans le Tamil Nadu indien, en avion depuis Colombo, les liaisons par mer depuis Talaimannar étant coupées.
Vincent Faugère
Copyright pour toutes les photographies : Vincent Faugère

« unpublished photographs taken by a French tourist during the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 » by Vincent Faugère

We warmly thank Vincent Faugère for allowing us to upload unpublished photographs he took during the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983. Vincent Faugère came with his father to visit Sri Lanka in July 1983. He was then 15 years old. It happened that Vincent and his father were in Colombo when Tamil people were killed and chased from the town.

The photographs Vincent shares here were shot between july 26th and 29th, 1983, around Colombo railways station. He knows that from the travel notebook he had been writing  at this time.
Copyright for all photographs : Vincent Faugère

« 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

Launch of the joint photo library of the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) and the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO)

We are happy to inform you that the joint photo library of the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) and the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO) is now online. You may access it through the website of the IFP and that of the EFEO.

The site provides access to the 134 600 photographs of the joint collection constituted between 1956 and 1999 by members of both institutions. The photographs of temples, statues and inscriptions that it contains are conserved in the premises of the IFP. This collection constitutes one of the last testimonies to a past whose rapid disappearance is of concern to specialists and aficionados, both Indian and Western. The two institutions have put it online, in order to make it accessible to a wide public.

We hope that it will be extensively consulted and that it will contribute in further highlighting the rich architectural and iconographic heritage of South India.

« Vanishing Hope in Sri Lanka: Amrita Chandradas on Remembering »

Editor’s Note: Amrita Chandradas is a documentary photographer currently based in Singapore and working across Southeast Asia. In 2014 she won the prestigious “Top 30 Under 30” award by Magnum Photographs. In this exclusive article for Fox & Hedgehog she recounts the story of a trip to Sri Lanka to document the aftereffects of the civil war. You can view more of Amrita’s work on her website.

Sri Lanka—known for her pristine beaches, lush wild jungles, and exotic food—has successfully concealed a dark past of civil unrest and political instability for the last three decades. She is an island divided by twenty-six years of civil war between the Sri Lankan Military and the Tamil Tigers, one of the largest rebel guerrilla forces in the world. The Tigers, otherwise known as LTTE, are infamous for inventing suicide belts; they used women in suicide attacks and successfully assassinated two international political leaders. Sri Lankan society plunged into segregation during the year 1948 when she achieved her independence from the British.

to read more: http://foxhedgehog.com/2015/10/vanishing-hope-in-sri-lanka-amrita-chandradas-on-remembering/

« From Bullets to Ballots: The Face of Sri Lanka’s Former War Zone » by Amantha Perera

In four months’ time, Sri Lanka will mark the sixth anniversary of the end of its bloody civil conflict. Ever since government armed forces declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 19, 2009, the country has savored peace after a generation of war.

via: http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/01/from-bullets-to-ballots-the-face-of-sri-lankas-former-war-zone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=from-bullets-to-ballots-the-face-of-sri-lankas-former-war

« Remembering Lasantha six years on: Launch of photo-essays on Sri Lanka » by Groundviews

Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge‘s murder on 8th January 2009 was utterly horrible and yet, even more unforgettable was the Rajapaksa government’s reaction to it. Lasantha’s last editorial, published posthumously, didn’t mince words.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government’s sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended.

In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

Six years on, his killers remain at large.

To commemorate Lasantha’s death, Groundviews, in collaboration with The Picture Press and supported by Sri Lankans Without Borders, is pleased to release a set of three compelling investigative photo-essays, looking at Sri Lanka’s religious diversity as well as flagging to what extent it is under threat today.

As noted in the introduction to each photo essay, this content is « a tribute to a journalist whose brutal murder has impoverished us all, irrespective of whether we agreed with him or not… and also a tribute to Sri Lanka as it has always been and must continue to be – a rich, diverse, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. »

Click on the link to access each essay:

The photo essays use Microsoft’s new Sway platform, which is completely responsive and tailors the content to whatever browser you are viewing it from, from desktop to mobile.

« The tsunami: 10 years on » by Groundviews

Groundviews commissioned The Picture Press to capture through photography the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka on Boxing Day, 2004. As journalist Amantha Perera notes,

The tsunami took a dramatic toll on unsuspecting Sri Lankans – 35,322 were killed, half a million were displaced, and more than 100,000 houses were destroyed. Half of the damage struck areas had been hard-hit by a 21-year armed conflict, making access complex and politically charged. The country was left with a reconstruction bill of over US$3 billion and an unprecedented humanitarian challenge.

The 2004 tsunami keeps coming up as a key turning point in Sri Lanka and TPP was asked to interrogate to what extent it really influenced how ​the country deals with hazard warning and disaster risk recovery. Echoing more academic writing on ‘building back better’ TPP was also asked to look at how, and to what degree, we had recovered and learnt lessons from the 2004​ tsunami, going to the field and speaking with a range of individuals.

The first dozen photos from this project are published today. Another set will follow in the first quarter of 2015.

Best viewed in full screen, click here for more details or here to go directly to the feature. 

Click on photos for larger version.

source: Groundviews

« Koslanda landslide: Before and after images now on Google Earth » by Groundviews

Groundviews was able to obtain from Digital Globe imagery around the aftermath of the Koslanda landslide.

To download the KML file for Google Earth and see the imagery, click here.

For compelling on the ground photography around the landslide’s aftermath, clickhere.

« A Guide to Locating Photographs of Colonial Ceylon » by AISLS

AISLS is very pleased to announce the publication of A Guide to Locating Photographs of Colonial Ceylon, compiled by Benita Stambler, Coordinator of Asian Art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.  This guide documents over 50 collections held by non-profit institutions, businesses and individuals.  Links are provided to images that are held online.  An appendix gives a detailed account of the collection at Plâté in Colombo.

via: http://www.aisls.org/aisls-publishes-guide-to-locating-photographs-of-colonial-ceylon/

« Back on track! The Queen of Jaffna train rides again along 250-mile route 24 years after it was suspended during Sri Lankan civil war » by Anucyia Victor

Cheered by tens of thousands of people, a train decorated with banana trees and colorful flower garlands arrived in Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s northern Tamil heartland, 24 years after the ‘Queen of Jaffna’ was suspended due to a bloody civil war.

‘Yarl Devi,’ as it is known in Tamil, was once a popular mode of transport between the ethnic Tamil-majority north and the Sinhala-majority south. 

It was scaled back in 1990 because of the heightening of the war between the government and the Tamil Tigers, who were fighting to create an independent state for the country’s ethnic minority Tamils. 
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2790750/the-queen-jaffna-train-rides-24-years-suspended-sri-lankan-civil-war.html#ixzz3G9ZYZfjt
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via: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2790750/the-queen-jaffna-train-rides-24-years-suspended-sri-lankan-civil-war.html#i-94006d0429c756ed

« Thirsty Land, Hungry People » by Amantha Perera

« Gazing out over the parched earth of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, one might think these farmlands have not seen water in years. In fact, this is not too far from the truth. »

via: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/10/thirsty-land-hungry-people/

« In Pictures: Sri Lanka hit by religious riots » by Dinouk Colombage

In two days of rioting and looting four people have been killed, including a Tamil security guard, and 80 others injured, the majority being from the Muslim community. Over 60 homes and businesses were set on fire in the two days while several mosques were also damaged.

Despite the deployment of Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force the police were unable to control the mobs who numbered in the thousands according to eyewitness reports. Eventually the military was called in to restore order.

The towns, which were once tourist attractions, are now under the blanket of a military curfew with many Muslim residents fearing to return to their homes. Sinhala Buddhist families in the area have taken to marking their homes with the Buddhist flag in an attempt to ensure they are not caught up in the attacks.

via: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/06/pictures-sri-lanka-hit-religio-2014617112053394816.html

source: www.aljazeera.com

« Buddhist Hell, Sri Lanka – Gruesome Photos Banned By Facebook, Revealed » by Nate Robert

« Like me, you may have assumed Buddhism was such a happy religion. Until I discovered Buddhist Hell, deep in the South of Sri Lanka, I figured that Buddhist temples were full of kind, enlightened, robe-wearing folks, living out their days in this world performing good deeds, and getting a stack of good karma to boot. From a Western perspective, brand-Buddhism is pacifism, tranquility, and paying a hundred bucks to see the Shaolin Monks world tour, and being ripped off by Buddhist monks selling plastic beads. But wait, there’s more.

Unfortunately, visiting Sri Lanka, one of the most stunning island nations on the entire planet, has taught me everything I never wanted to know about Buddhism. Like all religions, Buddhism has a special dark place where people just don’t want to end up in this life, or any other. Buddhists refer to it as “Naraka” or “Niraya”. You may know it as “hell”. One artists vision of this tormented and gruesome place is on display inside the Buddhist temple named Wewurukannala Viharain the town named Dikwella. And the Buddhist version of hell, makes your version of hell seem like not such a terrible place.

Buddhists have developed a complex, and rather specific, number of hell’s and punishments. There’s sixteen hells. A small sample includes “Nirarbuda”, a place where miscreant beings roam around a dark, frozen plain surrounded by icy mountains, where bodies blister from the icy cold, and are covered in blood and pus.Or maybe “Samghata”, where the residents are continually crushed by huge rocks until they are nothing but a bloody jelly. The rocks then move apart, the being is restored, and the brutal process is repeated. For precisely 10.0368 trillion years »

via: http://www.yomadic.com/buddhist-hell/

source: www.yomadic.com