“‘Flying Fish’ and the Constriction of the Arts in Sri Lanka” by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

State propaganda also has it that the film Flying Fish is not in consonance with the country’s culture. Where is that culture codified? Who decides on what the country’s culture is and isn’t and who gave them the mandate to do so? What kind of culture would it be if the arts are suppressed? How can one conceive of culture without the arts and art without the freedom of the artist to create? One can well imagine the fate of the Sigirya and the Isurumuniya art if these Taliban-type cultural police had served in ancient times.

Has Martial Law been declared in the Arts in Sri Lanka? If the ‘Defence authorities’ whatever that may mean, exercise a veto over the arts, what do they NOT exercise a veto over in civic life? Where do they get the Constitutional and legal right to do so? How does one classify a society in which such a de facto veto exists? Behind an increasingly illiberal democracy are we headed to the type of ‘mixed regime’ which in Latin America of the 1970s was termed a ‘State of National Security’ or a ‘civilian–military junta’? Is a ‘civilian–military junta’ already operating alongside or within the democratic state; more manifest in the former conflict zones but increasingly influential in the island as a whole?

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/07/19/flying-fish-and-the-constriction-of-the-arts-in-sri-lanka/

source: Groundviews

“Citizen Journalism and the Numbers Game” by Padraig Colman (Groundviews)

How do we strike a balance between remembering and the infantile abuse that too depressingly often passes for comment on the websites of newspapers? How do we contrive a discourse that notes the mistakes of the past without allowing the armchair conflict junkies to encourage further mistakes to be made?

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/07/15/citizen-journalism-and-the-numbers-game/

source: Groundviews

“French Film Festival Organised By French Embassy Is Suspended By BMICH” by Colombo Telegraph

“The French Film Festival organised by the French Embassy and the Alliance Francaise de Kotte at the BMICH has been suspended by the Board of Management of the Bandaranaike National Memorial Foundation with immediate effect on account of the contents of and the sentiments contained in the Sinhala film, “Igilena Maluwao” ( Flying Fish) which however was certified  as suitable for screening by the Public Performance Board, and screened on the 11th July in Commitee Room B of the BMICH” says the BMICH

via: http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/french-film-festival-organised-by-french-embassy-is-suspended-by-bmich/

source: Colombo Telegraph

“Enduring Violence: Everyday Life and Conflict in Eastern Sri Lanka” by Rebecca Walker

Book Description

Located in the war-torn eastern province of Sri Lanka, this book provides a rich ethnography of how Tamil-speaking communities in Batticaloa live through and make sense of a violence that shapes everyday life itself. The core of the book comes from the author’s two-year close interaction with a group of (mainly women) human rights activists in the area. The book describes how the activists work in clandestine, informal ways to support families whose loved ones have been threatened, disappeared or killed and how they build networks of trust within the context of everyday violence. As Sri Lanka faces up to the enormity of the task of ‘post-war reconciliation’, this book aims to create a wider conversation about grief, resistance and healing in the context of violence and its long afterlife.

Rebecca Walker is a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

reference: Walke R., 2013, Enduring Violence: Everyday Life and Conflict in Eastern Sri Lanka, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 256 p.

Banned Press Conference Outside The Campus: Release The Student Leader – FUTA

FUTA had a press conference today (11th July 2013) at University of Colombo to condemn the arrest of Mr. Sanjeewa Bandara, Convenor/IUSF and Rev. Kimbulwewa Chandananda, Convenor/Eksath Bhikku Peramuna.

It is worthy to mention you that media was not allowed to enter the University premises by the security personals after instructions given by University administration (although UGC Circular 890 was relaxed after the trade union action). Therefore FUTA (Nirmal, myself, Krisantha Fedricks, Pavithra and Vivimarie) decided to have the press conference inside the gate of university premises but outdoor near the security gate of the entrance of the Planetarium. The press release is herewith attached for your information.

Read more;

sources: FUTA and Colombo Telegraph.com

“Prince Salie: A story of sapphires and steamships” by Ramla Wahab (Groundviews)

“Mohammed Usuff Mohammed Salie was born in 1877. He was the grandson of Mohamed Usuff, the Alim of the Kandawatte mosque in Galle, who was responsible for handwriting a Quran he knew by memory for his mosque.

Prince Salie was sent at a young age to Madras for his religious education. Like generations before and after him he learned to speak in the Arwi tongue, more commonly known as Arabo-Tamil which is a written register of the Tamil language that uses an Arabic alphabet. The language was an outcome of the cultural synthesis between seafaring Arabs and Tamil speaking Muslims of Sri Lanka.”

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/07/11/prince-salie-a-story-of-sapphires-and-steamships/

source: Groundviews

“Emerging Voices: Ruth Canagarajah on Post-War Land Grabs in Sri Lanka” by Development Channel Staff

“Farmers that I spoke with in the small northern town of Tellippalai note that ever since they were forcibly displaced by the military, their lives have been in a constant state of flux: moving around the countryside, interrupting their children’s schooling; cultivating small plots offered by nearby neighbors; and remaining unable to accumulate physical assets due to numerous relocations. Decreases in relief funds over the last three years and inadequate to nonexistent government compensation have made matters worse.”

Via http://blogs.cfr.org/development-channel/2013/07/09/emerging-voices-ruth-canagarajah-on-post-war-land-grabs-in-sri-lanka/?cid=partner_site-devex

source: Development Channel

Garrett Field on “The Sinhala Radio Opera and the Indian Cultural Imagination” (Island.lk)

I are happy to share this transcript of an informative lecture on modern Sinhala music by Garrett Field.  It was publsihed this week and last in “The Island.”  The drawback for those of us who can only read the lecture as printed in “The Island” is that we cannot hear the samples of music that were part of the lecture and which are mentioned in it.

The lecture here can be found on the website of “The Island:”



Sources: Island.lk (via AISLS)

“The Political Economy of Post-War Sri Lanka” by Sunil Bastian, in ICES Research Paper: 07

Reconciliation: From Invoking to Understanding 
The International Centre for Ethnic Studies is pleased to announce the launch of Research Paper No: 07  on the theme of Post War Reconciliation titled, The Political Economy of Post-War Sri Lanka by Sunil Bastian.

Post-war ideological debates on managing state-society relations are dominated by a notion of ‘development and reconciliation’. The discourse of development and reconciliation assumes that Sri Lanka is in a post-conflict situation, and the end of the war provides the country with an opportunity for a new beginning. It goes on to argue that development and reconciliation should be the prime objectives for this new beginning. This discourse wants to forget the war, how it ended and the implications of these events especially on the nature of the state in Sri Lanka. The defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 has consolidated the juridical entity called the Sri Lankan state through military means, while stability created through military means has created a better condition for deepening of capitalist relations. North and East have been incorporated into this process. Deepening capitalist relations in post-war Sri Lanka will accentuate the social contradictions associated with capitalist development, and add a new dimension to problems of state-society relations. The paper looks at this in four policy areas: land policy, economic exploitation of the North and East, labour policy and inequality. The social outcomes of these will supplement creeping authoritarianism and the unresolved national question as major issues that we need to focus on in understanding state-society relations in post-war Sri Lanka.

You can download this paper as a PDF document via the following links:

Box: PDF (Non-Facebook users)
Scribd: PDF

source: ICES

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) is an independent, not-for-profit research centre based in Sri Lanka. ICES was established in 1982 with a mission to deepen the understanding of ethnicity, equality, identity politics and conflict, and to foster the  conditions for an inclusive, just and peaceful society through  research, publication, dialogue, creative expression and knowledge transfer.

2, Kynsey Terrace,
Colombo 8, Sri Lanka
T:+94-11-2679745/ 2674884

554/6A, Peradeniya Road,
Mulgampola (Kandy), Sri Lanka
T:+ 94-81-2234892/ 2232381


“POLL: The sexism in Sri Lanka’s Parliament” by Groundviews

Sri Lanka’s Parliament has an ignoble track record of sexism. In June, the entire country was shamed by its inclusion in the Guardian’s Top 10 sexist moments in politics, anchored to an offensive comment by the Rajapaksa regime’s Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama against fellow MP Rosy Senanayake.
Not to be outdone, we now have the Speaker of Parliament, Chamal Rajapaksa (brother of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa) reported in web media noting that women taking the lead sometimes obstructs work in progress and furthermore that they also impede justice.
One recalls that Sri Lanka’s first female Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, was unceremoniously ousted earlier this year by the Rajapaksa regime (read The devastating impeachment of the Chief Justice in Sri Lanka: Interview with Asanga Welikala).
What do you think about the Speaker’s sexist comments?

Take the Groundviews poll here.

source: Groundviews

“Northern Provincial Council: Prudence prevails for now” by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka (Groundviews)

The hubris of having defeated the LTTE must not delude us into thinking that we won a war against the source of the Indo-Lanka Accord. We must recognise the limits of our victory. We must also recognise the limits of our power.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/07/06/northern-provincial-council-prudence-prevails-for-now/

source: Groundviews

“Sri Lankan Buddhists to carry out the law” by AlJazeeraEnglish

There’s growing tension between hardline buddhists and Muslims and Christians. A group of Buddhist organizations in Sri Lanka says they will have to take the law into their own hands to protect the Sinhala Buddhist way of life. They say authorities are not doing enough, leaving them little choice. Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez reports from Colombo.

Via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9rmAQgl-w8

source: AlJazeeraEnglish via Youtube.com

Les premiers avis de la presse sur INI AVAN et liste des salles qui projettent le film en France


Le film d’Asoka Handagama, INI AVAN – CELUI QUI REVIENT, sort en salle ce mercredi 10 juillet, à PARIS (Reflet Médicis – mercredi 10 juillet : séance à 20h30 avec débat, Les 7 Parnassiens), BORDEAUX (Utopia Saint Simeon), LYON (CNP Bellecour), MARSEILLE (Variétés) et TOURS (Studio).

Et prochainement à TOULOUSE (le 17 juillet), ROUEN (le 24 juillet), NANTESAIX et NANCY (le 31 juillet), BREST et SALON DE PROVENCE (le 7 août), HEROUVILLE et METZ (le 14 août), QUIMPER et MULHOUSE (le 28 août), ANNECY (le 4 septembre), en région parisienne (Saint Ouen, Noisiel…) à partir du 11 septembre…


Et ne manquez pas sur France 2, le jeudi 11 juillet : SRI LANKA, UN PARADIS EN EAUX TROUBLES


Les premiers avis de la presse sur INI AVAN


Un mélange de tragédie et de fantaisie, de mélancolie et d’humour […] la très grande beauté plastique de la mise en scène.

Voilà bien la force de l’art : transformer une réalité qui nous est étrangère en forme qui nous touche intimement.


Le film est comme son héros, direct. [Une] mise en scène de regards, de face à face des personnages.


[Asoka Handagama] montre aussi subtilement que puissamment ces fantômes du passé qui ressurgissent.


Asoka Handagama tient la barre d’un cinéma formellement inventif et affrontant la réalité sociale et politique de son pays.


Le film distille une réalité sri lankaise méconnue et offre à une femme tenace un rôle d’ange rédempteur.


“Ini Avan – Celui qui revient” décrit avec délicatesse le malaise d’un temps de paix,

quand le traumatisme d’un vain conflit imprègne et corrompt toujours les relations sociales.


Asoka Handagama est un auteur moderne et efficace dont il faudra désormais surveiller l’œuvre.

Pour aller plus loin

Le site du cinéaste et du film : www.asokahandagama.fr

La page Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/heliotropefilms

Le site de l’ACOR

Le site de L’Observatoire du Sri Lanka et des diasporas

Références bibliographiques:

MEYER E., 2001, Sri Lanka entre particularismes et  mondialisation.  Paris, La Documentation Française, coll. Asie Plurielle

MADAVAN D., (2007), Jaffna et le conflit intercommunautaire à Sri Lanka, Paris: PRODIG/Collection Grafigéo, p.88 http://slkdiaspo.hypotheses.org/477

MADAVAN D., DEQUIREZ G., MEYER E. (eds), 2011, Les communautés tamoules et le conflit sri lankais, Paris: L’Harmattan

MADAVAN D., 2011, «Géographie des ‘espaces refuges’ des Tamouls jaffnais depuis le début de la guerre à Sri Lanka», in Madavan D. et al. (eds), Les communautés tamoules et le conflit sri lankais, Paris: L’Harmattan, 15-44

MADAVAN D., 2011, «Geography of ‘Refuge Spaces’ of Jaffnese Since the Beguinning of the War in Sri Lanka», in Géographie de la ville en guerre  http://geographie-ville-en-guerre.blogspot.fr/2011/07/geographie-des-espaces-refuges-des.html                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

MADAVAN D., (2011), «Déségrégation socio-religieuse d’une ville dans l’immédiat après guerre : Jaffna, Sri Lanka» in Carnets de géographes, n°2, mars 2011, Rubrique Carnets de recherches http://www.carnetsdegeographes.org/carnets_recherches/rech_02_04_Madavan.php



Laurent Aléonard – HELIOTROPE FILMS

lad-heliotrope@noos.fr – Tél. : 06 30 07 23 09

“Canadian facing U.S. terrorism charges pleads guilty to aiding Tamil Tigers” by Adrian Humphreys

“On Tuesday afternoon, in a near-empty courtroom in Brooklyn, Suresh Sriskandarajah admitted he provided support to the Tigers knowing it was designated as a terrorist group, saying he met his co-accuseds while visiting Sri Lanka.”

via: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/02/canadian-facing-u-s-terrorism-charges-pleads-guilty-to-aiding-tamil-tigers/


source: http://news.nationalpost.com