«  »I hated MGR’s politics but loved his cinema: Shobasakthi on his yearning to return to Sri Lanka, his political allegiances and why violence solves nothing » by Debesh Banerjee

« When Dheepan was announced as the winner of the coveted Palm D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film festival, it was its unlikely lead actor Jesuthasan Antonythasan, 47, who stole the limelight. Known in literary circles by his pen name Shobasakthi, he has written several short stories, political essays, and two novels in Tamil, the most recent being a collection of translated short stories, The MGR Murder Trial. A former LTTE child soldier, Shobasakthi’s own career graph bears close resemblance to the film’s lead character’s journey. Over a telephonic interview from Paris, Shobasakthi talks of his yearning to return to Sri Lanka, his political allegiances and why violence solves nothing. »

– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/i-hated-mgrs-politics-but-loved-his-cinema/#sthash.Ltny0gxx.dpuf

 

« The ‘Unfinished War’ Against Sri Lanka’s Tamils » by Taylor Dibbert

This is a well-written, timely document which underscores the grave and comprehensive challenges that ethnic Tamils continue to face in post-war Sri Lanka. The detailed accounts of torture and rape are difficult to read, but – aside from the horrific violations recounted – what really stands out is the comprehensive, wide-ranging and pernicious nature of Sri Lanka’s state security apparatus, which continues to operate with impunity.

see: http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/the-unfinished-war-against-sri-lankas-tamils/

« Ruminations after Colombo Pride: Why Queer Interest Litigation is Public Interest Litigation » by Michael Mendis

Exactly a month ago from today, the US Supreme Court’s holding, in Obergefell v. Hodges, seemed to give cause for celebration to many individuals, most of whom expressed solidarity through their profile picture on Facebook. Newsfeeds were abuzz with reports of how “gay marriage” had been legalised in America. However, the actual holding, in fact, amounted to an affirmation of two, far less controversial propositions of law regarding liberty and equality. Despite their simplicity, both those propositions are of incredible significance to ideals of democracy.

see: http://groundviews.org/2015/07/29/ruminations-after-colombo-pride-why-queer-interest-litigation-is-public-interest-litigation/

« Former Sri Lanka Leader Blames Others for Anti-Muslim Attacks »by Bhaaratha Mallawarachi / Associated Press

« Sri Lanka’s former strongman leader on Tuesday blamed unnamed conspirators for carrying out anti-Muslim attacks during his tenure as he tries to woo estranged minority communities in his comeback bid in next month’s parliamentary elections. »

see: http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/former-sri-lanka-leader-blames-others-for-anti-muslim-attacks.html

« Sri Lanka opposition says no autonomy for Tamils » by AFP

Sri Lanka’s main opposition party Tuesday scrapped a longstanding promise to give greater autonomy to minority Tamils, as it tries to win over hardline sections of the Sinhalese majority before a general election.

In its manifesto launched in Colombo, former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) said it would refuse to grant more powers to a local council in the Tamils’ northern heartland if it won the August 17 election

see:

« Ousted Sri Lankan Leader Angles for a Comeback » by Gordon Fairclough

For the ex-president, the election battle “is a fight for political survival,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo. “Rajapaksa Inc., the dynastic project, can’t stay out of power too long or it risks destruction.”

http://www.wsj.com/…/divisive-sri-lanka-leader-angles-for-a…

« Sri Lanka: New report names torture camps and perpetrators » by Athula Vithanage

« A security force insider has told ITJP researchers that military intelligence officials operating from JOSEF camp ‘were actively looking for any Tamils returning home from abroad in order to interrogate them’, since President Maithripala Sirisena was elected to office in 2015. ITJP has recorded eight accounts of torture and abuse that happened after January 8, 2015, the most recent in July 2015. »

see: http://www.jdslanka.org/index.php/news-features/human-rights/543-sri-lanka-new-report-names-torture-camps-and-perpetrators

« Sri Lanka justice: leaked UN document casts doubts » by Channel 4

A leaked UN document raises concerns over the prospects for genuine justice for the Sri Lankan victims of alleged war crimes.

Channel 4 News has been supplied with the leaked document which critics claim could pre-empt and undermine September’s Human Rights Council discussion on a UN’s long-awaited investigation into crimes committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war.

According to the UN tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died in the closing stages of the Sri Lankan military’s war against the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers.

The UN says most of those civilians died in government shelling as they were crammed into ever-diminishing « No Fire Zones » – though the Tamil Tigers are also alleged to have committed grave abuses including suicide bombings and the use of human shields.

see: http://www.channel4.com/news/sri-lanka-united-nations-justice-war-crimes-inquiry

« Don’t Ignore The Role Of Minor Opposition Parties » by Thrishantha Nanayakkara

This is the backdrop on which we are going for the general election in August 2015. Again, I want to stress on the significance of the minor party politics in the parliament. Whenever, a major party secured undue power, they chose to do divisive and Nationalistic politics brewing a polarization between North and the South. The antidote seems to be a strong minor party block that appreciates the need for good governance, rule of law, democracy, and National reconciliation. Traditionally, minor conventional leftist parties and the Muslim Congress have settled down to conform with the ruling party in exchange of ministerial positions. Therefore, that block should come from minor parties that have traditionally stood by their principles. Due to this reason, I would dream of that block to come from TNA and JVP with a strong will to defend above National priorities and to hold the major parties accountable for it, so that they will do more of that politics to win over the vote base of minor parties than doing more of Nationalistic and divisive politics. Having said that, I would strongly urge JVP to abandon their traditional tactics of waiting till a disaster happens to make their point, and to be a more active driving force in the opposition with determination to engage positively.

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/dont-ignore-the-role-of-minor-opposition-parties/

« TNA Manifesto – Full Text »

The TNA calls upon the voters in the electoral districts of Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara to unitedly and overwhelmingly exercise their franchise in favour of the TNA, contesting under the name of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi and the “House” symbol and thereby democratically endorse, to the fullest degree, policies of the TNA enunciated here in regard to vital issues of fundamental concern to the Tamil and Tamil speaking Peoples as set out in this Manifesto.

This Manifesto is issued by the TNA comprising of ITAK, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE.

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/tna-manifesto-full-text/

« Tamil Tiger Women: Through Selected Writings By Them » by Charles Sarvan

Under the Tamil Tigers, women enjoyed a rare degree of emancipation. They carried out the same duties, did the same work, suffered and died as their male comrades. They saw it as a challenge to prove they were as good, if not better, than the men and so deserved their new status as equals. In Malaimahal’s Puthiya Kathaikal (‘New Stories’), the Indian army for the very first time in its history battles an all-women unit. (Female Tiger units are known to have routed all-male government forces.) It is indeed a new story because it is about a new breed of women freed from the notions and constrains of conservative society. Words from the poem ‘Easter, 1916’ by Yeats come to mind: “All changed, changed utterly: / A terrible beauty is born”. (The Easter uprising was an attempt by the Irish to free themselves from British imperial rule but it couldn’t prevail against superior numbers and fire-power.) A mother is shocked that her daughter who as a child was even afraid to go out in the dark (presumably to the toilet) is now a Sea Tiger, wearing shorts and diving deep into the dark depths of the ocean. Another woman comments that the sea, outraged at this unbecoming behaviour by a woman, will surely storm and rage. In Pillai’s perceptive and tragic Malayalam novel of the 1950s, Chemmeen, the belief is recounted that the life of a fisherman far out at sea is in the hands of his wife ashore. Should she behave improperly, Kadalamma (literally, sea-mother, meaning the goddess of the sea) would visit vengeance on her husband. Such pseudo-religious beliefs were (are?) used by older folk to control the younger, particularly women. Patriarchy, supported by complicit, conservative and collaborative women, often disguises its drive to domination as religious piety and social propriety. As Louis Althusser showed, state and society maintain themselves through Ideology which includes religious belief. The exploited – in this case, females – are persuaded to believe in and support their own exploitation and subordination.

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/tamil-tiger-women-through-selected-writings-by-them/

see also: tamiltigerwomen.com

« JVP: A Collective Conscience & An Accord » by Sarath De Alwis

Bribery and Corruption has become pervasive with oppression and abuse of power threatening the democratic fabric. When taken in its harrowing entirety, it is clear that Sri Lanka is now in the grip of a social, economic, political and cultural crisis.

The JVP’s Accord with the nation’s conscience is a well-crafted document that transcends political purpose, reaching out to moral and intellectual discovery. It repudiates an ugly past. It is a denunciation of present mismanagement. It calls for a new polarisation of politics that will redefine the contours of free market economics.

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/jvp-a-collective-conscience-an-accord/

« Second Battle to Decide Rajapaksa’s Fate » by The New Indian Express

On top of it all, a recent survey by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) found that 58 per cent of Lankans were satisfied with the Sirisena regime. However, Rajapaksa hopes that quarrels over plums of office among the UNFGG MPs will enable him to use his skills in horse-trading and capture power eventually.

see: http://www.newindianexpress.com/editorials/Second-Battle-to-Decide-Rajapaksas-Fate/2015/07/27/article2941859.ece

« The ‘Unfinished War’ Against Sri Lanka’s Tamils » by Taylor Dibbert

This is a well-written, timely document which underscores the grave and comprehensive challenges that ethnic Tamils continue to face in post-war Sri Lanka. The detailed accounts of torture and rape are difficult to read, but – aside from the horrific violations recounted – what really stands out is the comprehensive, wide-ranging and pernicious nature of Sri Lanka’s state security apparatus, which continues to operate with impunity.

see: http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/the-unfinished-war-against-sri-lankas-tamils/