« Terror’s Lawfare » by Fathima Cader (The New Inquiry)

Reading Canada’s and Sri Lanka’s anti-terror acts reveals the need for comparative and cross-jurisdictional resistance to globally self-justifying discourses of “terror”

« LAST fall, when drafts first leaked of Sri Lanka’s new and draconian Counter Terrorism Act (CTA), the uproar was swift, but mostly contained to experts on the island. This should not have surprised me. Sri Lanka’s homegrown war on terror has only skimmed the surface of national security political commentary in the West. And yet, having recently returned from Sri Lanka to Canada, I was struck by the CTA’s similarities with Canada’s own new Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Across the two countries, the outcry from local activists resounded with echoes: both pointed out the many ways that the new laws dramatically extended and confused already nebulous state definitions of terrorism, casting dragnets over broad forms of dissent. These laws were unconstrained by borders; if we are to survive this era of war without end, our solidarities will need to be no less transnational. »

to read more see : https://thenewinquiry.com/terrors-lawfare/

« Tolerating religious intolerance » by Meera Srinivasan (The Hindu)

Developments unfolding in Sri Lanka over the last few weeks look ominously similar to those in 2013-14, when a surge in targeted attacks against minority Muslims and Christians went unchecked by the Rajapaksa administration. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella organisation for civil society groups, has recorded 25 attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned establishments since April, and the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka has reported over 40 incidents in 2017.

via : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/tolerating-religious-intolerance/article19141628.ece

« Limits of exclusivism » by Ahilan Kadirgamar (The Hindu)

The recent no-confidence motion in Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in Jaffna, moved by a section of the Council members against Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, has brought the deep divide in Tamil nationalist politics to the fore.

see: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/limits-of-exclusivism/article19136698.ece

The Launch of the Journal “City” a quarterly magazine of South Asian literature

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) cordially invites to the launch of the journal  “City” a quarterly magazine  of South Asian literature at the ICES Auditorium , 2, Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8 on Tuesday, July 11 at 4:30 pm . CITY a literary journal  in English, exploring the contemporary creative field in South Asia  in its many languages and styles.  In the new version of CITY (June 2017),  special section is dedicated to contemporary Sri Lankan writing in Sinhala, Tamil and English.

see : City Journal

« 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.

Sinhala Film Festival 2017 at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) has organized a Sinhala Film Festival  celebrating old and new films  at the ICES Auditorium, 2, Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8.     Following are the films to be screened at 430pm.

July 17 – Sath Samudra – Sri Gunasinghe

July 21 –  Delowak Athara – Lester James Peiris

July 28 –  Viragaya – Tissa Abeyesekera

Aug.4   –   Suddilage Kathawa – Dharmasiri Bandaranayake

Aug.11 –   Machang – Uberto Pasolini

Aug,18 –   Dadayama – Siri Gunasinghe

See: Sinhala Movie Classics 2017

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.

« 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


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…

a new online catalogue to access to the American Institute for Lankan Studies (Colombo) library

The American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (Colombo) announces the launch of a new online catalogue for their library, which holds a valuable collection of books useful for researchers and students working on Sri Lanka related subjects in the humanities and social sciences.

To search the library’s holdings, go to https://www.librarycat.org/lib/AISLS-Colombo

For information on the library’s location and hours, go to http://www.aisls.org/colombo/

« 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


Where is the Conscience of Human Rights?


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].


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.


Faculty Board Room

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


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

« To battle the demons within » by Meera Srinivasan

Meera Srinivasan’s op-ed on Jude Ratnam’s Demons in Paradise, a Sri Lankan documentary that examines the Tamil community’s internal struggles during the civil war that recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

« Though sceptical about whether many would be willing to screen or distribute the film, he is steeling himself to be labelled a “traitor” by many Tamils, as the LTTE and its supporters branded its critics within the Tamil society. ‘Not just in Sri Lanka, I want to ask film viewers in India, and particularly in Tamil Nadu, who shed tears for Eelam Tamils, if they have the courage to watch this film made by a Sri Lankan Tamil who lived here all through the years of war.' »

via: http://www.thehindu.com/…/to-battle-the…/article19049965.ece

few poems from In a Time of Burning by Cheran available online

A selection of poems by Cheran, one of the most important poets writing in Tamil today, charts the civil war in Sri Lanka of more than three decades, and its aftermath are available for free.
Via: https://issuu.com/arcpublications/docs/cheran_for_issuu_eadefe61ec0982

source : issuu.com