We would like to share this link to a video lecture, on the ancient Godavaya shipwreck near Hambantota, by Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi (CNRS Paris), presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013. His presentation includes extensive photos and maps that situate the Godavaya wreck in the larger context of Roman and South Indian maritime trade in the Indian Ocean.
In less than a week, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka will be facing the toughest political battle of his life as the country votes in the presidential elections on January 8. The Sinhala strongman, credited with ending a 30-year war against the separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009 was expected to have a cakewalk until one of his closest colleagues Maithripala Sirisena walked out of the ruling combine and mounted a credible challenge after the fragmented opposition rallied around him.
“I am very sad to say, that this politician is a callous thief. He stole 83 million rupees of Tsunami relief funds and used them for his personal gain.
The former Chief Justice has publicly apologized saying that the Helping Hambantota judgement, which he presided over and which protected that thief from conviction and ultimately jail, was the biggest mistake in his entire life. What right does this man have to speak of the people’s development and the country’s development? His achievements and energy over the last nine years have been spent only on own his family’s development and enrichment.”
And yet in the midst of the misery I witnessed in Sri Lanka was incredible generosity. Residents who had lost everything, who had seen horror beyond imagination, running up to us to offer a face mask to help cope with the unmistakeable stench of death, trying to give us a bottle of water.
The Editor of Vikalpa, Sampath Samarakoon, was mercilessly attacked by Hambantota Urban Council Chairman Eraj Frenando (of the toy pistol infamy) yesterday as he was taking part in a street drama with leading rights activists and artistes. A detailed report by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) around this incident can be read here. The Police arrested Eraj Fernando today in connection with the incident and remanded him till the 24th of December.
Groundviews caught up with Sampath upon his return to Colombo and recorded the following interview in Sinhala. You can also access the interview directly here. Key points made by Sampath during the interview are summarised in English below.