“Radical UNP and its New Constitutional Proposals: A Radical Farce?” by Kalana Senaratne

“In short, the UNP claims that it’s promising a radical future. What it seems to be promising rather is a radical farce. The UNP shows no meaningful hope in terms of radically changing the current political and constitutional framework governing the country. In fact, it seems to be mimicking the Rajapaksa-regime. What is necessary, it seems, is not a new leader for the UNP. What is required is an entirely different political formation; one which treats the UNP, not as an alternative force but as part of the current regime – for that’s what the UNP actually is.”

Read more here.
source: Groundviews

“The ascendent hate speech in Sri Lanka: In conversation with Mohamed Hisham” by Groundviews

Many Sri Lankans remain in denial about the horror of those years and resist calls to unearth (sometimes literally) the evidence. Some, obviously, are fearful that what they – or those close to them – did, or failed to do, will be exposed, while others may prefer to shy away from confronting the scale of suffering. The fact that certain leading figures in the government and opposition may be implicated has added to the pressure to let the past stay buried.
However this refusal to get to grips with what happened is not only unjust to the dead, the bereaved and the traumatised but may be largely to blame for the massive violence that has taken place in twenty-first century Sri Lanka and ongoing ethnic, religious and social divisions. What is more, all civilians are at risk when the state is regarded as unaccountable to anyone, able to torture, burn and kill with impunity.
See full interview here.
source: Groundviews

“The Asymmetric Relationship of Buddhist-Muslim Bond in Sri Lanka” by By Riza Yehiya

“Today, that certain segments of the media and some Buddhist clerics are spawning the thought that Islam and Muslims in Sri Lanka are a threat to Sinhalese Buddhism is a unique invention that no previous Buddhist scholars, leaders or laity have ever found. This is a foolish aspersion mocking  the intelligence of the people of this country.”

Read more here.

Source: Groundviews

“Gotabaya Rajapaksa and National Security: The Kotelawala Defence University lecture” by Thrishantha Nanayakkara

The secretary of defense once mentions that Sri Lanka is a “democratic nation with an extremely popular political leadership”, and then expresses fear of free public exchange of ideas! Why should an extremely popular leader in a truly democratic Nation be scared of free propagation of ideas? Did the cat jump out of the bag here? I urge the distinguished academics on the new MPhil/PhD Programme to study the role of pseudo-democracy in the deterioration of public security with a bold academic approach. In this regard, I refer the distinguished academics to a statement shown on the Roosevelt Memorial –  “they (who) seek to establish systems of Government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”
Click here for full article.
Source: Groundviews

“Viroda Vipakshaya, General Fonseka and early presidential stakes” by Harim Peiris

However, there are several important strategic political policy issues that General Fonseka and the democratic party particularly needs to decide on as it surveys the opposition landscape and explores its options, chooses its policies and decides on its course of action.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/06/13/viroda-vipakshaya-general-fonseka-and-early-presidential-stakes/

source: Groundviews

“Sri Lanka: After the world’s media has moved on” by Sanjana Hattotuwa

“As the Editor of Groundviews, I was invited by World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN/IFRA) to give a presentation on Sri Lanka at the 20th World Editors Forum (WEF) and the 65th World Newspaper Congress, held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.

As the only Sri Lankan invited to speak at the Forum, I focussed on challenges facing governance, human rights and democracy in Sri Lanka, over four years after the end of the war. I also spoke about the violence against independent media, and the culture of near total impunity against those who have killed, abducted, harmed, forced into exile and murdered journalists.”

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/06/06/sri-lanka-after-the-worlds-media-has-moved-on/

source: Groundviews

“Sumanthiran’s Choice” by Mahesan Niranjan

My challenge to Sumanthiran: Leave the TNA.

Recognize that the Tamil Nationalist politics has not made the lives of the Tamil people any better than in 1948. The way our nationalism was articulated has not won us any friends in the world. Promises made to the people, from “vote for us, we know how to get federalism” to “accept us as sole representatives, we will carve out a separate state in which milk and honey will flow” have been miserable failures. It is time to think outside the box than sing from the same old hymn sheet.

My challenge to the electorate in the South: Elect Sumanthiran to Parliament.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/06/01/sumanthirans-choice/

source: Groundviews

“Sri Lanka at a critical crossroad: JHU and the 13th Amendment” by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

If the bad guys win, the centre of gravity of Sri Lankan politics and society will shift still further to the right. It may even impact upon the choice of candidacy. If the neo-con project with its totalitarian notion of national security succeeds, the present dispensation will appear in a roseate afterglow as an era of tolerance and democracy.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/05/30/sri-lanka-at-a-critical-crossroad-jhu-and-the-13th-amendment/

source: Groundviews

“Reconciliation, Rights & Freedom: Four years after the end of war in Sri Lanka” By Ruki

“If the government wants to be serious about reconciliation, perhaps the best way to start is to provide credible answers about their family members to Sri Lankans who went to Geneva two months ago – to Dr. Manoharan, Sandya Ekneligoda, Sithi, and brother and sisters of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. So they don’t have to go to Geneva again. And also respond to those who went before the LLRC. And thousands of others who await answers to their complaints to Police, Human Rights Commission, Courts and previous Commissions of Inquiries. And to all those protesting on variety of grievances – such as political prisoners, families of those disappeared, people whose lands are occupied by the military.
If this will start happening, then maybe we can still dream of reconciliation, rights and freedom in our lifetime. And it will help Sri Lankan citizens and the world to feel that we are a civilized country that cares about all it’s citizens, especially minorities, vulnerable persons and those with dissenting views, and where rule of law prevails.”
Click here for full article.
source: Groundviews

“Freedom of assembly in post-war Sri Lanka” by Ruki

In the last twelve months, across Sri Lanka, students have been protesting, academics have been protesting, religious clergy have been protesting, women have been protesting, journalists have been protesting, lawyers have been protesting, health workers have been protesting, workers have been protesting. Even political prisoners have been protesting from inside the prisons. In the highly militarized war zones of the Northern Province, victims of land occupation, families of political prisoners, those disappeared and killed have been daring threats, intimidations and obstructions to engage in peaceful protests. In a few days, it is likely that at least a few people will once again commemorate the end of the war in a manner that will be different from the victory parades promoted by the government, resisting threats, intimidations and sabotage as experienced in the past. Even when their demands fall on deaf ears, their struggles will keep alive hopes for democracy and rights.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/05/16/freedom-of-assembly-in-post-war-sri-lanka/

source: Groundviews

“Sheep No More…” by SCT (Groundviews)

This evening (Friday, April 12th 2013) around 7.15pm on Havelock Road in front of the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi Building adjoining Laurie’s Road, I was reminded anew that there is no freedom in our land.

I am nearly 45 years old now, and for 30 long years, I have been reminded over and over again in different places, at different times that in many ways the citizens of Sri Lanka are trapped. We have been and still are, in fact increasingly so, trapped by our fear, our intolerance, our ignorance, our sheep like obedience, either to the powers that be or to our own desperate need to play safe and stay safe.

I am not a lawyer, a journalist, an academic or an activist. I am just an ordinary citizen who is sick of being intimidated by the forces that are empowered by us to protect us. I am tired of our short sighted, nepotistic governments, our corrupt politicians, our arrogant law enforcement officers, our extremist religious leaders, and our ignorant, complacent citizenry. I am just plain tired.

Read the article in full – http://groundviews.org/2013/04/13/sheep-no-more/

Source: Groundviews

“Police in Sri Lanka show their true saffron colors” by Groundviews

Clearly then, in Sri Lanka today, Buddhist “monks” destroying private property are kosher, but citizens attempting to light a candle, and walk peacefully in solidarity, are fit to be physically assaulted, hurled abuse at, arrested, intimidated and brutishly dispersed.

Our tweets and retweets are reproduced below, and include links to several Facebook status updates as well that clearly highlight fear, concern and opposition to what is now mainstream ethno-religious extremism, condoned by Police and with complete impunity, openly supported by Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government of Sri Lanka.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/04/13/police-in-sri-lanka-show-their-true-saffron-colours/

source: Groundviews

“#unlk: Archive and visualisation of tweets on Sri Lanka at HRC’s 22nd Session” by Groundviews

Groundviews archived every single tweet from Thursday, 21st February 2013 to Tuesday, 26th March 2013 with the #unlk hashtag.

There are 6056 tweets in the archive, which include retweets as well.

For data downloads, data visualisations and online archive access, see http://groundviews.org/2013/03/27/unlk-archive-and-visualisation-of-tweets-on-sri-lanka-at-hrcs-22nd-session/

source: Groundviews

“The Numbers Never Lie: A Comprehensive Assessment of Sri Lanka’s LLRC Progress” by Groundviews

Nearly four years since the end of the country’s civil war, Sri Lanka remains a divided, post-war society, as the ethnic conflict burns on. It has been fifteen months since the Final Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was made public. In July 2012, the GoSL released an Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations, yet little progress has been made on this front. Instead, a host of problems related to the judiciary, governance and militarization, among other issues continue to plague the island nation.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/03/14/the-numbers-never-lie-a-comprehensive-assessment-of-sri-lankas-llrc-progress

source: Groundviews