When it is pointed out that Sri Lanka has, in fact, never experienced an act of violence attributable to Islamists, and that at this rate of conversion it will take the island’s Muslims about 10,000 years to convert the rest of its 21m inhabitants, Mr Gnanasara simply shrugs. His hoard of evidence does not really need to add up. In Sri Lanka, as across most of South Asia, surprisingly large numbers of people among groups that enjoy overwhelming numerical superiority seem eager to convince themselves that their identity is somehow in mortal danger.
« Friday et Friday » de Antonythasan Jesuthasan alias Shobasakthi.
Nouvelles traduites du tamoul (Sri Lanka) par Faustine Imbert-Vier,
Élisabeth Sethupathy, et Farhaan Wahab
Une enfance à Allaipiddy, au nord de Sri Lanka, la guérilla tamoule, l’errance, l’exil en France… Autant de motifs et de personnages qui habitent l’œuvre d’Antonythasan Jesuthasan : Diana la Ronde, pétrifiée par le bruit des bombes, qui remue ciel et terre pour obtenir son abri ; Pratheeban, le demandeur d’asile, floué pour une poignée de kilomètres ; les 37 Mouvements de rébellion, bien décidés à se tailler la part du lion ; Layla, la petite dame du numéro 7, que son nom de code – Oiseau jaune – finit par trahir, ou encore le chevalier de Kandi, condamné à devenir un coq en pâte aux frais du Comité central.
À travers tous ces portraits, c’est aussi celui du narrateur qui se dessine, tout en humour et en finesse – le roman d’une vie, le miroir d’une âme et d’un peuple qui sait que c’est parfois en perdant de vue le rivage que le cœur se remet à flot.
A propos de l’auteur
Si l’on connaît son visage grâce au superbe Dheepan de Jacques Audiard (Palme d’or à Cannes en 2015) dont il est l’acteur principal, Antonythasan Jesuthasan est surtout écrivain reconnu – auteur de quatre romans, plusieurs recueils de nouvelles et de nombreux essais, pièces de théâtre et scénarios.
Antonythasan Jesuthasan – alias Shobasakthi – est né en 1967 à Allaipiddy, un village à l’extrême nord de Sri Lanka. Ancien enfant soldat du Mouvement de libération des Tigres tamouls, il arrive en France en 1993 où il obtient l’asile politique. Il vit désormais à Paris.
Son œuvre est traduite pour la première fois en français. L’adaptation cinématographique de la magnifique nouvelle Friday, qui se déroule dans la communauté tamoule du quartier de la Chapelle, à Paris, est en cours de réalisation.
Le dossier de presse du livre est accessible à travers ce lien : dossier_presse-572162dp-mars-18pdf
Une première revue du livre a été rédigé par Véronique-Atasi et peut-être lu sur son blog atasi.over-blog.com
Pour plus d’information, vous pouvez consulter le site de la maison d’édition Zulma qui a publié Friday and Friday.
The International Movement of Tamil Culture (Sri Lanka chapter) in association with the University of Jaffna will be holding a two-day special conference on ‘Challenges and Initiatives of Tamil Language and Culture’ at the University premises on August 5 and 6.
Written using the voice of Zehra Hashmi, an ethnographic narrative examines caste in transition in Jaffna, centred around a Vel.l.āl.ar family that lived in the peninsula throughout the duration of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which came to an end in May 2009. Based on field research and interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013, the authors find that interlocutors struggle to make meaning of post-war changes.
Editor’s Note: Amrita Chandradas is a documentary photographer currently based in Singapore and working across Southeast Asia. In 2014 she won the prestigious “Top 30 Under 30” award by Magnum Photographs. In this exclusive article for Fox & Hedgehog she recounts the story of a trip to Sri Lanka to document the aftereffects of the civil war. You can view more of Amrita’s work on her website.
Sri Lanka—known for her pristine beaches, lush wild jungles, and exotic food—has successfully concealed a dark past of civil unrest and political instability for the last three decades. She is an island divided by twenty-six years of civil war between the Sri Lankan Military and the Tamil Tigers, one of the largest rebel guerrilla forces in the world. The Tigers, otherwise known as LTTE, are infamous for inventing suicide belts; they used women in suicide attacks and successfully assassinated two international political leaders. Sri Lankan society plunged into segregation during the year 1948 when she achieved her independence from the British.
6,151 Candidates from 21 registered political parties and 201 independent groups are contesting the Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections scheduled for August 17th 2015. Of these 3, 653 are from the 21 parties and 2,498 from independent groups. Predictably the spotlight in general has been on the major political parties both nationally and regionally in g. However a particular group of independents contesting in the north has also attracted much attention. This is because the group comprises former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
« The election campaign of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF: Gajen Ponnambalam’s new outfit) in the North-East has re-animated the discussions on the political solution to the national question. While the major political parties in the South have rejected federalism, the federal solutions presented by these two fronts include the recognition of the Tamils as a nation or a nationality, their right to self-determination and the merged north-east of Sri Lanka as their homelands. »
‘During the war, many Tamils fled the north and settled abroad or in other regions of the island. Since the end of the war, many of them have wanted to return and reclaim their land. However, the army has other plans: the appropriated estates have become
Military Camps, High Security Zones (HSZ) or Special Economic Zones (SEZ).’
CPA’s extensive work on land issues that has been referenced in this report can be accessed here http://bit.ly/1EgJoEp
« The road blocks and military checkpoints are gone, and the restrictions on foreign tourists and journalists visiting the area have been lifted.
But the mostly Tamil residents of Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna peninsula say much more still needs to be done to heal the wounds of a long civil war — and they are pinning their hopes on an upcoming general election.
Jaffna voted overwhelmingly in January’s presidential election to oust the strongman incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse, who maintained de facto martial law in the region. »
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 also: tamiltigerwomen.com
The emergence and sharpening of Tamil nationalism from the 1940s to the 1980s is a complex tale which cannot be easily summarized in a few strokes. It is a tale of Sinhala extremism at one pole and Tamil extremism at the other pole feeding off each other. At the same time, the divisions within each extreme (that is, the existence of several competing parties with chauvinist positions) disabled steps towards moderation. Moreover, this major strand of political contestation – the Sinhala/Tamil divide — was complicated by strands of Leftist and Naxalite thinking that encouraged both Sinhalese and Tamil youth to move towards revolutionary struggle.
The Jaffna electoral district in the Northern Province has witnessed a sharp drop of over 25 per cent in the number of voters
Sri Lanka, a palm-fringed island in the Indian Ocean, is in the sixth year of peace. But as the country prepares for elections in August, the legacy of its long civil war still casts a shadow.
The intervening years have been especially painful for the families of the thousands who disappeared in three decades of conflict and remain unaccounted for.
The trauma endures in the fishing village of Mannar in the Northern Province, where most of the fighting unfolded between the Tamil rebels and the government forces. Residents say men were snatched off the streets « in broad daylight, » bundled into vans, and never seen again.
As many as 2,175 internally displaced Tamil families in Jaffna and Trincomalee districts are set to receive a financial assistance of Rs. 38,000 per family for resettlement with the Cabinet of the Sri Lankan government sanctioning Rs. 16 crore Lankan.
The UN Human Rights Commission’s decision to investigate violations and the huge loss of life during the last months of the war concluded in 2009 was a significant victory for the victims.
The dignity of the victims required that the truth must be told without fear or favour, and processes of justice and restoration set in motion. And the wrong was not all on one side.
Dignity also demands that we await the verdict of the judges with restraint and reverence for the name of justice.
But in Jaffna, all hell broke loose over the coming UNHRC report in an orgy of mud-slinging, recrimination and effigy burning for Tamil leadership spoils.
Some academics in Jaffna University led by taking on themselves the task of identifying and upbraiding ‘traitors to the race’ in a return to dangerous heroics. MPs Sampanthan and Sumanthiran were excoriated for attending the Independence Day function.
The first shot in virtually christening the coming UN report a ‘genocide report’ was fired by Northern Chief Minister Justice Wigneswaran on 10th February 2015 in the Provincial Council resolution he advanced.
The opinion held by a sizeable portion of the university teachers was not to politicise the coming UN report, so as to allow Sinhalese to read it with an open mind. There was no opposition to delay, as requested by the new government. But this moderate stance got lost in the rush of events. It was presented to the media on 13th February as the University Teachers demanding the release of the report as scheduled in March. »