« Témoin des violences civiles survenues à Colombo à la fin du mois de juillet 1983 » par Vincent Faugère

Ces photos ont été prises à Colombo à la fin du mois de juillet 1983, dans le secteur de la gare ferroviaire. A cette époque, je voyageais, avec mon père, à Sri Lanka et dans le sud de l’Inde. J’avais 15 ans. Nous étions arrivés dans l’île le 2 juillet, par avion, en provenance de Paris. Au début de ce même mois, nous étions à Weligama quand nous avons été victimes du vol de nos papiers. Nous avons ainsi dû revenir à Colombo, et ce à plusieurs reprises, pour des raisons administratives.
Un journal de bord, tenu durant ce voyage, me permet de retracer en toute petite partie les événements dont nous avons été témoins pendant ces quelques jours. La situation était confuse et il ne m’en reste que de lointains souvenirs. Une chose est sûre : la ville était en proie à des violences. Un couvre-feu était décrété. Des Tamouls étaient tués et des trains bondés fuyaient la capitale.
Lundi 25 juillet. Nous arrivons en train dans la gare de Colombo-Fort envahie par la foule. Dehors, des incendies toujours en cours témoignent des violences commises à l’encontre des Tamouls. Tous les commerces sont fermés. Un couvre-feu est décrété et nous sommes contraints de rester et de dormir dans la gare, ce que nous ferons également les jours suivants.
Mardi 26 juillet. Toute la ville est déserte et silencieuse. On peut voir des échoppes et des bâtiments mis à sac, détruits, brûlés.
Mercredi 27 juillet. La vie reprend partiellement. Des queues se forment devant les quelques magasins ouverts. Il est très difficile de trouver de quoi se nourrir. Vers 15 heures, toutes les boutiques ferment et les rues se vident de nouveau. De même, la gare est presque déserte.
Jeudi 28 juillet. Dans la matinée, la gare est envahie par la foule. Aux alentours de 10 heures, sept Tamouls sont tués à coup de pierre par des civils et leurs corps sont mis à feu devant des milliers de spectateurs impassibles. L’Armée et la Marine interviennent et font évacuer la gare. Vers 15 heures, nous sommes interpellés par la police, ainsi qu’un groupe de touristes de six nationalités qui a, comme nous, trouvé refuge dans la gare. Les forces de l’ordre nous réclament les pellicules de nos appareils photos. Face à notre refus, nous sommes emmenés au poste de police. Nous réussissons à dissimuler une partie de nos pellicules. Nous sommes finalement transportés en camion, avec  quatre personnes tamoules, dans un camp de réfugiés. On nous sert un repas et nous repartons aussitôt. Nous roulons dans la ville déserte. Les quatre Tamouls sont déposés, pour la nuit, dans un collège catholique. Quant à nous, nous sommes conduits jusqu’à une auberge de jeunesse, dans le quartier de Bambalapitiya.
Vendredi 29 juillet. Nous sommes de retour à la gare de Colombo-Fort vers 7 heures. Dans la matinée, on assiste à d’importants mouvements de foule. Les gens courent dans les rues et fuient un danger qui reste invisible. On entend des coups de feu au loin. Des soldats et des policiers patrouillent devant la gare. Il se dit qu’un commando tamoul prépare une attaque. Mais aucun assaut n’a lieu. Nous quittons Colombo en train ce jour-là, en direction de Negombo.
Voilà ce que je peux dire aujourd’hui de ces quelques jours passés à Colombo lors de ce Juillet Noir. Nous avons poursuivi notre voyage dans l’île jusqu’à la fin du mois d’août, sans incident grave, en essayant d’éviter les zones de tension. A plusieurs reprises cependant, nous avons été arrêtés par des militaires et des policiers qui braquaient leurs armes sur nous. Dans les villes, le couvre-feu était souvent de rigueur. Durant ce séjour, nous nous sommes également rendus dans le Tamil Nadu indien, en avion depuis Colombo, les liaisons par mer depuis Talaimannar étant coupées.
Vincent Faugère
Copyright pour toutes les photographies : Vincent Faugère

« unpublished photographs taken by a French tourist during the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 » by Vincent Faugère

We warmly thank Vincent Faugère for allowing us to upload unpublished photographs he took during the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983. Vincent Faugère came with his father to visit Sri Lanka in July 1983. He was then 15 years old. It happened that Vincent and his father were in Colombo when Tamil people were killed and chased from the town.

The photographs Vincent shares here were shot between july 26th and 29th, 1983, around Colombo railways station. He knows that from the travel notebook he had been writing  at this time.
Copyright for all photographs : Vincent Faugère

Table ronde sur Sri Lanka à Edimbourg

Une table ronde consacrée à la situation politique et sociale actuelle de Sri Lanka est organisée à Edimbourg le 26 et 27 mai 2016 par Jonathan Spencer, professeur d’anthropologie à l’Université.
Nous reproduisons ci-dessous le programme provisoire de ces journées d’étude:

Sri Lanka Roundtable (DRAFT PROGRAMME)
Edinburgh 26-27 May, 2016

Thursday 26 May, Techcube, Summerhall (t.b.c)
9.00-9.15 Introduction and welcome
9.15-11.00 Youth and war Isabelle Clark-Decès (Princeton), Youth in the cultural politics of contemporary Jaffna
Dhana Hughes (Durham), Sinhala Youth and Military Enlistment
Giacomo Mantovan (CEIAS/CRH, EHESS) “They were kings…” The farewell to arms of former Tamil Tiger fighters in exile in France
Giyani Venya De Silva (Oxford) Living with continuity, waiting for change: commentaries from students in Colombo
11.00-11.15 Coffee
11.15-12.45 Gender Asha Abeysekera (Colombo) Balancing Modernity and Morality in the Sinhala-Buddhist Family Exploring the Rhetoric of Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism
Kristine Hoglund (Uppsalla) Gender and the Pursuit of Justice in Sri Lanka: Testimonies of Peace and Conflict
Jayanthi Lingam (SOAS) Gendered working lives in the post-war transition in Jaffna district, 2009-14
12.45-1.30 Lunch
1.30-3.00 Justice and Security Georg Frerks (Utrecht), Rajapakse’s Peace’: The President’s discourse on the post-war situation in Sri Lanka (2009-2015)
Ali Brown (Amsterdam), Human Security in the Era of Sirasena
Gerrit Kurtz (KCL), The evolution of post-war transitional justice in Sri Lanka
3.00-3.15 Tea
3.15-5.00 Transitional Justice and Constitutional Reform: State of Play and Future Prospects Harini Amarasuriya (Open University and Public Representations Committee on Constitutional reform), Alan Keenan (international Crisis Group), Asanga Welikala (CPA and University of Edinburgh), with Christine Bell (University of Edinburgh)
6.00-7.00
7.30 Dinner, Mother India, Infirmary Street

Friday 27 May, Seminar Rooms 1 and 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building
Please note, in the morning we will split the space to run parallel panels in the two rooms. In the afternoon, we will open up the two rooms for our final plenary sessions.

9.00-9.15 Introduction and welcome
9.15-10.45 Work and Livelihoods (Seminar Room 1) Urs Geiser (Zurich)The making of control over land in Wattamadu – local organisations, engaging the state, changing conjunctures
Charles Wilkinson and Maura van den Kommer
(Amsterdam) Living the Uncertainty: Exploring the Effects of the EU Ban on Sri Lankan Fisheries
Joeri Scholtens and Maarten Bavinck (Amsterdam) Facilitating change from the bottom-up? Reflections on civil society efforts to empower marginalized fishers in post-war Sri Lanka
Religion and transition (Seminar Room 2) Mahinda Deegalle (Bath Spa) The Vision and Leadership of the Architect of Yahapālanaya: Venerable Māduluwāwe Sobhita’s Exemplary Role in the Political Transition of Sri Lanka in 2015
Neena Mahadev (Max Planck) Notes on contemporary religio-economic linkages between Sri Lankan & Singapore
Dominic Esler (UCL) Northern Tamil society after the war: the revival of Catholic kūttu in Mannar
10.45-11.15 Coffee
11.15-12.45 Work and Politics (Seminar Room 1) Sandya Hewamanne (Essex) Neoliberalism’s New Recruits: Tamil Workers, Human Rights Thrashings and ‘Mundane’ Politics in Post-War Sri Lanka
Mythri Jegathesan (Santa Clara) Is a progressive politics possible? Examining the contemporary intersections of industrial sustainability and political shifts in Sri Lanka’s plantation sector
Darshi Thoradeniya (Heidelberg/Colombo) Women Citizens in Welfare State of Sri Lanka
Past and present (Seminar Room 2) Deborah Winslow (NSF) Contexts of Caste
Alessandra Radicati (LSE) Precarious Patriots: Reflections on Past, Present and Future in a Coastal Community
Carolina Holgersson Ivarsson (Gothenburg), Religious identity, nationalism and social media among Sinhala-Buddhist youth
12.45-1.30 Lunch
1.30-3.30 Borders and Margins Vagisha Gunasekara,
Prashanthi Rasadhari Jayasekara,
Gayathri Hiroshani, Hallinne Lokuge,
Aftab Lall (Centre for Poverty Analysis, Colombo), Production of Marginality: Findings from a six-year research programme on basic services, social protection and livelihoods in the North and East
Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS/Melbourne), Vagisha Gunasekera (CEPA), Alice Kern (Zurich) and Thiruni Kelegama (Zurich), with Rajesh Venugopal (LSE), discussant, Sri Lanka’s borderlands and frontiers
3.30-3.45 Tea
3.45-5.30 Writing War and After Sunila Galappatti will read from her new book, A Long Watch: War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka, and V.V. (Sugi) Ganeshananthanan will read from her work in progress, The Missing are Considered Dead.

Also in attendance (participating but not presenting): Ashwini Vasanthakumar
(York), Dennis McGilvray (Colorado), Anne Blackburn (Cornell), Rose Fernando (Utrecht), Niels Terpstra (Utrecht), Eric Meyer (INALGO, Paris), Oivind Fuglerud (Oslo), R.L. (Jock) Stirrat (Sussex), Kanchana Ruwanpura (Edinburgh), Anthony Good (Edinburgh), Jonathan Spencer (Edinburgh), Sidharthan Maunaguru (NUS), Tanya Ekanayaka (Edinburgh), Deborah Menezes (Edinburgh)

« Statement on 25th Anniversary of Mass Killings, Disappearances and Displacement Carried Out in Batticaloa in 1990 » by Batticaloa Peace Committee

On the 29th of July 2015, the Batticaloa Peace Committee and friends gathered together to remember all those who died in the senseless violence of 1990 and also those who still live with its consequences. We did this with a deep sense of sadness for the past, but also hope for the future.

see: http://groundviews.org/2015/08/04/statement-on-25th-anniversary-of-mass-killings-disappearances-and-displacement-carried-out-in-batticaloa-in-1990/

« 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/

« Sri Lanka’s War Is Long Over, But Reconciliation Remains Elusive » by Julie McCarthy

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.

via: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/06/29/418518510/sri-lankas-war-is-long-over-but-reconciliation-remains-elusive

Report « Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter » by by CARE International Sri Lanka

The study, « Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter – a study on attitudes, practices and gender-based violence in four districts in Sri Lanka » was conducted by CARE International Sri Lanka, under its Empowering Men to Engage and Redefine Gender Equality project and launched in April 2013.

via: http://www.partners4prevention.org/resource/broadening-gender-why-masculinities-matter

« “Present The Proof!” – Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu » by The Sunday Leader

Many local election monitors have observed grave incidents of election law violations and violence ahead of the Presidential Election whereas some government ministers have directed a number of accusations at local election observers of being biased towards the opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Alternatives Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu said that those are very loose accusations directed against the local observers given that the accusations are being directed by the government, the very people who are engaged in misusing and abusing state powers and resources.

via: http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/12/28/present-the-proof-dr-paikiasothy-saravanamuttu/

« “An attack on unarmed citizens”: Interview with Sampath Samarakoon » by Groundviews

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.

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/12/22/an-attack-on-unarmed-citizens-interview-with-sampath-samarakoon/

« view from abroad : Threat of violence in Sri Lankan election » by Irfan Husain

In a devastating article in The Sunday Times, Anura Gunasekra writes: “The governance of this country is in the hands of one family, with fringe benefits for its relatives, friends and hangers-on. The judiciary is pliant, the armed forces submissive, the police compliant and the public administration partisan. The will of the ruler, and through him, that of the family and their cohorts, supersedes both the law and public interest. What we have in this country, self-proclaimed by the regime as the ‘Miracle of Asia’, is in reality, the sovereignty of one family.”

via: http://www.dawn.com/news/1152327/view-from-abroad-threat-of-violence-in-sri-lankan-election

« Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka » by CPA

24 September 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is pleased to launch ‘Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka’, authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and Sanjana Hattotuwa.

Download the full report here or read it online here. Download just the Introduction and Executive Summary here or read it online here.

The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth of this disturbing digital content with increasing violence against Muslims and other groups in Sri Lanka. As the blurb on the front cover of the report avers,

« The growth of online hate speech in Sri Lanka does not guarantee another pogrom. It does however pose a range of other challenges to government and governance around social, ethnic, cultural and religious co-existence, diversity and, ultimately, to the very core of debates around how we see and organise ourselves post-war. »

The report looks at 20 Facebook groups in Sri Lanka over a couple of months, focussing on content generated just before, during and immediately after violence against the Muslim community. Detailed translations into English of the original material posted to these groups (including photographic and visual content) and the responses they generated are provided. It is the first time a study has translated into English the qualitative nature of commentary and content published on these Facebook groups, indicative of a larger and growing malaise in post-war Sri Lanka.

More generally, the study looks at the phenomenon of hate speech online – how it occurs and spreads online, what kind of content is produced, by whom and for which audiences. In addition to Sri Lanka, policy frameworks and legislation around online hate speech in Kenya, Rwanda, India, Pakistan, Canada and Australia are also flagged in the report.

« Infographic: Religious Violence in Post-War Sri Lanka » by CPA

Three months since the Aluthgama attack, there is limited information in the public domain on action taken to bring perpetrators to account. That there is still is no justice for the victims of religious violence in Aluthgama and elsewhere in Sri Lanka, illustrates the sheer impunity with which perpertrators of such violence operate and the GoSL’s unwillingness and/or inability to end to widespread religious violence in post-war Sri Lanka.

via http://www.cpalanka.org/infographic-religious-violence-in-post-war-sri-lanka/ f

« Tamil Undergrads In Sabaragamuwa University Under Threat » by Colombo Telegraph

« Notices containing threats to Tamil students had also been put up in the hostel premises the same night ordering all Tamil students to leave the premises within the next 10 days. The notice states those who dare defy the order would be shot to death and any females will be raped. These threats have escalated the climate of fear that prevails among students of Tamil ethnicity in the Sabaragamuwa University.
Students say this is not the first instance of anti-Tamil sentiments have been propagated within the University. A similar incident had occurred on July 11 where notices containing racist statement against those of Tamil ethnicity had been strewn around the university. »

via: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/tamil-undergrads-in-sabaragamuwa-university-under-threat/

“’Strong Women’: A book review” by Womens Action Network

The Ministry of Women’s and Children’s affairs is mandated to work towards women’s empowerment and equality. However once again it has failed to do so, instead exposing its ethnic, religious and class bias. The Ministry’s opinion that only women working in the field of politics and that too mostly in the ruling party, and government sector are to be considered ‘strong women’ is in line with the overall regressive attitude of the Sri Lankan government towards women and women’s rights.

Via http://groundviews.org/2014/03/07/strong-women-a-book-review/

source: Groundviews