Vae victis

Published : 12:09 am  May 22, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  5 Comments  |  1,796 views  |  
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The double-edged sword  that is ‘Victory Day’     Beside the aquamarine seas of Keerimalai, at the island’s northernmost tip stands a Hindu holy of holies. One of five Sivan kovils in Sri Lanka, the unique convergence of land, sea and freshwater have etched the significance of the Naguleswaram temple into the Hindu psyche for millennia. For Hindus, the waters here are doubly sacred. The devoted believe freshwater springs at the site have divine curative properties and the ocean waves lapping at the temple grounds aid the passage of departed souls. For centuries, northern Hindus have travelled to Naguleswaram to scatter the ashes of the deceased into the seas of Keerimalai.... 


How young Sri Lankans see peace

Published : 12:00 am  May 21, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  570 views  |  

By Amantha Perera IRIN: Five years after Sri Lankan forces declared victory over the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) who had fought for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983, overcoming the divisions caused by the decades-long civil war remains a work in progress. According to human rights groups, national reconciliation continues to be tested by an official triumphalism (on full display at a victory parade in Colombo on 18 May to mark the anniversary of the end of the war), the continued militarisation of the north, a deepening authoritarianism, as well as rising religious extremism among militant Buddhist groups against Hindus and Muslims. The international community is pressing the Government on its... 


Sri Lanka’s existing plague: Why are authorities mum on CKDU?

Published : 12:00 am  May 21, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  657 views  |  

By a Special Correspondent From 1990s-2014 what has happened so far? Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown aetiology (CKDU) has plagued the farmers of the North Central Province of Sri Lanka since the 1990s. Analysts claim that thousands have died due to this dreaded disease and some estimate as many as two persons succumb to CKDU every day in Sri Lanka. It is high time that the medical community and the health authorities come up with some answers to this burning issue. Many hypotheses have been put forward by the learned people of Sri Lanka, as possible causes of CKDU. We have gone full circle from a hypothesis which first claimed that consumption of lotus roots and smoking tobacco could be the... 


102-year jail sentence for tax official

Published : 12:00 am  May 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  279 views  |  

The recent judgment fining a top tax official Rs. 12 billion and giving a jail sentence of 100 years should be a wakeup call for all public servants to manage their affairs according to the book. We have had many cases where when the boss changed, all the transactions conducted get scrutinised at the highest levels and officials end up on the mat for doing what the boss wanted. In religion we learn that nothing is permanent and what goes up must come down. If our public servants can work for the welfare of the public instead of their political bosses, they could save themselves from a lot of grief. The recent scandal in the EPF where the fund managers keep issuing statements saying what a good... 


Sri Lankan war widows still struggle to support their families

Published : 12:00 am  May 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  367 views  |  

By Amantha Perera THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION: When Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war ended in May 2009 after raging for over two and half decades, it signalled the end of a long- running national nightmare. But, with many men killed, for thousands of women the war’s end meant the beginning of a new life of hardship. Viji, a 32-year-old widow from the village of Oddusuddan, deep in the northern Mullaitivu District where the last battles of the war were fought, lost her farmer husband in a shell attack and has been struggling to raise her three children alone. “It is hard. I have to work, look after household affairs and make sure the kids go to school,” said Viji, who goes by one name.  Before... 


Canadian High Commissioner boycotting Victory Day celebrations

Published : 12:00 am  May 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  227 views  |  

I read with interest the statement made by the Canadian High Commissioner that she will not participate in the Victory Day Celebrations because she is very keen that Sri Lanka should enjoy peace and reconciliation as soon as possible. While welcoming her interest in ushering peace into Sri Lanka, may I request the Canadian Government through its peace-loving Ambassador here to kindly support the peace process further with the following initiatives as well: (a) Stop fund raising by ex-LTTErs who are today masquerading as human rights activists in various parts of Canada.  It is well known that these funds are used by them to “enlist” certain Canadian politicians to bash Sri Lanka. (b) Help... 


Commemoration controversy and the accountability trap

Published : 12:00 am  May 19, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  948 views  |  
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If Germany can celebrate its Reunification Day, when the Berlin Wall fell and the two halves of Germany were reunited, why should Sri Lanka not celebrate the day when the LTTE’s Iron Curtain was destroyed, a radical evil defeated, a monster (a South Asian Hitler) slain and the island reunified after decades? Not every reunification is peaceful. In most cases the unification or reunification of the national territory and state required civil wars, as we know from Bismark’s Prussian unification of Germany through “blood and iron”, Italy’s Risorgimento and the history of most of Europe, not to mention the military campaigns of Sun Yat Sen and the Kuomintang which reunified China. Which... 


Sri Lanka’s economic comeback

Published : 12:00 am  May 17, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  598 views  |  

An economic renaissance for South Asia’s ‘finest island’ hinges on a visionary green tourist policy By Zarina Banu: Rattling through the streets of Colombo in a tuktuk offers a clear eyeline of a city brimming with construction sites for five star hotels, glossy frontages for international clothes chains and 4 x 4s charging past like elephants on a rampage. The Sri Lankan capital is clearly in the thick of an economic renaissance. This sizzle of prosperity was notably absent five years ago in May 2009, when the government crushed the separatist LTTE, better known as the Tamil Tigers, after a brutal 26-year old civil war. Now another battle to hold Sri Lankan Government forces and the... 


Realising peace, reconciliation and ending violence

Published : 12:00 am  May 17, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  574 views  |  

Following is the address delivered by Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) Executive Director Asanga Abeyagoonasekera at WCY2014   Recovering from the scars of the past is an ongoing process for any nation that went through a protracted civil war; Sri Lanka is no exception to this. Ensuring sustainable peace calls for communal reconciliation; we have made progress in rebuilding relationships between individuals and within our communities. However, this is not sufficient. We now have an even greater challenge to overcome in the coming years: the need to work together as one nation. Reconciliation and nation building is not a task that falls... 


Conjurers and dupes

Published : 12:00 am  May 17, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  675 views  |  

“We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff…” – Lee Iaccoca (‘Where Have All the Leaders Gone?’)   By Tisaranee Gunasekara The military court of inquiry into the Weliweriya shooting presented its report to the Army Commander on 21 August 2013. “The Court has prepared a comprehensive report….” the Army announced. A week later the Army Commander suspended a Brigadier and there Lieutenant Colonels implicated in the Weliweriya killings. The military proclaimed that those who broke the military law will be court-martialled. The report was never made public. Still there was a sense in the Sinhala-South that (some) justice has been done.... 


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