Step-By-Step Studio Images Mystery Painting Studios, like the Step-by-Step Studio in Colombo, are not primarily about “doing” something. They are about “being” something: being peace, being hope, being adaptable and dependable in situations that change rapidly and are far from reliable. The Monkey’s Tale Centre for Contemplative Art in Batticaloa was the first Mystery Painting studio. It was born out of the generosity of friends in Canada, America and Great Britain responding to the tsunami, which first swept ashore in Sri Lanka at Marathamunai a town some forty kilometers from Batticaloa, the day after Christmas 2004.
Just as with the response of the international community, people in Batticaloa reached into their hearts and helped out however they could. They weathered the crisis and, in doing so, learned a valuable lesson. Wherever there is turbulence there is transition, and transition – to be productive of the most positive results – must be anchored in an open and yielding heart. Continue reading
Michael Roberts, reprinting an article published in 2003 in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Summer 2003, 9: 75-102.**
ABSTRACT: The collective identity of Sinhala-speakers over four centuries dating from the 1590s is analyzed with due attention to the structural form of (a) the Kingdom of Kandy and (b) the British colonial regime that took control of the whole island by 1815/18. The analysis dwells on the modes of oral, visual-iconic and written forms of cultural transmission that pre-dated print technology, while drawing attention to the relative uniformity of the Sinhala language in both geographical and temporal scale. A semantic pattern of political alliances based on the opposition of inside to outside which works contextually like a nestling Chinese-box is one dimension of this linguistic order. This supported the tendency of Sinhalese representations to adopt an associational logic which merged past enemies (the wicked Tamils) with contemporary enemies (the Portuguese, the English) during the liberation struggles of the Kandyan state and its militia in the pre-1818 period. Such tendencies and the continuation of disparaging epithets coined during the period of Portuguese imperial intrusion into the vocabulary of the twentieth century must inform any theoretical efforts to distinguish the collective consciousness of the Sinhalese after the substantial transformations initiated under the British from that which is expressed so powerfully in the war poems of the pre-British period. Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, communal relations, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, language policies, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, politIcal discourse, population, power sharing, religious nationalism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, world affairs
S. Sivathasan in the Sunday Leader,13 May 2013
When the Jaffna Development Council started functioning a Minister who made frequent official visits to Jaffna was Hon. Gamini Dissanayake. His known closeness to the President lent some significance to the discussions he had with Mr. Nadarajah the Chairman of the Council. A warm rapport developed between the two. To the Chairman it opened a two-way communication connecting the District with the Centre. The Minister perhaps was not unaware of the political fall-out for the government, if things turned out well.
Quite a few meetings with the Minister were held in Colombo. The Chairman, the Government Agent Dr. Nesiah and the writer participated in these meetings. What were emphasized from the Council’s side were substantially larger funding and more devolved powers to utilize the finances effectively. The proposition struck a sensitive chord with the Minister and he took the initiative in arranging for a meeting with President J.R. Jayawardene one evening at his residence. It was in the latter part of 1982. The five of us took part in the discussions for over an hour. Development priorities with central funding were outlined by us. The Jaffna Lagoon Scheme and bridging the Mahadeva Causeway were among them. There was responsive interaction. Continue reading
Darshanie Ratnawalli courtesy of the Nation and the Colombo Telegraph, with the latter drawing a volatile discussion which readers may wish to view … SEE note below pertinent to that discussion
I am the legitimate issue of a woman who unabashedly claims to admire the Bodu Bala Sena. This affords me a critical perspective into the issue, without which everyone is floundering like headless chickens. There may be other people, whose mothers etc. harbor soft spots for the BBS. But because they are not me, they would either try to keep these mothers in the closet or, in contradistinction, empathize with these soft spots; whereas I…Well you shall see.
My mother represents the Sri Lankan equivalent of Middle America and, as such, the demographic bloc that makes or breaks any movement dependent on mass support for its success. In Middle America (SL), one becomes a Buddhist by being a stakeholder of the Buddha Sāsana (deliberately called henceforth, the Buddhist Church of Lanka) and by emotionally aligning oneself with the age-old mission of fostering this Sāsana on this soil for the allocated five thousand years. Once one has fulfilled this basic requirement adherence to Buddhism proper becomes peripheral and is largely left to personal discretion. Continue reading
Filed under citizen journalism, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, disparagement, historical interpretation, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, racist thinking, Rajapaksa regime, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, world affairs
HL Seneviratne, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where this esays attracts several commendations: see http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/venerable-voices-stirrings-of-a-sleeping-conscience/
In the 1930s and ‘40s educated urban Buddhist monks launched a movement of rural development, proclaiming that their work is not ritual but “social service”. They achieved some successes in the early period of their work, but by the mid-1940s this largely social and economic movement had deteriorated into a majoritarian political movement that identified the island with Buddhism and the Sinhala ethnic group, thereby marginalizing the minorities. Thus, while these monks talked about social service, their actions were devoid of a social conscience. With the assassination of Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike by a Buddhist monk, their vociferous support of the ethnic war while obstructing attempts at a negotiated settlement, and most recently, the attacks on Muslims in Dambulla and Pepiliyana led by them, the image of the “political monk” has been severely tarnished. The ochre robed monk, the messenger of the world’s most peaceful religion and symbol of tranquility and compassion, has become the symbol of violence and intolerance. Continue reading
Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, racist thinking, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world affairs
Courtesy of COLOMBO TELEGRAPH — SEE http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-sri-lankan-buddhist-monk-speaks-out-let-sri-lanka-have-thousands-of-buddha-putras-like-him/ … and also absorb the blog comments it draws. NOTE: the sinhala is precise and lucid if high-flown. Indeed, it is a lesson in concise clarity. AND it is translated intoTamil and English as well. a MUST SEE and must listen –both media.
A Note from Dr WA Wijewardena: “It is indeed heartening to see an erudite Buddhist priest speaking out, guided by the teaching of the Master, when many have chosen to remain silent. Ven Dhammananda, Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya, speaks through his experience, but has not been angered or being revengeful despite the personal loss to him. Let Sri Lanka have thousands of Buddha Putras like him to guide this nation, which is now stranded and moving aimlessly, to its future glory!” says a former Deputy Governor – Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Dr. W.A. Wijewardena. Continue reading
Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world affairs
Jonathan Head, BBC, 4 April 2013 : “What is behind Burma’s wave of religious violence?”
”After Muslim neighbourhoods were levelled, only scavengers could be seen at the site of the destruction”
Last month more than 40 people died in violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila. The BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head looks at the causes of the violence. At first sight it appears that Meiktila has been hit by a natural disaster. Entire neighbourhoods have been levelled, homes of brick and cement smashed to rubble. Then you notice holes pounded into the walls that are still standing, clearly made by human hands. It was anger, not nature, that wreaked this destruction. The families and shop-owners that occupied these buildings have disappeared. The only people are the scavengers, salvaging anything of value left in the ruins. A Muslim community that dates back many generations has been wiped out. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, communal relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, politIcal discourse, racist thinking, world affairs
Anonymous in http://kafila.org/2013/04/01/of-imagined-solidarities-and-real-fears-the-politics-of-the-sri-lankan-tamil-cause-in-tamil-nadu-a-critical-view-from-across-the-waters-by-anonymous/
When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers, so goes an old Kenyan proverb. In the maelstrom of political hysteria unleashed by Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi ostensibly in aid of Sri Lankan Tamils, democracy, truth and solidarity have been the biggest casualties. Over the past few months, Tamil Nadu has witnessed attacks on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks and Christian pilgrims, and the government sanctioned blockade of Sri Lankan schoolchildren and sportspersons.
The latest salvo from Chennai regarding Sri Lanka is the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution calling upon India to press for a United Nations Security Council mandated referendum amongst Tamils living in Sri Lanka as well as Tamils of Sri Lankan origin in other countries on the question of carving out an independent Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. This is in addition to demands to declare Sri Lanka a ‘hostile state’, impose some form of sanctions etc.
However, is this the ‘solidarity’ and ‘support’ Tamils in Sri Lanka, in whose name all this is being done, really want and will gain from? On doing so, in Sri Lanka at least, one would find many different and perhaps even some conflicting answers. For example, the fishing community in Sri Lanka’s north and west, around Jaffna and Mannar will tell you just the kind of solidarity they would really appreciate—stop those large Indian trawlers from regularly raiding the Palk Bay deep in Sri Lanka damaging the area’s marine ecology and the livelihoods of Sri Lankan Tamil fishing communities. Yes, the Sri Lankan Navy has attacked Indian fisherfolk on many occasions but along the Jaffna and Mannar coasts there is actually a perception that the Sri Lankan Navy is not policing the maritime boundary strongly enough. Continue reading
Special Correspondent in The Hindu …..http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/student-group-says-no-to-lanka-in-ipl/article4544729.ece
The Students Federation for Free Eelam is planning to petition the city police commissioner to urge him not to grant permission for the IPL cricket matches in Chennai, if Sri Lankan players are participating. The first IPL match this season is to be played between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians at the M.A. Chidambaram stadium on April 6. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s application seeking a public resort licence to conduct the match is pending with the city police. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, ethnicity, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, LTTE, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, racist thinking, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tolerance, world affairs