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
Aatish Taseer, courtesy of SUNDAY, where the title is “a People without a Story”
celebrations in the south–May 2009
FOUR years ago this week, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam announced that their struggle for an independent homeland in northern Sri Lanka had “reached its bitter end.” The group had been fighting on behalf of the Tamil people for more than a quarter-century, and its defeat was absolute. Today, great sections of Tamil country are still a scene of devastation. The houses are either destroyed or brand-new; the land is uncultivated and overgrown; there are forests of decapitated Palmyra palms, damaged by heavy shelling. And then there are the relics of war — graveyards of L.T.T.E. vehicles rotting in the open air; the remains of a ship, its superstructure blown to pieces and in whose rusting starboard a gaping hole gives on to blue sea. Continue reading
Filed under LTTE, politIcal discourse, population, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, rehabilitation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, trauma, truth as casualty of war, women in ethnic conflcits, world affairs
Michael Roberts …. See http://www.scribd.com/doc/132499266/The-Numbers-Game-Politics-of-Retributive-Justice OR http://www.margasrilanka.org/ [right panel at top—then click]
Pic from Tamilnet, 1 May 2009 from Tamilnet, 5 May 2009, in Third NFZ in the extreme south of the final pocket of LTTEresistance
Presented here is an “Introduction” and pointer to a significant visual and textual study entitled “Numbers Game: The Politics of Retributive Justice,” which scrutinizes both the data and other studies of what happened during the last five months of Eelam War IV. This was the period when a large body of people, almost exclusively Tamil in lineage, was corralled into an increasingly shrinking area by virtue of a strategic/tactical decision by the LTTE leadership. The Tamil Tigers who were now facing imminent defeat, were hoping to use the human mass to engineer a humanitarian catastrophe, thus forcing the international community to act by halting the conflict. This comprehensive survey has been assembled by a collective, the “Independent Diaspora Analysis Group.” The key hand is a person who wishes to remain anonymous and can be called “Citizen Silva.” Born to Sinhalese parents, raised and educated in the West, he has spent the entirety of his life outside the island. This foreign setting has enabled him to build close personal links with the island’s other ethnic diaspora groups, thus shielding him from the communalistic shadows that overwhelm many of his compatriots back home. As the analysis of the satellite imagery reveals, his engineering background allows him to bring to the examination a range of technical skills not usually associated with the average empirical scientist. Continue reading
Filed under reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, unusual people, military strategy, Rajapaksa regime, life stories, LTTE, historical interpretation, terrorism, world events & processes, Tamil civilians, news fabrication, Tamil Tiger fighters, accountability, power politics, prabhakaran, truth as casualty of war, sri lankan society, violence of language, politIcal discourse, trauma, patriotism, population, nationalism, self-reflexivity, photography, governance, zealotry, slanted reportage
Gerald H. Peiris, reprint from Ethnic Studies Report, Vol.IX, No.1, January1991
Among the various exemplifications of Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka, those that relate to claims over territory have acquired increasing prominence during the recent past. These claims are based upon the perception that certain parts of the country belong exclusively to the Sri Lankan Tamils – a constituent ethnic group of the multi-ethnic Sri Lankan nation – in the sense that such areas constitute their ‘traditional homeland’. The present study is an attempt to place this perception under critical scrutiny.
In the current Sri Lankan ethnic conflict diverse claims and counterclaims are being made on the ‘traditional’ rights of the different ethnic groups over land and territory, ‘traditional’ invariably carrying the connotation of persistence over a long period of the past. Hence, the contending viewpoints are often based on interpretations of ancient and medieval history. The approach adopted in this study is somewhat different, at least in emphasis. Our focus is on the modern period and on spatial rather than temporal aspects. Continue reading
The Bodu-Bala Sena (BBS) is a political movement crystallizing mainly around Sinhala-Buddhist advocates of strong anti-Islamism. The knee-jerk reaction of opportunist political observers is to regard this as an example of a majoritarian populace behaving brutally, after having `caused Sinhala-Tamil terror’ by allegedly provoking the Tamils with ‘Sinhala-only’ discrimination. The BBS has also provided fodder for anti-government critics as well as the usual `I told you so’ liberals who believe that mass movements can be corrected by a little bit of sermonizing by `good monks’ holding vigils around the Lipton circus. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, legal issues, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, NGOs, patriotism, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, population, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, religious nationalism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world events & processes