The ancient land of Lanka emerged as a modern state when, as Ceylon, it was granted Independence in February 1948 by Britain who had been the last imperial power to rule it following the Portuguese and Dutch. This meant a recognition and re-emergence of its own identity after approximately four hundred years of foreign rule. It is a matter of history that violent episodes initiated by civilians and even the waging of war by the state have accompanied the founding of several postcolonial modern Asian states such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In Sri Lanka, the country this paper will focus on, armed insurrections planned and executed by disillusioned and disgruntled youth took place in 1971 and during the period 1987-1990 which had nothing to do with the birth-pangs of gaining independence but everything to do with the policies and politics practised by the main political parties which affected education and economic development. The objective of this discourse is to highlight both politics and history as it can, and has been, effectively dramatized in the theatre by commenting on the theatre of that particular time in Sri Lankan history. Included is the detailed examination of an re-enactment of that period in a play which was written in 2009. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, historical interpretation, JVP, law of armed conflict, life stories, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, riots and pogroms, sri lankan society, unusual people, violence of language, working class conditions
Sarah Elks, in The Australian, 10 January 2013, where the title reads “Foreign chefs strike gold in remote pubs“
FOR Sri Lankan chef Don Prasanga, the most difficult part of the move from a seven-star resort restaurant in the Middle East to a north Queensland pub kitchen has been mastering rissoles and onion gravy. Now that he’s perfected the dish, Prasanga’s take on the traditional counter meal has become the talk of Charters Towers, the historic goldmining town 135km west of Townsville. The 40-year-old is one of three Sri Lankan chefs recruited last year to fill long-standing vacancies in the regional centre which, like many small country towns, is in the grip of a skills shortage driven by the mining boom. Continue reading
TWO IRIN ESSAYS
I: ”Needs outstrip housing construction in north”
SELVANAGAR, 14 November 2012 (IRIN) – Rajina Mary, a 38-year-old widow and mother of four looks at her new home in Sri Lanka’s northern former conflict zone as if admiring a long-lost relative. But in reality, the home’s mostly unplastered walls bruise anyone who leans on them too hard, and there are large holes in the walls for non-existent windows and doors; the floor is cemented only in the living area. No one wants to stay indoors between mid-morning and late-afternoon because the house heats up like a furnace due to asbestos roofing sheets. Continue reading
Filed under historical interpretation, life stories, LTTE, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, propaganda, reconciliation, rehabilitation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, truth as casualty of war, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes
Zachary Fillingham in The Geopolitical Monitor, 20 October 2012
Nearly three years removed from the onset of the Great Recession, we are now faced with a global economy that has uncoupled itself from the conventional laws of cyclical economics. This impressive feat was accomplished through a combination of quantitative easing and public stimulus, coordinated by various national governments around the world. They accomplished their immediate goal of stemming the tide of global economic contraction, yet no one can be certain as to the extent of their success because of the uncharted economic territory that we find ourselves in; where contradictory economic signs emerge on a daily basis.
But there is one economic indicator that has remained consistently negative since well before 2008- global youth unemployment. This is arguably one of the most important indicators of all given the fact that, historically speaking, high youth unemployment has always been a harbinger of revolution; just ask the Hosni Mubarak or any other politician on the wrong side of the Arab Spring. Continue reading
Menik Farm in northern Sri Lanka, once one of the world’s largest camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), is to close by the end of September, say government officials. “By 30 September the camp will be empty,” Minister of Resettlement Gunaratne Weerakoon told IRIN in Colombo, noting that the final group of 1,185 IDPs would be resettled in their places of origin next week.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 827 IDPs are set to return on either 23 or 24 September, mostly to the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu District, northern Sri Lanka. The destination of the final balance of 358 has yet to be determined. The camp [ http://www.irinnews.org/Report/84805/ SRI-LANKA-Too-many-people-at-huge-IDP-camp-UN ] – a sprawling 700-hectare site outside the northern town of Vavuniya – was hastily erected in the final stages of the decades-long war between government forces and now
defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983. At its height at the end of the war, nearly 300,000 IDPs lived in the camp. [http://www.irinnews.org/Report/89904/Analysis-Prospects-for-reconciliation-in-Sri-Lanka] Continue reading
Dinouk Columbage of the Sunday Leader revealed commendable initiative on an earlier occasion in meeting and interviewing a Lankan involved in people smuggling. He has recently met and interviewed a Tamil woman, Mathusah Sivajalingham who had been among those on a trawler with asylum-seekers which had been impounded by the SL Navy. Her testimony, supported by the concerns of another Tamil lady whose son had reached Christmas Island, provides invaluable information on facets of the migration process and particularly about the motivations of Tamil Lankans seeking greener pastures today in 2012. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, life stories, people smugglers, politIcal discourse, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, women in ethnic conflcits, working class conditions, world events & processes
IRIN News,where a m different ttile was used for the news item: viz., “Legacy of war – unemployment and homelessness”
Life is slowly returning to normal in northern Sri Lanka, but three years after a decades-long conflict was officially declared over, jobs and housing are the prevailing concerns of returnees. Most of the estimated 448,000 people displaced before or during 2008 by fighting between government forces and rebels wanting an independent Tamil state have returned to the Northern Province, according to the latest figures [ http://www.hpsl.lk/Files/Situation%20Reports/Joint%20Humanitarian%20Update/LKRN059_JHERU_February_2012_Final.pdf ] from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Continue reading
Filed under historical interpretation, politIcal discourse, population, reconciliation, rehabilitation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, welfare & philanthophy, women in ethnic conflcits, working class conditions, world events & processes
I. “The truth about polygamy: A special investigation into how Muslim men are exploiting the benefits system in the UK,” by Sue Reid for the Daily Mail, September 2011
Ghulam is a taxi driver who lives in Blackburn, a once-booming textile town in Lancashire. He has a terrace house near his local mosque (one of 53 in the area), a silver Nissan car and a very complex private life. For, he has so many children that he struggles to remember their names, and five wives from various countries, including Yemen, Egypt, Turkey and his own birthplace, Pakistan. Ghulam’s latest bride is a shy 20-year-old called Hafeza. He brought her to Britain from Morocco, soon after his 45th birthday earlier this year. They married in an Islamic wedding ceremony called ‘the Nikah’ in her village in Morocco, with Hafeza’s pleased parents among the guests. Continue reading
This is a book that documents the life story of Lionel Bopage, who was one of the highest ranking leaders of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP- the Peoples’ Liberation Front) and a major figure in the JVP led youth insurrection of 1971 in Sri Lanka, drawing on a series of personal interviews with him. After migrating to Australia two decades ago, he has remained active not only in Sri Lanka related political activities but in the broader Australian political movements for social justice. The book tracks Lionel’s personal and political evolution over the subsequent four decades, placed in the wider socio-political context of this tumultuous period in Sri Lanka…….
Filed under historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, truth as casualty of war, working class conditions, world events & processes
I have had the pleasure today of meeting a very average Sri Lankan man of the older type. He is a rattan weaver of 63 years from Ratgama a few miles north of Galle.[ii] Lives about 200 yds from the Galle Rd. For the last 35 years, since the age of 18 he has toured this area at Nugegoda, weaving. His name is CAROLIS SINGHO.
He will weave our hansi putuva (easy chair) and the couch (kavitchiya) for Rs. 24,000/ taking over 5 days. (We bought the old couch in 1993 for Rs 6000/. It is worth 150,000/ today)
He is a calm and collected man whom I have seen going down our lane for years, doing the occasional weaving for us. He wears sarong and shirt. Slippers. Clean shaven, a bit grey haired. Very sturdy build.
I asked some direct questions from him as he weaved. I was lucky I was home.
How is Ratgama? Not bad. Continue reading