Reconciliation through Art at Lionel Wendt NOW

CAMP or Contemporary Artists Meeting Point …..  Lionel Wendt Gallery 24-31st July

Moving and transcendental. Please do go. CAMP(Contemporary Artists Meeting Point) has been organized by Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts & the Neelan Thiruchelvam Trust 24th -31st July the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery.( three days more) –

LIONELWENDT GALLERYIt is the outcome of three residential workshops held in Batticoloa, (3 days) Jaffna (3 days) and Colombo (24 days). Part of an effort to use art to ‘heal broken hearts in the North and East and to generate a discussion on how to enhance the space to broaden citizens’ rights provided by a terrible war that lasted 30 years”. A must see. There are some amazingly expressive works and in their diversity of approach there is much to think about. It gets under the skin and lingers like a conscience Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, travelogue, truth as casualty of war, unusual people

Kavuda Rajā!! The Jaffna University Clash Clarified: Puritanical Nationalism

Rajan Hoole et al,** courtesy of The Island. 28 July 2016, where the title is Fallout of freshers’ welcome fiasco in Jaffna: Is our university system equal to challenge of sectarianism?”

The following record of the welcome event is compiled from the experiences of several members of the Science Faculty in Jaffna, who were present. The event is a warning when taken alongside sectarian violence in other Lankan universities, recently in Sabaragamuva, Uva Wellassa and Eastern, where the response of the authorities has been constrained by a number of factors, including local prejudices and peer pressures, bias in the university security services and local readings of the wishes of the authorities in Colombo. The change in attitude of the authorities after the regime change of 8th January 2015 is reflected in their wanting as far as possible for the problems to be tackled on local initiative. The universities should use this opportunity to address, in their locality, causes that threaten the integrity of university values and education. These causes, if left to follow their course, would make peaceful coexistence and pluralism even harder to achieve.

jaffna-university-clash-1=COL TEL Pic from Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, education policy, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, life stories, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, TNA, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, world affairs

Climate Change: Britain leaving Europe


Leave a comment

July 29, 2016 · 5:37 pm

Murali as a Sri Lankan Treasure

Upul Wijayawardhana  in The Island 29 July 2016, with title Murali is no traitor 

What cricketers do in retirement is their business; some take to politics and do a very bad job; others create Ministries, not of government but, of crab and make a great success of it; most do coaching, many of our cricketers having successful coaching careers. It looks as if it is the norm for most teams to have ‘foreign coaches’. Well, it was so even in 1996 when we won the World Cup; our coach was Dav Whatmore who though born in Sri Lanka, migrated to Australia and played test cricket for Australia but helped us defeat Australia in the finals. Murali should be free to coach any team that pays him well and we have no right to object at all if we never offered to employ him.

Unlike many Sri Lankans I am no cricket fanatic, may be because the first time ever I faced a cricket ball, in my schooldays, I ended up with an injury, though minor, to my right thumb diminishing my enthusiasm for the gentlemen’s game. I say I am not a fanatic because often I find that my English friends know more about our cricketers than I do. However, I have been a great supporter of our cricket team and have been very proud of their achievements. I have proudly failed the Norman Tebbit’s ‘Cricket Test’. For the sake of those who are too young to know what it is, I should reiterate what the Conservative politician said in 1990:”A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test. Which side do they cheer for? It’s an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are?” Fortunately, my English friends are more understanding than Lord Tebbit and, in fact, many of them are ardent supporters of the Sri Lanka team, except when they are playing against England.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under commoditification, cricket for amity, economic processes, performance, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, zealotry

Striking Railway Photographs from the 19th Century

The construction of a road and rail network was one of the dimensions of British imperial activity in Sri Lanka. Directed in part by the need for military control in an ear when potential rebellions were at the back of their mind, the goals of surplus appropriation as well as administrative action guided the locale and pace of these developments. Some energetic souls have deposited a treasure trove of photographic images in my email box and I reproduce them here with some from my own collection.

We can begin with what I term “the hard yards of railway construction” — as seen in the two images below and in “A steamengine rounding the bend at “Sensation Rock” in Kadugannawa.

38a+b=colombo-kandy-railway-line 38a=constructing r-way line LION' MOUTH From #IMG 394 & #IMG366 at the British Library Board Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, British imperialism, commoditification, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, island economy, modernity & modernization, transport and communications, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Where Majoritarian Part subsumes the Whole: The Ideological Foundation of Sinhala Extremism

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph

It is a commonplace in reviews of the ethnic conflict at the popular level of web comment for the blame to be heaped on our politicians in the past, and any perusal of web-commentary would turn up criticisms of politician A or politician B, or particular temporal moments/events. This is over-simplistic. Such processes are complex and demand a multi-factorial analysis.

13-Banda & masses for Sinhala Only 14-Fasting-unto-death  24 May 1956 -- FR Jayasuriya 15-Mettananda addreses Sinhala crowd 1956Scenes from the mid-1950s depicting Sinhala activists at ‘work’ — see Roberts: Potency , Power & People in Groups,  Colombo, Marga, 2011.

Besides such singular criticisms tend to obscure or downplay the critical influence of two fundamental causes, the one structural, the other ideological. Let me begin with A the structural before proceeding to B, the ideological. Continue reading


Filed under devolution, discrimination, heritage, historical interpretation, language policies, LTTE, plural society, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, world affairs

Post-War Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: A Reality Check

Jayadeva Uyangoda, being text of his talk at a Seminar in Colombo (see below) 

I share the basic premise on which the theme of this seminar seems to have been constructed, that is, “peace and reconciliation are a prerequisite for nation-building in Sri Lanka.” I am also aware that there is a strong argument in political theory that war, conflict and violence are more important in nation building than peace and reconciliation.  There is indeed no shortage of theorists in Sri Lanka who advocate this particular argument with passion and conviction. I don’t intend to take issue with that approach in my presentation today.

AA=UYAN aa--meet

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, discrimination, education, governance, historical interpretation, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power sharing, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war