Gerald H. Peiris, being a reprint of Chapter Six in his Twilight of the Tigers, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2009, with Vijitha Yapa Publications in Colombo as local distributors, pp. 151-77 … a reprint inspired by the presentation of Jeremy Liyanage’s Q and A with Karuna in mid-2010.
The contents of this chapter, except its ‘Introductory Notes’ and the ‘Postscript’, are based almost entirely on an article titled “An Assessment of the Current Crisis among the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” written by me in March 2004 while the events that constituted the early stages of the revolt led by ‘Colonel Karuna’ against the Vanni-based Tiger leadership were unfolding in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. It was published by the Jane’s Information Group, UK. Written as it was in the context of acute paucity of documented information on the rapidly changing and bewilderingly complex scenario in the ‘north-east’ of Sri Lanka at that time, the article contained a fair amount of reasoned speculation. Here, in this chapter, I have retained the original article largely unchanged mainly for the reason that some of my speculations and predictions proved subsequently to be correct. The changes of the original article made in the formulation of this chapter have involved only some alterations of tense, and the addition of foo-notes for clarification and substantiation, and a ‘postscript’, intended to update the impact of the events examined in the article from the viewpoint of the thematic concerns of this volume. Gerald Peiris
Filed under accountability, devolution, disparagement, Eelam, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance
I. Frances Bulathsinghala: “A glimpse into the saga of Sri Lanka’s constitutional reforms,” South Asian Monitor, 24 February 2017,
The attempts by Sri Lanka’s National Unity government to draft a new constitution in order to seek a permanent solution to the long drawn Tamil ethnic question is afloat in the grey skies of ambiguity.
Although six subcommittees on various subjects had submitted their reports based on wide scale public consultations and the Steering Committee had drafted its own report based on the recommendations by the sub committees, plans of presenting the report to the Constitutional Assembly which comprises the current members of parliament, has been stalled.
Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, devolution, electoral structures, historical interpretation, language policies, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, power sharing, security, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world events & processes
Rajan Philips, courtesy of The Island. 4 December 2016,where the title reads “Constitutional Reform: Complacent government, carping contrarians and Italy’s referendum” … Emphasis added b Editor, Thuppahi
As Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform proposals are making their way from the backstage into public view, Italy held a referendum yesterday on a constitutional reform proposal to significantly emasculate the Senate in the country’s bicameral system. Coming on the heels of British Brexit and American ‘Trumpit’, the Italian referendum has morphed from being a narrow constitutional question into another occasion for testing the rise of western populism. Like David Cameron in Britain, Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, has quite unnecessarily turned the referendum into a plebiscite on himself, vowing to resign if the constitutional proposal were defeated at the referendum. A majority of Italian voters might just take their PM on his offer and throw him out. That would be a huge victory for Beppe Grillo, national comedian turned populist (political) outsider, and an equally huge setback for the increasingly shaky European Union.
Filed under accountability, devolution, governance, legal issues, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world events & processes
Gerald H. Peiris, courtesy of The Island , where the title is “Devolution of Land Powers – A Comment” … Note that emphasis via highlighting is the work of The Editor, Thuppahi
Among the writings published in the wake of release of the Report submitted to Parliament by the Constitutional Reform Sub-Committee on ‘Centre-Periphery Relations’ are those that appeared in recent issues of The Island – C. A. Chandraprema’s ‘Analysis’ of the report, and a more general piece titled ‘Constitutional reform and devolution of power’ by Harim Peiris. The former, needless to say, is an incisive critique written at a level of expertise which the ‘Panel of Experts’ that served the sub-committee appears to have lacked. The latter, I respectfully submit, is a feeble attempt that contains misrepresentations, intended no doubt to reinforce the recommendations made by the sub-committee on ‘devolution’.
This paper is being written with the twin objective of supplementing Chandraprema’s criticisms with a few sets of information relevant to a study of ‘Centre-Periphery Relations’ in a multi-ethnic polity such as ours, and to highlight with special reference to Harim Peiris’ article, the superficiality typical of the on-going campaign intended to emaciate the unitary character of the nation-state of Sri Lanka. This campaign is also represented by recent publications such as the reports produced by the ‘Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform’ (chaired by Lal Wijenayake) and the ‘Constitutional Reform Sub-Committee’ referred to above, alongside the sustained literary efforts by self-professed “Sri Lanka experts” in India ̶for example those associated with the ‘Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies’ of the University of Madras̶ whose barely concealed objective all along has been that of promoting the hegemonic interests of India in the South Asia Region.
Filed under accountability, democratic measures, devolution, economic processes, electoral structures, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, LTTE, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, security, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, world affairs