Category Archives: JVP

Chandrika in Lively Q and A with Lakshman Gunasekara

Lakshman Gunasekara in Sunday Observer, 28 June 2015: “I am now an activist for my country  …[and] I’m ready to take to the streets [if the need arises]” says CBK

Celebrating her 70th birthday, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga reminisces about the past, and looks ahead to the future with a promise she will take to the streets to push through reforms: At 70 years age, she is still chubby-cheeked and grins mischievously or, scowls expressively as she recalls some politico’s annoying action. Press photographers loved her for her animated face that rendered her photogenic, like her equally famous mother.And it was by no means just photographers. Millions loved her while some either were disillusioned or even hated her – often because she did not live up to their expectations or ambitions or desires. After all, who wouldn’t glamorize her for her meteoric rise to political power and fame? ‘Meteoric’ because, after years in exile during the ‘terror’ of the second JVP insurgency and equally ferocious counter-insurgency, with her husband assassinated, she returned to re-build her mother’s party and successively defeat the government at provincial, parliamentary and, presidential levels. chandrika 33 At her husband’s funeral Continue reading

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The Poet Richard Murphy’s Account of Killings in the 1980s in Sri Lanka

Padraig Colman, Extracts from his Rambling Ruminations of an Irishman in Sri Lanka,” at

MURPHY 2 ………. I was surprised to learn that Murphy spent a great deal of his childhood in Ceylon where his father, Sir William Lindsay Murphy was the last colonial Mayor of Colombo (and first Municipal Commissioner from 1937 to 1941). Richard was taken to Ceylon at the age of six weeks, having been born in a damp, decaying big house in the west of Ireland. The young Richard Murphy spent holidays in Diatalawa, which is not far from my home. After leaving Ceylon, Sir William succeeded the Duke of Windsor as Governor of the Bahamas. Continue reading

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The JVP Insurgency in the late 1980s and its Death Toll

Dharman Wickremaratne, in the Daily News, where the title is “JVP uprising II killed 396 undergrads, while 227 students disappeared”…

JVP-02 DJV Slogans calling for the death of President Jayewardene (“Let’s kill J.R.”) written on walls

The second JVP insurgency began in 1986. Two were killed on May 1, 1987 when the banned May Day was commemorated. The insurrection was baptized near the Bo Tree, Pettah on July 28, 1987. The first to die there was Moratuwa University Engineering student Clifford Perera. The writer saw him lying on the ground with fatal gunshot injuries. The two of us studied in the same school. A brilliant student in the engineering field he was drawn to the JVP by Sudath, a second year student of the Colombo University’s Medical Faculty. I remember in the same group were Hiranya, Asiri, and Godagampola among several others.

Clifford was dying. His last words were: “Motherland or death.” No one dared to rush to the spot because gunfire was heard from all directions. When I appealed to Pathegama Mathupala, the caretaker of the pro-JVP Samastha Lanka Trade Union Federation, he responded promptly. He carried Clifford with the help of another. The next moment a bullet struck Mathupala’s hand. As soon as our photographer Chandrasiri Weerasinghe took a photo of the scene, we left the place. Continue reading

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Behind the Scenes: The American Contribution to the Current Crisis in Sri Lanka

Rajiva Wijesinha** responding to an Editorial Request to comment on Daya Gamage: “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issue,” ….

The request to write an article on US Policy towards Sri Lanka in 2008/2009 came at a timely moment, for I had been reflecting in some anguish on the crisis that the Sri Lankan government is now facing. I believe that this crisis is of the government’s own creation, but at the same time I believe that its root causes lie in US policy towards us during the period noted.

Nishan de Mel of Verite Research, one of the organizations now favoured by the Americans to promote change, accused me recently of being too indulgent to the Sri Lankan government. I can understand his criticism, though there is a difference between understanding some phenomenon and seeking to justify it. My point is that, without understanding what is going on, the reasons for what a perceptive Indian journalist has described as the ‘collective feeling that the Sri Lankan State and Government are either unable or unwilling’ to protect Muslims from the current spate of attacks, we will not be able to find solutions. Continue reading

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Poetic Reflections against Violence: Burning, Nightmare, Trauma

Godfrey Gunatilleke…… Three poems from Time’s Confluence and other poems (Colombo, Unie Arts, 2014 … ISBN 978 -955-41102-0-5)


            BURNING ……(Elegy on a body seen burning by the roadside during the violence in 1989)

There was no one, none at all to weep for him

Dead, lying by the roadside, quietly burning;

No friend, no brother, just some strangers, fearful

And silent. No love was left for mourning. Continue reading


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Black July 83: Two Statements in The NATION

I: Editorial: “Black July 83 never again,” 21 July 2013

Remember Black July ’83’ is a print-ad campaign designed by the advertising agency JWT for the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a controversial NGO that has come in for a lot of flak from multiple quarters on grounds of financial dishonesty and aiding and abetting separatism.  ‘Never to repeat’ is the payoff line.  The campaign is to be launched shortly, The Nation learns. ‘Black July’ is remembered and remembered differently and for varying purposes by those who remember.  Whatever these differences may be there is commonality in agreement on one thing: it should never happen again.

14b--By midnight Borella town became a place where devils reign. A Scene in Borella–Pic from Victor Ivan

There’s nothing to say that ‘Black July’ will not recur.  There’s nothing to say that it must.  On the other hand, if it is not to happen again, it is important to remember what happened.  It is important to acknowledge that it inflicted a deep wound on the nation, the people who make it, their collective and individual memory; a wound that has bled into many other lacerations.  This has been a common view expressed by many across the political spectrum. Continue reading


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Postcolonial Politics and History as dramatized in the Theatre

Shelagh Goonewardene

Ernest MacintyreErnest McIntyre

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

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