Category Archives: press freedom & censorship

The War Dead in Sri Lanka: Deceit and Ignorance Rule the Air Waves

      Both these images are from TamilNet and were part of the extensive stock sent to me in 2009/10 by “Citizen Silva” aka IDAG. The first is dated 6 April 2009 and the second 28 April 2009

ONE = Michael Roberts: “Introduction”

When I presented an essay on  “Missing Persons” in Groundviews in March 2013 the reactions were, as usual, mixed and included a derisive dismissal from one “Velu Balendran”.[1] However, one individual named Nathan inserted a dose of common sense and also introduced readers – as well as myself – to a pertinent article by two Indians, Ajay Sahni & S. Binodkumar Singh in the Indian magazine Outlook.

I do not know Nathan and where he resides, but am deeply grateful to him. As I am now returning to this topic, I believe that readers should be introduced to his brief thoughts and led to the article he recommended. I will thereafter insert key bibliographic references on the topic from my original essay and its companion piece; while also embellishing this ‘compendium’ with images that provide a glimpse of the context and assorted outcomes in indelible ways beyond words.

TWO = Nathan, 1 April 2013, extract from

It’s a shame that people have failed to read and grasp the thrust of Dr Michael Robert’s article . Continue reading

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The JVP and Rajapaksa in Vidyodaya Politics, 1970s: Recollections

Chandre Dharmawardana …. [1] … [2]

Some of what I remember from the period that Mahinda Rajapaksa was at Vidyodaya University as a library assistant is as follows.  S. B. Dissanayake[3] was the leader of the Communist Party in the Campus at Vidyodaya University, now known as Jayawardenapura University. He asserted his power as soon as he became the student leader by launching a strike at the Hostel on a food issue. It was just a show of power because in fact the food was quite up to par.  Mahinda Wijesekera,[4] his brother and a Buddhist Monk were JVP leaders who were trying to flex their muscles. Mahinda Wijesekera was in the science faculty while S. B. Dissanayake was a student in the Business Administration Department.

Mahinda in his Vidyodaya days with friend Anura Dias B  at a pirit ceremony Continue reading

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Thomas Meaney, A Review Article, courtesy of the Author and the London Review of Books,… with emphasis by highlights added by The Editor, Thuppahi … SEE

prabha-with-pistol-2   prabha-tiger

Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World by Steven Kemper, Chicago, 480 pp, £31.50, January 2015, ISBN 978 0 226 19907

Tamil: A Biography by David Shulman, Harvard, 416 pp, £25.00, September 2016, ISBN 978 0 674 05992 4

The Seasons of Trouble: Life amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan, Verso, 368 pp, £16.99, October 2015, ISBN 978 1 78168 883 0

Independence was handed to Ceylon’s elite on a platter. ‘Think of Ceylon as a little bit of England,’ Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the first native governor-general, said. This was a point of pride. Don Stephen Senanayake, the country’s first prime minister, remarked: ‘There has been no rebellion in Ceylon, no non-cooperation movement and no fifth column. We were among the peoples who gave full collaboration while Britain was hard-pressed.’ After independence in 1948, Ceylon alone among the former colonies not only retained but promoted the monarchy: the Union Jack flew alongside the Ceylon flag; a new constitution was drafted by a former LSE professor, Ivor Jennings; Colombo debutantes were presented at Buckingham Palace; and, thanks to some genealogical ingenuity, George VI was recognised as the latest monarch in the ancient line of Kandyan kings. While the rest of the empire in Asia smouldered – in India there was Partition, in Malaya the Emergency, in Burma the civil war – Ceylon became Whitehall’s model for the transfer of colonial power. ‘There was no fight for that freedom which involved a fight for principles, policies and programmes,’ Solomon Ridgeway Bandaranaike, the anti-colonial head of state who took power in 1956, said when he reviewed the transition a decade later. ‘It just came overnight. We just woke up one day and were told: “You are a dominion now.”[1] Continue reading

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February 10, 2017 · 1:03 pm

Revamping Lanka’s Government Structures? CTF Proposals In. Prospects Dim.

Sanjana Hattoruwa,  in The Sunday Island, 7 January 2017, where the title is “A Report on Reconciliation“… with the highlighting below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

chandrika manouri-muttetuwegama


Last week, the Consultations Task Force (CTF) handed over its final report to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunga. It was supposed to be handed over to the President. However, he wasn’t present at the ceremony, on a date and time his office had negotiated after many delays spreading over months. As widely noted, the CTF comprised of eleven members drawn from civil society and was appointed by the Prime Minister in late January 2016, to seek the views and comments of the public on the proposed mechanisms for transitional justice and reconciliation, as per the October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, you would expect the PM, whose brainchild the CTF was, to be present at the handover ceremony. He wasn’t either. Continue reading

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Reason for Anxiety: Present YPL Government’s Threats against Reporters

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, courtesy of DBS Jeyaraj, 2 August 2016, in, where the title is Ranil’s outbursts against journalists: A case of controlling the narrative?”

 ranil 22The recent outburst against journalists by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has caused raised eyebrows, not least because it flies in the face of the yahapalana government’s pledges to create a freer environment for the media. The PM’s remarks at an event in Kandy on the 23rd were unabashedly threatening. He did not merely take a passing swipe at a media organization or journalist who wrote something critical about him or his government but, having named the Daily Mirror and referred to its editor (Kesara Abeywardena), went on at some length about how ‘these journalists need to be taught a good lesson.’ Here’s part of what he said:

“The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that the foreign minister must be removed. This Daily Mirror editor has also told me to go as well. Now if he doesn’t go himself, we’ll have to see what we can do about it. He was constantly entertained at Mahinda Rajapaksa’s table, going ‘shopping’ for him. This newspaper attacked Muslims and Tamils. If these people are calling for the removal of our people, let’s teach them a good lesson before that. We shall last the full term of five years. If we get the people’s mandate we can go even further. We cannot allow these people to fool around like this.”……. (The PM also threatened to soon reveal the names of print journalists who ‘wined and dined and made money with the rogues’ in the previous regime.)

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Nation Building Today? Intelligentsia Address the Issues

Edmond Jayasinghe,  from The Sunday Times, 24 July 2016, where the tile reads: “Much needs to be done to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation”

There should be a conscious and concerted effort to achieve reconciliation among ethnic groups to establish lasting peace in the country. This was emphasised at a seminar titled Peace and Reconciliation and Nation Building held at the auditorium of the Organization of Professional Associations on July 10, 2016. The seminar was organized by the Association for Social Development, a social service organization implementing projects and programmes aimed at enhancing social stability.

It was addressed by several eminent persons like Lal Wijenayake, Attorney at Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR), N. Selvakumaran, former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo, Member of PRCCR and Member of the Panel of Experts assisting the Parliament Steering Committee on the drafting of a new constitution, Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda, former Professor of Political Science and Public Policy of the University of Colombo, Professor Sarath Wijesooriya of the Department of Sinhala of the University of Colombo, Victor Ivan, Senior journalist, Editor of the Ravaya Newspaper and Ambassador Javid Yusuf, former Head of the Muslim Peace Secretariat. At the panel discussion that followed were Dr. Fahmy Ismail, former Chief Veterinary Surgeon and Deputy Commissioner of Colombo Municipal Council and Consultant UN-HABITAT, Ambassador Laksiri Mendis, Former UN and Commonwealth legal expert and Salma Yusuf, Deputy Director, Policy and Law and Human Rights Office for National Unity and Reconciliation functioning under the auspices of the Presidential Secretariat. Continue reading

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Lanka’s Immediate Prospects and Samaraweera

Jehan Perera, in The Island,  28 June 2015, where the title is  Sri Lanka’s Brexit hour still to come”

The Sri Lankan government goes into the current session of the UN Human Rights Council with several accomplishments to show. These are primarily at the level of change of spirit and less as concrete changes that can be quantified. It is difficult to quantify the impact of the lifting of fear of agents of the state and their associates acting with impunity, of white vans into which people disappear and the attitude of confrontation. But these have transformed life in the country. The passage of the Right to Information law in Parliament unanimously, without a vote and therefore without division, is an indication that there is broad acceptance in the polity, to which the government gives leadership, that good governance is good for all. In addition, the government has been able to showcase the draft law setting up the Office of Missing Persons, which is one of the four transitional justice mechanisms that it promised to establish at the October 2015 session of the UNHRC. brexit SL Continue reading

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