Category Archives: Sinhala-Tamil Relations

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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“Api Yannadha Malli ” — A Poetic Reflection from July 1983

Niranjan Selvadurai, a poem composed within a context derived from a personal experience in the streets Colombo, on Monday 25 July 1983

 Pic at Borella Junction 24 July 1983 –taken by Chnadragupta Amarasinghe **

May we pass brother?

But are you one of us!

Or someone other?

Roving eyes survey thus Continue reading

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In Appreciation of Ivan Samarawickrama as Administrator

Rama Somasundarem

I first came to know Ivan Samarawickrama when he was Government Agent of Polonnarawa in the mid-1960s. I was then attached to the Land Development Department. I van had already earned a name as a good administrator when he was appointed Assistant Government Agent of the Jaffna District at a time when there were civil disturbances and an army officer (for the first time I believe), was appointed to function as the Government Agent. The government of the day understood the importance of having an officer acquainted with District Administration in order to control and administer a district. Ivan Samarawickrama performed his duties with great acceptance to the people of Jaffna and greatly contributed to the district’s peace and development.

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UNP and Unity Government denounce Hate Speech

ONE: Island News Item with focus on Malik Samarawickrema’s Statement

The United National Party notes with deep concern the recent attempts by subversive elements to sabotage the reconciliation efforts of the national unity government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema said in a statement. Since its founding, the UNP has remained a secular political party fostering unity while building a truly Sri Lankan identity.

The UNP welcomes the statement of the Cabinet of ministers, the Prime Minister and the President to use the full force of the law against those causing religious tensions, racial hatred and undermining the efforts at reconciliation since the new government came to power. Continue reading

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Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

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Nirupama reviews A Powerkeg in Paradise

 Nirupama Subramanium, courtesy of http://www.sangam.org/2010/08/Powderkeg.php?print=true

Disappointingly for an “insider account”, there are no major revelations in the book; it is a faithful narrative of what is already in the public realm about the ceasefire and written carefully, striking a balance between the government and the LTTE, with the decisions/actions of both sides called into question.

A POWDERKEG IN PARADISELost Opportunity for Peace in Sri Lanka… by …  Jon Oskar Solnes; Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd., A-149, Main Vikas Marg, Delhi-110092. Rs. 750.

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A Historical ‘Cuppa’ of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon Tea: The Trade That Made a Nation

The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Ceylon tea on July 20th with the launch of an illustrated history entitled Ceylon Tea: The Trade That Made a Nation. This art-quality large-format illustrated book has been authored by Richard Simon with Dominic Sansoni as Illustrations Editor, while the design has been fashioned by Sebastian Posingis. Continue reading

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