Category Archives: social justice

Queensland Sri Lankans and FOG set up Fund for Batticaloa Victims

APPEAL from Jayantha Pathikirikorale, President, Federation of Sri Lankan Organisations of Queensland Inc.

Dear friends,  ….. You will be aware of the terrible events in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, April 21. A wave of terrorist bombings of churches and hotels claimed the lives of 253 people and injured more than 500. The island nation, its people and indeed the world has been left in shock by these senseless acts. Sri Lanka has had more than its share of horrors and sorrows in the past three decades. The country endured a 26-year civil war that had a heavy death toll; the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami claimed more than 35,000 lives, and this latest atrocity has shattered its spirit.

A relative of a Sri Lankan victim of an explosion at a church weeps outside a hospital in Batticaloa [Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP]

How much more can one country bear?

As the world rallies to help, we in the lucky country, Australia, are called on to do our bit to support the families of victims. As in the past, the Federation of Sri Lankan Organisations of Queensland (FSOQ) is initiating an appeal for help. In consultation with the Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Queensland, Anton Swan, and the founder of the Foundation of Goodness, Kushil Gunasekera, the FSOQ will support affected families in Batticaloa, in eastern Sri Lanka – one of the terrorist targets. Immediate past president of the FSOQ Bill Deutrom will oversee the project in Sri Lanka. Continue reading

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Yellow Jacket Protests in France: The Power of Social Media and Populism

Jeremy Harding, review essay in London Review of Books, March 2019, with this title “Among the Gilets Jaunes”

When they gathered at roads and roundabouts at the end of last year, the French government was caught off guard. Within a week of their first nationwide mobilisation, they were turning out regularly at intersections across the country to slow up traffic, and marching through Paris and the big provincial cities. Hasty polls announced that 70 or 80 per cent of the population, including many in France’s largest conurbations, supported this massive show of impatience. Yet the gilets jaunes first came together beyond the margins of the major cities, in rural areas and small towns with rundown services, low-wage economies and dwindling commerce. They were suspicious of the burgeoning metropolitan areas, which have done well on a diet of public funding, private investment, tourism and succulent property prices. Among them are people who grew up in city centres but can no longer afford to live in them: these barbarians know where they are when they arrive at the gates. Parading in central Paris and the new, carefully massaged hubs of French prosperity – Toulouse and Bordeaux especially – they end proceedings with a show of violence and destruction. After 15 weeks of costly protest, public sympathy in the big metropolitan areas has only recently begun to fall off. That is one of many puzzles.

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Addressing Post-war Dilemmas in Sri Lanka

Laksiri Fernando, review article in Sri Lanka Guardian, 30 March 2019, entitled The power ambitions and competitions of the elite are highly asymmetric”

Political science and political scientists, among others, could play a major role in resolving Sri Lanka’s most important problems like post-war ethnic reconciliation, construction and reconstruction of democracy, and overcoming dangers of authoritarianism through critical thinking, scientific research and lucidly written publications aimed at supplying inspiration and new thinking to policy makers and the public alike. The value of the new book by Dr S. I. Keethaponcalan titled Post-war Dilemmas of Sri Lanka: Democracy and Reconciliation can be assessed particularly in that context although its importance undoubtedly goes beyond the shores of Sri Lanka.

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Bishop Francis in Incisive Critique of Sri Lanka’s Poltical Leaders

A Note from a Sinhalese Friend in Canada: “Hello Michael, I have attached a video of a former Bishop of Kurunegala talking to a Adaderana TV interviewer- a Sinhala Broadcast.on March 12, 2019.The former Bishop is a Sri Lankan, by birth an ”Estate Tamil” Christian. He talks of a secret meeting with Ban Ki-Moon in 2011 and also about chats with another Lankan Leader who was very anti-Sri Lankan!! This interview is very, very interesting: apparently the Bishop resigned from his position as a Bishop due to the anti-SL stand taken by the church. The former Bishop is very pro SL in his views.”

Note 2:  Shantha Francis was appointed anAnglican Bishop in 2010 and then on 6 January 2015 the Archbishop of CanterburyJustin Welby, announced that Francis had resigned as Bishop of Kurunegala. In a statement by Francis he advised that he had been threatened by Tamil diaspora groups opposing his stand for a unitary state and the sovereignty of the country” — from Wikipedia …. So my Canadian friend’s final note is in error. Continue reading

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Mangala challenges Mahinda in Sweeping Denunciation

ITEM in The Island, 20 March 2019, entitled UNHRC: Mangala slams Mahinda”

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has criticized former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for challenging the Geneva Resolution on the basis of disclosure made by Lord Naseby in the House of Lords. Samaraweera issued the following statement in response to Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement dated17 March 2019 instructing the government on what its position should be when the UN Human Rights Council that is at present meeting in Geneva discusses Sri Lanka’s progress on national reconciliation:

“In his statement, as usual aimed at hoodwinking the masses, he assumes a commanding and almost martial tone. Packing it with misinformation to mislead the public, he seems to forget the small detail that he is no longer the President or even the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka – fake or otherwise. As the citizens of our country – Asia’s oldest democracy – remember very well, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempts to usurp the position of Prime Minister a few months ago failed miserably in the face of the determined resistance of our citizens and our independent institutions including our judiciary. My recommendation to Mahinda would be, in true friendship: lets put aside the airs. It really is impossible to engage in constructive dialogue if you give instructions and orders on policy to a government that is trying very hard to fix the several troubles that you yourself, your close advisors and those you appointed to high positions during your time as President created, especially since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. Continue reading

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A Sri Lankan-Australian Experience on Stage

SEE ….. and LISTEN TO S. SHAKTHITHARAN in conversation with Richard Mockler

against a background of scenes from the play “COUNTING and CRACKING” ….. clarifying the making of  The Sri Lankan-Australian experience in Counting and Cracking | The Mix

The playwright contends that it has been moulded as “a cautionary tale” and that he would love to take the ensemble to Sri Lanka. The play was four years in the making and has a cast of 16 (sixteeen) from six different countries.
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Symbolic Snaps on INDEPENDENCE DAY

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Filed under accountability, heritage, landscape wondrous, performance, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, religiosity, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, tolerance

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