The world’s most respected and loved elder statesman has passed on. Nelson Mandela for reasons that do not require elaboration was the one and only person who deserved the epithet ‘Global Citizen’; he did not belong to South Africa alone, he belonged to every continent, every country. He was grandfather, father and brother to the entire global family.
Bertold Brecht once wrote about the impact of continuing and escalating violence. At first, there is horror and protest, but as the violence continues and the number of victims grows, a strange silence covers all, he said. This country was forced to learn to live with violence for several decades. Two insurrections and a full blown armed conflict benumbed society
Now that the CHOGM circus is done, along with frills, clowns and performing monkeys, we can return to the man and country that had teased and taunted but in the end was hardly missed. That’s Manmohan Singh and India.India cannot wish away Sri Lanka and neither can Sri Lanka wish away India. That’s geography. That’s political reality. India
Once the final CHOGM document is released we will be in post-CHOGM Sri Lanka. The Commonwealth hasn’t changed much since it was formed and given realities it is unlikely that the Colombo Summit would see change in color, tone or substance. That’s no fault of the host or the participants; it is, as a wit put it, akin to an
There is a lot of irony in the Government mulling the setting up of a Truth Commission on the lines of the model adopted by post-apartheid South Africa just days after the Chairman of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), former Attorney General C.R. De Silva passed away. The LLRC was maligned even before it began
Media freedom, like all freedoms, is not something one can talk about in absolutist language. There are always caveats. There are always conditions. There are lines imposed and there are limits that come from within, the latter kind being two fold, those birthed by fear and those that are spawned by ideological or political preferences.For all the rhetoric about absolute
If anyone has walked with eyes wide open around Bunker Hill, which is the business heart of Los Angeles, even as way back as the early nineties, the level of surveillance would have shocked. It is one of the most unfriendly places in the United States of America, according to those who study the politics of space. That was then.
Ex-judge C.V. Wigneswarn is now a politician. These are early days of his political career. Early days are typically made of words. Time will tell us more of ‘deed’ and the distance these have to rhetoric. We are not talking of the campaign rhetoric, which typically tends to gravitate to vote-getting imperatives. It is well known that manifestos are junked
Canada will not send a high-level delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, regurgitating the anti-Sri Lanka noises emanating from Canada, has explained why. The Sri Lankan Government, for its part, has conveyed disappointment, pointing out that Canada was isolated in its decision ‘as the majority…
There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. We could be talking about Ronnie De Mel’s athleticism, Karu Jayasuriya’s pragmatism laced or coated with ‘national interest’, the prudence of the Thondamans and Hakeems, the self-interest of the 60 plus UNPers who crossed over or corporates covering bases in parliament and in so-called professional associations. Our concern here, however, is…
On May 14, 1976 the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) passed a resolution in Vadukoddai (Batakotte). That document was voted on, in effect, on July 21, 1977. The TULF won 18 seats. Last Saturday, the political successor to the TULF, the Tamil National Alliance, armed with a manifesto that was a virtual one-to-one of the 1976 document, secured the Northern…
When the first provincial council elections were held on April 28, 1988 hundreds were killed. The JVP in its Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya avatar decreed that the first to cast his or her vote in each and every polling station was ‘fair target’. Emerging from the fires that engulfed the country and its youth towards the end of the eighties and…
If the TNA’s manifesto with its not-so-subtle separatist posturing dismays those who believe that the TNA has to be part of any discussion on post-conflict resolution, the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate C.V. Wigneswaran must leave them in tears.First, because his inconsistency plays into the hands of those who harbor apprehensions about the TNA’s political will with respect to reconciliation.
There is a time-tested formula to obtain the optimum in any engagement. It was proposed first by the All-Knowing and All-Seeing, the Buddha Siddhartha Gauthama. The doctrine is contained in two ideas: compassion and wisdom. Applicable to all, this formula offers the best instruments to dissect and respond to the manifesto recently put out by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
There are rules forced on countries through covenants signed or arm-twisted into signing. There are rules forced on rulers through constitutions. There are rules forced on people by laws enacted by representative bodies. Then there are customs or sirith, those handed from generation to generation by way of cultural ethos that speak of propriety not necessarily right
It is reported that a ‘Copper Mafia’, operating mainly from Pettah in Colombo, is illegally exporting more than four billion rupees worth of copper scrap every year, hoodwinking the Customs Department and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. As of now, there’s no mechanism to trace the operation.Over the past few weeks among the issues that gripped
There is a set of people who blame all the ills of this country on what they call ‘majoritarianism’. Majority is a word that is used to refer to Sinhalese, Buddhists and Sinhala-Buddhists. Majoritarianism is not a complimentary term. In tone, inflection and facial expression, derision is pinned on it. Interestingly, the terms ‘multi-ethnic’ and ‘multi-religious’ are typically thrown in
A judge cannot, or rather is not supposed to, sit in judgment on himself or herself. That’s called ‘conflict of interest’. Take any Annual Report of any large company or business entity that aspires to become a bigger player in the relevant field and you will find a section on ‘Corporate Governance’, where statements are made pertaining to compliance. These
The term ‘Bhutanization’ was first used in relation to Sri Lanka by the late Rajiv Gandhi. This was when he was India’s Prime Minister and in that capacity arm-twisted a beleaguered J.R. Jayewardene into signing an agreement that did nothing for Sri Lanka and indeed was crafted in a way that it could not do anything for Sri Lanka.
Last week The Nation commented on the events of July 1983, referring, inter alia, to the context and how it helped shape the larger tragedy that unfolded. July 1983, referred to as ‘Black July’ has been politicized to the point where the victims have receded into a statistical figure, a rhetorician’s convenience to be debated about, to be manipulated for…