India’s failing policy on Sri Lanka

“Should Indian foreign policy to a neighbour like Sri Lanka be based on such unwarranted fears about India’s interests? Why will Sri Lanka not develop relations with China, even if India does everything to placate the current regime? “ Should norms and values that India hold dear, like minority rights, be sacrificed at the altar of geopolitical gains? Is a militarised, authoritarian Sri Lanka of greater interest to India or a democratic stable one? “India will have to do more .... It’s support for negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance, that began in...

One Canadian Tamil's experience of Sri Lankan custody

A Canadian Tamil man has returned to Toronto after spending three years in the custody of Sri Lanka’s anti-terrorism police , who detained him until he signed a false confession saying he had smuggled equipment to the Tamil Tigers. The below are extracts of his account to Stewart Bell of the National Post newspaper (see full report here ) From the room where he was held [by the Terrorism Investigation Department], Mr. Samathanam said he could see the detainees being hit with cricket wickets and chunks of hard rubbe r. “One or two cases they did it in front of me, I think just to scare me,” he...

Mississauga Tamils mark Canada Day

Sisters Tharani Thayaparan (right) and Kiruthika perform a welcome dance Thursday during the Canada Day celebrations. Photo Steven Der-Garabedian/ mississauga.com. “Tonight we are celebrating our fidelity and gratitude to a great country which has welcomed us, given us refuge and a life free from fear.” - Anthony Jesuthasan , President of SOPCA (Social Cultural Recreational Educational and Environmental Network). See mississauga.com ’s report and more pictures here .

Why a sports boycott is essential for justice

“As a first step, Britain must support the international isolation of the Sri Lankan regime until it accepts an independent, international investigation into the mass killings. “ A boycott of Sri Lankan sport will send a clear message to Sri Lanka's regime and in particular to its many supporters at home, of the international community’s abhorrence of these atrocities and its commitment to justice .” “Teams representing countries like Sri Lanka, whose regimes brazenly abuse human rights with impunity, should not be allowed a role in international sport. To do so otherwise is to legitimise...

Sri Lanka's monoethnic military

“Not all Sinhalese are evil. Neither is every Tamil a saint. But the fact remains that every soldier in the Sri Lankan army who fought the war against the LTTE during 2008-2009 was a Sinhalese. “This background information is essential for any non-Tamil to understand how the Sri Lankan army can be so brutal against its own civilians.” - P C Vinoj Kumar , Editor of the Weekend Leader. See his comment here . So, how did Sri Lanka’s armed forces became mono-ethnic? Prof. Brian Blodgett , Director of the History and Military Studies Programs for the American Public University, published a study...

Taking the stand

At the screening last week in New York of the Channel 4’s documentary ‘ Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields ’ to UN diplomats and US media, representatives of Sri Lanka’s government insisted on responding to it. One of those who challenged the documentary, which examined the mass killings by government forces of over 40,000 Tamil civilians, was Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Maj Gen (retd) Shavendra Silva. Gen. Silva is one of the military leaders who had command responsibility during the final months of the war in 2009. The Island newspaper reported his delivery as a '...

Sri Lanka’s defence ministry and tourism investment

On Friday Sri Lanka hailed $1.2bn of investment in its tourist industry so far in 2011. But $1bn of this is for a hotel and a shopping mall, both in Colombo, on prime land purchased from Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry. And both investments have been attracted with major tax concessions. See reports by Reuters , Daily Mirror and The Island A Chinese aviation firm will invest $500m in a hotel and shopping complex in the capital’s main beachfront at Galle Face Green. The core business of China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) is aviation defense. The Hong Kong based...

Impossible to ignore

“ Only a fool thinks that sport and politics do not mix. But I can understand the desire to try and keep the two things separate, to stick your fingers in your ears and insist that the worries of the real world should not intrude of the field of play. “[But] this Saturday England’s cricketers will be expected to play against a man who is a direct representative of a government accused of war crimes on a horrific scale by the United Nations. The politics of the matter is not outside the ground or behind a metal fence any more. It is right there in the middle of the pitch and it cannot be...

Ruling party MP rejoins Sri Lanka cricket team

The argument that cricket and politics are separate was always dubious – not least given what a ‘national’ team represents. (See this , and also this and this ). It is exemplified by the return of Sanath Jayasuriya to the Sri Lanka’s cricket team. Jayasuriya, a star Sri Lankan cricketer, is also a member of parliament representing the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was elected in Jan 2010 to represent his hometown, Matara. Until then, he’d been in the national team for eleven years, captain for four. Jayasuriya returns to the Sri Lankan team this...

The link between Sport and Politics

President Mahinda Rajapaksa welcoming Sri Lanka's cricketers back from the World Cup in India (April 2011). This is the abstract of a forthcoming book on the close relationship between sport and politics by Alan Bairner , Professor of Sport and Social Theory at Loughborough University, UK (see a list of his other publications here ): “ Sport and politics have become inseparably entwined. From the volatile nationalism of international soccer to human rights controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics, sport is both an important factor in political discourse and shaped by the wider political...

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