‘Bombs rolling in the air’ - Remembering the Navaly church massacre

On this day 25 years ago, the Sri Lankan air force dropped 13 bombs on St Peter’s Church in Navaly. More than 140 sheltering Tamils, who were encouraged by the military to seek refuge at the church, were killed on the spot. At least 13 children were amongst the dead, with many more succumbing to injuries later as the local hospital was swamped with the wounded.

Sri Lankan police summon Tamil Guardian's Mullaitivu correspondent

Sri Lankan police have summoned Tamil Guardian’s Mullativiu correspondent Shanmugam Thavaseelan for questioning The journalist is being summoned with regards to an incident on June 16, where allegedly intoxicated Forest Department officials assaulted at least three Tamil men.

Queerness + Tamil identity – PEARL speaks with Gowri Koneswaran, Ram Paramanathan and Abhirami Balachandran

Speaking with People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), Gowri Koneswaran, a lawyer and writer, Ram Paramanathan, a journalist and media critic, and Abhirami Balachandran, researcher and educator, gave enlightening discussions on queer identity in the Tamil community as part of their final discussion in their Tamil Struggle 101 workshop. Rejecting cis-heterosexual normativity Speaking on how we engage with LGBTQ issues, Gowri Koneswaran reminds us to challenge preconceived conceptions and to be inclusive. Her talk not only challenges traditional mainstream narratives of queer identity,...

Chinese Investment and the BRI in Sri Lanka – Chatham House

Following the publication of their report on the impact of Chinese investment and the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) in Sri Lanka, Chatham House held a wide reaching and informative discussion on the economic, political, and geopolitical role of China in Sri Lanka. Whilst questioning conventional narratives such as “China’s debt trap”, the speakers also touched upon key issues such as human rights, corruption, and geopolitical alliances. The report notes that the question is not whether or not Sri Lanka should adopt Chinese investment but rather how best to utilise this investment. A history...

Caste + Resistance – PEARL speaks with Sinthujan Varatharajah and Thanges Paramsothy

Speaking with People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), both Sinthujan Varatharajah, an expert political geographer, and Thanges Paramsothy, a renowned anthropologist, gave enlightening discussions on the nature and continued presence of caste as well the history of resistance to it. Varatharajah, who is of Dalit origin, spoke on the oft-ignored history of caste discrimination and resistance. He notes that contemporary narratives often attempt to present the Tamil struggles as a casteless one but by denying the existence of caste we “deny the long history of resistance against caste"...

The Art of Survival: Beetroot Sandwiches and Orange Juice

At age seven, I joined the Jaffna Library as a member of its children’s section. Every Saturday my friend and I would take orange juice and beetroot and Kraft cheese sandwiches, and go with her mother, then English teacher at Vembadi Girls School, to the library.

'Accountability should apply to everyone' says UN in call to investigate Karuna

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for the Sri Lankan government-backed paramilitary leader Karuna to be investigated for crimes under international law, announcing that “accountability should apply to everyone in Sri Lanka". "We note that Karuna former LTTE commander and Government minister, is being questioned for alleged past crimes,” said the office in a tweet yesterday. “He should also be investigated for wholesale recruitment of child soldiers, a crime under international law. Accountability should apply to everyone in Sri Lanka."

Sinhalisation in the East - Kallady

Photograph by @streetsoftamileelam After Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa established an all Sinhala task force, which includes Buddhist monks and alleged war criminal to “preserve the historical heritage of Sri Lanka” in the Eastern province, we take a closer look at Sinhalisation efforts that have already taken place in the region. While Sinhalisation is not a new phenomenon in the North-East, there has been an influx in the ‘rediscoveries’ of Sinhala Buddhist sites predominantly in Tamil and Muslim areas by Sri Lanka’s Department of Archaeology. There have been increasing concerns...

Gender + Militancy – PEARL speaks with Dr Nimmi Gowrinathan

Speaking with People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), Dr Nimmi Gowrinathan, Founder and Director of the Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative and Visiting Research Professor at the City College New York, gave an enlightening discussion on gender and militancy.

Tamil man shot dead by Sri Lankan army soldiers

Updated 1800 GMT A 24-year-old man has died after being shot and killed by Sri Lankan army soldiers earlier this evening, with locals taking to the streets to protest his murder. The incident occurred this evening in Muhamalai, at approximately 6:15pm. The deceased man has been identified as Thiraviyam Ramalingham from Ketpeli, Point Pedro. Details have emerged suggesting that the military killed Ramalingham as they apprehended him over reported illegal sand mining. He was reportedly with four others at the time, when the military approached and opened fire. Ramalingham was shot, whilst the...