Reflections from Mullivaikkal: From the Ashes

As part of a series marking the atrocities of Mullivaikkal,​ we invited activists, journalists, and writers from around the world to share their experiences and reflections a decade on.

May 18 Declaration - Mullivaikal

The Mullivaikal Remembrance Public Forum, the collective responsible for organising remembrance activities in the North-East on the tenth anniversary of the Tamil genocide made a declaration on May 18, calling for the continued unity of the Tamil nation to struggle for justice and self-determination. This year marks the tenth year since the Mullivaikal massacre in May, 2009. The unitary Sri Lanka state that is constructed on Sinhala-Buddhist ideology perpetrated structural genocide against the Tamils phase by phase since its independence in 1948, and this still continues in the post-...

‘Sri Lanka, the top holiday destination for 2019, is polluted by torture and lies’

Sri Lanka, the country that the Lonely Planet declared as the top destination of 2019, is a “holiday paradise is polluted by torture and lies,” wrote Freedom from Torture's policy and advocacy director Steve Crawshaw in The Independent last week. “This failure to confront, let alone prosecute, past crimes provides the climate in which torture and other abuses continue today,” said Crawshaw. “Torture survivors who have received rehabilitation treatment from Freedom from Torture tell us repeatedly of the importance of seeing those who have committed torture brought to account.” “Our new report...

‘Why has Sri Lanka’s Transitional Justice process failed to deliver?’

The Sri Lankan government has made “empty promises” on transitional justice and its willingness to tackle impunity, which is “evidenced by a litany of failures”, write Yasmin Sooka and Frances Harrison for the London School of Economics’ South Asia blog this week.

Signs of Resistance

The history of the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka after Western colonisation is a history of oppression by the chauvinist Sinhala-Buddhist state. Because of strength and resilience, the Tamil people acted against this oppression with resistance. This goes from peaceful protest for equal rights to a militant fight for a separate state. Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians and combatants lost their lives throughout the armed conflict.

‘UK Shredding Sri Lankan skeletons in the closet’

Photograph: A UK mercenary pictured training Sri Lankan soldiers in the 1980s. JDS Lanka Britain’s Foreign Office plans to shred dozens more files about its relationship with Sri Lanka, in addition to the hundreds of diplomatic it has already destroyed, writes Phil Miller in JDS Lanka this week. “I found, from British air force files that had survived the shredder, that a senior British intelligence officer made two visits to Sri Lanka in 1979 to advise how to deal with the Tamil militancy,” writes Miller. “In 1980, a British special forces training team visited Sri Lanka to help set up an army commando unit.”

‘More theatrics to come in Sri Lanka’ – The Economist

As Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena continue to whip up nationalist Sinhala Buddhist sentiment, there “may be more theatrics to come” in Sri Lanka, warned The Economist on Tuesday. Stating it was “reassuring to see democracy prevail”, it praised the curbing of Sirisena’s attempt to “expand executive power”, adding that it was for many, “satisfying to watch the lushly mustachioed former strongman, Mahinda Rajapaksa, exit the stage with a scowl”. “Yet as every Sri Lankan knows, the events of the past few weeks represent only one act in a much longer play,” The Economist added. “The...

India’s waiting game in Sri Lanka - Hindustan Times

India appears to have adopted a “waiting game” approach to Sri Lanka, said the Hindustan Times in an editorial today, but warned “the wait for the crisis to play out to some sort of conclusion could be a long one”. The paper stated the crisis in Colombo comes amid calls in Sri Lanka for an “inclusive system that takes care of the interests of all sections of society, including the minority Tamils, who have a considerable impact on domestic politics in Tamil Nadu”. “India was among the issues that led to differences between Mr Sirisena and Mr Wickremesinghe, with the president reportedly...

‘Not able to write off Sirisena’ - The Economist

Despite Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court judgement on Thursday, Maithripala Sirisena’s opponents may not yet be able to write him off, warned The Economist today. “As unusual as it was, the court’s slap to the country’s head of state came as no surprise,” said the paper. “Mr Sirisena has been testing the limits of his powers ever since October 26th.” “But Mr Sirisena’s opponents may not be able to write the president off so easily,” it warned. “He holds command of the army and other powerful institutions, and Mr Rajapaksa enjoys a bigger popular following than does Mr Wickremesinghe—or at least he...

Maaveerar Naal: Mourning is a Human Right

- Brannavy Jeyasundaram Mourning is for the living. It enables us to process grief, understand loss, and above all, invite healing. History is full of rich and meaningful mourning customs, indiscriminate of cultures, because how else could we possibly move on? In a way, mourning the loss of life promises our own survival. It is for this reason, I believe, mourning is a human right.