The Visiting Belgium-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance today at the office of the Leader of the opposition in parliament.
Briefing the delegation Mr Sampanthan highlighted that the present Sri Lankan Constitution is not enacted based on consensus. The processes of enacting a new Constitution which recognizes the multi-ethnicity and pluralistic nature of this country has begun and the draft Constitution will be placed before the steering committee on this Wednesday. Further speaking Mr Sampanthan said that he wants the processes to succeed and there are opportunities for this process to succeed and we should take maximum use of the prevailing circumstances to find a permanent solution to this longstanding national question.
Mr Sampanthan stressed that the new Constitution must be adopted before the end of this year to take this country on a new journey. Further, he said that the country is faced with a choice either to take the country forward or to drag the country backwards. If they want the country to move forward in every aspect then it is inevitable that they adopt a new Constitution he said.
Speaking on the reconciliation process, Mr Sampanthan highlighted that the people are not happy as they do not receive early relief for their problems. He brought to the notice of the delegation of a number of issues faced by the Tamil people in the North and East. Highlighting the large extent of lands occupied by the armed forces Mr Sampanthan said People have lived in these lands for generations and centuries and they want their lands back, but the progress in this matter has been very slow.
On the issue of Missing persons, Mr Sampanthan said people want to know as to what has happened to their loved ones and people cannot live in uncertainty forever. The truth must be ascertained said Mr Sampanthan. Our people are staging a protest for a number of months regarding these matters, but the progress made in these matters are not up to the expectations.
Appreciating the EU role in the past Mr Sampanthan appealed to the delegation to impress upon the government to take the necessary steps to cure its ways to prevent adverse impacts on its people in the future.
The Delegation led by Hon (Prof) Ms Petra De Sutter, Senator, President of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group comprised of Hon Ms Ozlem Ozen, Member of the House, Vice President of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, Hon. Georges Dallemagne, Member of the House, Vice President of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, Hon. Alain Destexhe Senator, Member of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, hon Andries Gryffroy Senator, Member of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr Marc Jolling, Secretary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Office in the Belgium Federal Parliament, and the Belgium Ambassador to Sri Lanka His Excellency Jan Luykx.
The death penalty will be imposed on some 1,090 prisoners if this decision comes to effect
Church of Ceylon said it cannot condone the move to resume the execution of both those sentenced to death for drug related
Apart from hanging, beheading, lethal injection and shooting are also used as execution methods in the world
Meanwhile, the Department had also separated the convicted drug traffickers from other inmates to cutoff their supplies
Overview of death penalty
Sri Lanka to resume death penalty
A violation of human rights
Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa
There is more to be done
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
Executive’s consent shouldn’t be a need
‘No’ to death penalty
“It’s necessary to find out the root causes for the existence of drugs and how they enter the country,” the monk added.
Ven. MedagodaAbayathissa Thera
List of 18 convicts released
woman prisoner headed the list of the criminals, on death row, Justice and Prison Reforms Minister Thalata Athukorala
Sri Lanka by reintroducing death penalty will be joining a shrinking minority of states that persist with this horrific practice.
The TID said they were investigating under the Prevention of Terrorist Act and Journalist Raveendra Perera had been informed to report to the TID tomorrow (Friday) at 9 a.m. to record a statement.
The letter send by TID:
Featured image by Raisa Wickrematunge
At the heart of this discourse lies the notion of apekama – loosely translating as ‘ourness’, or the idea that there are things that are authentically Sinhala and Buddhist. The cultural coordinates of apekama are debated hotly. They have rarely remained static, but one constant is the belief that something called apekama exists and that it is a national virtue with overarching unity. It is not simply idiosyncratic personal belief but a systematic discourse that has become institutionalised and is reproduced and transmitted from generation to generation.
“The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity” a Cultural Geneology of Sinhala Nationalism” Harshana Rambukwella
Editor’s Note: In a review of Rambukwella’s book (originally published in the Daily FT on July 14, 2018) Dr Senaratne notes that the book, rather than unpacking the idea of nationhood, chooses to address more interesting questions:
“Why is authenticity so central to nationalism? What kinds of conditions demand, sustain and reproduce it? Can we think of multiple and contending authenticities instead of one homogenous discourse?”
The following is a reaction to the points made in Dr Senaratne’s review, which we publish in an effort to further the discourse around authenticity and identity.
In his scholarly review of Harshana Rambukwella’s book, The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity: A Cultural Genealogy of Sinhala Nationalism, Kalana Senaratne raised some important concerns regarding the kind of critical scholarship that Rambukwella’s work represents. He draws attention to two fundamental positions that critical and deconstructionist scholarship, which concerns itself with nationalist narratives, subscribes to.
The first is the position that there is no way to verify “the accuracy and solidity of such nationalist narratives.” The second is the implied belief that the more cosmopolitan, “citizen-of-the-world” identity is somehow preferable to “solid and singular identities,” like the Sinhala identity and the Tamil identity. Based on a close exploration of these two fundamental positions, Senaratne argues that critical and deconstructionist approaches to nationalist narratives, which seek to unsettle the identities that such narratives institute, legitimise, and reinforce, result in canceling out the spaces within which an alternative political vision could be conceptualised, particularly in contexts like ours. The goal of this article is to address Senaratne’s position regarding the broader critical and deconstructionist project, which Rambukwella’s work is an expression of.
The idea of deconstruction as referred to by Senaratne needs some unpacking. Deconstruction is not destruction; deconstruction may have its roots in the idea of destruction, but the former certainly cannot be reduced to the latter. Deconstruction as understood in the field of critical theory is a methodological approach used to “see through” a text and recognise the dynamics of the broader context, which have resulted in shaping the text into what it is. Deconstruction as an approach differs from the conventional textual analyses in that it looks at the text not as an end in itself but as an interface that gives one access to a particular formation or configuration of power relations in broader society.
Nationalist narratives, which are historical by nature, are texts in the sense that they are narratives that express meaning. What a deconstructionist approach to such a narrative does is to demonstrate how the context in which that narrative came into existence has determined the shape of the narrative. This is not at all to say that such narratives are necessarily fabrications or inaccurate renditions of what actually transpired. All it says is that even when a given narrative is considered to have stayed loyal to the actual happenings, it is at its best a representation of those happenings. This representation, critical theorists like Hayden White remind us, is a narrative in the sense that it is a rendition of the actual happenings in language. The gap or the slippage between the actual happenings and their representation always ensures the possibility of there being alternative narratives, which may be significantly different from the mainstream narrative. What a deconstructionist approach would do is to foreground this slippage and highlight the idea that a narrative, irrespective of how mainstream it is, is always a rendition of the happenings from a particular point of view, which invariably comes with its own set of interests, biases, and internal contradictions and inconsistencies.
Accordingly, what deconstructionist approaches like Rambukwella’s, which highlight certain internal contradictions and inconsistencies of the Sinhala nationalist narrative, do is to remind us of the essential incompleteness of that narrative. This does not in any way suggest that we need to completely abandon the mainstream nationalist narrative and shift to a different one, unless a strong case can be made in favour of such a shift, on the basis of convincing findings and arguments. What such an approach does is to highlight the spaces that are already available within the nationalist narrative for a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of realities. In this sense, a deconstruction of the identities associated with the nationalist narrative, which, in this case, is the Sinhala identity, is not a destruction of that identity but an attempt to complicate that identity in order to enable a more nuanced understanding of that identity.
The deconstruction of the Sinhala identity and also the Tamil identity, I would argue, has positive implications for any move towards introducing an alternative political vision. To see the deconstruction of the Sinhala and Tamil identities as a move that creates barriers for such a political project entails the assumption that the alternative political vision should necessarily subscribe to the current understanding of the Sinhala and Tamil ethnic identities. This assumption, in my view, is limiting, at least for two reasons. First, the Sinhala and Tamil identities in their current form, one could argue, is too fraught with negative energy to enable an alternative political vision that guarantees reconciliation. In such a setting, it is imperative that we, as a society, explore alternative ways in which the concerned identities could be reconceptualised. Second, to stay fixated on the mainstream thinking that the alternative political vision should essentially be ethnic in nature may be to overlook other possible ways in which that vision could be conceptualised. In this sense, studies like Rambukwella’s need to be seen not as distractors that keep us from moving towards an alternative political vision, but as important intellectual activities that make a crucial contribution to that political project in question by enhancing the space in which such a vision could be developed.
“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”
- Ethnic violence and ethnic discrimination has taken deep root in the psyche of the adolescent who has now reached his middle age
- S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who for his inflated egoistic reasons and mad rush to power, floated the idea of Sinhala-only policy
Her clothes were ripped off; body battered; mind confused and heart burnt; she was raped and dishonoured and violated beyond recognition. All the traditions and values that were associated with a young woman in a rural hamlet were stolen from her, so to speak. For one offender to another successive criminal, her body and soul became a playground; she was defamed, defaced and debased. Yet, while all these undignified and unscrupulous deeds were committed by her own children who claim that this was all done in order to protect her and her good name, those who did not participate in these inhuman deeds were rendered impotent and mute. Because all these ungodly feats were consummated by the hooligans of her nation-body as patriotic ventures that deserve to be preserved for posterity and the love for ‘the land, the race and the faith’.
Once that gross misdemeanor was committed, those who followed the regimes of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, J R Jayewardene, R Premadasa, Chandrika Bandaranaike and up to Mahinda Rajapaksa, felt utterly free to indulge in the most indecent and unspeakable acts of high crimes and misdemeanor
By the time she reached fifty years after ‘Independence’, the gruesome process has evolved to be the norm instead an exception. With her profile so faded, a forlorn look in her eyes and all her hopes and dreams in ashes, she still keeps one single hope, a faint ray of desire to rise from the layers of rages heaped up in enmity, hatred and envy. In the modern world in which every guy and gal is having his or her ear glued to a Smartphone, she laments that her evolution has not embraced that ‘phone-culture’ as yet. Her mere attachment to things that are more traditional and conventional has made her clumsy and slavish to things of the past that are mere concepts and not living organisms.
That inherent lethargy as a historical fact as was proven time and again in her ancient ‘glorious past’ and her disinterested slant to the currents of international and all-embracing technological advancements has cost her dearly; she may not have realized it, but that is the hard truth. To paraphrase Jawaharlal Nehru who in his celebrated book, The Discovery of India, himself quoting another great son of India, Rabindranath Tagore, wrote that all things of the past are dead and death-dealing. Each time she peeped into her ancient past, as someone close associated with psychiatry disclosed, she got something akin to an orgasmic relief, a relief so fleeting, the immediate aftermath of that relief made it look like a disguised agony calling for company.
This unrelenting epic continues to date. The faked patriotism of Weerawansa and Gammanpila, thunderous shrieking by Dinesh and Aluthgamage and insalubrious and pathetic violation the body and soul of Mother Lanka by Mahinda Rajapaksa and his notorious family are beyond description.
All these violations were there in her ancient history too. Those who chronicled her history, more often than not, alluded to the glorious events of war-victories, shattering of the enemy’s will and erection of magnificent Stupas, Dagabas and ocean-like tanks. The paintings in the Rock fortress Sigiri and Buddha statues in the Dambulla caves, of course, tell a calmness and serenity of a totally sublime and disciplined mind of a people. Such greatness is not subordinated by the massive irrigation networks that streamed life-giving waters to hungry and impatient lands downstream. These mind-boggling human achievements were not bested by any of the modern day rulers. Yet, as Tagore said, they are all dead and belong in the distant arena of past.
With all due respect to D. S. Senanayake and his first Cabinet of Ministers, the apathetic regard they exhibited during the first few years of Independence towards the well-being of Mother Lanka was shaded with nuanced and subtle fine lines of Colonial artistry. However, the first of her violations began with a man called S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who for his inflated egoistic reasons and mad rush to power, floated the idea of Sinhala-only policy heralded by his five-pronged army- Sanga, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru (Sangha, Indigenous medical practitioner, Teacher, Farmer and Labourer). That idea became a potent force with real inflammatory sloganizing. Apart from a very positive and productive profile, this force contained within itself pent up emotions of an envious and angry adolescent. That adolescent, in his newly-found, yet misplaced courage, believed it was time to violate her who had just attained puberty.
one simply cannot disregard nor forget the consummation of all these violations by the dawn of 2015
Once that gross misdemeanor was committed, those who followed the regimes of Sirimavo
Bandaranaike, J R Jayewardene, R Premadasa, Chandrika Bandaranaike and up to Mahinda Rajapaksa, felt utterly free to indulge in the most indecent and unspeakable acts of high crimes and misdemeanor. While all these dastardly violations were justified on the grounds of ‘patriotism’, the Damsel suffered the indignities of rape, terror, bullying, intimidation and butchery.
Nevertheless, one simply cannot disregard nor forget the consummation of all these violations by the dawn of 2015. And sheer apathy which was shown in the process towards the rule of law was more vocal and robust in its exercise in the absence of decency. The rule of law became the law of rule.
The sloganeers of the Rajapaksa regime, with their crafty and evil intentions, carried the shameless harassing of the land, the race and the faith. The gruesome acts of violence and silent nod rendered by the prelates of the Maha Sangha encouraged these hooligans to carry on with their inhumanities to their brethren, whether they came from the North or the South, the East or the West. A license to murder, harass, rape and loot was gleefully endorsed by the leaders of the ‘Teachings’ of the first religious leader who taught Ahimsa, (non-violence), Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.
Our Great Chronicle says that Prince Gamini (before he was coronated as Duttha-Gamini) refused to lie on his bed with his arms and legs freely spread out. The reason he gave was that when the Tamils in the North and the Indian Ocean in the South are threateningly invasive, how could he possibly sleep freely. The venom and anger contained in these words are still echoing deeply in the ears of extremists whose misplaced sense of patriotism is providing sufficient fuel to convert that patriotism into slaughter and dismemberment of a fellow countryman.
Ethnic violence and ethnic discrimination has taken deep root in the psyche of the adolescent who has now reached his middle age. His propensities for violence and mayhem may have cooled down; his anger and venom may have reached its peak over a couple of decades ago, yet his dormant enmity and rage is like ember beneath the ashes. The slightest of dog whistle could rekindle that flame; the faintest of signal is sufficient to call to arms.
In this convolution of national character, ‘how can I rest in peace’, the damsel pleads. An epic transformation is obligatory. A total calibration of the fine traces of character is long overdue.
Rehabilitation of his soul must accompany the recalibertion and the transformation, if not, all purpose of the exercise becomes redundant, for the foe and friend of our land become one and the same and the foe overpowering the friend is inevitable.
Until this marvel happens, it is required of the national profile to be polite, at least for the sake of decency and decorum. For the ‘damsel is in deep distress…
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Likely 30-day suspension of DUP MP over holidays worth £50,000 could lead to recall
Ian Paisley was found to have engaged in ‘paid advocacy’ after his trips to Sri Lanka. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA
The Democratic Unionist party MP Ian Paisley could be forced to stand down and face a byelection after a serious breach of parliamentary rules.
The member for North Antrim is already facing a suspension from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days after becoming a “paid advocate” for the Sri Lankan government and failing to declare family holidays worth at least £50,000.
His suspension will have repercussions for Theresa May’s government. Her working majority will be reduced by one until November, as the government tries to pass contentious Brexit legislation.
The 30-day ban, if accepted, could trigger a recall petition following a recent change to legislation. If 10% of the electorate signs a petition within six weeks, a byelection would take place at which Paisley could stand again.