Category Archives: A9

A9 is a space in which reconciliation and healing North-South, features on the former warzone and the Northern territory of the island nation, shut off for too long, is celebrated. Includes shout-outs and stories on the healing work done by people with large hearts and minds.

‘I can’t remember my sister’s face’ – the story behind ‘Stranded’ by Sivasubramaniam Kajendran

BY GAYA FERNANDO

Stories find you and not the other way around sometimes—Siva Kaja’s story just burst on me without warning. It was not a by-the-book introduction. He sent me a photo of his exhibition STRANDED on FB and I asked him to send me a write-up that I could share with my friends in Sri Lanka.

‘Call me and I will tell you the story behind my exhibition’, he said, and – little realizing that he would find it hard to convey the meaning in written English – I insisted that he write something first.
Continue reading ‘I can’t remember my sister’s face’ – the story behind ‘Stranded’ by Sivasubramaniam Kajendran

In Benghazi today or Jaffna then, the teachers kept on teaching despite the shelling!

The BBC reported this today on a school reopening in Beghazi

“I hope my country can find a way forward. By opening the school, we’re trying to establish some kind of normality here. Despite this war, despite all the destruction, we are still keeping on. We need to live. We need a future for our country. We need peace and safety. Enough of war, enough. For the future of our children, enough.”
Fauzia Mukhtar Abeid, head teacher of a school on the border of Libya

This reminded me of what the Jaffna teacher said …

Continue reading In Benghazi today or Jaffna then, the teachers kept on teaching despite the shelling!

Do you remember Johnny Batta? The irony of it all…

A comment on De-Mining Sri Lanka: A Job for Widows and Survivors

Screen shot 2016-01-19 at 11.40.22 AMRead Smriti Daniel’s article on Al-Jazeera published on 12 January 2016. Enter a world you didn’t know existed, but one which Vimaleswaran Gunamala, Ananda Chandrasiri, Damian O’ Brien of the HALO trust —and even His Excellency the British High Commissioner James Dauris, who previously in Columbia knew de-mining and HALO’s work and visited Kilinochchi last May—are fully aware of.

This is Mahumalai, Kilinochchi in the baking heat of a northern sun.

The LTTE laid a circle of explosives around a well where soldiers might stop for water or in the gardens of homes they abandoned to the advancing Sri Lankan army. Mines have been found in pots of curd and plastic cricket bats.

Continue reading Do you remember Johnny Batta? The irony of it all…

Ravi has one beautiful eye!

GAYA FERNANDO

 

Journeys start with chance encounters and deliberate action; both are needed.  Nothing just happens and wherever there are dire survival needs there is also an energy to make like-minded people set out on a journey together.

 

 How I met the little children

 

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I met Tharindu Amunugama at a rather noisy festive location in Colombo in August 2011. It didn’t take long to find out his inspiration in life: the Children’s project he believed in which his Chairman Mano Nanayakkara had launched titled Glorious Jaffna. I had seen the book.   Curious, I watched the Youtube vid of the launch and there was something about the ‘Wheel-Chairman’ and his commitment that was riveting. Had I not heard this name before? Maybe as a young lawyer at Paul Ratnayeke’s I may have, but I didn’t ask anyone about it and pledged to support two kids in the project in the name of my own two kids in 2012.

When Trehan sent me the pictures of the kids I chose the little boy cos he had one eye and the little girl cos there was an angry expression on her face as though she did not realise that a smile would help her case. Nor care.

Continue reading Ravi has one beautiful eye!