MUST-SEE : ‘STRANDED’ an art exhibition (and so much more) by Sivasubramaniam Kajendran

 

Stranded 1STRANDED: Listen to a conversation on the forthcoming exhibition by Sivasubramanium Kajendran

Première at  2.30 pm on 28th March at the Art Gallery, University of Fine Arts, Jaffna.

Exhibition dates: 28th March-1st April 2016.

I still hear Siva’s strong voice as he concluded our conversation a little while ago with the words ‘give my regards to your family.’ Bitterly ironic, given what Siva has left to call his own.

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A Sri Lankan lesson in Free Speech: Kenan Malik’s op-ed in the NYT today

Screen shot 2016-02-22 at 5.33.20 PMGaya’s intro: When I read this op-ed, A Sri Lankan lesson in Free Speech by Kenan Malik today in the New York Times, I remember the struggle, for human liberty and freedom of speech. it was not battled not on the lines of digital and global hashtag campaigns of today thriving on global ‘likes’, but the one in which Richard de Zoysa, Cheran Rudhramoorthy, Neelan Thiruchelvam, Rohan Edirisinha, P.K. Saravanamuttu, and many others both in Sri Lanka and in exile, battled on relentlessly for years and decades, during the war.  It was a struggle, among others, to keep sane, to keep enlightened thought alive, to uphold a high standard of human rights and human dignity, despite the security threat to those who did. I remember the CPA being under security surveillance.

Whatever your position may be on the individual arguments or those who espoused em, largely, Sri Lankans fought hard to voice their opinion containing thoughts that were crafted from liberal thinking, at times not reconciled to a nation at war.

Screen shot 2016-02-22 at 5.36.20 PMIt was a time when Shyam Selvadurai launched Funny Boy in Sri Lanka by speaking from the same venue as Kenan Malik did, when he spoke to Smriti Daniel—The British Council Colombo.

We had our day. We had our leaders and mentors.

We are ready now to defend free speech and call for good governance only because there are many who know what it is about and have paid a high price for hanging on to its shadow in those dark days.

 

Screen shot 2016-01-13 at 2.15.12 PMHere is Kenan Malik’s op-ed read in the spirit of quiet pride and optimism in a nation 25 years on from the abduction and brutal murder of Richard de Zoysa—A Sri Lankan Lesson in Free Speech 
Op-ed by Kenan Malik in the New York Times 
February 22, 2016

Special Call-out: MDP Peradeniya deadline 29 Feb 2016

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The deadline for applications  is February 29,  2016. This year as well, I repeat the special call-out for a Masters in Development Practice due to its uniqueness: An opportunity for those who do not hold a Bachelor’s degree to offer their valuable experience in development work as a requirement to qualify in a program designed to deliver, creating an environment in which student-professionals  find that rare interdisciplinary space in Sri Lanka to debate and challenge each other.

Please read the post on the Masters below on the website A Masters worth its Salt or here.
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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.

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To Mr. President with love

By Lifeisnotabeach

Dear Mr President,

It is one year since I woke up to an ‘aha!’ moment in my life… A long awaited sense of freedom, not just freedom from terror, but also freedom of speech, freedom of living a life devoid of constant fear of being ‘watched and listened to’,  a violation of basic human rights,  stolen from us for over a decade.  I also woke up to the hope of a clam on ‘excessive corruption’, cronyism, nepotism, lawlessness aScreen shot 2016-01-11 at 5.52.01 PMnd political thuggery, to name a few. Yes Mr President, I jumped out of bed on the 8th of January 2015, realizing that the nightmare was over and it was going to be a fresh start for the country with a rainbow coalition lighting up our land. Many ridiculed me for my wishful thinking. But I am an eternal optimist Mr President, just to let you know. Read more

Whatever the party, Lanka knows how to party!

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No one trusts politicians and no one’s fooled by election promises really. Yet there’s been too many sad mornings after, after the riots, after the bomb, after the funeral, after the tsunamis, after the end of the war.  Now  the voters are voting and the band’s playing in August as it did in January.

It’s amazing! It’s a reason to celebrate. It sets us apart.

You’ve gotta hand it to Lanka…
Whatever the party, they know how to party!
O what a show of votes!

I love every single voter cos they voted,  every single enthusiastic campaigner fired up, glitter- eyed peeps who were behind the win cos they wanted to run the race.

Was this a peaceful or more peaceful election than we’ve ever had before in Sri Lanka?

I hope you will not forget how we partied together till dawn, when all hope was bombed outta the nation. And no one lost friends or colleagues due to political allegiances. That together we abandoned hope of seeing the war end in our lifetime. Will you remember the dead who gave their lives to see democracy restored in one nation north to south, east to west? And give to those who gave?

In trust the country still remains, for the generation born, which did not know war, or fear.

Proud of the democratic tradition of Sri Lanka.
Proud of the phoenix-like quality of our survival.
Proud to be a Sri Lankan today.
Will still be proud tomorrow and thereafter
Of a country that still believes.

Ayubowan Lanka!

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Remembrance day 2015: I remember going to ‘the front’

GAYA’S INTRO:  He left his parents behind in Northern Jaffna to join up ten years ago, strangely coincidentally on May 19th 2005. He has much to remember…

bike jaffna

 

BY ARAVINTH RAJESH

 

Ten years ago,  this day this time…

many things were in my head.

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Let’s give a moment’s silence for the 150 poorest of the poor buried alive in mud. RIP !!

Dear friends,

I am the most rubbish blogger or website writer or whoever.  My motherhood and otherhood life is too busy and demanding to consistently write and respond on the digital media. I hardly have time to read. But this is different. At times like this, you are once again reminded of who you are and what hardship is borne and tragedy encountered by the communities on a little island which surely has had more than its fair share of disaster.

Meeriyabeddawatte is in the Badulla district and many have heard of it since Thursday.  Likewise, we  got a geography lesson in Mullaivaikkal and Aranthalawa and Kokillai and the entire world realised during the Tsunamis of 2004 where Banda Aceh and Sri Lanka were located on the world map. Maybe it’s not just the Americans who learn geography of the world in strange ways eh?

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 10.23.36 AMOne hundred and fifty people are now given up for dead, buried alive in mud.  In an ironic twist, the custom of parents to send all the kids to school saved the children or most of them from being killed, but left them orphaned. Too many of them. Poor little souls. My FB friend whose been living awhile in Badulla District, Padraig Colman’s blog is a responsible read on the tragedy.

A line room is a sad place to begin with.  It is a phenomenon that should not continue to be a ‘home’ in the Sri Lankan landscape and the poor Tamils of Indian Origin brought as near-slaves by the British from India to work in the tea plantations continue to live in these sad circumstances. When I read on Cesar Chavez’ s nonviolent campaign it was all too close to home and to the sad state of some of these tea estate workers.

If you would like to help, there are many calls put out on Facebook.

The catholic church has put out theirs. Sirasa is collecting for a lorry that leaves by nidnight tonight SL time.

My friends have created whatsapp groups and messaged us overseas.

I am trying to call my cousin’s home – he is the Chief of the Paediatric Hospital in Badulla.

I will be adding numbers to this or a new post. Please feel free to add your info as a comment below.

In all this, one of the proud moments is to see the speed of disaster response among ordinary people. The Government and churches and institutions are not lagging behind it appears.  All respect to the armed forces who scrabbled with their bare hands for survivors in the first rescue operations.  We have had a period of relative calm recently. I was stung by how each tragedy brings it all back somehow. The long shadow cast by the memory of pain, tears, tragic loss and damning sensation is revived by news on a community yet again suffering in Sri Lanka.

tea 150 dead, too many missing, 60 line rooms, 2 houses, a Kovil, A supermarket, a playground… a village, a community.

When you drink your next cup of tea, savour it, sip it slowly and observe a minute’s silence for the poorest of the poor who are today’s victims of an incredible tragedy.

Note: Harin Fernando’s callout:

Harin Fernando the famous record-breaking politician has published his. Call  Bala on 072 9113305 or email harinfernando@hotmail.com.

“My dear friends
With an extremely heavy heart I wish to put on record that I was in Meeriyabedda, Koslanda in Haldummulla whole of yesterday and today to offer my condolences to victims of this unimaginable disaster and also to see how best we as citizens of Sri Lanka could help this very innocent and poor people living well below the poverty lines.
About 400 persons are reported missing, submerged due to an earth slip owing to torrential rain and regretfully many are feared dead. A geographical area of about 200 to 250 acres have been effected and many other areas are deemed as high risk.
In a few days’ time, we will able to gauge the lives lost, the seriously injured and the long suffering. I honestly don’t have any idea at this stage of the physical and emotional recovery process which would be very long, lengthy and painful journey.
My dear friends, It will be with the support of people like you that will measure our compassion for others and our fellow citizens.
We are in dire need of following items
1) Drinking Water
2) Food ( dry rations & non-perishable items )
3) Milk Powder
4) Clothing ( Ladies Kaftans, gents sarongs and tshirts, kids clothing and blankets since its very cold )
5) Temporary Shelter
6) Personal Hygiene Products ( Toothbrushes / Soap / Toothpaste / Sanitarywear For Ladies & Infants )
7) Medicine.
8) Volunteers ( Doctors / Nurses / Physiatrists etc
9) cash donation for minor expenses
As we ask for your generous financial support ( in cash or kind ) to rebuild their lives in a way that can bring the most comfort during these very difficult times, I would earnestly like to request for your heartfelt prayers to those who were lucky to survive, injured from this calamity and also the diseased. Please be kind enough to re-forward this message to people whom you might think will be generous and kind enough to help us.
Those who wish to step forward to help this worthy cause, please feel free to directly get in touch with my staff Bala on < 072 9113305> or email me harinfernando@hotmail.com
Yours sincerely
Harin Fernando”

Credits: Above photo of soldiers in rescue operations credited to this website http://www.nst.com.my/node/47846

Special Call-Out: How a Master of Development Practice can change your journey!

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The deadline for applications  is now extended to February 15,  2014 and this year as well I repeat the special call-out for a Masters in Development Practice due to its uniqueness: An opportunity for those who do not hold a Bachelor’s degree to offer their valuable experience in development work as a requirement to qualify in a program designed to deliver, creating an environment in which student-professionals  find that rare interdisciplinary space in Sri Lanka to debate and challenge each other.
  [Read more…]

Special Call-Out: a Masters Degree for experienced professionals in Development work

Hilmy Ishak PHOTO

The deadline for applications  is now extended to February 15,  2014 and this year as well I repeat the special call-out for a Masters in Development Practice due to its uniqueness: An opportunity for those who do not hold a Bachelor’s degree to offer their valuable experience in development work as a requirement to qualify in a program designed to deliver, creating an environment in which student-professionals  find that rare interdisciplinary space in Sri Lanka to debate and challenge each other. [Read more…]