For those who pooh-pooh the Colombo protestors at the disrupted vigil

The streets of Colombo have seen worse sights.

dog on beach rapti 2But if we look around and say “oh please, you see the Colombo elite here and facebookers who have turned up and got harrassed by the Police... I am disappointed. I need more Buddhists, more middle class people and I don’t like to see people who worked in NGOs, nor lived overseas nor are in the upper middle class of CMB in this protest cheek by jowl with me and so I would not have lit a candle” we would be as bad as the BBS. It’s saying “I wanna support the Sri Lanka which excludes the types I do not identify with cos I suspect everyone of having an agenda and this will stop my supporting the cause of an inclusive Sri Lanka for all. I need ‘my people’ to support all this !”

Get over it.

The CMB upper middle class has walked the talk in the streets and maybe you are a mite surprised to see your bedfellows? What the Colombo society did and did not do during the war as ambassadors of the peace both at home and abroad getting those much needed investments flowing and foreign investors despite the bombs blasting around deserves kudos if you only knew the extent to which they’ve stood strong. The reasons for many investors standing by Sri Lanka was their friendship and loyalty to the Colombo businessman whose family they knew so very well.

The ‘Colombians’ continued to work and play in a peaceful manner in an inter-ethnic life which has outlived the storm and now are fighting for the multi-ethnic society they love. The society I love. I was born and ‘bred’ there and I know what it’s like to have such a rich life and belonging among diverse faiths and races. Long Live multi-ethnic, multi-faith Sri Lanka !!

Eka mavakage daru kela bewinaa …
yamu yamu vee nopamaa,
prema wada sema bedha durera dhaa …
namo namo matha… !

Gaya’s Vids: iSrilankan is one year old today !

GAYA FERNANDO

 

iSrilankan one year on…! from iSrilankan on Vimeo

I remember hitting the ‘publish’ button on monday night May 26th last year with a sense of unreality and feeling a surge of adrenalin as the likes flooded in from people with whom I had had many conversations in the months before.  I never really publicised the website I think partly due to the fear of pressurising myself to deliver to expectations of which I had no clue. So the first year was an exploratory one and I listened to what resonated with myself most, not with others only; what would make it all worthwhile to myself as well as others in the end.

In this amateur vid I try to express the most important activity that I will sustain and take energy from : grafting on new friendships, new members to my growing iSrilankan family around the world and keeping the conversation and friendship going. That’s it. The process is its own reward.

Living outside the homeland and engaging with local and Diaspora audiences using digital media is a great experience and one that has resulted in skill-acquiring DIY style from my home with only a macbook and an internet connection. This amateur vid will tell you that I am quite a maniac to dare to do stuff like this by myself without help and actually have the guts to post it but then, wtf? Yep, skills make it very worthwhile – you learn the basics, overcome your fear and there is a tutorial for everything else out there.

I’ve thrown in some thoughts from my own experience as a mum of two young kids, managing a home and keeping her grey matter, sense of humour and tolerance going. And if you are engaging with the homeland you may i’ve touched on how I try to maintain balance and perspective ( especially given the status quo). The first and last rule I follow: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

I’ve left out many names cos I didn’t make a list and among them Sulochana Peiris who was the first patient listener to my idea of launching a slow journalism website undaunted by other failed initiatives and Meena Serendib who did an awesome podcast on nonviolent communication for the launch. There are many new people since who are a great support such as Tanuja, Rebecca, Soori, Gillian, Nireka, Gloria, Dileni both in SL and NYC, Len, Koom, Iqbal and others. It’s great to get to know you…

If you may like this website as an independent initiative please post the content you like on your social media with a little note to increase genuine readership among the Sri Lankan audiences home and away.

Thank you and see you around !

Gaya

 

Image of the Week: USA-donated fire holder at the Jaffna Music Festival

DUSHIYANTHINI

Via DushiYanthini’s Twitterfeed

From USA to Jaffna to be used as a fire holder at Jaffna Music Festival.

 

Screen shot 2013-03-03 at 9.06.35 AM

 

DushiYanthini in her own words is a Multi Media Journalist|PhotoJournalist|Correspondent by PASSION.Covered conflict&covering conflict related issues. Classical singer&swimmer.Wanna be challenged!

WAVE: Sonali Deraniyagala on an unthinkable tragedy and living in the thereafter

 

sonali small

 

Economist Sonali Deraniyagala lost her husband, parents and two young sons in the terrifying Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. They had been vacationing on the southern coast of her home country Sri Lanka when the wave struck.Wave is her brutal but lyrically written account of the awful moment and the grief-crazed months after, as she learned to live with her almost unbearable losses — and allow herself to remember details of her previous life. In this scene, Deraniyagala revists both the house of her parents in Colombo, which has been emptied and closed up since the tsunami, and Yala National Park, where she was when the wave struck. Wave will be published March 5.

 

Sri Lanka, July – December 2005

Someone had removed the brass plate with my father’s name on it from the gray front wall. It had his name etched in black italics. I sat in the passenger seat of my friend Mary-Anne’s car, my eyes clinging to the holes in the wall where that brass plate was once nailed.

This had been my parents’ home in Colombo for some thirty-five years, and my childhood home. For my sons it was their home in Sri Lanka. They were giddy with excitement when we visited every summer and Christmas. Vik took his first steps here, and Malli, when younger, called the house “Sri Lanka.” And in our last year, 2004, when Steve and I had sabbaticals from our jobs and the four of us spent nine months in Colombo until September, this house was the hub of our children’s lives.

This was where we were to return to on the afternoon of the twenty-sixth of December. My mother had already given Saroja, our cook, the menu for dinner. This was where they didn’t come back to. Now, six months after the wave, I dared to set eyes on this house.

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Image of the Week

Bludge at The Good market

The Good Market

 

Content below is reproduced from the Facebook page of The Good Market-Colombo.
You need to be healthy & happy to trip properly 🙂 Be informed & eat healthy!! If your BLUDGEING around in Colombo, Sri Lanka do check out the The Good Market – Colombo happening today!! Good Market

Good for the Planet. Good for the Country. Good for You.

The Good Market is a weekly festival of natural food, local arts and crafts, and live entertainment. It’s a place to meet friends, enjoy a meal, and find a range of healthy, environmentally friendly products that are not readily available anywhere else in Sri Lanka.
Check out the bludge website – t shirts for the tripped out!!-) ♥
Check out The Good Market on Facebook

 

 

A Tale of Two Women and the birth of Paartheepan

GAYA FERNANDO

Rizana Nafeek left the country forging her age on a passport and found herself in hot water with the laws of the foreign host nation. She was denied her life in the discretion given to the tribal family negotiation process in Saudi Arabia and was sentenced to a terrible death. Ranjini left the country as a refugee post-war and found herself in a legal ‘black hole’ in Australia regarding ‘significant and continuing security threats to Australia. She failed the security test of which no details are released and was thrown into indefinite detention with no reasons given and no appeal according to the processes of national security in Australia. She may not lose her life immediately though there is a significant and continuing risk that she will lose her mind as others have done and are receiving psychiatric treatment as the length of indefinite detention takes its toll on the human mind.

Both the girl Rizani and the young woman Ranjini did not make this journey alone nor are they very cognisant of the procedures to which they were submitted. They left the country assisted by a network of agents who profit from assisting those who wish to leave the country to do that for a hefty fee.

ipad-art-wide-refugee-420x0

Admittedly one young woman accidentally may have caused the death of a child and the other may have been employed by a terrorist organisation during a war in the country she left. What matters now is how Host State processes mete out justice on their terms to people who are in the grey area of the law and to whom a discretion may apply given the individual circumstances of both women.  Yet what is seen is that the only criteria applied is how these actions affect the host nation. Both Rizana and Ranjini are just migrants/refugee applicants who do not belong there.

On January 9th we lost Rizana and on January 15th was born a son, Paartheepan, to Ranjini, who is still in indefinite detention. This is what may change the tide in the case of the second young woman.

Paartheepan means light to the world. Paartheepan’s father is a Permanent Resident of Australia, Ganesh and so, ‘Paari’ is an Australian citizen and will be able to leave the detention centre without his mother. However, for the present, strategically as well as naturally it will be best to leave the little baby with his mother for his well-being and hers as well as to attract more outrage and attention to her plight which is hardly in line with 2012 human rights norms relating to limits in detention, the right to appeal and the right to know the charges against you. Paari has two brothers at the Villawood detention centre who go to school but come back to the centre and are not free to leave.

I have followed to some extent the campaigns for Rizana and Ranjini from the social media callouts and other newspaper reports. It has been alleged that the delegations to plead on behalf of Rizana may have worked against her interest with their premature indications of a settlement, possibly hardening the resolve of the tribal family negotiators to withhold the pardon in this case. I have no informed opinion on this. However, if this were the case, there is a lesson to be learnt; many may be. It is therefore with a certain anxiety that I view the vociferous, emotional twittering of campaigners who call on even Barack Obama to press for the release of Ranjini. Paartheepan, bless him has his own hashtag #paari, another called #bornfree and the campaign grows in animosity towards ASIO, Chris Bowen and others involved as State Officials in this case.

RA51712While it is very commendable and humanly moving to see the campaign for Ranjini, it is not uncommon for State Authorities to tighten their resolve to continue their process despite the clamour of activists and to be seen as not giving into pressure from rights groups. This is evident in many such situations in Europe, USA, UK and well, pretty much anywhere including Sri Lanka.

Therefore it is hoped that little Paari and his mum will not be hindered by this social clamour and that the authorities determining their case will be given that prudent window in which to reach a dignified verdict on their own. Sometimes activism is its own enemy and the campaigners get carried away by tweet overload. Congratulating their efforts, it is hoped that political realism will allow this life-changing decision to be carried out by the powers that be as soon as possible.

This is the announcement on the website Letters for Ranjini on his birthday Jan 15th.

We are blessed with a boy, Paartheepan (Paari).

4.075kg on 15-01-2013 Tuesday at 8:23PM.

Mum and baby are fine.

Regards, Ranjini and family.

One little note of relief is that little Paari weighed over 4kgs at birth and he is in good health. Pardons and amnesties are in place for a reason as is the review of judicial process over other state institutions. Let us hope that Paari will hasten the processes that will determine if Ranjani is or is not a continuing security threat and will signal a new life for the family in Australia if all goes well.

Paartheepan, Ayubowan !!

iSrilankan-Londoners: 13 Nov St.Martin-in-the-Fields with Tanya Ekanayaka

Tanya is back and will be performing at St-Martin-in-the-Fields the world renowned recital venue on 13 Nov in a few days.

Back in 2010, Tanya Ekanayake  was the first Sri Lankan pianist to be invited to give a solo piano recital in the ‘Pianists of the World’ series at London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields. This was in 2010.

One of the oldest recital series of St Martin-in-the-Fields having been founded by the legendary Dame Myra Hess, Tanya’s programme concluded with the world première of her composition ‘Adahas: of Wings of Roots’ which was the first composition by a Sri Lankan to be performed at this venue.

Click play, listen to Adahas: Of Wings of Roots and be enchanted !!

For more on Tanya, our very own Peradeniya graduate read the related stories below.

Just-published book on Sri Lanka : Nayomi Munaweera’s ‘Island of a Thousand Mirrors’

 
It’s a rare blend of war, love and migration. Am looking for the author to do an Artists&Life podcast with her on her book, her take on life and else. It’s the right time however to introduce her cos this lady is gonna read at the Samadhana 2012 Benefit Reading Series which is an SLWB event organised by Kumaran Nadesan in Toronto. SLWB is involved in bringing the North American Sinhalese and Tamil Diaspora together in events that will build bridges between two communities that do not ordinarily meet in the same space though there are many like-minded. Great stuff ! [Read more…]

Image of the Week : Rag – the Musical

 

SHEHAL JOSEPH (credits) Rag – the Musical FINAL NIGHT at the Lionel Wendt 23 Oct

 

‘Rag’ is an original Sri Lankan musical theatre production that deals with the issue of ‘ragging’ or bullying/hazing in educational institutions.

 

“I had a dream when i was 16 years old – to write an original musical. That dream has finally come true. Never give up on your dreams! Don’t miss the final night of Rag – The Musical at the Wendt TONIGHT!”

Jehan Aloysius

Playgrounds and Players in Asia

 

MALINDA SENEVIRATNE

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit in Kuwait, outlined his vision for the region in the following terms:

‘This continent of Asia cannot be the playground of other forces, who seek our wealth, our assets of nature and human resources. Our progress must draw from the best of our own cultures and while learning from the best of others who come with genuine friendship. We are seeing the dawn of the Age of Asia. We must together see it bring new light to a troubled world dominated by the grave errors of other continents.’ [Read more…]