Tamil politics, “human rights extremists” and humanitarian crises: Web discussions trump MSM?


Groundviews has over the past month alone exclusively published thought provoking content that has explored facets of violence and a cataclysmic humanitarian disaster. Featuring a wide range of critical voices from NGOs, Government and the diaspora Groundviews is priviledged to host some of the most compelling content and discussions on the current situation in Sri Lanka that can be found on the web.

The most attention on the site by far over the past week has centred around DILEMMA’S AT WAR’S END: THOUGHTS ON HARD REALITIES by Michael Roberts, a renown Sri Lankan author and scholar. In addition to the numerous comments to the original article, a more substantive response was penned by Lionel Bopage, erstwhile General Secretary of the JVP and published here. This was taken into consideration when Michael Roberts published today a detailed response to the main critiques in all the comments he had received to date on his original article. Michael notes that,

Indeed, one could claim that the sins of commission and omission by the human rights lobby (HRL) stir the chauvinists more than any measured evaluation. HRL excesses animate the Sinhala extremists. Indeed, the position taken by the HRL also serves the interests of the LTTE and the pro-Tiger diaspora. But their motivation is, as I have stressed in my previous essay, quite different (quite laudable too) from that of the Tiger-apologists. Just because their position assists the LTTE-spokespersons at this moment does not mean that anyone can cast them as “members of the LTTE gallery” in the sort of logic that guides Bopage to brand me. The HRL must continue its work, but with less naivety – that is, they must pay greater attention to the specificities of context, and reveal greater political acumen, less extremism… The failure of comprehension displayed in Groundviews by Kumar David and Lionel Bopage is quite revealing. It displays a reading of the SL situation in Manichean terms. They themselves stand within a good, moral world opposed to war tout court and opposite them are the warmongers (both GOSL and LTTE). If you say anything in favour of the warmongers, you too are a heinous warmonger. I shall refer to this form of extremism in shorthand as HRE, human rights extremism (or extremists).


Maitree de Silva takes Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva to task in Rajapaksrized Chauvinism in Flowery prose: Sri Lankan Diplomat’s outright humiliation of Sri Lankan Tamils, noting that

The Ambassador’s digression into Tamil progressivism and leftist discourses simply does not make any sense at all. All that would have been absolutely timely five decades ago, and it’s unarguably way too late. Today, Sri Lankan Tamils are a displaced community, who have to deal with internal displacement, political refuge, poverty, sexual exploitation of women, underage girls and boys by the Sri Lankan state military forces, harassment, violence, death, bloodshed and trauma.

Read the article in full, along with Dayan’s own responses, here.

A day earlier, Dayan Jayatilleke published Tamil politics tomorrow: Options, challenges and pitfalls, where he noted that,

Tamil politics must concentrate on the electoral space that will re-open at all levels. This re-enfranchising of the Tamil people in a system of proportional representation will give Tamils considerable representation in Parliament. If they opt wisely to form a coalition with Mahinda Rajapakse, they can neutralize and outweigh the influence of the Sinhala hard-line parties and dark fantasies of settler-colonized permanently Occupied Territories, ensure the full implementation of the 13th amendment, prevent any unjust legislation, push for the elimination of all forms of discrimination, and accelerate the economic development of their areas.

Read the article in full here.

Related articles in this regard come from Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage (Are We Back on Square One?) and Dayan Jayatilleke himself (MULLAITIVU: CLOSING TIME).

In Attacks on the Media, Military Successes and Political Settlement: The Stuff on Our Plates, Chaminda Weerawardhana writes on the bleak picture for independent media in Sri Lanka, noting that:

As it is epitomised by the advent of citizen journalism, issues that concern Sri Lankans need to be dealt with by all Sri Lankans, and every voice counts. Every argument and counter argument is important, and provides invaluable food for thought for the popular debates on crucial issues. This makes it essential to provide the space for conflicting voices to emerge in all its forms of media. Preventing this will inevitably prevent crucial voices from being heard, and will in turn have a negative impact on policymaking including the search for a political solution to the ethnic question.

Read his article in full here.

Groundviews is Sri Lanka’s first and award winning citizens journalism website features an unparalleled range of ideas, opinions and analyses on humanitarian issues, media freedom, human rights, peace, democratic governance and constitutional reform.

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