Post-war, Groundviews has fast become the most frequented website in Sri Lanka for progressive, civil debate over content critically analyzing peace, governanc, democracy and other vital issues. There is no comparable website to date in the country, even amongst mainstream media on the web.
The staggering volume of sui generis content on Groundviews, since 2006 and rapidly growing, is invaluable for researchers, policy-makers, civil society, donors, journalists and students of peace, reconciliation and conflict resolution.
Please keep in mind that the number of readers and comments noted below are accurate as of 17 October 2009, and capture submissions over the past three weeks only. The entire site now features well over one and a half million words of original content and over 8,955 comments.
Delusions of (power) devolution: Searching post–Prapa possibilities by Suren Raghavan was read over 25,557 times and generated over 77 comments. Oshadee Nirmala Iddamalgoda, Susantha, wijayapala, Niranjan, Disgusted and SomewhatDisgusted (yes, they are two very different identities!) and others debate post-war triumphalism, Sinhala-Buddhist racism and majoritarian rule, prospects of constitutional reform and peace, amongst other issues. Collectively, their comments have over 27,000 words.
Also by Suren Raghavan is Imagining the immediate (im)possibilities, read over 4,115 times and generating 25 comments.
Read over 3,871 times and with over 42 comments, The Internment – A Collective Punishment? by Dr. Devanesan Nesiah is a compelling example of how one of Sri Lanka’s best known human rights activists uses Groundviews as a platform to discuss, in detail, issues related to politics, systemic discrimination, racism and the internment of Tamil IDPs in Menik Farm. Joining him in this debate are Off the Cuff and SomewhatDisgusted in particular, who have openly appreciated the timbre of debate on the site with Dr. Nesiah.
IDPs: Detainees and Escapees by Dr. P. Saravanamuttu has generated 63 comments and read over 17,094 times. SomewhatDisgusted and punitham lead the discussion on the nature of Menik Farm and the IDPs interned in it. Hari Narendran, Niranjan, Mawatha Silva, Off the Cuff and others also give competing and compelling perspectives on the humanitarian crisis in Menik Farm and what it portends for the future of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
Rajani commemoration: An absence of actuality by Dayan Jayatilleka, read over 5,714 times features 29 comments, including an exchange between Jansee, smoulderingjin, Atheist and Rajani’s husband Dayapala Thiranagama over the LTTE and the nature of the Sri Lankan state today.
Doing the Right Thing: Freedom for Vanni IDPs by Rohini Hensman, read over 2,778 times generates 32 comments features Heshan, doomed to repeat it, Ossie Corea, Off the Cuff and others debating the nature of leadership post-war Sri Lanka has and needs, and the space for independent media.
Sri Lanka is in fact a Gulag Island: A response to Dayan Jayatilaka and the mentality of the phantom limb by renowned human rights activist Basil Fernando, read over 2,405 times has 29 comments. Well known bloggers in Sri Lanka Indi, Java Jones respond, along with Dayan Jayatilleka, aadhavan and smoulderingjin debate the timbre of democracy in post-war Sri Lanka, which Mr. Fernando likens to a Gulag. See
Also by Basil Fernando on similar lines, Defending repression and denying repression are very different has generated 76 comments and read over 3,787 times. Observer and Basil Fernando have over 20 detailed comments between themselves alone arguing over access to information on the situation in the camps and other issues, with undergroundview, Heshan, Agnos and other chipping in with their own incisive perspectives.
Even post-war, discrimination runs deep in Sri Lanka by Marisa de Silva generated 62 comments and over 5,249 readers. Dayan Jayatilleka commends Marisa on her essay, though a lot of others disagree over the nature of anti-Tamil discrimination in Sri Lanka. Some even doubt it exists at all post-war. Ange and Malathy Knight for example write in with two very different perspectives which SomewhatDisgusted, Chaminda Weerawardhana, Sinhala_Voice, Kalana Senaratne, Achala Karunarathna and others go on to debate with their own experiences and perspectives.
Groundviews is Sri Lanka’s first and award winning citizens journalism website uses a range of literary styles and media – from prose and poetry to satire, photos, podcasts and video to amplify critical perspectives on culture, humanitarianism, media freedom, human rights, peace and democratic governance.
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