Unique perspectives on the end of war in Sri Lanka

Groundviews Special Edition

“I am an Indian pediatrician who served with the Indian Medical Team at Menik Farm IDP center. The point I am trying to raise is this – we were managing scores of infants with bullet / shell blast injuries (some festering, mostly healed). It gives an idea of the extent of collateral damage suffered by the civilians caught in the last days of the conflict. If an infant could not be protected, imagine the plight of older children and adults. The so-called “Sri Lankan Solution” being touted as the panacea for dealing with terrorism worldwide needs a thorough relook.”” by Tathagata Bose

Groundviews was set up to bear witness, contest the status quo and document inconvenient truths. This comment by Dr. Bose, from over 300 published to date in response to the Special Edition on the end of war, is a cogent example of the site’s raison d’être. Over the previous weekend alone, over 6,500 readers read the content on the site. With over 22,000 readers to date, and three more days of compelling content looking at the end of war yet to be published, Groundviews is a unique platform for perspectives, opinions and a defiant remembrance that mainstream print and broadcast media in Sri Lanka, even post-war, will not feature.

The Special Edition includes content – in prose, verse, photography and video – from the well known political commentators, award winning poets, photographers, senior civil servants, erstwhile high-ranking diplomats, senior academics, leading feminists, researchers, film-makers, novelists, leading voices from the Tamil diaspora, senior journalists, youth activists and bloggers.

As I noted in an Editorial to the Special Edition, Groundviews strongly encourage your responses complementing and contesting this content. I also noted that that it is only through vibrant and civil debate, without fear of violent physical or verbal reprisals, that a just peace and a timbre of democracy we so richly deserve after war’s end can be engendered.

A full list of the content published to date in chronological order:

You simply won’t find this content anywhere else. And remember, the Special Edition runs till the 26th – expect more compelling content and discussions!

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Groundviews

Groundviews – http://www.groundviews.org – Sri Lanka’s first and international award-winning citizens journalism website uses a range of genres and media to highlight alternative perspectives on governance, human rights, the arts and literature, peacebuilding and other issues. The site has won two international awards for the quality of its journalism, including the prestigious Manthan Award South Asia in 2009. The grand jury’s evaluation of the site noted, “What no media dares to report, Groundviews publicly exposes. It’s a new age media for a new Sri Lanka… Free media at it’s very best!”

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Groundviews was the first and currently one of just two sites in Sri Lanka that renders content for mobiles. On your iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, Android phone or on any other mobile browser, simply go tohttp://www.groundviews.org to access site content automatically rendered to best suit your screen and device.

Negotiating ethnic hatred in Sri Lanka

Groundviews
Groundviews

Can we End this Cycle of Hatred? an article published on Groundviews, a citizen journalism site I edit in Sri Lanka, elicited this comment from someone called Ramanan:

Nice article. I see a lot of parents infesting the young minds in western world. I am a Tamil, living in the US for a long time. I went for a birthday party recently. The birthday was for a kid, whose dad is a friend of mine. I met another kid there, who is of Sinhalese origin, born and raised in the US. The kid asked me whether I am from India and I told him that I am from Sri Lanka. Next question was, “Are you Sinhalse”? When I said, “No. I am Tamil”, he told me that his parents have told him not to talk to tiger supporters. See the hatred here.

Actually, I should be the one who shouldn’t be talking to Sinhalese. My dad was burnt alive by Government backed Sinhalese thugs during 1983 riots. I should have vengance. However, I don’t think these few guys who did that don’t represent the community as whole.

The point is, both sides are putting hatred in their kids minds. If I hate you, you made me hate you. In my case, Sinhalese made me hate them. Still, I don’t.

How does one engage with and respond to such stories? How can we use these stories to help us heal?

Read the original article and leave your thoughts here.

Poetry, Prose and Satire: Exploring violence, war, religion and peace in Sri Lanka

In light of a Government unable and unwilling to investigate violence against journalists and independent media, satire is one way in which violent events, processes and individuals can be held up for public scrutiny more frequently. In the first submission to the site, Banyan News Reporters publishes a piece on how TV Remote Controllers are a threat to National Security. The submission notes that,

“The television remote controller poses a serious threat to the country’s national security, the government has determined. A new law will soon be introduced to register and regulate this electronic item. The ubiquitous gadget helps unpatriotic persons to change the channel when matters of national importance are being broadcast on state TV channels. This, in turn, deprives the government its rightful opportunity to address and inform all its citizens, security advisors have pointed out.”

Read Remote Controllers a threat to National Security.

Writing in for the first time, Valkyrie in From the ‘sole representative’ to the ‘sole alternative’: Justice for, and within the Tamil Community asks pertinent questions and ends on a thought-provoking note,

“What kind of future do Tamil politico-armed groups have? Since the usefulness of these groups to the government is dependent upon the existence of the LTTE, what would their position be in a world without the LTTE? We can venture to guess that it is unlikely they will be able to eschew government patronage and become legitimate advocates for the rights of the Tamil people and at the same time survive politically within a majoritarian state that is unwilling to acknowledge the concerns and fulfill the legitimate demands of its minorities.”

Continue reading

ICT Update article – Bringing peace to life

ICT Update

“Peacebuilders everywhere are convinced that a better world is possible. They are devoted to that dream and can imagine peace, unlike so many others around them. There is no single epiphany that shows them the way to peace, or what to do to strengthen and sustain it. Many peacebuilders are killed or, through fear for their own lives, are forced to leave their country. ICTs help address and transcend some of these limitations by generating, recording and amplifying ideas and actions regardless of their geographical location. Using technology, peacebuilders can write for posterity. They collect vital information using mobile phones. They create virtual communities to support and raise funds, and they appeal via the internet for help from governments and citizens of other countries to support their work.

ICTs will only become more integral to peacebuilding and conflict transformation in the years to come.”

Read my article, Bringing peace to life, in Issue 43 of ICT Update.