Category Archives: social justice

Sustaining Memory as a Central Facet of Transitional Justice

Gehan Gunatilleke: “The Right to Memory: The Forgotten Facet of Transitional Justice* with highlighting emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting — Milan  Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979)

Introduction

Memory does not explicitly feature among the four pillars of transitional justice: truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. Hence the precise role memory plays within a transitional justice process is often left to those negotiating the contours of the process. Memory is a vital ingredient in ascertaining the truth and in securing evidence to ensure justice for victims and survivors. Moreover, memorialisation of loss has a place in the symbolic initiatives owed to victims and survivors under the reparations pillar. Meanwhile, public memorials commemorating man-made tragedies contribute towards a society’s collective commitment to non-recurrence. Thus memory often becomes the lifeblood that preserves and binds the traditional pillars of transitional justice.

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Randolph Ranjith Alwis of Sri Lanka & Adelaide: Epitaphs in Depth

ONE: from Victor Rebikoff OAM, and Former FECCA Chair 1992-96

I am deeply honored to have been asked by the Alwis family to provide this personal eulogy on my close friend Randolph Alwis AM whom I have known for over 35 years since we became the Presidents of our respective State and Territory Multicultural Communities Councils in the early 1980’s and as a consequence Deputy Chairs of Australia’s peak community body FECCA – viz, -the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia. At that time both of us were the ‘young guns’ at the forefront of Australia’s multicultural movement and became closely involved in working with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in the initial introduction of culturally and linguistically appropriate services for migrants and refugees Australia wide.

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Addressing Diversity. Six Sri Lankan Scholars in ICES Webinair Lecture Series

A WEBINAR SERIES,  18 November to 9 December 2020
These six webinars explored the challenges that we face in learning about and engagingwith the past in multi-religious, multi-ethnic contexts. This webinar series was presented in collaboration with the Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung…….
…. Herstory-History-Ourstory  ….. Click here to watch all the webinars, or on each topic to watch the individual webinars.

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Remembrance: Marking 21/4 Jihadist Zealotry in Sri Lanka

Pictures by Raymond Aponsu and Sulochana Gamage

Churches observed Black Sunday yesterday in protest over the terror attacks on 2019 Easter Sunday, calling on the government to deliver justice by prosecuting those responsible for the attacks. Protestors led by the two Colombo Auxiliary Bishops Rt.Rev. Anthony Jayakody and Rt.Rev.Maxwell Silva held placards pleading for justice in Negombo in front of the Katuwapitiya Church which was bombed on April 20, 2019 while others led by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith gathered in front of the Kochchikade St. Anthony’s Church yesterday.

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Lord Naseby targets Adele Balasingham …. and Lord Tariq Ahmad

Lord Michael Naseby, in Island, 5 March 2021, where the title is “Lord Naseby asks why Adele not prosecuted in UK for child recruitment”

Lord Naseby President of the UK all party British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary group, has questioned the failure on the part of the UK to prosecute senior LTTE leader Adela Balasingham, wife of the outfit’s late theoretician Anton Balasingham. Lord Naseby said that Adele, who had been involved with the LTTE for several decades, was responsible for recruitment and deployment of child soldiers.

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The UNHRC and US Agenda in Critical Perspective

Raj Gonsalkorale in Daily FT, 25 February 2021, where the title runs thus:  “UNHRC What is the real agenda?”

The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken seems to give an indication as to what the real agenda behind his and his country’s support for this resolution. [the UNHRC one]. He speaks of “lack of accountability for past atrocities”. This statement implies that atrocities were committed if there is to be accountability for them.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken

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Vaccination against Covid: Ridiculous Priorities, Confusions … Et Cetera. Lankavey Neydha!

Sanjeewa Jayaweera, whose preferred title is “How Did MPs jump the Vaccine Queue?” …. Note that highlighting is the work of the naughty Thuppahi Editor

 mey Raja Kavudha?

It was so typical! None were too surprised when it was announced in the media that the 225 Members of Parliament (MP’s) were to be vaccinated against Covid19 ahead of many others whose exposure to the virus was significantly higher. A photograph of a government minister vaccinated at the Army Hospital was published in the media before this announcement. A few erstwhile cabinet colleagues justified this by saying the Minister had twice served quarantine time due to some of his close contacts being infected with Covid19. The presumption is that the Minister was unable to carry out his duties whilst being in quarantine?

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Looming Struggles in Sri Lanka and Geneva Today

Rajan Philips, in Colombo Telegraph, 14 February 2021, where his chosen ttitle is “Geneva Odyssey: More Confrontation Or New Approach?”

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who made the surprising call for the government cancelling the ECT deal with India and Japan, has made another surprising and really a gallant announcement giving the green light for allowing burials for Muslim and Christian victims of Covid-19. If the Ministry of Health has been caught unawares by the PM’s statement in parliament, well, they had better get used to it. But no sooner had the government appeared to have cremated the burial issue than Cardinal Malcom Ranjith raised a new headache for the government – threatening to take his case for justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks to international courts, if there is no assurance of justice through domestic investigations. That is a shocker even though it is no more than a threat for now.

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Servitude in Lanka: “Boi Kollo” in Middle Class Households

Elmo Jayawardena, in The Island, 1 February 2021, where the chosen title is “Boi Kollo –An Almost Forgotten Tragedy”

He first went to work at the very tender age of six, just a little kid, that much Yoga re-called. He had attended a village school for two days and quit – said he could not understand anything the teacher taught. That was good enough a reason for Yoga to obliterate any form of education from his entire life and become illiterate. They lived in the Southerland Estate, a remnant of the British Colonial system.   Estate labourers’ ‘line-shacks’ had limited room for the family. The little boy was an inconvenience that needed to be sorted out. Of course, he was an ill-affordable extra mouth to feed in the already over-crowded one-roomed hovel they called home. That is how Yoga left his Southerland Mansion to commence his lifetime career of servitude as a Boi Kolla (BK) to run and fetch at the beck and call of whoever gave him a meal and shelter.

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The British in Ceylon: The Camera as Power

In 2011 Godfrey and Amar Gunatilleke sponsored the presentation of a pictorial history entitled Potency. Power & People in Groups, (Colombo, Marga Institute, 2011, ISBN 978-955-582 129-2.

Kotahena Riots 1883

This work was, albeit partially, the presentation of items gathered by Ismeth Raheem and myself for inclusion in the coffee-table book that appeared in the year 200o as Images of British Ceylon (Singapore, Times Edition) — items within segments that were excluded because of financial constraints. Such constraints also meant that the pictures in this booklet were not produced in coffee-table quality. The emphasis was on the interpretations attached to the photographs read in context.  While the booklet is still available at relatively low cost, the opportunity is taken here to widen the readership via the reproduction of sections — itself a project inspired by Anura Hettiarachchi’s translation of the work into Sinhala.[a]

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