|Week's digest of top
news and views
Dividing Thamizhar over April New Year
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
This April new year according to the traditional 60 year astrological cycle
will be called the “Vyaya Varusham”. Once again the Kuyil - Koha will
sing and the Oonjal - Onchilla swing as Sithirai - Wap unfolds.
‘Talk the Talk’ and ‘Walk the Walk’
by Dr. Rajasingham Narendran
The talks scheduled for April in Geneva between the GOSL (Government
of Sri Lanka) and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam), is being
preceded by violence- which was quite predictable, the usual threats and
counter threats, demands, accusations and denials, and very little
|Govt to allow
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
The Sri Lankan
Government is now
willing to let the
Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam hire or
Anti-Tamil Violence wreaks havoc in Trincomalee
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Thirukkonamalai or Trincomalee saw large scale violence being
unleashed against Tamils following a series of claymore mine explosions
directed against security personnel deployed in the district.
155th Birth Anniversary:
Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan
Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan designated as ‘the greatest Ceylonese
of all times’ by D. S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of independent
Ceylon, was born on 15th April 1851, and passed away on 30th
Peace via Geneva or revisiting 1956?
by K. Arvind
The euphoria generated in Geneva in February predictably came under
siege from the twin evils of pseudo-patriotism and religious fanaticsm.
Both extremes intensely resist any power-sharing arrangements with the
Tamils—ironically, the only consistent feature in Sri Lankan politics
across Sinhala party lines since 1956. If the international community in
general and the Norwegians in particular are laughing at our amazing
level of indecision we must only blame ourselves.
Of Children of War, Peace Talks and Our Final Future
by Prof. C. Suriyakumaran
Mr. Bandu de Silva, who has written an article, solely on Radhika
Coomaraswamy and the Children of War (A), was along with several
others of our cherished foreign service all people I had held in high
esteem, several of whom indeed worked together with me on some of our
most creative UN Programmes of years gone by now.
Getting to the main goal of the peace process
by Jehan Perera
With uncertainty continuing to hang over the future of the peace
process, there is a great deal of frustration with it. What was seen in
2002 as a textbook model of conflict resolution is now seen as drifting, at
best, and as heading towards renewed war, at worst. At the root of the
sense of drift is the inability of the government and LTTE to consensually
agree about the end goal of the peace process.
Down to the wire with Geneva II [MorningLeader]
By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
It is countdown and guessing game time once again. Will Geneva round
II take place or will it go down to the wire? It will happen if it does and until
it does, no one will know whether it will.
This suspense and anxiety over a second round of talks to discuss the
full implementation of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) is a measure of
the state of health of the prospects for peace. There is no certainty
about these talks taking place, in contrast to the hope and expectation
that they should.
That there have been further political killings and claymore mine blasts
indicates that the promises made at Geneva I were just that — promises
made but with no firm resolve to keep them.
As violence escalates in Sri Lanka, Annan appeals to
parties to attend peace talks
Expressing concern at the escalating violence in Sri Lanka, United
Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to the
Government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
to attend next week’s peace talks in Geneva, while the senior UN official
on the island said the latest killings of aid workers could threaten
humanitarian operations to those most in need.
Mr. Annan believes it is of “utmost importance to find ways to implement
the Ceasefire Agreement, start re-building trust and lay the foundations
for a lasting peace,” a UN spokesman told reporters, highlighting the
“crucial” 19 to 21 April talks to be facilitated by Norway.
Canada bans LTTE under draconian anti-terrorist
Canada’s Conservative government announced Monday that it has
proscribed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) under the
country’s draconian anti-terrorist laws.
Henceforth, anyone who knowingly provides financial support to the
LTTE could be jailed for up to 10 years, while persons who fundraise or
otherwise “facilitate” the work of the LTTE face 14 years’ imprisonment.
That the government intends to use these provisions to imprison and
deport LTTE supporters was underscored by Public Security Minister
Stockwell Day’s announcement that the government has established an
anti-LTTE “snitch-line.” Day urged members of Canada’s large Sri
Lankan Tamil exile/immigrant community to denounce LTTE activists to
state authorities using a special, dedicated telephone line.
DVDs spur threat to women in Eastern NGO’s
By Poornima Weerasekara
The leaflets distributed by the Tamil Eelam Women’s Uprising Army are
threatening all women working in NGOs to quit their jobs before April 15.
The warning states that “your future life may be endangered” if this
directive was not obeyed.
Sri Lanka frets over cinnamon [IHT]
Cinnamon trees, which can grow as high as 30 feet, or 9 meters, are
ready for harvest after three years. The bark is scrubbed, loosened,
peeled off and rolled into quills, with the slimmest quills going for the
highest prices. The trees can yield bark for 60 years.
Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon to embalm corpses. The Portuguese,
Dutch and British monopolized the spice when they occupied Sri Lanka in
the 16th through 18th centuries. Chinese medicine prescribes cinnamon
to fight infection and flatulence. Mexicans, who drink cinnamon tea, are
the biggest buyers, taking 55 percent of Sri Lanka's cinnamon exports,
according to the Spice Council.
Foreign remittances keep Sri Lanka floating [LBO]
Sri Lanka's balance of payments (BOP) has recorded a US$142 million
surplus for the three months to March, the Central Bank said Wednesday
as it maintained key interest rates for the fourth straight month.
Chitagong Buddhists seek UN help [BBC]
Buddhists in Bangladesh have called upon United Nations to help protect
a minority community under attack by Bangladeshi Muslims.
Bhikku Organisation of Chitagong Hills accused the Muslim residents of
assaulting Buddhists and raping women.
Addressing a media conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Colin Chakma
thero said more than 50 Jumma Buddhists were injured and four women
were raped in an attack in Ahmed Miyan on 03 April.
Charles Anthony Brigade celebrates 15th
anniversary of inauguration [TamilNet]
Cadres of Charles Anthony Brigade and Senior Commanders of the
Liberation Tigers celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the formation of the
brigade by holding a sports and cultural event which started at 3.30 p.m.
Monday in an undisclosed sports ground in Vanni, sources said. Charles
Anthony brigade, the first conventional fighting formation created by the
Liberation Tigers on 10 April 1991 was initially trained under the leadership
Portuguese ruined Jaffna: Historian
by PK Balachandran
Today, the Tamil-speaking Jaffna peninsula in north Sri Lanka is a bastion
of orthodox Shiva worshipping Hindus.
But historians say that during Portuguese rule in the 17th century, it was
The fascinating story of how and why Jaffna became Catholic en masse, and
why it reverted to Hinduism with equal alacrity when the Dutch replaced the
Portuguese in 1658, is told by Prof Tikiri Abeyasinghe in his book Jaffna
under the Portuguese, which was first published in 1986.
A campaign of bloodshed
by Prashanth Parameswaran, Cavalier Daily Opinion Columnist
The United States has fought unjust wars and practiced immoral acts formed
under the guise of a "war on terror." But most of all, the campaign has
wreaked havoc in regions such as South Asia and damaged all possible
chances for peace and prosperity. The Bush administration's armed support
for the despotic Nepalese monarchy and the autocratic Sri Lankan
government has resulted in bloody, anti-democratic campaigns of slaughter
in the two nations. In addition, its use of incentives for India and Pakistan has
undermined future cooperation between the two rivals and affirmed U.S.
support for regimes which blatantly flout global non-proliferation regulations.
“Hope is a state of mind, independent to the state of the
World. If your heart’s full of hope, you can be persistent,
when you can’t be optimistic. You can keep the faith despite
the evidence, knowing that only in doing so the evidence
has any chance of changing. So while I am not optimistic, I
am always very hopeful”.
-Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
(June 1, 1924 – April 12, 2006)
Peace activist/Chaplain of Yale University/Senior Minister -
Riverside Church, New York City.
Activist, chaplain Coffin dies at 81 [Yale Daily News]
Arts - Culture - Heritage
In tune with the spirit of Hinduism [Hindu]
Consecrated in 1977, the Ganapati temple in New York stands for the
very best in India's Vedic culture.
The New York area, for instance, is studded with several temples. Among the
most flourishing is the Ganapati temple on Bowne Street in Flushing.
Dramatic Poetry: Kamba Ramayanam is rendered in English
verse in contemporary idiom
Janaki, my Love,
You are a princess, accustomed
To the comforts of the palace.
Come not with me. You are
Unaccustomed to life in the forests.
Your pretty petaled feet will not
Bear the burning heat of the sun,
And the pricking thorns of the thicket.
You cannot endure
The freezing cold of night
The terrors of the jungle
Are not meant for you, fair Princess.
(Ayothiya Kandam. Act II Scene VI).
Yuvan, the new youth icon
With several hits and an award, Yuvan Shankar Raja has evolved as the
hottest music director of Tamil cinema.
Simran campaigns for Amma [Rediff]
...;it is but natural that actress Simran decides to start campaigning for
Amma from such a constituency. Simran had left the Tamil film industry after
getting married to her childhood friend a couple of years ago.
After giving birth to a child, she has come back to Chennai perhaps to act in
films. But what awaited her was something different. She who sizzled on the
Tamil screen was chosen by Jayalalitha to be a 'star' campaigner for
Non Profit Organization:
Conservative Leader praises Ontario Tamil Community
at Awards event
by Dhakshi Ariyakumar
It is very remarkable to note that the Canadian Tamil community in many
ways has enhanced the prosperity of the Greater Toronto Area with their
diverse contributions towards the society.
“I want to thank the Tamil Community for their hard work and contribution
made to the prosperity of Ontario in so many different ways, such as
economically, socially and culturally. I think the province is stronger and
prouder and is better off in many ways, for the contributions made by the
Tamil community, particularly by the entrepreneurs of this community,”
Conservative Leader of the Province of Ontario John Tory stated recently at
a community event.
Tamil Children's Endowment Fund
A nation’s most precious natural resource is its children. The conflict in Sri
Lanka, coupled with a state-enforced economic embargo has literally and
figuratively crippled this resource. Presently, a ceasefire and the lifting of the
embargo has brought about a climate of positive change. The conflict-
affected areas are abuzz with the theme of redevelopment and
"There are two things born from mountains, shining so brilliantly that the great bow down, driving
darkness from earth circled by roaring waters. One is the flaming sun, single wheel bright as
lightning, the other is Tamil that has no like." — from the taNTiyalankârum [Berkeley Tamil]