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Sep 30 - Oct 06, 2007
Monsoon Journal
Sep
 2007
Pictorial
Ramakrishna Mission appeal
re: Sri Lanka IDPs

Due to recent eruption of violence in the eastern part of Sri Lanka , 72,000 people have
been displaced from Vaharai, Sampoor and Muthur. Among the displaced 17700 are
children of whom 10500 are school going. 41,500 (1160 families) people are in 61
refugee camps.
Sri Lanka’s Neglected Population

IMC's mobile clinics bring health care to those
who need it most

By Sonia Walia

I
n recent years, the coastal region of Trincomalee in eastern Sri Lanka has been buffeted
by civil war and natural disaster.
www.flickr.com
"Many great actions are committed in small struggles"
- Victor Hugo [1802-1885], French Author
Supreme Court Becomes Political Decision Maker in Sri Lanka [FI]

By Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

T
he intervention of Supreme Court to arrest teachers’ trade union leaders was a
temporary set back for the trade union movement. The government sector trade
unions will definitely get together to face the challenge. Even GMOA leaders are
quite concerned about the interpretation given by the Supreme Court ruling. It
means all state employees are liable to be charged of fundamental rights
violation, if they refuse to perform their service. Not only government employees
but even state cooperation employees are considered agents of the government.
Two Languages One Country, One Language Two Countries [FI]

2007 is one of those years when a faction of Sri Lankans would believe they
have been dealt a raw hand by fate to have been born ethnic Tamils. While 2007
will never be 1983, for the simple reason that the Sri Lankan people will simply
not allow it to come to that, the year has been a pretty rotten one overall for Sri
Lanka ’s Tamil populace.
Mistakenly Understanding The Meaning And Significance Of
Unitary State [FI]

by H. L. de Silva

T
he insistent demand by certain “activists, academics, writers and clergy” that
there should be no reference to or description of the Constitution as being
unitary, appears to me, to arise from a mistaken understanding as to its
meaning and significance, having regard to constitutional developments over
the years, especially in regard to the concept of sovereignty. The typology
unitary/federal is no longer considered helpful having regard to intermediate
degrees of centralization and decentralization which are considered a necessity
in contemporary systems of government and administration.
“You have to give the Tamils the confidence that their grievances
will be looked into”-Ferial Ashraff [FI]

Minister Ferial Ashroff, leader of the National Unity Alliance, speaks to C.A.
Chandraprema on the current state of Muslim politics in Sri Lanka, the three
cornered conflicts between the Sinhalese and the Muslims , the Muslims and the
Tamils and the Tamils and the Sinhalese in the east, and the present policy of
the Rajapakse government on the ethnic conflict.
How Maliboda led from the front in ethnic amity building [TC]

by Fr. Angelo Steffenzie S.J.

I
was travelling by bus from Colombo to Avissawella on that fateful morning in
July 1983 when the ethnic violence erupted in Sri Lanka. Suddenly, our bus
braked to a halt: hordes of unruly men armed with bludgeons and knives
boarded the bus and ruthlessly set upon Tamil commuters, assaulting them
mercilessly.

“What have these people done to you that you should do this to them”, I cried to
the violent hot-heads.
Sethusamudram Project: Can Sri Lanka Speak? [FI]

By Dr. T T Sreekumar

O
ne of the important issues in the Sethusamudram debates is the near total
obliteration of the Sri Lankan perspective(s) by the Indian Media.
Understanding the Sri Lankan perspective(s) is critical for two reasons. First, it
is more than evident that the canal will be in India but its impacts would cross
Indian territories with the suspended sediments and dredged toxins affecting
the bio-domains surrounding Sri Lanka. Second, given the shared concerns of
food security, arms race, unresolved national struggles (Elam, Kashmir etc.)
and continuing sectarian social conflicts in the region, an India-centric view on
bilateral and multilateral issues such as defence, environment, foreign policy
and economic growth is politically inadequate.
Rev Fr Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith: Statement by Consortium of
NGOO, Mannar [TC]

Brothers and Sisters

W
e, the humanitarian community of Mannar, are deeply distressed by the
assassination of a beloved and respected member of our community, the Rev Fr
Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith; Director, JRS. This tragic and dehumanizing
assassination took place while he was performing his duties under challenging
conditions, in order to bring relief to the recently displaced communities of the
Manthai West and Madhu divisions. He has always been a model to emulate,
and his passion for service has indeed been a consistent source of inspiration
to our society. His inclusive outlook earned the deep respect of all segments of
the Mannar society irrespective of creed, caste and ethnicity.
Paradigm Shift Needed To end War And Bring Peace To All [FI]

By Kusal Perera

T
here was an interesting piece of news a fortnight ago that quoted JVP - MP
and Trade Union leader Lal Kantha as saying, although they have differences
with the UNP he needs to say the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil
Wickramasinghe has clean hands in politics. However their spokesman, MP
Weerawansa said the JVP is propping up its own National Alliance against the
UNP and would also campaign against corruption of the present government
and the rising cost of living. Anura Kumara Dissanayake gave it further stress
by saying that their own National Alliance would be the alternative to the present
government when it is ousted from power and not the UNP once again.
Nevertheless, the JVP did vote against the government, along with the UNP
when the Tax Bills were up for vote and all indications are, they would again
vote against the government and along with the UNP when the 2008 Budget
comes up in parliament. News in the media also claimed the JVP will not submit
its proposals to the Finance Ministry for budget designing as they did before.
Sandeshaya Forum: Monks' role in politics

A leading Buddhist Mahanayake thero has called on Sri Lanka authorities to
support the struggle for democracy in Myanmar led by Buddhist monks.
The Mahanayake of Dambulla chapter of the Siyam Sect told BBC Sandeshaya
that it is the 'duty' of Sri Lankan Budhhsits to help monks in Myanmar (Burma).

Inamaluwe Sumangala Mahanayake thero said the monks should always be
pro-people not pro-authorities.

Tens of thousands of Buddhist monks are marching in the Myanmar capital,
Rangoon, against the military junta.

Should Sri Lankan Buddhists - monks and laymen- support Burmese monks'
struggle for democracy?

Should Buddhist monks take part in political affairs at all?
Long-term Muslim displaced face significant challenges [IRIN]

It was 17 years ago, but the memory is still fresh for T. Mohamed. “It was 11
June 1990 - that was the day,” he recalled, the one that changed his life.

“I was in Colombo, captaining the Jaffna District soccer team and later I found
myself cut off from my home town Jaffna,” the 45-year-old Sri Lankan
remembered. Mohamed, who is now a social worker, was among the thousands
of Muslims forced out of their homes in northern Sri Lanka by the Tamil Tigers in
1990. In his case, caught out on a visit to the capital, he was unable to return
because the train and other transport services to Jaffna District were cut due to
the escalating violence.
Sea Tiger Chief Soosai “Surfaces”
After Accident at Sea [TC]

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

T
he significance of the date September 26th has become
another example of differences in perception illustrating the
ethnic divide in Sri Lanka. To most members of the Sinhala
community it is the day on which Solomon West Ridgeway
Dias Bandaranaike died in 1959 after being shot in
Colombo the previous day by a Buddhist monk. To many
members of the Tamil community it is the day on which
Rasiah Parthiban alias Thileepan died in 1987 at Nallur
after a 12 day fast unto death campaign protesting actions
of the Indian and Sri Lankan Governments.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party has been for many decades
observing Sep 26th as a day honouring the memory of its
founder SWRD Bandaranaike.
Civilians in the way of conflict:
Displaced people in Sri Lanka [IDMC]

Since mid-2006, a dramatic escalation in the civil war in Sri Lanka between
government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has
resulted in over 4,000 deaths and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of
people. The latest phase of the 24-year conflict has also prolonged the misery of
large numbers of civilians already displaced by the conflict between 1983 and
2002, and by the December 2004 tsunami.
U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery opens on October 3, 2007

50,000 individuals from around the worldwide will win Green Card

The 2009 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery will be formally declared open in
Washington, DC on October 3, 2007, the US Embassy in Sri Lanka announced
on Sep 28th.
This program allows randomly selected applicants to migrate to the United States
on an expedited basis, provided they meet all the criteria. A person may only
enter the lottery if he or she has:
1) Citizenship of a qualifying country (Sri Lanka and the Maldives both qualify);
and
2) Either a high school equivalent education (Six GCE O-Levels including
compulsory subjects) or work experience within the past five years in a profession
that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
Remembering the life and times of a
‘captivating performer’ [Hindu]

VCD featuring milestones in actor Padmini’s
career released

Brought out by Insight Media, it features milestones in
the legendary actor’s career. Launching the VCD,
renowned actor Saroja Devi recalled having met
Padmini on the sets of ‘Nadodi Mannan,’ when actor
and former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran
introduced her to Padmini. “I looked at her, wondering
who this gorgeous woman could be.”
Brand MGR still rules kollywood [newstoday]

MGR. It's a name that spells magic on the silver
screen even today. Marthur Gopala Ramachandran
(MGR) virtually dominated Tamil cinema for over
three decades beginning 1950. He rose to stardom by
playing characters that featured him as the saviour of
the poor. An actor-turned-politician, MGR still charms
Kollywood.

To cash in on MGR's huge fan base that exists even
today, several films are titled after MGR's
blockbusters, his hit songs are remixed and retuned
and several actors have adopted him as their role
models.
Tamil Movie Review: Vegam: Racy & pacy

Yet another star kid debuts on the big screen and
that is Ashwin, son of actor-politician S Ve Shekher,
who plays the lead role in Vegam, directed by K R
Udayashankar. Inspired by Hollywood flick Cellular,
the action unfolds in an alien land (Malaysia). Trained
in martial arts and dance, Ashwin essays his role with
confidence. Ably guided by his father, he gets his act
right in his first venture itself.   
Nam Nadu: Packed with political punch

Close on the heels of floating his own political party,
Sarath Kumar has come out with a movie that is
loaded with fiery dialogues and punchlines indicating
his ideology.

A remake of Malayalam hit Lion, the film features
Sarath Kumar in the role of a Home Minister who
Utopian dreams of creating an 'perfect State.'
Thirutham: An honest effort

Choreographer-turned-actor Hari Kumar made his
mark playing the role of a gangster in Thoothukudi. In
Thirutham, he plays a protagonist, who goes on a
revenge mode against woman.

Directed by debutant Ponraman, the movie is inspired
by the likes of Kalyanaraman, Manmathan and Nan
Avan Illai. Hari Kumar has plenty of scope to perform
as he appears in the role of a suave, urban youth in
the first half and as a psycho in the second.
Flights Across Continents, Soft Landings on
the Stage [NYTimes]

In the best Indian tradition, her four musicians sat
cross-legged at stage right, and part of the witty
charm of her solo dance, “Varnam” (an excerpt from
“Gamaka”), was in the play between dance and
music, above all in her suspenseful pauses (often
balanced on one leg) before suddenly pouncing back
into matching the rapid percussion rhythms. Of
course, since she carries bells in her fingers and
wears jangling anklets, she becomes part of the
music. Though her feet are bare, they too are an
intricate part of the rhythm, with both ball and heel
making their contributions clear. No barefoot
American modern dancer has yet matched the
percussive skills of Indian dance footwork.
Indian Actress Shilpa Shetty Still Feeling
Effects of Controversial Kiss with US Actor

Shilpa Shetty is still feeling the effects of her
much-condemned kiss with fellow movie star Richard
Gere.
[Voice of America News]