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Dual citizenship Restriction: Time for Change

Colombo Telegraph, 5 September 2020 The draft 20th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution of the 2nd Republic of Sri Lanka, in its current form, lifts the existing restriction on Sri Lankans with dual citizenship holding elected office. This is a laudable decision, and also a long overdue one. In an increasingly interconnected and globalised world, it simply does not make sense to prevent suitably qualified people from accessing opportunities based on criteria of this nature. Pre

A Gap Unbridgeable, Part I: The Necon and Neoliberal in Sri Lankan Politics

22 August 2020 The ideas on a progressive and pluralist populism raised by Dr Dayan Jayatilleka on this platform, have been critiqued by Mark Salter, also on this platform. This is an exchange of ideas that anyone with an interest not only in Sri Lankan politics, but also in the politics of deeply divided places in general, ought to pay attention to. Salter’s article published on 12 August 2020 is, very much, a defence of the Norwegian facilitation efforts in Sri Lanka. Jayat

Dr Harsha De Silva as Leader of the Opposition

Colombo Telegraph, 7 August 2020 The 2020 general election led to a result that left many observers surprised. However, this result perfectly corresponded to one forecast, that of Basil Rajapaksa, the man who is considered to be the foremost brain behind the SLPP political project. The two-thirds majority on a family-centric political party is deeply worrying. It is even more worrying that from now on, the Rajapaksa brothers have carte blanche to move ahead with almost any de

The Seetha Arambepola Syndrome: A Sinhala-Buddhist-Feminist Rebuke

By Paramie Jayakody, Isurinie Mallawaarachchi and Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana Colombo Telegraph, 1 July 2020 Taking part in a television show telecast by a privately-owned Sri Lankan TV channel on 23rd of June, 2020, Dr Seetha Kumari Arambepola [hereinafter referred to as Dr SKA], an ENT surgeon, Executive Committee member of the lobbying group Viyath Maga, former governor of the Western Province, high-profile confidante of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime, and SLPP National List

Pride amidst Pandemic: Sri Lankan Perspective on Pride 2020

Colombo Telegraph, 25 June 2020 Pride 2020 is markedly different from previous years. Apart from the obvious reality that we are unable to organise pride events and social gatherings, the pandemic situation has impacted pride, and SOGIESC rights advocacy in general, in a number of very specific ways. Pandemic as a ‘grounding’ force? Impact on NGO sector and Philanthropy Firstly, the pandemic has clearly demonstrated how the most marginalised and least represented segments of

Pandemic politics, or politicised pandemic?

Colombo Telegraph, 24 April 2020 The management of the Corona crisis in Sri Lanka has no shortage of critics. Some are purely cynical. Others opt to take a critical posture because it helps with their political, financial and careerist agendas. Certain news websites run by Sri Lankan journalists in exile, for example, have been consistently critical of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis. Just as the majority of these critics would do themsel

Sri Lankan Foreign Policy in the New Decade

Colombo Telegraph, 9 March 2020 Part One: Managing Big-Power Relations: a story of rocks and hard places In this series of articles, this writer seeks to shed light upon certain salient aspects of managing Sri Lankan foreign policy in the 21st century’s third decade. This series is penned from a perspective of foreign policy analysis and management, with a strong focus on realpolitik and the challenges that we face, right here and now. Veteran diplomat and External Affairs Mi

Interview with Dr Chamindra: University of Victoria

University of Victoria, 4 March 2020 Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana was interviewed by the Chair in Transgender Studies and Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, in the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ people, in Turtle Island. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uheNlmWfW5g #chamindraweerawardhana #transfeminism #intersectionalfeminisms #BlackFeminism #southasianfeminisms #internationalpolitics #archivalresearch #transpolitics #womeninpolitics #sogiesc #ie_sogi #

The politics of SOGIESC in Sri Lanka: a year-end reflection

Colombo Telegraph, 2 January 2020 There has been no better time for SOGIESC advocacy in Sri Lanka. Like in many countries across the global South/s, SOGIESC advocacy in Sri Lanka has long been, and continues to be, donor-funded. In some cases, it is extremely challenging to not to make this body of work not donor-driven. Working with donors, and engaging with donor bodies in terms of the most pressing needs of communities non-cis-het communities remains a major challenge for

Liberals for Gota? Politics at the hour of populism/s

Colombo Telegraph, 18 August 2019 As the SLPP National Convention was taking place in Colombo, an intriguing dialogue was taking place on a social media platform between two people this writer seldom agrees with, but nonetheless acknowledges their commitment to their convictions, their experience in the political and media [and in the case of one of them, the diplomatic] fray. One of them was the editor of the Colombo Telegraph [CT], and the other was Sri Lanka’s serving amba

Queering The JVP

Colombo Telegraph, 22 July 2019 At a rally held in Nugegoda on Sunday 7th July 2019, the JVP made history in Sri Lanka’s political discourses of the mainstream. Delivering the final fiery oration, the party’s General Secretary, long-term stalwart, and one of its senior-most personalities, Comrade Tilvin Silva, stated that his party fully recognises the rights and agency of people with non-cis-heteronormative sexual orientations, gender identities/expressions and sex character

The Day After

Colombo Telegraph, 22 April 2019 On a day after tragedy of unprecedented proportions has hit one’s people, plunging one’s country into a state of tremendous vulnerability and chaos, it is not easy to pen a word. However, it is crucial to highlight a few key factors that surround the Easter Sunday terror attacks and their aftermath. 1. National security negligence? In the admission of the Prime Minister himself, there have been prior Intelligence warnings about a terror incide

Interview with Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana: Lak Handa Te-Whanganui-a-Tara

On 16th March 2019, Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana was interviewed by Ms Pavithra Jayawardena, for the Lak Handa Sinhala language radio [@lakhandawellington on Facebook], in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand. https://www.facebook.com/1048422215299279/videos/766805260385489 #intersectionalfeminism #socialjustice #genderjustice #economicjustice #aotearoa #srilanka #lka #sogiesc #ie_sogi #humanrights #tewhanganuiatara #wellington #chamindraweerawardhana #pavithraj

Thoughts On Decolonising Lanka: From Servility To Dignity

Colombo Telegraph, 5 February 2019 To mark the seventy-first anniversary of Sri Lanka gaining dominion status. One of the most insightful pieces of writing one would read this year is scholar-activist Senel Wanniarachchi’s excellent account of encountering Tara, a Buddhist and Hindu mother goddess of mercy and generous compassion at…the British Museum. Several excerpts of Wanniarachchi’s article are worth quoting at some length, and in this ‘independence month’, these words a

Advising Mahinda Rajapaksa: A Strategic Perspective?

Colombo Telegraph, 3 November 2018 The publication of an email, sent by Ambassador Dr Dayan Jayatilleka to Prime Minister Rajapaksa via Vasudeva Nanayakkara MP, in the Colombo Telegraph has triggered much interest among many Sri Lankans and foreign observers. In what follows, my objective is to very briefly reflect upon the role of political advisors and strategists in the political camp of a populist and successful national leader. This is a crucially important area of conce

The Rajapaksa Return: Slap On The Face Of Sri Lankan Neoliberalism, Once again?

Colombo Telegraph, 27 October 2018 In a move that left the world shocked, President Maitripala Sirisena ‘appointed’ former President Mahinda Rajapaksa MP as Prime Minister, in the evening of Friday 26th October 2018. As soon as this appointment was made at Presidential Secretariat, Temple Trees mobilised, with a statement by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, followed by a press conference. Wickremesinghe, although visibly (and understandably) shaken, made an important obs

Serena To Tharjini: The Battle For Gender Justice In Sport

Colombo Telegraph, 16 September 2018 Sri Lanka achieved a spectacular victory of 69-50 against Singapore at the 2018 Asian championships. The fantastic performance of the Sri Lankan team’s power women was very much an example of resilience, in a local context in which women in sport face a range of specific challenges, primarily linked to ways in which patriarchy reigns in the sporting sphere. Most often, women in sport do not receive the same visibility, facilities, exposure