Journalistic Writing

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Ian Paisley Jr’s Luxury Sri Lankan Escapade: On Hypocrisy & Foreign Affairs Mismanagement

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Read more here.

Published in The Colombo Telegraph, on 21st July 2018.

Vijayakala Vilification

 

When writing about ethno-national politics in post-war Sri Lanka, this writer has constantly sought to highlight one point – that there is such a thing called Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism is a given, and whether some of us like it or not, it continues to exist and in some quarters thrive. A key component of reasonable steps towards reconciliation involves understanding and acknowledging the existence of stakeholders with colliding and opposed views. 

Sri Lankans who are Tamil nationalists have the right to espouse their Tamil nationalism. However…Read more here.

[Published in The Colombo Telegraph, on 6th July 2018].

The Brigadier Intervention

The conduct of [now suspended] Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, Defence Attaché of the High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom has already made viral headlines not only in the UK and Sri Lanka, but also across the world. The Brigadier’s throat-slitting’ intervention, intended at Tamil nationalist/secessionist protesters who were protesting on the National Day of Sri Lanka, has resulted in many a debate on social media and beyond. While what happened was unfortunate, this incident sheds light upon crucial issues of relevance to post-war Sri Lanka, which are equally important …[read more here].

[Originally published in The Colombo Telegraph, on 8th February 2018].

The Sirisena Saga: On Yahapālana Misogyny

The National Human Rights Action Plan [hereafter referred to as ‘Action Plan’] is one of the best developments that came out of the otherwise jaundiced SirisenaWickremesinghe joint government. A crucial component of the Action Plan was a call to work towards repealing legislation of… [read more here].

[Originally published in The Colombo Telegraph, 16th January 2018].

Reclaiming the Labour Party? Thoughts on the Corbyn Phenomenon

 

 

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The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP ©File Photo

 

Note: This article was written back in August 2015, and was originally published on 11 August 2015 in Slugger O’Toole, a popular politics blog with a strong readership in Northern Ireland. It was written when the Jeremy Corbyn entered the leadership campaign fray for the first time, when there was widespread speculation all over about Jeremy’s lack of ability to win the leadership election, let alone steer the party in a positive direction as Labour leader. Two years and a general election later, this article provides a glimpse into the debates and arguments that surrounded the Corbyn leadership election in 2015, and it is an avenue to compare, and take stock of, the contributions that the Corbyn phenomenon has since made to the Labour Party, to politics of the left across Europe and beyond, and to British politics at large. — Chamindra Weerawardhana, Belfast, 17 September 2017.

Read more here.

Transatlantic Pride: Sri Lankan Internationalism

Above: the print version of this article, published in The Sunday Times [Sri Lanka], Sunday 10th September 2017.

Read more here [online version], published in the Colombo Telegraph, on 12 September 2017.

 

Towards Sri Lankan Queer Liberation: A Global-Sri Lankan Reflection For Pride 2017

In this festive period of Pride celebrations across the world, a peculiar incident takes place in Sri Lanka, with increased mobilisation of the Buddhist monks, who are apparently opposed to the proposed new Constitution. The multitude of disagreements on the Constitution, and especially on what goes in the Constitution within the Joint Government itself have repeatedly come to light. Debates that are necessary and somewhat intriguing are taking place, which is just about the only positive sign.

On 4th July 2017, academic and diplomat [read more here].

Published on 11 July 2017, Colombo Telegraph.

Thoughts for Pride 2017

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In June 2016, the United Nations appointed a Special Expert on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) issues. This was a crucial step in the supranational sector, where the emphasis on SOGIESC has long lapsed. The appointment was subjected to two votes, firstly at the UN HRC in Geneva and secondly at the UN Headquarters in New York. It was vehemently opposed by a number of governments (especially African and Middle Eastern states). Yet, the majority of member states voted in favour of appointing a SOGIESC Special Expert.

Indeed, every Sri Lankan citizen can be proud of the decision of the government of Sri Lanka to vote in favour of the Special Expert. In this season of Pride celebrations, it is necessary to reiterate the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka voted in favour of the SOGIESC Special Expert. If anything, Sri Lanka’s SOGIESC vote at the UN is an indication that SOGIESC-related…[Read more here].

Published, Sunday 2 July 2017, The Sunday Leader [print & online]

Mullivaikkal: A Call For Reason

It has been eight years since Sri Lanka underwent one of the most decisive turns, if not the most decisive and epoch-changing turn, in her post-1948 history. The conclusion of the final military offensive against the LTTE, Colombo’s resounding victory, and the LTTE’s defeat, resulted in a substantive transformation of the national and regional security configurations. This was an outcome previously deemed impossible in practitioner and academic circles. To so-called ‘Sri Lanka researchers’ – a mixture of anthropologists…[Read more here].

Published in The Colombo Telegraph, 19 May 2017.

Standing Up For The Gay Politician: Mangala Samaraweera On Right Track?

[Colombo Telegraph, 8 May 2017]

At a parliamentary debate on 5 May 2017, a less than pleasant verbal exchange occurred between Mangala Samaraweera MP, the Minister of External Affairs, and the opposition benches, especially with Wimal Weerawansa MP of the Jathika Nidhahas Peramuna. The former was accusing the latter of corrupt practices during the Rajapaksa administration, providing evidence of specific cases. One such case included financial malpractice (and diplomatic misdemeanour) in relation to a foreign trip on state business. The External Affairs Minister was clearly seeking to make a political statement, and so was Weerawansa, who found an opportunity to slam Samaraweera. At one point, a statement came from…

Read more here.

Playing with fire?

[Colombo Telegraph, 24 April 2017]: Political commentary on the on the convoluted trends in opposition political mobilization in Sri Lanka. Read in full here.

CNA, terfs and whitefeminism

his time around, the proverbial cat is definitely out of the bag. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (CNA) has made a public statement that she does not recognize trans women as women. The statement comes coated with a feel of pseudo-acceptance, claiming something along the lines of ‘let trans women and trans people be’. CNA’s foremost argument in making this claim is that those grown up and socialised as ‘men’ have male privileges and that their lived experience differ…[continue reading here].

published, 11 March 2017.

Needed: International support for culturally savvy LGBTQI leaders

Since June 2016, two attempts have been made to annul the U.N. Human Rights Council’s appointment of an Independent Expert on the protection of peoples against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE).

The appointee, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, teaches law at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. Despite the expert being from a Southeast Asian country, many governments in the Global South opposed his appointment.

Read more here.

Published, 1 March 2017

LGBTQI: Myopic All-Out petition pushes Lanka against the wall

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Read online version here.

Published: Sunday 26 February 2017, The Sunday Times

Beyond Neoliberal LGBTQI politics: on duplicities, challenges and hope for change

Read here.

Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ Equality Stalemate & Victorian Hangovers: Reflections On A Decolonizing Approach To Sexual And Gender Justice

The week of the 16th of January 2017 carried bad news for Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ community. At the weekly meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a number of ministers had vehemently opposed the abrogation of Articles 365 and 365A of the Penal Code. This also implies vehement opposition to the inclusion of a constitutional clause on equality to all Sri Lankan citizens, irrespective of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. In other words, this cabinet decision, reached by a cabinet of ministers that describes itself as advocates of ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) does not recognize the fundamental rights of Sri Lankan citizens who are not heterosexual in terms of their sexual orientation. Although regulations have been slightly altered with regards to the tedious process of ‘correcting’ the civil service documentation of Transgender citizens, this cabinet decision also amounts to a rejection of Transgender (and indeed other gender-plural) Sri Lankan citizens, as it clearly hints at a reluctance at the highest levels of government to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In other words, the government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and its President, whose election was described as the dawn of an era of good governance, does not recognize non-heterosexual and non-cis-hetero-normative Sri Lankans. Despite the tremendous contributions they make to society home and abroad, the highest levels of government have concluded that LGBTIQ people, due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, as a second, if not third class, pariah category. This writer, for instance, a Sri Lankan citizen and a multilingual Trans woman with a Franco-British education plus an International Politics PhD, is, to go by the cabinet decision… [Read more at Colombo Telegraph).

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of the brutal murder of Pat Finucane, a brave #lawyer who stood for people unduly subjected to harassment by the #British state. The #Finucane murder was one of the most violent incidents during the conflict in #Ulster. Pat was murdered in his own house, right in front of Mrs Finucane and their young children. The Finucane family has since been fighting tirelessly for justice and the truth, and I have great respect and admiration for Mrs Finucane, for her courage and tremendous resolve over all these challenging years. Lots of truths were spoken at today’s event, where John Finucane and @sinn_fein ‘s #GerryAdams spoke. The route to truth and justice is a long one, especially when dealing with a very highly influential government, one of the most powerful in the world. The sense of commitment was very palpable in the packed audience today. I am also writing this post in solidarity with the many people who have been murdered, incarcerated without trial and subjected to many forms of violence, for standing up for their communities and principles, including in my own island home #lka. This is an endemic problem in many countries across the world. Let the #RuleOfLaw, #accountability, #transparence and #justice prevail, at all times. #solidarity #PatFinucane #justice #truth #feileanphobail #hero #decolonialjustice #standforJustice #lka #belfast #Ireland
Photo: snapshot from Queen Elizabeth’s royal visit to Sri Lanka in October 1981. Sharing this photo together with an article I wrote to mark the 71the year of Sri Lanka gaining #dominionstatus, published in today’s edition of the #ColomboTelegraph. The article focuses on the necessity of #decolonial & #intersectional #feminist political discourses in the Sri Lankan context, especially when it comes to protecting our heritage, challenging colonially-shaped mindsets and in entrenching a well and truly Sri Lankan brand of critical queer politics.This piece also includes references to the very important work by scholar-activists such as @jade.chovino , #JoãoGabriel, & @senel_w. Any form critical #decolonial work is not easy and in the global South, there is a need to create our own knowledges, approaches and épistémologies when we think of decolonial and intersectional feminist imperatives. Link to the article: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/thoughts-on-decolonising-lanka-from-servility-to-dignity/ *****I am sharing this photo here because it is a prime example of how white colonial privilege works. The Queen here is walking, flanked by the then President of Sri Lanka J R Jayawardene, on the ‘uda maluwa’, or the upper level of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in #Anuradhapura. Patriarchal dictates in the brand of #Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka are such that women, including #Bhikkunis are not allowed in this area - a restriction that visibly does not seem to apply to the British monarch. This, if anything, is highly suggestive of the disturbing realities of gender politics, injustices and inequalities in the #neocolony. #lka #independenceday #politics #SouthAsia #British #Monarchy #queenelizabeth #jrjayawardene #decolonise #dismantlethepatriarchy photo credits: #Alamy
[Repost, from @alowijesinghe]. A new generation of queer writers and activists is already active and slaying in Sri Lanka🇱🇰🏳️‍🌈. When the President of Sri Lanka comes on stage at a public rally to engage in a blatantly and shamelessly homophobic rant, Sri Lankan queer people won’t remain silent. This is an excellent example of such resistance, by my dear friend @alowijesinghe It was an absolute honour to help out with edits etc. and I’d highly recommend this piece to anyone interested in SOGIESC advocacy and resistance to cis-heteronormative #politics in the global South, outside the ngo-industrial complex, by deeply committed queer people, especially youth. #alokawijesinghe #lka #coupLK #aiyosirisena #srilanka #srilanka🇱🇰 #queerliberation #lesbian #queerwomen #srilankanqueer #writing #colombotelegraph
Word. #NayyirahWaheed #blackgirlmagic #blackfeminism #poetry
It is not only in #Brazil that hell is breaking lose. #Fascism and a drift to a #dynastic #dictatorship is also happening in #SriLanka right now. In such trying times, it is very important to take a clear, bold and no-nonsense stand against fascists, as highlighted in this latest political commentary signée Yours Truly, calling for robust resistance against Sri Lanka’s drift to a #bolsonaro moment. #lka #democracy #constitutionalism #couplk #lkpoliticalcrisis #rights #ruleoflaw #genderjustice
Commentary on the current political crisis in #SriLanka🇱🇰. Neoliberal politics in the global south are bound to end up in disaster if political agendas are not custom-made to correspond to the specifics of local contexts. Things risk getting worse. The political analysis put aside, I am concerned for my #SriLankan #intersectional #feminist #queer fam 🇱🇰🏳️‍🌈& for all #ethnicminorities. Tough times ahead. #lka #politicalcrisis #politics #womeninpolitics #genderjustice #powergrab #colombotelegraph #queerliberation #miexistiresresistir✊🏾

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