Author Archive for Rohana R. Wasala

The SAITM nonissue: The neck or the necklace?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

BY ROHANA R. WASALA The landmark appeal court ruling delivered  on January 31, 2017 upholding the right of a graduate of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) to be granted provisional registration with the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) was thought by many to have put an end to the private medical […]

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Most momentous May Day in living memory

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala  When sovereign and ministers show perversity of mind, it is impossible even for a Sun Tzu to encounter the foe.-Huai-nan Tzu A couple of days back, we celebrated the most momentous May Day in living memory held in Sri Lanka. I watched the five hour long Joint Opposition rally live on […]

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Is Aluth Parapura insulting the intelligence of Sri Lanka’s new generation?

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island The following was prompted by the news story, appropriately headlined “Punish perpetrators of war crimes, atrocities – NGO pack”, in The Island of April 20, 2017, according to which, Akalanka Hettiarachchi, representing an NGO called Aluth Parapura (New Generation), stressed that “all those who had perpetrated crimes during […]

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Sunday, March 26th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s critical observation that retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s book containing his personal war memoirs “Road to Nandikadal” (Vijitha Yapa Bookshop, Colombo, 2016) “becomes a war crime dossier” was reported in an article published in the Sunday Island of March 19, 2017 (a reproduction of a news report […]

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Gilgamesh factor in regime change

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala (A sequel to ‘Jousting with the JO: Let the real opposition do its duty to the country’/March 3, 2017) In two articles written to The Island roughly within a year, namely, ‘A long view of constitution making’ with the subtitle ‘The things people first wrote down’ (The Island/January 24, 2016) and […]

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Jousting with the JO: Let the real opposition do its duty to the country

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Kumar David (‘First trounce the Joint Opposition’/Sunday Island/February 19, 2017), speaking for those whom he calls ‘many experts’, asserts that ‘if amendments to the constitution live up to what is really needed, they have to be substantial and hence need to be approved at a referendum. If an entirely new constitution […]

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Looming danger of federalism before complete separation

Monday, February 13th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Because of the Indian-imposed 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, Sri Lanka already has a quasi-federal system of government. What the diaspora Tamils, the TNA, and Tamil Nadu politicians are currently striving for is fully fledged federalism. The nature of the various proposals these activists are making and their cynically […]

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Enough is enough:  Stop torturing the university students!

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

By  Rohana R. Wasala Thousands of university students (medical students and their counterparts from other faculties) have been demonstrating over many months against the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine at Malabe; they have been cursed by the public for the disruptions and inconveniences caused by their conduct; tear-gassed, water-cannoned, and baton-charged by the […]

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In dependence

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala This year, we are supposed to be celebrating 69 years of independence from the British. But, with  the national security deteriorating, the economy taking a nosedive, and inter-communal relationships unravelling as never before, one could wonder what there is to celebrate. The disconcerting truth is that, politically and economically, we have […]

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Lotteries: Mass gambling that brings in camouflaged tax revenue

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala We sometimes talk about national scourges such as the current crassly perverted political culture, rank corruption in high places, abject dependence on and implicit faith in astrology and other occult practices, rampant abuse of drugs and drinking, smoking, and gambling, all of which, due to the existing circumstances, get lashed into […]

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Delivering rejected goods in a new wrapper?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala An obviously complacent Chandrika  Bandaranaike, in a recent interview (as seen on a news video on Lankaweb on January 12, 2017) asserted that Ranil has today accepted her own constitutional proposals of 2000, which he rejected at that time. Commenting on what she took to be a vindication of her stand, […]

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Fall of the Eagle  

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala (It is with pleasure that this article is being shared with Lankaweb readers, particularly for those among them who enjoy reading poetry as well as reading about it. It is expected to provide a few minutes of recreational diversion and desirable respite from monotony. Published here courtesy The Island.-RRW) What is […]

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A reply to ‘Governing Council National Peace Council’/Lankaweb/December 02, 2016

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala The piece inserted in the Lankaweb under the title ‘Immediate deterrent action needed to eradicate inter-community violence’  by a so-called ‘Governing Council National Peace Council’ on December 01, 2016 is a scurrilous attack on the helplessly beleaguered Sinhalese Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese are a global minority of a […]

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Hotel in the Sri Pada range

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island The controversy that is raging over the alleged building of what is variously described as a hotel or a holiday resort or a holiday home or just a circuit bungalow by an Arab businessman (a senior official of a proprietary rank in a multinational communications company) in the […]

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Aborting the hard won peace to placate the implacable – III

Monday, November 7th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Continued from Saturday November 5th, 2016 Touching on the economic aspect of the current Sri Lankan problems, Draper quotes prime minister Ranil Wickremasinghe as saying: “It’s a history of missed opportunities”. We are told that here Wickremasinghe was referring to the “unfulfilled economic potential of the country” during the Rajapaksa administration. […]

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Aborting the hard won peace to placate the implacable – II

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Continued from Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, Draper reminds the reader, praised President Sirisena for the government’s ‘extraordinary progress’ in working towards ‘a durable peace, an accountable democracy, a new relationship with the outside world, and expanded opportunities for all’. Actually, Power’s alleged observation […]

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Aborting the hard won peace to placate the implacable

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

By Rohana  R. Wasala Courtesy The Island The article entitled “Can Sri Lanka hold on to its fragile peace?” on the National Geographic  website by American journalist Robert Draper  seems to be nothing more than a sample of the run-of-the-mill false propaganda that is usually churned out to promote the Tamil separatist cause in Sri […]

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Kandula – ‘the king of elephants’

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala (Following is the entertaining story of Kandula, the battle elephant of king Dutugemunu, pieced together from incidental details found in the classic historical epic poem The Mahavamsa of the 5th CE, which I consider a rich source humour, humanity and wisdom. This article recently appeared in the Sri Lankan daily The […]

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Wild wolf culling in Norway and weaponizing animal rights in Sri Lanka

Friday, September 30th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Norway this month (September) decided to destroy 70% of its wild wolf population, shocking conservationists and animal rights campaigners around the world. But there is some tragi-comic irony in the sharp numerical disparity between the potential victims and the prospective killers: The actual number of wolves affected is miserably small, that is, […]

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Total or quasi secularism is not the issue

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Secularism is wrongly believed to be something negative, or something that denies the importance of religion, and it is seen (quite wrongly) as promoting immorality. When the term ‘secular state’ is translated into Sinhala as ‘anaagamika rajyaya’, many average Sinhalese speakers tend to think that such a state is against religion or […]

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Getting a bang out of Ban Ki Moon’s visit?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s impromptu remarks in the course of a lecture at Colombo Hilton on the eve of his departure from Sri Lanka after an official visit (September 2, 2016) comparing the Sri Lankan civil war to the genocidal conflicts in Rwanda and Srebrenica (in […]

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Mahinda in Malaysia

Monday, September 12th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala A group of Tamils initially identified as members of the so-called Tamil Diaspora in Malaysia held rowdy protests against former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa who was visiting Malaysia to attend the 9th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) held at the Putra World Centre in capital […]

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Fait accompli of medical education, police and protests

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

by Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island A protest march organized by the Inter-University Student Federation (IUSF) with the participation of   state university medical and bhikshu students demanding the abolition of SAITM was dispersed by police using teargas and water cannon in Colombo on August 31, 2016. The protest  march started at the Sri Jayawardanepura university premises […]

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Monks and the fundamentalist menace

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala The noisy confrontation between a group of demonstrators holding banners with the slogan ‘Different but Equal,’ with Azad Salley, a Muslim politician, apparently leading them and another group of activists challenging them, led by a young Buddhist monk – Ariyapola  Rathanasara  Thera – from a nationalist organization called the ‘Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa’ […]

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Brutal operation of power

Friday, August 26th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala The Tamil problem started decades before independence as a result of the unequal treatment of the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils, the former being at the receiving end of particularly harsh colonial suppression reserved for a conquered subject. Generally, while Sinhalese leaders agitated for the independence of the whole country, Tamil […]

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Continued constitutional recognition of the preeminence of Buddhism is no threat to the secular status of the Sri Lankan state

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Fears have been expressed by concerned groups and individuals that the special place now enjoyed by Buddhism in the Constitution is likely to be done away with as part of the reforms proposed by the experts appointed to advise the government based on public representations. But government ministers confidently dismiss such concerns […]

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Hope for the future: Putting the Jaffna University incident behind us

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala What appeared to have happened on the Jaffna University campus on July 16, 2016 (as judged from newspaper reports, electronic and social media, personal communication, etc) was an unprovoked attack by some racist Tamils (both students and outsiders representing perhaps a minority of hardcore separatist sympathizers) on a troupe of  Kandyan dancers […]

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Perahera elephants, wildlife?

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala Apropos ‘Perahera through the eyes of elephants’/Opinion/The Island/August 9, 2016, written by ‘Concerned Citizens of Sri Lanka’ on behalf of ‘Sentinels Against Wildlife Crime’ (SAWC). Their motto seems to be ‘Say No to Cruelty to Our Elephants of Sri Lanka’. A very laudable objective. The concern they show about cruelty to wildlife […]

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Rubbishing Rajapaksa

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala One’s own self-worth is tied to the worth of the community to which one belongs, which is intimately connected to humanity in general. What happens in Darfur becomes an assault on my own community, and on me as an individual. That’s what the human family is all about.-Wole Soyinka (b. 1934), Nigerian […]

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Save the young people involved in the SAITM crisis

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

By Rohana R. Wasala It goes without saying that the lives (meaning the future) of the students of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) at Malabe and of the students agitating against the private institution are infinitely more important than the government’s policy decisions on education or its own survival. If necessary, policy […]

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