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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2529

Monthly archive

Sri Lankan president postures as a peacemaker

By K. Ratnayake – World Socialist Web Site

As the country descends into civil war, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse appeared on Tuesday on an Indian television channel, NDTV, absurdly posturing as a peacemaker. His comments, which were given wide coverage in the Colombo media, are designed to obscure his government’s preparations for war and to garner international support, particularly from neighbouring India. Since coming to power last November, Rajapakse has presided over an escalating conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and military and pro-government paramilitaries. He undermined peace talks in February in Geneva by bowing to the demands of his Sinhala extremist allies to place the revision of the 2002 ceasefire on the negotiating table. Since then the provocative killing of LTTE cadre and supporters has led to intensified and increasingly open violence, stalling any further negotiations.

A silver lining at last

By Ramu Sharma - Syndicate Features

Coach Bhaskaran has every reason to be satisfied with the performance of the Indian team in the Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament held in Malaysia recently. Brought back for the third time to Sheppard the national team as coach, Bhaskaran was, perhaps, as apprehensive of the possibilities of the team as anyone following the course of India hockey in recent years. Frankly, Indian hockey has given the impression that it has reached the end of its tether what with one disappointing performance after another. The last time it won a title was the Asia Cup held in 2003, also in Kuala Lumpur. Since then it has just wandered off.

Women's testimonies of ongoing abuses, including sexual violence, belie SPDC's Myanmar women's day propaganda

Women's League of Burma on the ongoing abuses by the Burmese soldiers belonging to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) revealed that Women were seized by patrolling Burmese troops and kept for sexual abuse for up to five nights. According to the available testimonies, “In one village, women were gang-raped in front of their husbands, who had been tied up. One mute woman was beaten to death and her body left outside her village.” In a press statement Women’s League of Burma pointed out that Women’s testimonies of ongoing abuses, including

Sri Lankan Government offers two oil blocks to India and China

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

The Sri Lankan Government has decided to grant two Black Gold blocks to India and China on a preferential basis. "The Cabinet decision permitting the offering was granted last Wednesday," Minister of Petroleum Resources Development AH.M. Fowzie told the "Asian Tribune." He however he refrained from commenting further on the details of the offering, but sources said that the deal could be a 'Government to Government deal.' Four more blocks remain and bidding is expected to commence shortly.

Keep Burma's Seat Vacant

By Dr. Tayza - London, UK

Keep Burma 's seat vacant in Asia Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM).
Keep Burma’s chair vacant in Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).Ultimately, please keep Burma’s seat vacant in the United Nations General Assembly; keep it vacant until there is a democratically elected civilian government which respect human rights of all people and autonomy of ethnic people in Burma. In September, the sixth Asia Europe Summit Meeting will be held in Helsinki. During its EU Presidency, Finland will have the honor of hosting the sixth ASEM Summit. But will it be really honorable, we have to consider here.

Prabakaran picks a new Hollywood hero

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

PrabakaranVelupillai Prabakaran has dumped his old celluloid hero, Clint Eastwood, and embraced Harrison Ford, according to a media report which went on to add that the Vanni leader has donated 200 CDs to an Indian film director, Mahenthiran. This may sound like trivia but it has a wider meaning that goes beyond revealing his predilections in actors. It goes deeper into the darkest recesses of his hidden personality. His vast collection of videos, running into thousands according to inside sources, indicates his addiction to movies. He is not a Rohana Wijeweera, a semi-university product, reading Marx's Communist Manifesto. He is a school drop out whose meager collection of books kept under his bed, according to a close Tamil source, consisted mainly of Ambili Mama stories - folk tales for children found both in Tamil and Sinhalese.

Devolve or Die !

By Dayan Jayatilleka

"A solution [to Sri Lanka’s civil strife] will require radical changes in the way the entire nation is governed. These changes must empower all the people of Sri Lanka: Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others, and give them a greater say in how they are governed in the areas where they live.” –Ambassador Jeff Lunstead (July 4, 2006) A few pinpricks of light then, which could converge into a ray, illumining a path through the gathering gloom. In a felicitous coincidence, there were three recent developments, the one domestic, the others in our external relations, which provide a chance to escape the dark cavern of our crisis. These are (A) the change in the leadership of the ruling SLFP (B) the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and (C) the confirmation of Robert Blake, former Deputy Head of Mission in New Delhi, as US ambassador to Sri Lanka.

The second JVP insurgency and the fourth Eelam War

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The JVP of today is not really the JVP of the second insurgency. The JVP remerged in the 1990’s partly by recreating itself in a somewhat different mould. It benefited by learning many lessons of ‘what not to do’ from its own post-1983 mistakes, mistakes which contributed in no small way to its own defeat in 1989. It would not have been possible for the state to defeat the second insurgency without the JVP’s maximalism which rendered impossible any compromise and without its incorrect handling of contradictions which turned neutrals, potential sympathisers and former members into diehard enemies. Even so, the critical factor which paved the way for the crushing of the insurgency was the willingness and ability of the Premadasa administration to address