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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

Monthly archive


Beyond the Ceasefire

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The LTTE possesses a rare and a useful capacity to present the old as new, to give the impression of saying something unusual even when it is merely stating the obvious and the commonplace. Its long statement, issued on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the CFA, contains nothing new and is more significant for what it does not mention rather than for what it does mention. The statement talks at length about human rights violations by the Lankan Forces and the TMVP and it highlights the absence of a political proposal by the government. These errors and absences are used to justify separation by contending that a solution which ensures the safety and the dignity of the Tamils is impossible within an undivided Sri Lanka. The statement mentions the ISGA and the P-TOMS as desirable goals and lost opportunities but maintains a deafening silence about the Oslo Declaration, which committed both the Wickremesinghe administration and the LTTE to pursue a federal settlement.

US-India Nuclear Cooperation in Steady Progress

Asian Tribune US Bureau

U.S. and Indian officials said February 22 that they see no major obstacles to completing a pending civil nuclear cooperation agreement that would place India's civilian nuclear program under international safeguards and enable full civilian nuclear cooperation with the United States.President Bush and Prime Minister Singh signed the agreement in March 2006. The officials also reported progress in negotiating a bilateral agreement, which is a prerequisite under the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for the United States to engage in nuclear trade with other countries.

Can We Drop the ‘Federalism vs. Unitary’ Debate and on What Grounds?

Professor Laksiri Fernando - University of Sydney (Visiting)

If anyone wishes to genuinely advocate a durable solution, or find one, to the ethno-political conflict in Sri Lanka, acceptable to all communities, going beyond the so-called binary debates on ‘federalism vs. unitary state,’ then the deification and reification of the ‘unitary state’ (or the concept!) should be dropped, or otherwise the pompous claims of ‘impartiality’ amounts to hypocrisy and duplicity. If anyone says that the others should drop the concept of federalism and then tries to carry the unitary flag, the way back to the Kandyan kingdom, then that effort cannot be considered fair, reasonable or constructive. This is not moral high ground, but very simple common sense.

That much hyped Cease Fire Agreement—CFA

By Oscar E V Fernando

The present military gains have brought about a sense of euphoria among some in the south to conclude that the war is well nigh a finish, or that it can be finished almost in a whiff, in spite of the LTTE undercurrents, such as the reported tapping of arms suppliers to Sri Lanka etc—a sure sign of hectic activity outside on behalf of the LTTE. The support given to them by their expatriate sympathizers is by no means over; although they are banned in several countries, there are avenues open internationally such as money laundering that can fund the LTTE; a war proper would be funded several times over.

Nepal is facing new hccups

By M Rama Rao - Asian Tribune

Nepal is facing hiccups in its transition to peace and full-fledged democracy. The Maoist cadres, estimated at 30, 852, are unhappy with the conditions in the 28 camps they have been housed under the arms management agreement between the government, United Nations and the Maoist leadership. The UN, which has taken upon itself the responsibility of supervising these Maoist camps till ‘normalcy’ is restored in the Himalayan country, is naturally unhappy.

International Human Rights Group commences Assessing Sri Lanka’s Rights Situation

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) appointed to investigate alleged serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka since August 1, 2005, and the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), also appointed by the President to observe the investigations of the COI, had their inaugural meeting in Colombo, on February 12-13, 2007according to a press release of the Sri Lanka embassy in Washington. The IIGEP was established to enhance transparency of investigations and to ensure they conform to international norms and standards. The international community, especially the United States, has been encouraging Sri Lanka to step up investigating several alleged human rights violations.

LTTE’s Tamil Nadu connection

By Vinod Vedi - Syndicate Features

There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity between India and Sri Lanka over the past month along with straws in the wind that the LTTE could be losing patience with India and could be preparing to launch suicide attacks in this country for not being unequivocal about the Sri Lankan Government’s current military offensive against it. The latest being a possibility of a concerted attempt to capture Elephant Pass.

Under the Shadow of Lakegala : Of Their Games and sports

By Sudath Gunasekara

LakegalaUsually games and sports in this village are confined to the young. Elders obviously need no games, as they are engaged full time in activities connected with cultivation. The young ones begin with simple and common rural children’s games like welibath iviima, koonpittu hediima. (Both these are games played by children with sand collected from the home compound), puwak kole pediima, ( Here children use an aricanut branch (poppata) like a go cart for them to be drawn. One child sit on the poppata and the other pull it from the handle provided by the extension of the branch) meegon teniima and meegon pora (playing with toy buffaloes made out of coconut branches and coconut shells used as horns). All these games they play in the household compounds. Both girls and boys of the same age of the neighboring houses get together for these events.

The Muslim Fishermen of Phang Nga

By Antonio Graceffo

Ethnic Thai Muslims lead a life very different from their Buddhist neighbors or the ethnic Malay Muslims in Thailand’s four Muslim provinces.The four Muslim provinces of southern Thailand Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Satun have made international headlines in recent years due to an extremist insurgency which has left hundreds dead. The bad press emanating from the south has left the rest of Thailand’s many Muslim groups in an undeserved dark cloud. The various Muslim peoples in Thailand are an extremely diverse group, each with their own unique history, language, and culture.

Train atrocity in India targets “peace process”

At least 68 persons, including women and children, were killed and some 20 people seriously injured earlier this week, when two firebombs exploded on a train traveling from India’s capital, Delhi, to Lahore, Pakistan. The firebombs were set off around midnight last Sunday when the train, which is known as the Samjhauta or Friendship Express, was near to Panipat, a city lying about 80 kilometres north of Delhi. It is unclear who perpetrated this heinous crime. But it is palpably obvious that it was meant to sabotage the Indo-Pakistani peace process, whip up tension between the two countries, and sow discord between India’s Hindu majority and its 150 million-strong Muslim minority.

Revisiting LTTE’s options

By Col R Hariharan (Retd.)

Sri Lanka media is talking of an imminent LTTE attack citing the exodus of civilians from LTTE controlled areas in the north. On the other hand, LTTE says the air strikes in Vavuniya sector have caused panic among civilians who fear a Sri Lanka offensive in this sector. In the parliament the Minister of Fisheries had indicated possible LTTE attacks on Colombo port. There is a lot uncertainty on the future course of armed pursuit of ‘peace’ in Sri Lanka; it raises a few elusive questions.