Hearts and Minds

The thing is, you can’t browbeat Sinha-le, the BBS, Sihala Ravaya or the likes of Udaya Gammanpila. In recent weeks, opposition to racism has condemned those who promote divisive, inflammatory ideas and content. The PM threatened certain journalists and media institutions, and then threatened to take action against websites that promote racism. The President scoffed

Read More

Murandu-palanaya?

A recent interview with President Sirisena, conducted with the BBC’s Azzam Ameen, is recommended viewing for those who want to assess contemporary politics and the trajectory of governance over 2016 and beyond. Over Twitter, I averred that while some of the President’s answers were positively disturbing, the opportunity given to grill him, and the fact

Read More

The offline effect

Curating, as I have since 2008, online media during election violence monitoring offers insights into the way voters react to propaganda, political parties and politicians. Take for example the lead up to the Presidential Election in January 2015 and the General Election in August of the same year. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s online social media campaigning was

Read More

The new old media

Growing up close to the Ratmalana airport during the 80’s, the noise from the pressurisation of large turbo-prop planes pierced the air at night and into the early hours of the morning. It was a sound we got used to. The other sound was of sirens, from ambulances. Endless streams of wailing sirens followed a

Read More

Real change or realpolitik?

What is it after a year we can celebrate? Much, I would argue. There are photos I’ve taken with my phone of the scene in front of Temple Trees at daybreak, one year ago. Commandoes, armed, were just beginning to disperse, muted camouflage green and brown, with black muzzles, against red buses. They ringed the

Read More

“Sinha-le”: Comment to media on implications

Was asked by a mainstream media newspaper to send in comments on the ‘Sinha-le’ phenomenon. ### “Sinha-le”, a campaign primarily promoted over social media both in Sri Lanka and abroad, can also be seen on stickers adoring three-wheelers and other vehicles. The campaign is essentially racist, mixing elements of violent xenophobia, Islamophobia, racial slurs and

Read More

The bra effect

The Government announced last week that it would set up a website to gather public opinion on issues related to reconciliation. This came after an announcement earlier in December that the government intended to establish a secretariat to coordinate activities of various players engaged in reconciliation. In September came the announcement that the government would

Read More

The state of the State

“The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country’s criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies – the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of

Read More

Wicked Problems

“We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking we used in creating them.” Albert Einstein A few readers may be familiar with the term ‘wicked problem’. Though tempting to assume it is, this is not a reference to the Rajapaksa family’s fetid legacy in governance. The man who coined the term,

Read More

Constructively yours

“A critique does not consist in saying that things aren’t good the way they are. It consists in seeing on just what type of assumptions, of familiar notions, of established and unexamined ways of thinking the accepted practices are based … To do criticism is to make harder those acts which are now too easy.”

Read More