Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An Attempt to guess the LTTE’s new strategy for peace..

Why has the LTTE called for unconditional peace talks so suddenly whereas they were demanding that the Govt should withdraw its forces from Sampur for any peace talks, just a week back? It is not a difficult theory to understand that it is not easy for a rebel movement waging war against a state to call for peace talks when it is in a weak position.

To me it seems to be part of a larger plan to weaken the international community’s confidence on the Government as a genuine party to the peace process. The govt is confused and is struggling to respond to this unexpected call for peace talks. At a moment where the President has left the country to attend two important international meetings and with the Co-Chairs meeting around the corner it perhaps is/was the most appropriate time for the LTTE to call for the Govt to peace talks. The Govt seems to be in a militarily stronger position and it is difficult obviously for any warring party which has just tasted victory to say immediately ‘yes’ to peace talks. That’s why Rambukkuwela has responded strongly that there will be conditions on the govts part. The govts confusion is made evident in the recent press release that the peace secretariat put out on the matter saying that they are ready for peace but will have to negotiate the modalities and logistics of the peace talks. This is victory for the LTTE, as the international community is likely to ‘understand’ this as the govt’s unpreparedness for a negotiated settlement to the conflict. It is also positive propaganda for the LTTE which is largely portrayed as the party not interested in the peace talks. A very clever way to bring international pressure on the Government indeed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On 'Check Point'

(Reproduction of a comment that i made at at

A good concept forum theatre is… Have been part of one and have also discussed with a few in the field about the uses of this form of theatre. I do not claim to know the in and out of the theatre and must concede that I have very minimal exposure. But one question that bothers me after seeing ‘checkpoint’ yesterday was about taking and discussing issues to an ‘appropriate’ audience. The question always remains about what an appropriate audience is. But I was disheartened to see many members of the audience being insensitive to issues, issues which are for most of our people of direct relevance to their existence. I was frustrated by the insensitive applauses and laughter that erupted from some quarters of the audience when some very sensitive issues were portrayed and depicted. The type of audience ‘Check point’ was able to attract were not possibly a group who are very much affected by these issues or probably to better word it people who do not care much even if affected. Though the issue was a general one, there hovers a question as to whether forum theatres can be for people who are not necessarily the people who are involved in the issue in some way or the other? Is it not that forum theatres are for particular ‘target groups’? I acknowledge that forum theatres are at the same time (though I felt that Adam did not adequately stress this) for people not to find resolutions but to provoke thinking and to leave at a heightened state of emotion so that they would be provoked to take action.. Was this achieved?

The forum theatre was also a good opportunity to adequately understand the different mood and temperament of our society and may be that was the objective of the forum theatre and its organisers. I thought the audience was a good sample of the larger Colombo elite and of course our expats. (All people who spoke during the forum theatre except for a few had accents!!)And it is this elite society which is active in our social, political and communication sphere not to mention that they are the cream of our so called ‘civil society’. (I also need to do justice to all those who remained silent ..May be they did the right thing.. may be they didn’t want to get ‘identified’.. I don’t know why i was silent .. May be some of us didn’t because it wasn’t worthy of us contributing

I wish to echo what someone else has already said. To take the theatre out of Colombo in the vernacular languages. I liked it where the organisers had somewhere mentioned that they are exploring opportunities to work with the vernacular theatres.
I liked Gehan de Chickera’s acting .. a beautiful mono acting performance.. Hats off to Gehan.. 24 hours.. hmmm. Nothing newly learnt through both of them but was able to witness an artistic expression of what I have been personally reflecting on. In that sense I really appreciate the performances. Must also mention that Dylan’s acting was marvellous.. He definitely did realistically portray an average Colombo based Tamil. Niran’s wit was excellent as well. The character that he played and some of the comments he made are ones that I have heard from him and do a lot of justice to who as a person he is.
Overall it was a thought provoking evening and I salute the organisers for the effort, time and intellect that they had put in for the purpose.