Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nihal De Silva Among Eight Killed In Wilpattu

According to sources, Nihal De Silva, author of 'The Road From Elephant Pass', 'The Far Spent Day' and 'The Ginirella Conspiracy' was among eight people killed yesterday in a landmine explosion in the Wilpattu National Park.

'The Road From Elephant Pass' which won De Silva the Gratiaen award in 2003, is largely about the Wilpattu National Park. The author's love for wildlife is clear in both 'The Road From Elephant Pass' and the 'Ginirella Conspiracy'.

In 'The Road From Elephant Pass' follows Captain Wasantha Ratnayake of the Sri Lanka Army and female LTTE cadre Kamala Velaithan as they journey from Elephant Pass to Colombo. The LTTE's 1999/2000 attack on the Elephant Pass base forces the two to make their journey on foot across the Wilpattu National Park.

The location of the blast, about 50km from the main gates to the Park, is in close proximity to the northern border of the park, the geographical beginning of LTTE held Vanni. The area saw intense fighting before the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement. The park which had been closed for much of the war, has been open for the past three years. It is not clear if this explosion is related to the recent increase in confrontations between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Army, or if the landmine predated the Ceasefire Agreement.

Today's 'Sunday Times' states that a Colombo 07 family were among those killed in the the blast. According to the source De Silva had accompanied the family.

Wildlife officials entered the park this morning to recover the bodies.

The movie 'The Road From Elephant Pass', based on the book, is in pre-production. As the locations available in Sri Lanka are either unsafe or inadequate, much of the shooting is scheduled to be carried out in Malaysia.

Join us in Prayer

By Rob Gowland

The Guardian

I had a very interesting talk with a journalist from Sri Lanka the other day. Among other things, he spoke of the spread of fundamentalism on the island. Oh, not Islamic fundamentalism but Christian fundamentalism.

It seems that Sri Lanka has been invaded by a multitude of reactionary Christian fundamentalist churches from the USA — Baptists, Assemblies of God, and a lot of others.

They are all lavishly cashed up, and they pursue the same tactics.

The most popular method is to go to poor villages or poor urban areas, and display an interest in how the people are coping with poverty.

Then they encourage everyone to "join them in prayer".

The next day, when those same poor people get up, they find on their doorstep milk, fruit, packets of food, children's clothes etc. Like the poor cobbler and the elves, it seems like a dream come true.

A day or two later, the Christians return, asking innocently how things are going, has anything interesting happened?

Then they make their big play: the goodies left overnight were in fact left by the Christian God in answer to their prayers a day or so earlier.

Having demonstrated that their religion actually works, they set about signing up recruits.

Of course, it's a simple coupling of bribery to credulity, but with lots of money at their disposal the fundamentalist Western Churches are able to produce tangible benefits for people who have nothing.

Small wonder that with such blatant huckstering tactics, the Christian fundamentalists are making converts in a big way. And not just among Hindus and Muslims.

The fundamental churches are making inroads into the followers of mainstream Christian faiths especially among the Catholics.

The areas these Christian fundamentalists choose in which to dispense their largesse in order to win converts are the traditional strongholds of the left.

But while the left is urging the people to stand up for their rights, the US Christian fundamentalists are handing out cash and goods, in plentiful amounts.

It's immediate, it's tangible, it's "real", and it's now.

Buying converts in this way must be extremely expensive, but for the very right-wing US fundamentalist churches, saving the poor of Sri Lanka from the evils of Islam or Communism (or both) would undoubtedly be regarded as money well spent.

There is probably a US government department — several, in fact — dedicated to fostering and supporting just such activity.

It is after all merely a variant of the good old US political tactic of "pork barrelling".
I heard the name on news but didn't connect it to this man. I have read his books and this is very sad. Any idea who the others are? I heard that they are from Rosmead Place.
Morq, Nihal was a friend of my family, his sons are friends of mine. Do you have any info on the dead, who they are? I live abroad and at the moment, am unable to contact Colombo.
my dads friend also was one of the killed.
The Sunday Times today says a family named Perera, from Rosmead Place, Colombo 07 were the main group
Thanks Morq.
sucks.....there goes the trips to wilpathu as well.....
Yeah anon above.... and the lives of seven innocent people too!
Wonder how i could get a copy of the books...?

This whole thing is just so out of control.
Ashanthi, try the website of the publisher:
Oh why are we having now to deal with NO Peace instead of getting rid of those GOD damn mines... I can't believe this.

What on earth are we going to do - it's terrible...

I will try and read this book Desh - thanks but truly when I think about how much of work, even if we had peace, we need to do - it's just scary.

Now we are going to set ourselves back. You know everything stops during war - no aid programs, no schools, no de-mining, no bloody PEACE and people die all over the place.

Truly - if you had the choice, if it was in your hands to make sure this did not happen, tell me - what would any reasonable human being choose?
It was reported by the military today that they believed the three mines to have been freshly laid, to prevent outside movement to that area of the park. As Morq has pointed out, its not far from the Wanni, which is Tiger-controlled. These comments were reported in this morning's Daily News. While serious de-mining operations have continued possibly ever since the CFA in 2002, it is a nightmare to think that the de-miners may have to return to square one - yes Ashanthi, the thought is just mortifying.

While it is obvious that the Government has to define its position more clearly and build on Mahinda Chinthana - I'm very curious to see what ideas of devolution they have in mind (judging from the policy statement, it is probably to bring Annexure C back from the 1980s), there seems little option but to isolate the LTTE internationally and force them to negotiate. This seems to be Colombo's strategy but let them come out with the devolution discussion, put it on the table.
oh god how cruel we are in our complacent absorption with our inability to do ordinary things like take a trip to the jungles... another sensitive man is dead as our several others , no doubt amongst them fathers, sons, brothers. Persons who are integral to some other's sense of being.
No more laughter, no more shared moments, no more writing, just a void and love and memories for those that knew them. Others like us that write rubbish in the hope that it can make sense of the senseless, so that we can abdicate our right to feel that there is somehow more we can do to prevent this continuum of hate and bloodshed-Shehara de Silva
if "shehera de silva" really wrote the comment above and is some sort of relative to Nihal de silva - i have to say ... anger is an energy.

I have only come to know this man in any depth after his death. This is true of many good men/women from all over the world and all eternity - not least of all Jesus Christ.

I think this has more to do with humanity and it's ability to feel loss than religon. Religon - as anyone would know in Sri Lanka is an institution set up in order for men to impose thier attitudes on who they deem are not as "spiritually" enlightened as they are. And sorry - yeah, it's mostly spiritual.

In a country with as many so called "monks" as mines - is it any wonder that people will die from one if not the other.

Let us add to this mix the remanents of old marxist Chinese Pol Pot training, an entrenched system of enhanced nepotism which is so shameful it beggars belief and blatant segregation and institutionalised racism - Sri Lanka and I might add Sri Lankans have been practising aparthied for decades now - what do we have?

Innocent good men (famous and well known to the eternally self-pitying drunken fuckwit Indi) dying.

I am truly sad that I have not read this Nihal de Silva's book but in all honestly, I am not watched the Power of One nor Steve Biko either. However, I am equally sickened to hear the of the likes of Indi intertwining his drunken exploits at another drug launch and blaming it on the death of a Sri Lanka hero by all accounts.

So - his usual fan club blabber on about his "good post" truly - whilst the country goes to rack and ruin .. . indi hangs out with the last remaining expats at Barefoot and claims to be a Sri Lankan. And his stupid, idiotic fan club ramble on about it.

Sittingnut has come in for a lot of flack of late because of his "anti-ngo-peacnik" speak. I disagree with a lot of s/nut's comments but I have to tell you - he is a far more true Sri Lankan than these complete morons.

Morquendi (s/nut's nemesis until I can get them in the same room one ay & box both their ears in) also cops an enormous amount of flack for his comments - but here again, this blogger's posts who I have introduced to a lot of people is a true Sri Lankan.

We are ALL responsible for EVERY single land mine laid down in Sri Lanka & the sooner we realise that these mines will continue to kill us indiscriminately for all eternity the better. We have NO-ONE else to blame except ourselves.


I can't speak for the author of the comment but 'Perera' and 'De Silva' are the most common Sri Lankan surnames.... probably related, probably not.
True - and that's because most of us are actually half portugese than anything else - shame we can't accept that we have such a wide and varietal cultural heritage and enjoy it instead of blowing each other up to bits.

fact is desh - sri lanka is a very, very small island - we are all related and connected one way or another, I think you would be surprised :-)
“We become not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearning, different hopes, different dreams.
- Jimmy Carter.

If only...........
Desh - we have melted and blended - of course we have - for centuries but we have also been very cruel and evil to each other & that too has been for centuries...

however, so did the rest of the planet treat humanity & it's bretheren if they were only just slightly different...colour, creed or race

so ... let us forgive our distant past. How can we claim to be a sancutry of peace and spirituality when truly I think that very soon the very earth that you walk on will stink of blood in sri lanka...

mines and guns and bombs and knives... what is this madness that grips our minds

no point longing ... you must stop the killing desh ... do the right thing...
True Ashanthi, very true... let us hope that those concerned most and directly linked think like we do... thus would be the real hope for peace.
for the record.not related. never met the man. does it matter?
shehara de silva
my grandfather was among the people who were killed in the blast..
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