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Launch of the Coffee Table Book: 1975 – 2014

Held on Tuesday, 25 th February, 2014  

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The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Sri Lanka’s premier national think-tank, in collaboration with Center for Reconciliation and Co-existence (CRC) launched the Coffee Table Book: 1975 – 2014. Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development was the chief guest. The event was held on the 25 th February 2014. The distinguished gathering consisted of diplomats, academics, the representatives of prominent NGOs, members from the civil society and media. The book was written by Mr. Malinda Senevirathne, Editor of The Nation. Hon. Prof. G.L Peiris, Minister of External Affairs and Mr. Gomin Dayasiri, a renowned lawyer, addressed the gathering.

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The book narrates the cycle of conflict and trauma that was common occurrence in Sri Lanka since 1975 until the military defeat of LTTE in 2009. The book presents the story of the gradual transition from violence, terror, and destruction to peace and development using a series images.

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Mr. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, Executive Director of the Kadirgamar Institute welcomed that gathering and it was followed by a video which gave the audience a glimpse of the contents of the book.

Mr. Abeyagoonasekera reminding that every citizen of this country is a direct or indirect victim of the terror mentioned that it is the responsibility of the present generation to make a genuine effort to prevent the future generation feeling the same terror and pain.  “Reconciliation must be seen as a process that leads to the production of socio-political and economic conditions for all communities anticipating a shared future. A shared history is the most secure foundation to build a shared future. Reconciliation is remembering the past and forgiving the mistakes, not forgetting”, said Mr. Abeyagoonasekera.

Mr. Gomin Dayasiri, Attorny-at-Law, explained that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election is the finest example of the level democracy people are enjoying in this country. People in the Northern Province were allowed to use their right to vote for the first time at the NPC election and they voted against the government and elected their representatives. This shows the freedom of expression they are enjoying in this post conflict era. He further said that “the reconciliation and accountability can go in the same track, but in different directions”. Accountability will create a second generation who recognize each other as victors and vanquishers. Reconciliation will forgive the wrong-doers and recognize the culture, value and ethos of everyone.

Malidna Senevirathne, the author of the book titled his speech as “Out of the Cage”. He has derived the title from the book The Cage by Gordon Weiss. Quoting one of his friends, Thrishantha Nanayakkara, Mr. Senevirathne said that “all wars have to be fought twice: once in the battle field and once in the alleyways of memory”. Wars in a memory are never ending, and that they can only be buried with men. He further stated that if the people shown in the images of the book were Canadians or Americans killed in a war, they will be taking harsh actions against the perpetrators. He mentioned that not only Gordon Weiss is in a cage that everyone is in a cage for taking a political position. He himself is in a cage for several dimensions.

Mr. Arun Thambimuttu the Chief Organizer of Batticaloa District for Sri Lanka Freedom Party explained that one has to understand the complexities in finding a durable solution to the problems of the Tamils. Speaking of the misconceptions associated with the needs and demands of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Mr. Thambimuttu emphasized that the concerns of Tamils varies and the demands and needs of a fraction of the Tamil community should not be understood as the interests of the entire Sri Lankan Tamils population. Mr. Thambimuttu further emphasized when talking about Sri Lankan war one should look into the total picture not only into the last few weeks and that one cannot find solution for a 36-year long conflict in just three months.

LKIIRS is Sri Lanka’s premier national think tank and is a multidisciplinary research forum dedicated to analyzing Sri Lanka’s strategic interests in the realm of international relations, within the contemporary domestic and global contexts. The institute regularly host seminars, public lectures, and national conferences on topics that influence and shape policy (ENDS).


Issued by Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations & Strategic Studies on 01 July 2013

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