Photo by Rasika Manobuddhi
I am pleased to announce that Minoli De Soysa will from 1st July 2020 be the new Editor of Groundviews. She will be assisted by Ayudhya Gajanayake as Co-Editor.
As they take over the site and all associated social media output, I will be stepping down as Editor of the site as well as from my position as Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA).
I joined CPA in February 2002. It is the first and only job I have held in Sri Lanka. I started Groundviews late 2006. It’s been an epic journey, with some who are sadly no longer with us. Asanga Welikala, now Acting Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law but a friend from school, invited me to join CPA to work with him, and the late Kethesh Loganathan, to conduct research that helped critically locate the UNF-LTTE ceasefire process and agreement in comparative global conflict resolution processes. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into but said yes. The “interview” with the Executive Director CPA, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, was a conversation about English literature, Shakespeare (I believe it was Macbeth) and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. The rest is history.
The debt owed to Asanga and Sara is one I am unconvinced I will be able, in any meaningful way, to repay.
Groundviews is about as old as my son. In the site’s eventful journey, I was lucky to work with Nigel Nugawela, Raisa Wickrematunge and Amalini de Sayrah as former Editors or Co-Editors. They have each left their indelible mark on the site’s brand and output. I am hopeful Minoli and Ayudhya will continue in the same vein.
So much of the site’s content – 4,550 odd articles on the site to date, tens of thousands of tweets, Facebook posts & till recently, WhatsApp updates – was generated or submitted pro bono by authors, including those as young as 10. During my PhD fieldwork earlier this year, I felt very old to hear many younger interviewees who said they had grown up with the site as the primary or only location they learnt about contemporary socio-political developments and a violent history not captured in mainstream media, taught to them in school, or talked about even at home. Why this was and is perhaps still the case is something to reflect on.
I look forward to concentrating on my doctoral research, anchored to dynamics I have witnessed or helped co-construct through social media in Sri Lanka – much of it through Groundviews.
For all of you who have contributed to the site in more ways that I can ever capture, and in ways both public and private, thank you. And Thaththa – all those books you couldn’t afford but bought anyway is why I am doing what I am. Wherever you are, I hope you continue to read Groundviews with me.
Good luck Minoli and Ayudhya!
Sanjana Hattotuwa (@sanjanah)