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February 23 2014

February 09 2014

Veteran Sri Lankan Journalist Murdered in Her Home

The Home of murdered former Sri Lankan Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist Mel Gunasekera is probed by police investigators at the capital Colombo on February 2, 2014. Gunasekera was stabbed to death after a break-in at her family's home. Image by Tharaka Basnayaka. Copyright Demotix (2/2/2014)

The home of murdered former Sri Lankan Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist Mel Gunasekera is probed by police investigators at the capital Colombo on February 2, 2014. Gunasekera was stabbed to death after a break-in at her family's home. Image by Tharaka Basnayaka. Copyright Demotix (2/2/2014)

Melicia “Mel” Gunasekera, one of Sri Lanka's prominent journalists, was stabbed to death in her house in Battaramulla, a suburb of the city of Colombo on February 2, 2014. She was the assistant vice president at Fitch Ratings Lanka and the founding editor of the Lanka Business Online, an online financial news service website. She was a former reporter for French news agency Agence France-Presse and also worked as a freelance journalist.

D. B. S. Jeyaraj notes that Gunasekera was very popular and was loved by her colleagues in the media. A construction worker was arrested within the same day and preliminary investigation indicates burglary may have been the motive. But her fans and followers think otherwise.

Nalaka Gunawardene questioned “Who Really Killed Mel Gunasekera?” on Groundviews blog:

According to police, the killer stole just LKR 1,200 (USD 10) and her mobile phone. No other motive is suspected.

Any death is a tragedy, but what do we make of a killing done for small change and a piece of metal?

The reactions in Sri Lanka after her murder include reflections on how this country has become brutalized. Policy entrepreneur Rohan Samarajiva noted in a eulogy in Lanka Business Online:

She should be writing my eulogy, not me hers. The young should not predecease the old. We should have built a country where a young journalist could take the bus with no fear and spend a Sunday morning in her own house without getting murdered. The war brutalized us. Killing became nothing.

Others mourned the journalist on Twitter:

February 08 2014

Legalizing And Regulating The Sex workers in Sri Lanka

Shilpa Samaratunge, a development worker, discusses in Groundviews about the problems surrounding the sex workers in Sri Lanka. Instead of abolishing and criminalizing them, which is the path Sri Lanka currently is on, she suggests to legalize the profession and impose regulation and provide health-services for the sex workers.

January 28 2014

Sri Lanka's Best Bus Terminal

Freelance writer, translator and blogger Nandasiri Wanninayaka writes about the multi-purpose bus terminal-cum shopping and entertainment complex in the resort town of Negombo:

You wouldn’t expect a bus stand in Sri Lanka to be like a mini airport. But if you happen to go to Negombo Bus Stand, renamed as “Negombo Bus Terminal,” it is a little airport. It has almost all the facilities needed in a modern day bus stand. It is considered Sri Lanka’s best bus stand in terms of facilities.

December 29 2013

Contemplating Nelson Mandela's Legacy in South Asia

This post is part of Global Voices special coverage Remembering Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013. Cartoon by Bryant Arnold. Free for use.

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013. Cartoon by Bryant Arnold. Free for use.

Earlier this month, Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero and first black president, died at age 95, leaving the world in mourning. People in South Asian countries also remembered the beloved statesman in their own way.

Nepal, after long years of political turmoil, has recently completed an election. But the leadership remains an apprehension for many. Satire Nepali blogger Guffadi wrote:

In the past sixty years, we have seen hundreds of clowns who have been offered opportunities to govern this country. But they all turned out to be false prophets who only enriched themselves and their families instead of helping the common folks.

How long will we have to wait for honest leaders to lead us to the Promised Land?

We are still waiting for our Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Why is it difficult for our Emperor and his courtiers to admit their crimes publicly and ask for forgiveness? Our security forces should do the same as well.

Indra highlighted Gopi Chandra Kharel's article in International Business Times, who tried to link connection of Mandela with Nepal, a country 5,725 miles away from South Africa:

Nepali leaders have a lot to learn from Mandela's statesmanship, integrity, and lack of political ambition. His ability to cooperate with even his opponents is a pointer to us during the constitution making process. – Jayaraj Acharya, Nepal's former ambassador to the United Nations

Blogger Passu from Bhutan compared Mandela to Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the founder of the Bhutanese state:

Zhabdrung lived four hundred years before Mandela yet there is something so common between the two- Zhabdrung unified Bhutan as a nation state while Mandela unified different races to make South Africa one strong nation. Zhabdrung fled to Bhutan to escape arrest in Tibet where he was supposed to be the rightful leader. But after he became powerful in Bhutan he never sought vengeance against people in Tibet who wronged him, just as Mandela reconciled with people who imprisoned him 27 years.

Today, when Mandela dies I am reminded of Zhabdrung's death.

From Sri Lanka, Asanga Welikala wrote on Groundviews:

The freedom from fear imbued Nelson Mandela’s personal conduct and political creed throughout his life, and it is the leadership attribute that ensured a plural and inclusive constitutional democracy in his motherland. It is unfortunately not an example that many Asian and African leaders have had the will, the capacity or the character to follow.

Also on Groundviews, Sunanda Deshapriya drafted an imaginary open letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse by Mandela of what is expected of him:

At times I wonder what do you have to learn form us when you have become a strong defender and a close friend of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who has made himself president for life, in practice. His path was completely different to ours and laden with violence. Another disappointing news is your close relationship with the king of the Swaziland, a most backward country in Africa. If you have chosen to follow the examples of Zimbabwe and Swaziland, there is nothing we can offer you.

Teeth Maestro from Pakistan thought that not many leaders can extract peace in the face of adversity:

Surprisingly as similar to Mandela being labelled by his right-wingers as Terrorist Mandela, Khan is similarly painted as Taliban Khan mostly by his opponents, predominantly settled on the left-wing. Such resistance, is in my opinion, merely because driven by his opponents who see these “peace talks” attempts to disrupt their own established control on Pakistan. The name calling will never stop true genuine leaders, in fact, it is in the face of such adversity that actually drives them harder to continue their struggle for whats best for their country – Peace

In 1990, the Indian government granted Mandela its highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India). Upon his death, India declared five days of national mourning for Mandela. He is widely revered in the country, but it seems some have never seen his photo. Poet, blogger and satirist Farrukh Hossaini tweeted:

This post is part of Global Voices special coverage Remembering Nelson Mandela.

December 23 2013

Sri Lanka's Census On War Dead – A Step Towards Transparency and Reconciliation

Tamil Demonstrators held a rally in UK. Image by LK Aldama. Copyright Demotix (2/11/2013)

Tamil Demonstrators held a rally in UK. Image by LK Aldama. Copyright Demotix (2/11/2013)

The Government of Sri Lanka has started a census on the deaths, missing people and damage to property in the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam affecting the Tamil minorities from 1983 to 2009. Serendipity blog hopes that the counting would be done properly:

Whilst the press and the HRC and other bodies are hailing it as a first step, I personally would like to see a proper accounting of ALL people NOT accounted for since 1982, as it also may include the 30,000+ people missing during the second JVP uprising, whose remains have NOT yet been found.

November 24 2013

Brain Drain Or Brain Save

Indrajit Samarajiva refutes the notion that Sri Lankan talents invariably end up migrating in a foreign nation resulting in brain drain. In fact talent is there among:

Not only professionals but also many innovative village youth who would be National assets elsewhere, unseen and unrecognized in Sri Lanka. The issue is that their talent is not visible in the corrupt system till they leave Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka: Debate On Legalizing Sex as a Profession

“Sex work finds its place in the underbelly of most societies, more so in conservative cultures like that of Sri Lanka,” comments Shilpa Samaratunge at Groundviews. The question remains whether the sex workers can demand their rights confronting stigma.

November 18 2013

Australian Prime Minister Downplays Sri Lankan Torture Allegations

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits the Sri Lanka Navy vessel Sayura in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo by Chamila Karunarathne, Copyright @Demotix (11/17/2013)

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits the Sri Lanka Navy vessel Sayura in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo by Chamila Karunarathne, Copyright @Demotix (11/17/2013)

Australians have been flabbergasted by the contrast between two conservative Prime Ministers over Sri Lanka’s human rights record, namely their own PM Tony Abbott and the UK’s David Cameron.

Cameron put Sri Lanka on notice over war crimes allegations. PM Abbott was far more conciliatory:

The Australian Government deplores any use of torture. Sometimes, in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen. The important thing is to act as quickly as you can to bind up the nation's wounds.

Many onliners took these remarks at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo [CHOGM] to be tacit approval of human rights violations including torture. These tweets were typical of the initial responses:

There was the inevitable parallel with the Nazis [Godwin’s law] and misquote:

Abbott's contentious words were reinforced by the Australian government’s gift of two patrol boats to the host country to help stop asylum seekers fleeing down under.

Bloggers have been slow to take up the issue but TURNLEFT2013 was quick off the mark. Tony Abbott condones Torture: Music And Politics features a song by Welsh band Manic Street Preachers ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next':

If we tolerate torture of others, our children may one day be next.

Sample lyrics:

The future teaches you to be alone
The present to be afraid and cold
So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists …

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next

Jeff Sparrow, editor of progressive magazine Overland, wrote an opinion piece, Refugees and human rights abuses: we can’t pretend that we do not know, in Guardian Australia’s Comments are free section:

…we have a responsibility to oppose Australia’s shameful refugee policy, it’s not simply for the sake of asylum seekers caught up in our jurisdiction, but because of the consequences for oppressed people elsewhere.

It received some comments arguing for a ‘realpolitik’ approach to human rights in Asia. TheGreatCucumber argued:

I'm afraid that worries about universal human rights have become a luxury that the developed world is increasingly unable to afford. The UK has enough trouble in maintaining our current level of development for our citizens without having to worry about saving the world's waifs and strays.

Another comment by trevofbillysville on the same post echoed the earlier responses on twitter:

Abbott, mouth in gear as usual ,brain not.Slogans are all he knows .What a shocker.

November 17 2013

Discovering the Bouquinistes of Colombo

Paris may be famous for its bouquinistes, stalls selling second hand and antiquarian books lining the banks of the River Seine, but Colombo also has them. They don’t line the banks of the Beira Lake and tourists seldom find them but they are invaluable for the traveller.

In this lovely guest post, author and travel writer Royston Ellis, a British resident of Sri Lanka, tells us where to look for the bouquinistes of Colombo.

November 12 2013

An Alternative Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013

The prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 is taking place in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and the government ensured an expensive makeover of the city for the distinguished guests. Groundviews posts a guide to the other sides of the city which are apparently invisible to the guests.

October 13 2013

Screening Of Critic Sri Lankan Movie Forcefully Stopped In Nepal

Sunanda Deshapriya at Freedom Of Expression Sri Lanka reports that the international screening of No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka has been stopped in Nepal due to the pressure of Sri Lankan government. Earlier, the investigative documentary about the final weeks of the Sri Lankan Civil War was also banned in Malaysia.

September 21 2013

Council Elections 2013 of The Northern Province of Sri Lanka Updates

The Sri Lankan Provincial council elections are being held today (September 21, 2013) to elect 148 members to three of the nine provincial councils in the country. The Northern Province, which was plagued with civil war, is having its first council elections in 25 years. Centre for Monitoring Election Violence blog is providing regular updates on the Northern Provincial Council elections 2013.

September 15 2013

Its Getting Hot In Sri Lanka

Blogger sEnEl informs that during recent months Sri Lankans experienced some of the hottest days in their lifetimes. The blogger attributes the reason for the erratic weather to the global climate change.

September 14 2013

Coercive Population Control in Three Villages in Northern Sri Lanka

Groundviews reports that women of three villages in Kilinochchi with a child under the age of five were summoned to Veravil divisional hospital to weigh their children and to receive a vaccination. According to the report the doctors and nurses used coercive language and manipulated medical information to convince those women to take Progestogen-only subdermal implants (POSDIs), a long-term hormonal birth control.

September 05 2013

Infographic On Buddhist Attack On A Mosque In Colombo

A Infographic by Rally For Unity. Click on the image for better view.

A Infographic by Rally For Unity. Click on the image for better view.

On August 10, 2013 a well–planned attack on a mosque in Grandpass area of Sri Lankan capital Colombo was launched by armed Buddhist extremists. Sri Lankan blogger Abdul Halik Azeez shares a timeline and infographic of the events (by Rally For Unity) that took place in Grandpass between June and August this year.

South Asia Shining in Some Ways, Suffering in Others

The countries in South Asia may be thriving economically, but the region must work together to tackle the problems of poverty, gender inequality and climate change, according to experts at the recent South Asia Economic Summit (SAES).

The SAES is an initiative of the premier civil society think-tanks in South Asia. This year's event was held in Sri Lanka from 2nd to 4th September 2013 hosted by the island's leading economic policy think tank, the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS). Since 2008, the SAES is hosted in a different South Asian country annually.

This year’s SAES discussed regional issues like harnessing human capital, managing water, food security and climate change, and sought for more regional cooperation. One hundred and twenty renowned socio-economic experts gathered in Colombo for the summit, whose theme was “Towards a Stronger, Dynamic and Inclusive South Asia”, to debate and discuss over the course of the three days.

An important feature of this event was the active debates on the conference theme by participants and followers in social media. The conference blog was very active as well as the Facebook, Flickr and Twitter channels. The event was live webcast.

Tahmina Shafique, a blogger and an Youth Delegate from Bangladesh, wrote about the scope of the summit and challenges of the participating countries:

The summit has brought together a wide range of stakeholders from the eight SAARC countries. The stakeholders consist of representatives from key think tanks, academic institutions, policy institutes, and international agencies. Perhaps the key highlight of this summit is the inclusion of a group of young leaders who will be engaged in analysis and dissemination of the key discussions. This is certainly a move away from the traditional closed-door civil society talks and opens up the platform for engagement of young leaders in these cooperation initiatives.

The summit is most relevant at a time when there is an urgent need for increased synergies among the South Asian countries. A region that is thriving and growing at the back drop of its rich culture, traditions, economic activities and overall increased growth, faces numerous challenges. Arenas such as poverty, gender parity, food security, climate change, and various other factors remain to be areas that need to be focused upon in a more strategic and sustained manner.

Photographs from South Asian countries compiled by Easa Samih. CC BY (Click on the image for info on photographers)

Photographs from South Asian countries compiled by Easa Samih. CC BY (Click on the image for detailed info on photographers)

Abdul Halik Azeez, blogger and an youth delegate from Sri Lanka, started with the changing weather in Colombo and what it means for the region:

The unpredictability of monsoons, while mildly inconveniencing the city’s cubicle warriors with cumbersome umbrellas, plays havoc in the region’s agricultural sector, the rise in sea level threatens low lying islands, the melting of ice caps in the Himalayas threatens norms of water flow and while Colombo may have been benefited with a welcome bout of cooler weather other parts of the region have faced extended spells of debilitating heat. Besides, of the sea level rises that stroll along Galle Face could soon turn into a wade. All these changes affect millions of lives and threaten the already struggling development processes of the region.

Blogger Aarya Nijat, an youth delegate from Afghanistan, mentioned that politics is the game changer:

The Afghan-French author of The Patience Stone Atiq Rahimi wrote: “…in Iran just as well as in Afghanistan (and perhaps South Asia) words defy tyranny… the existential problem isn’t “to be or not to be …” but to say or not to say… Thus, any act becomes political. Even silence. Even lies… The problem lies in each of us, because our hearts are sealed… So should we still doubt the political dimension of literature? I’d say NO, because literature is a fight against all political systems. It is the power of words against the words of power.”

In a post on the last day of the summit, Nijat asked ”Are We Discussing the Real Questions?”:

Is the public and private sectors pursue similar interests or goals, if you will? What is it that the two share in terms of their sense of purpose, upon which a potential partnership can be built? Why don’t we talk about this?

Nandish Kenia, youth delegate from India, discussed whether the private sector can bring the change:

One of the arguments that persists is that why is it wrong to trade if the farmer is getting a huge lump sum of money for his small piece of land by an industrialist? Is he responsible for moving away from green revolution?

Trisha Rana, youth delegate from Nepal, commented that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), an organization of South Asian nations established in 1985 for the promotion of economic and social progress, cultural development, friendship and cooperation within the South Asia region, has failed to make an impact among the South Asian countries:

How can we move ahead with a coming together of South Asian hearts, even as we have failed to merge our practical, finance heads?

There were also discussions in Twitter:

Pakistani economist Nadeem Haque (@nadeemhaque) wrote:

Top Google executive Ann Lavin spoke at the event. Abdul Halik Azeez (@HalikAzeez) from Sri Lanka wrote:

August 19 2013

30 Years Ago: Remembering The Anti-Tamil Pogrom And Riots In Sri Lanka

To remember Black July, the anti-Tamil pogrom and riots in Sri Lanka during July 1983, citizen journalism website Groundviews launched a special online publication titled “30 Years Ago“. It consists of an array of contents, from mixed media triptych to info-graphics, audio podcasts to video, photography to compelling write-ups. According to the publication website:

Groundviews brought together leading documentary filmmakers, photographers, activists, theorists and designers, in Sri Lanka and abroad, to focus on just how deeply the anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983 shaped our imagination, lives, society and polity.

August 11 2013

Sri Lankan Army Fires on Protesters, Killing Three

Three men were killed and forty-five others injured after soldiers fired on protesters in Sri Lanka's Gampaha District demonstrating against ground water contamination.

On Thursday, 1 August, 2012 more than a thousand people gathered to protest authorities failing to resolve the ground water pollution that has created a shortage of drinking water in several areas in the area. When protesters blocked the main Colombo-Kandy Road at Weliweriya junction, police started spraying water canons and tear gas to disperse them, but called for military reinforcements when their attempts failed.

As the army went into action, they prevented journalists and camera crew from covering the clashes and a number of reporters were assaulted. Later it was revealed that during the clashes, soldiers shot at the Church of St Anthony as protesters sought shelter there. The soldiers reportedly threatened the mother superior of the convent at gunpoint, who was protecting the protesters.

Details of the incident which took place inside the church are gradually emerging from eyewitnesses. Parish priest of Weliweriya Rev. Fr. Lakpriya Nonis told media that there were gunshot marks in a concrete post and a wall of his church. Catholic priests and nuns launched a protest campaign in Colombo in over the attacks on church in Weliweriya.

BBC reporter and producer Azzam Ameen (@AzzamAmeen) reported:

According to protesters who were demonstrating against the water shortage, the haphazard disposal of waste water from a Dipped Products factory located in Nedungamuwa, Weliweriya was causing environmental and water pollution in the area. Residents of some ten villages in the area took the streets a few days ago led by a Chief Monk of a temple in the area to protest the contamination. However the company rejected the allegations.

Sri Lankan Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Rathnayake has appointed a board of inquiry to look into the incident. An army spokesman said that it will take two weeks to complete the report. The Gampaha Magistrate has ordered a report be completed on the Weliweriya incident.

A group of prominent Sri Lankans issued a statement titled “Justice for Weliweriya: Time for Indignation!” to protest the incident. Organizations like the Socialist Youth Union held awareness programme and campaign condemning the ‘brutal attack on unarmed civilians by Security Forces.

Reacting to the tragedy on online, journalist and mother Namini Wijedasa wrote on her blog:

I can’t sleep. For two days in a row, I woke up at 3 am. [..] Those moving images of armed soldiers and battle-tanks mowing down defenceless villagers at Weliweriya haunt me.

In my mind, the events keep merging: What I saw happen at Weliweriya from amateur television footage; and what I imagine might have happened in the North, during those final, anguished months of the army’s war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Civilians had perished in that battle. In Weliweriya, too, there was a battle.

After Weliweriya, things fall a little more into place. Not intentionally, but they do. Our life in Sri Lanka today is like this park: Structured by the State, manicured by the State, guided by the State, controlled by the State and, as sure as Hell, set upon by the State if we trip out of line.

Screenshot from YouTube video

Police fire live rounds and tear gas at protestors. Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by Derana Videos

Shenali Waduge wrote an op-ed in the Ministry of Defense website which reiterated the claims that civilians “provoked an onslaught”, that agent provocateurs were involved. It labels those speaking out against the shootings as ”the same set of people who were LTTE sympathizers” and that the media is using “foul methods of fooling the public.”

Michelle Alexander at Lanka Web said authorities are to blame, not protesters:

The protestors of Weliweriya weren’t terrorists demanding a piece of the country. They were ordinary people demanding a very basic right. The right to clean drinking water. All they were given was blood. The authorities have no one but themselves to blame for this tragic turn of events.

Harim Peiris at Groundviews raised the question about the rules of engagement of the military and respect for the media. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka at Groundviews had some questions:

Who deployed troops, clad in flak jackets (body armour) and armed with T-56 assault rifles to confront and disperse a crowd of protestors blocking a highway? Who was the ultimate decision-maker? The protestors were not armed, certainly not with lethal weapons. Therefore, no real harm could have come to soldiers in body armour. A ‘clash’ between lethally armed soldiers and protestors with stones and slippers is not a clash that warrants in any way, the use of lethal force.

Journalist, photographer and blogger Meg reported that the Sri Lankan government is wasting time testing the water in Weliweriya, when tests were carried out months before. She wrote:

It appears more as though the government is stalling. Buying their time until they come up with some relatively credible excuse with which they can confuse the masses.

Neelakandani (@NeelakandanS1) was skeptic about justice:

Vidura (@Apelankawe) shared on Twitter:

Science writer and columnist Nalaka Gunawardene (@NalakaG) questioned Sri Lankan army's offensives against the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in the Eastern and Northern provinces of the country during Sri Lankan civil war:

Blogger Patta Pal Boru commented:

The Government by its direct action has effectively removed the right to peaceful protest, and thereby any semblance it has so far tried to pretend that we are a democracy.

July 16 2013

Taking The Long Walk of Hope For Cancer Patients

Retired Major Ruvan Ranatunga of the Sri Lankan army embarked on a mission to raise much needed funds for two charities looking after cancer patients. On May 30, 2013 he started to trek from Dondra, in the southern Sri Lanka, on a 750+ kilometre journey to Point Pedro, located in the extreme north of the country. The fund raised by The Long Walk Of Hope will be used in two charities: The Courage Compassion Commitment (CCC) Foundation and The Colours of Courage Trust. His target was to raise 1.5 million rupees (USD 11,500) by the end of his trek.

According to his words:

Hi, I’m Ruvan Ranatunga, and I’ve been nurturing this passion to walk across my country. Having served in the Army for fourteen years and walked in many parts of the country including some of the operational areas of the North and East during my tenure it is seemed timely to embark on this exiting journey for a different reason. But “The Long Walk of Hope” is not just about living my dream; it’s bigger than that. I believe that to have lived, we have to reach outside ourselves and touch the lives of others in whatever capacity we can. Therefore, I want to combine that with my passion to trek– providing a ray of hope for those suffering from cancer.

How? Your pledges along my trek will go directly into funding the CCC House, a 188-­‐bed cancer transit home for outpatients at the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama in the South, and to the Colours of Courage Pediatric Cancer Ward which is under construction at Thelippalai in the North of Sri Lanka.

My walk of hope is also in a sense my quest for peace. I plan to walk through the many shades of people, races, religions, happiness and poverty that make up this country.

Blogger and entrepreneur Indrajit Samarajiva writes:

The walk is to raise funds for cancer (you can donate here) and it’s also pretty awesome in its own right. I’ve been following his Facebook feed and he’s seen and experienced things that you just pass through when traveling from point to point. It’s an inspiring and interesting story.

Ruvan shares the equipment he's taking on his 39 day adventure in an YouTube video:

Watch his video diary in YouTube for the proceedings of the walk.

He also got a lot of encouragements in Facebook and Twitter.

Thilina Randeniya ‏(@ThilinaRishan) from Colombo tweeted:

@ThilinaRishan: @slwalkofhope Weather here is terrible with stormy rains. Hope u r ok there Ruvan. Trek safe. #LongWalkofHope #lka

Later on his journey family and friends also joined him. Smriti Daniel wrote in the Sunday Times:

They climbed mountains, and cut through rain forests, wound their way through tea plantations and stopped for a dip in every lake, lagoon, or well on the way. At night, they often relied on the kindness of strangers – sleeping in a little kade’s store room, in a temple hall, on a verandah or in someone’s home. In doing so, they found the Sri Lanka Ruvan knew was there all along – a land of staggering natural beauty, its people so very different yet all capable of extraordinary generosity.

Screenshot from the Video Diary of Ruvan Ranatunga

Screenshot from the Video Diary of Ruvan Ranatunga

According to the report Ruvan’s Long Walk of Hope has raised around Rs. 800,000, short of his target.

Ruvan completed his walk on July 7, 2013 and wrote in Facebook:

Even though the walk has ended there remains the core component of this great journey yet to be fulfilled. The funds have come in slowly and steadily and thank you all for your generosity.

Follow the Long Walk Of Hope's Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates and pictures.

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