Dining with the Terrorists - Phil Rees in Sri Lanka

February 26, 2009
Vijay Sappani

Award winning journalist Phil Rees is popularly known for his series called dining with the terrorists. Phil has made a recent video on the situation in Sri Lanka . The video is 10 minutes long and gives a good historical perspective of how consecutive Sinhalese governments have handled rebellion by the Sinhalese and Tamils. It has an interview with the current president Mahinda Rajapaksa now and in 1988 when he is clearly seen to be sympathetic to the Sinhalese JVP rebels fighting against the then Sri Lankan government. He is also clearly anti-India, when he hails India as his best friend today.

It also has an interview with Suresh Premachandran, a Tamil MP in Sri Lanka who gave up arms decades back to choose the democratic path. He is clearly frustrated with the process and wants to give it up, which is sad.

We want to convince the Tamil rebels and the Sri Lankan government to get to the negotiation table and resolve their grievances without violence and more deaths in that island nation, but when we see people who gave up violence to choose the democratic path wanting to go back, it is very sad.

Canada can and should play a role in Sri Lanka in convincing both the warring groups to find a political solution outside the battle ground in the best interest of the civilians. Canada should appoint a special envoy and form a non partisan group of advisers on the Sri Lankan issue to work with UN, the Tokyo Co- chairs and India to bring a permanent peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Vijay Sappani is a toronto based political and community activist. Articulate in policy issues, Vijay is well versed in national and international issues and advises many organizations in Canada. You can read more about him at or contact him at
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Dining with the Terrorists - Phil Rees in Sri Lanka


Author: Vijay Sappani


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