Gampaha, Peace and Conflict

The Other Out There

By Chandrika

Yesterday one of my overzealous office buddies forwarded to me a sensational photograph (as she thought) of half of a mangled bomb victim who happened to have been a prominent public figure; I told her off for it but when I walked around the office I found clumps of my colleagues staring at this photograph on office computers and commenting over it.

Im sorry but I really don’t get it, Im missing the point here. I honestly don’t have any thing against cheery powerpoints of smiling orangutans that you receive in your email in the mornings, or heck, even a bit of quality pornography (actually its called erotic art) but hello, dead bodies? Before breakfast? And of Sri Lankans? Somehow, just like in porn, the fact that these are people of our own nationality is an added jar to the system.

It’s not that I don’t find dead bodies quite fascinating, I admit I did my odd share of impromptu scientific experiments with ghekhos in Marmite bottles when I was a kid, and resignedly cut off the head of one of my beloved pets who had died of suspected rabies (mind you my shoulders were aching for days afterwards, but a woman’s got to do what a womans got to do) and I did actually have an odd ambition of being a forensic pathologist like Temperance Brennan, which didn’t happen because I got married early and had kids and in laws etc.

But leaving aside how much I love to gaze at other peoples gutted and charred earthly remains, I honestly baulk at the thought of forwarding them to friends on my spam list, simply because there is a sneaking suspicion in my mind that I would not like to find one of my loved ones stripped and hung on display on the internet, because I figure in my heart of hearts that apart from the misery of having lost someone you love to a terrorist attack, the second human rights violation would be to have your fellow citizens standing in little groups ooohing and aaahing over the naked dead and burnt torso of your husband/brother/son or father…are you ever going to be able to put THAT picture out of your mind?

I am left wondering, since I want to try hard to understand them, who these journalists are who grab that brief moment of desperate fame by attaching their names to this kind of cheap thriller. And what kind of people continue this cycle by forwarding this mail around to their friends and relations. Do they think that they are immortal? That they will never find themselves at the other side of this lens/ or in the subject line of such emails?

You have to wonder.