Colombo, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict, Poetry

For Lasantha and others

Murder is a moment to point fingers
Murder is a moment to crawl into shells.
But moments don’t forbid,
there is no opportune time,
nothing auspicious
about standing up,
speaking out.

Speaking of Lasantha now,
he was not the just-another-guy
not because he was right
(he was wrong a lot of times;
hard to agree with too),
but he wrote his politics regardless
he made his allegiances clear
protected friends
(and some of them were unsavoury creatures too);
it does not matter, though.

He was flawed as the next person
but was more a citizen than many of us,
he spoke his mind,
he screamed.

And I, hardly a friend or fellow-traveller,
salute him,
for I prefer word to silence
in the matter of political engagement.
There is a finger that is itching to point,
let us point it at ourselves
at least in the manner of a question.

Who are we, who am I in these times
of omission and commission?

[Editors note: A comment left on a blog I read regularly regarding the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge threw up an interesting (and timely) challenge to Sri Lankan poets. I pointed out this comment to Malinda, who responded with this poem.]