Photo courtesy of Amalini de Sayrah


We walked for twenty kilometers and more

from outlying suburbs, from neighborhoods

in the city, on the way to the country’s maidan,

to Galle Face Green. We jumped into vans


with full tanks, drivers giving us rides. We

commandeered trains to the cause. We found

our way. We carried water. Local churches

and temples organized sandwiches. Doctors


and nurses set up first aid tents. Civil society

delivered portable toilets. Books circulated,

lent from private libraries. Guitarists played

and we danced and shouted for Gota to go


home, for Ranil to follow. Now Gota

has gone and Ranil has won the presidency

in a vote among 225 parliamentarians.

Aragalaya will give him a break as long as


he does not order goon squads to rough up

innocent sleepers again, as long as he does

not cover up crimes of the ruling family out

of power. But we wonder how quickly will he act,


if he will act at all. One brother sat in the front row

as Ranil signed the papers to become president.

Why did Mahinda get that seat? What does

the photograph mean? Why did Ranil send


in masked soldiers and police on the first night

of his fledgling rule? Optics look bad Ranil.

Optics remain etched in the eyes of observers

and guardians of Aragalaya. We are no longer


blind. We do not listen to the rustle of

bribes. We are building a new world

on the Green. We will not destroy

this chance we made to be free at last.