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.