Photo courtesy of Anoma Wijewardene


My country will survive corruption in parliament,

arbitrary arrests ordered by the executive, bodies

washing up at Galle Face, at the Beira Lake.


My country will survive farmers shooting elephants

before shooting themselves as crops wither in dry

seasons between uncertain and delayed monsoons.


My country will survive too narrow roads, too

many head-on collisions, arrack and race hatred

spilling from bars. It will survive because


the Aragalaya has landed and is building

the largest tent ever seen on the island

where a British clergyman once opined


only Man is vile. A miracle on Galle Face Green.

A non-violent, inclusive, non-racial coming

together. Yes, there have been miscreants, arsonists,


frustrated and angry people who have burnt

politicians’ houses, who have toppled the statue

of the Rajapaksa patriarch. But the Aragalaya


is grand, forgives, persists. No matter

how many plainclothes investigators

visit families of protest leaders, no matter


how many truncheons beat protesters while

they sleep. The Aragalaya is spreading

in the diaspora as well. It cannot die. It will


not let this miracle go, the chance we have

now to finally put our house in order, to save

our island, culture and ecosystem, to turn


to the rest of the world and say

if we can realize our lives and dreams

on the island we can do so everywhere.