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.