By Malinda Seneviratne –
The ‘Uthayan’ newspaper was attacked a few days ago. It was not the first time. Not the second. Not the third. It was the thirty sixth time that ‘Uthayan’ was attacked. That it still stands, still publishes and still defies testifies to admirable resilience.
What Uthayan does (or does not do) may be interpreted as attempts to wreck rather than facilitate post-conflict processes of rehabilitation, resettlement, reconstruction and reconciliation, but those who interpret thus need to understand that nothing comes easy. They need to understand that there will be ‘spoilers’ real or imagined. They need to understand also that good and lasting solutions need to a) factor ‘spoiler’ into the process, and b) deal with spoiler within the larger framework of the law.
Even if none of this was true, any attack on any establishment or person is an affront to democracy as well as an indictment on the law and order situation in the country. If any entity is attacked as many times as Uthayan has and no one has been apprehended then it implies that the law enforcement authorities are utterly incompetent or else complicit. The state can and must do better than this.
This is why, a couple of weeks ago, attending a session of Colomboscope 2013 devoted to alleged war crimes, where Prof Rajiva Wijesinghe and two spokespersons for the Sri Lankan security forces spoke, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu didn’t utter a word. No, not out of fear for everyone knows what his positions are and he walks around without looking over his shoulder. He just doesn’t have the arguments; he’s been undressed enough with logic.
In the case of the Uthayan, on the other hand, what we’ve seen is action and inaction that not only provide frill to the lie-manufacturing mill, but upsets those who value democratic processes and the democratic culture of engagement, including those who are wont to consider Uthayan as a propagandist rag.
The two uniformed gentlemen at Colomboscope, it is reported, showed admirable composure, which only buttressed argument and moreover helped floor critics. That’s maturity.
We condemn. Unreservedly.
*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com
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