22 October, 2019

Blog

Lasantha Five Years On

By Lal Wickrematunge

Five years have flashed by since Lasantha was eliminated. Five long years and the Police have failed, nay, they have not been instructed to bring the murderers to court. Lasantha left his imprint indelibly embedded within the print and electronic journalistic history of this country. Those who gave orders to snuff out his probing pen did not envisage that he would continue to have a presence, perhaps larger than life within and outside Sri Lanka.

lasantha_narrowweb__300x430,0A brilliant and rewarding legal practice lay ahead of Lasantha, but he preferred the thorny path to seek his joy in the practice of Journalism. Many did not agree with his style. Many more loved him and appreciated that he led from the front on their behalf.  He was fondly called “The Leader of the Opposition”, a soubriquet which ultimately led those in the corridors of power to prevent him pursuing his vocation.

People often ask me what Lasantha’s stand would have been had he lived and was yet the Editor during the last stages of the war. I do not think they intended to be alive at that time and find that question, irrelevant.

His family still grieves. His friends, acquaintances and those who read him each Sunday remember him. Miss him.

He strode with his head held high. He laid down his head in the same manner. The cowardly act that snuffed out his life could not rob him of that dignity. His memory lives on beyond the grave and will endure way longer than those who undid him. Provided a God exists.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    1

    The grief of a great many people are with you and your family on this 5th anniversary of the death of Lasantha.

    ‘Loke uthum rata Lankawai’ — what a joke.

  • 14
    1

    .
    They did not murder just Lasantha……they murdered all good journalists.
    There are no more journalists left in Srilanka.

    :-)

    • 6
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      There are many journalists in the country today who have gone over to the government for a laptop and a few perks and cry crocodile tears once a year over Lasantha’s death. These bought and paid for journalists should be struck by lightening one day.

      • 0
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        Duhwood Blocker

        As a writer David Blacker was entitled to get a free laptop. Did you see him anywhere near the MR?

        David is a honourable man and only loyal to his former employer run by Gota.

  • 5
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    The inaction of the Police and the Justice System in Sri Lanka speaks volumes. In a modern world where technology and forsenic medicine is highly advanced there is no reason for the killers to go unpunished. If our locals could not handle it, there is always the option of getting help from the FBI or Scotland Yard.

    Obviously the police are instructed and obstructed from carrying out a full investigation which would require unfettered access to question and investigate members of the armed forces. Since eight assasins, four motorcycles and their mobile phones were involved, there is no problem in tracking their movements. In addition the chain of command and use of a special unit. A lot of of crimes committed under the smoke screen of state security.

  • 1
    0

    anichawatha sanskara
    [Edited out]

    • 0
      0

      Abhaya:
      “…. and the horse you rode in you, b…d”

      • 0
        0

        fool

  • 0
    1

    So where are the commemorations? Is it at the Seventh Day Adventists hq or at kanatta as the press informed. Is Sonali coming?

  • 2
    7

    Lal

    If Lasantha was such a good journalist, and a man of integrity, why couldn’t he see through the ideological smokescreen of Tamil fundamentalists and expose the LTTE for what it was: a totally anti-systemic and anti-people force trying to take over power in the North by butchering whoever was on its way? What happened to his investigative skills and fearlessness when it came to the brutal Tigers?

    How do you know it was not the Tigers who killed him in order to bring infamy to GOSL? Because Prabakaran was known to kill even those who helped him – like Rajiv Gandhi and Premadasa – if it advanced his cause.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone the killing of Lasantha. He was an honourable man, just like Prabakaran.

    • 3
      0

      “What happened to his investigative skills and fearlessness when it came to the brutal Tigers? “

      This needed exposing? At least in Sri Lanka? I think there was a far greater need to expose the corruption of our holier than thou politicians and their waste of our country’s resources. Also (as Sri Lanka’s history of murdered journalists shows) that is as dangerous as writing about the LTTE.

    • 5
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      Just Me, Prabhakaran was not an honourable man. Invective cannot be hidden even when couched in polite language. You reveal your motives even in your subtlety. Are you in the pay of the killers?

      • 0
        0

        Prabhakaran was not an honourable man.

        Says who? Prabhakaran is a great hero. That is what the most intelligent, experienced, respected, erudite chief minister of all time C Wigneswaran (TNA) is saying.

        • 1
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          navin below is an excerpt from DBSJ article just before the NPC election.Wiggie does not seem to understand what happened to SWRD and amir when they said something to get votes because they thought the first hurdle to clear is to get the job.As time goes on they will realise that deranged buggers will come after them when they find out that they did not really mean what they said.

          [Wigneswaran stated there that Prabhakaran the son of VVT soil was a great hero and not a terrorist. “Pirapakaran oru payangaravathiyalla. Avar Thamil Inathin Viduthalikkaaha Poaradiya oru Maha Veeran” (Prabhakaran is not a terrorist. He is a great hero who fought for the freedom of the Tamil people) re-iterated Wigneswaran on Valvettithurai soil.

          Wigneswaran’s conduct as a candidate eyeing the chief minister post can be rationalised and justified by some as a necessary evil brought about by political considerations. In a situation where powerful sections in the TNA configuration and within the Diaspora were undermining him. the retired Judge had no option other than to be more hawkish than the hawks and overcome opposition is an argument that is not entirely without merit. Moreover it could also be said that Wigneswaran after victory would discard this hardliner posture and toe a more moderate line.

          BOOMERANGED

          The flaw in these arguments is that attempts in the past by many to adopt extreme positions to win elections and then revert to a course of moderation have often boomeranged and failed miserably. In 1956 the great liberal Oxonian SWRD Bandaranake who ate stringhoppers with fork and knife promised “Sinhala Only” and swept the polls. But when he tried later to address legitimate Tamil grievances the chauvinist forces unleashed by him would not allow him to do so. Likewise the TULF leadership adopted the extremist goal of secession to win elections. But when the TULF leaders tried to moderate the separate state demand and accept some form of devolution the militant elements galvanised by the dream of Tamil Eelam would not accept it.

          In similiar vein the retired Judge is treading on dangerous ground in singing paeans of praise to Prabhakaran and indirectly glorifying the LTTE.]

        • 1
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          Navin

          “Prabhakaran was not an honourable man.”

          But VP was a psychopath.

          Psychopaths also become hero it depends how you look at them, for example Gota, another psychopath who hold key unelected position in the state and celebrated as the hero.

  • 0
    4

    “How do you know it was not the Tigers who killed him..

    How do you it was the Tigers who killed Kadirgamar, Premadasa, Johnpulle, etc etc

  • 4
    1

    I am appalled as to what this “just me” character says. Clearly he is a stooge of the regime. How can one in his right mind call Prabakaran an honourable man compare Lasantha with Prabakaran ? Please seek mental treatment. Wonder who killed other journalists even after the war. May be Prabakaran’s ghost. Please be sane even when you try to defend an insane regime.

    • 0
      0

      Are you saying Northern Province Chief Minister, C V Wigneswaran is not in his right mind? He called LTTE leader Prabakaran a great hero in his election campaign and also during his first speech in the NPC!

      C V Wigneswaran most certainly cannot be out of his mind for his credentials are impeccable and he is well respected around the world! If the man says Prabakaran is a hero, then Prabakaran is a hero — period.

  • 11
    0

    Lal

    I attended Lasantha’s funeral at Kanatte as a mark of respect to a human being who was not afraid to articulate his views , knowing the consequences full well. No one had the right to take his life away .Our thoughts , and those of thousands of people all over the world, are with you , and your family today .May you find solace in the knowledge that you are not alone in your grief.

  • 4
    1

    A concise and an excellent appreciation of Lasantha. Bensen

  • 1
    12

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • 3
      1

      I presume you are announcing that you are quitting CT?

    • 2
      2

      Did you get your laptop Fathima? King wonders.

  • 7
    1

    We must carry on Lasantha Wickrematunge’s legacy. We shouldn’t betray the thousands of people who have died for us. We are not free yet, we are only halfway through. “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires” – Nelson Mandela.
    “Media reports say that Chief opposition Whip and UNP Parliamentarian John Amaratunga has requested the President the post of speaker in the Parliament or the post of deputy Minister of Defense to join the government.” – The Lanka Truth
    THE UNP is sitting as an opposition party for too long. The leader is not showing anything tangible to govern the country. Therefore, the party members are getting tired and leaving the party; this is not surprising. The UNP members are too close to the ruling party; the pictures taken during an expensive dinner hosted by the President to the UNP members reveals this reality. The pictures were published by the Lanka Truth. I believe that the President knows everything about the UNP through a spy. The UNP members are not with the UNP. Only God knows how much information the President has received from John Amaratunga about the UNP’s future plan to defeat the government. Information is gold; you are the ultimate winner, if you know your opponent’s every move.
    This is very clear the President has broken the UNP; therefore, we can’t depend on the opposition party and election. We have only left the UNHRC. I don’t want to support the international intervention, but the Rajapaksa regime does not give any other option. Therefore, I will be writing to the Indian leaders, reiterating how important to get help from the international community and use the UNHRC to remove the most dangerous regime. The regime would do anything, if they can cover-up and fool the whole world about the final war.
    We need help from the West to remove the Rajapaksa regime; at the same time we have to be extremely careful. The west will hijack the UNHRC resolution to achieve its interest, if we are not vigilant and tactful. Remember, the West supported and used the diaspora to push the LTTE to fight against the IPKF, and also broke the peace agreement with the Sri Lankan government. The Westerners are the Masters of divide and conquer strategy; therefore, we must watch from every angle. Sri Lanka is in a strategic location. The leaders have to be extremely smart and tactful to deal with the world, especially after killing the thousands of people. I don’t think the Rajapksa brothers are smart; therefore, the regime’s good times are coming to an end. The Arabs can’t save the regime. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is wasting his time and tax payers’ money in the Middle East. I am sure Prof G L Peiris is enjoying his traveling. After the government’s fall Prof G L Peiris can write a travel book, because he has travelled more than any other Foreign Minister in the world. As a Foreign Minister he has achieved nothing, he is going to look like a fool in few months. The diaspora, India and the West are going to tighten the noose in March. The world has been appealing for caught behind and LBW, but the Chinese umpire said the regime was not out. In March the regime will be clean bowled. I don’t think the regime will waste time after the UNCHR resolution, It will walkout; because the Sinhalese are not going to support it. The regime can not fool all the people all the time.
    The Rajapaksa regime has killed thousands of people; therefore it should keep a close relationship with everyone in the country to survive. But the regime is turning against everyone; this is beyond foolishness. The regime has underestimated the Sinhalese people, Tamils, Muslims, diaspora, India and the West. It will pay for it. The people should have thought about voting for the foolish and corrupted government twice. The government has the least educated ministers in its cabinet; why the intellectuals and media didn’t point this out to the people? The regime has killed thousands of people; why the Sinhalese are keeping silence? The Sinhalese media was quick to write about the LTTE’s crimes, but ignoring the Rajapaksa regime’s crimes. Whatever goes around comes around. The Sinhalese have been supporting and protecting uneducated criminals; now the regime is catching up with them. The Tamils have supported and protected the LTTE; eventually they paid for it by losing most of their political leaders and intellectuals. Likewise the Sinhalese have started to pay for supporting and protecting the Rajapaksa regime.

  • 0
    1

    It is a crying shame that some CT commentators choose to vilify a most decent human being and an intrepid journalist who is Lasantha Wickrematunge who took the bold step among increasing censorship to bare truth unsavoury to many politicians, corporate fat-cats and sycophants.

    Should we not show some human decency and commemorate this wonderful human being whose life was snuffed out and as a result left his wife and children in shock and mourning.

    Are we practising Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Chritianity or are we bent on slinging mud just for the heck of it?

  • 8
    1

    Mr Lal Wickrematunge I met your brother Lasantha Wickrematunge when I was at a wedding reception at the Hilton hotel in Colombo in 2007 
    I remember when I saw him with my family and friends the whole room and all the people stopped and looked at him.
    We were staring at Sri Lanka’s most influential and honest voices.
    It is chilling to think we were in the presence of the very man who will be assassinated and who’s murder will forever scar our nation.
    I went over to Lasantha and shook his hand and told him how proud I am to have him as an idol to look up to.
    He was so friendly and nice and I feel so proud and will forever cherish the fact that I stood next to him and got to meet him.
    It’s one of my proudest and most wonderful memories 
    I have a lot of respect for your family and your brother and the work you have done for media freedom 
    I am so proud and it is so great for me to even say I stood next to the actual Lasantha Wickrematunge and got to meet him 

  • 7
    1

    If Lasantha with face and name recognition does not have justice what chance is there for Tamils with an internal investigations. I think although bitter an international investigation would do a lotof good for the country in the long term.

  • 0
    0

    Pearl.
    The good that men do are interred with their bones.It is the bad that remains.Shakespeare said this many moons ago, long before some of these C.T.commentators were even thought of.

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