Colombo Telegraph

Lasantha Lives…In Our Hearts

By Lal Wickrematunge

Lal Wickrematunge

Many people are remembered long after they have passed away. Some for the enduring legacy they leave behind and others for the infamous reputations. Lasantha, even after eight long years is remembered for championing the rights of the voiceless and for showing up those in authority who stooped to pilfer from the people, warts and all.

He could very well have practised Law and made a comfortable life for himself and family. He spoke of a calling. Far higher in virtue than pecuniary benefit. Many doubted his motives as they do in our motherland. He laughed in the face of such accusation. To answer them he said, was to become one of them.

Despite the revelations made in recent times through two taped telephone conversations between the former President and Lasantha, he comes off lily white. He cautions the former President of corruption within his government and the need to eradicate it. He also says that the two major political parties must get together to haul the country out of the morass it has sunk into. I cannot imagine that the source of these taped conversations was Lasantha or a proxy. There was nothing that he could have gained from them. He was murdered eight years ago. What would he gain eight years after his death ?

Those who carried out his murder must know, even after eight years, that it is the family that is left behind who would grieve. They must know how it is for a parent to bury a child. For siblings to bury the youngest. This is how inhumane some become when power engulfs. True, Lasantha practised his journalism in his own style and not all loved him. Some hated him. I know that. He was assaulted, shot at and even threatened with death prior to being murdered. An aggrieved party could have sought legal redress. Indeed he was taken to court and if he was punished he would have been fined a colossal sum…at best. Perhaps, the newspaper would have had to shut down if the fine was beyond the capacity of the Company. But he would live. That is the law.

BUT FOR LASANTHA’S PRE MEDITATED MURDER, SOMEONE CAN BE SENTENCED TO DEATH !! That too is the law. Consider the two. One is a civil misdemeanour and the other? Murder most foul.

It is certain that the operating mob who killed him did not know him. It is safe to conclude that the orders were given by a coward who hated him for his writing. So there.

He won many an International award for his work. Not pseudo Doctorates from dubious institutions. Eight years on his voice is still being heard for good reason, The fearlessness and the tenacity shown to doggedly continue in the face of adversity has been recognised universally. We hear it ever so often.

Our father passed away four years after his murder. He was heart broken. Our mother yet speaks as if he lives. The rest of the family grieves. His friends grieve. Yet, we are proud of him. He is bigger in death than when he was alive. Someone saw to it.

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