Saturday, January 17, 2009

State kills a Hero: Assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge

Lasantha Wickrematunge, the editor of Sunday Leader was killed by two gunmen early this year.

In this posthumous editorial, he predicts his death giving a vivid account of the atrocities of the State in Sri Lanka against free press and individual liberty.

As can be understood from the editorial, the person sensed the risk to his life but didn't give up in the face of terror which was ironically sponsored by State.

At the end of this touching editorial, he mentions:

An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niem”ller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niem”ller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem”ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:


First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

This poem has such vital lessons for all.

Lasantha died a hero's death for the sake of values that he cherished, which were not just dear to him but also values which are central to the growth of a free society.

Thousand tributes to him.

2 comments:

Ankur Chandra Srivastava said...

its really touching and inspiring..he wrote an editorial to be published after his assassination.. and created the impact which he wanted..
yeah.i think there is an internal voice which tells you to do things which practicality won't allow sometimes.. and probably that's why he did what he did.. interesting question could be what's the science behind internal voice.. a person born and brought up in a lonely island without any human interaction..will he have an internal voice? Is internal voice the result of sub-conscious thoughts that get hard-coded in us during our childhood? Because if that is the case, then internal voice shouldn't take supreme lead..
But I guess internal voice is the result of our mind's extremely fast ability to see the things as they should be in the long run.. In which case it should take lead..

Ujjwal said...

Thanks for your comments AC. Its a difficult question that you raised. I feel that a person who would stay on an island would relate only with the flaura and fauna that he sees around. He may not become corrupt unless it becomes a question of his own survival as that would be his inner nature which he has taken birth with. The nature to protect his own self.
But if internal voice is having the ability to see the impact of things on the long run, then i really would not be able to understand what makes simple villagers so rooted to their values and simplicity of life.