Lasantha Wickramatunga: In Memoriam

Read blog post of 12 January 2009: Goodbye Lasantha – and long live Siribiris!

Farewell & fare forward...
Farewell & fare forward...
Saluting the memory of courageous newspaper editor, fearless investigative journalist, jovial human being and my former colleague Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader, Sri Lanka, shot dead by four gunmen within sight of his newspaper office. Today, we lost the real Leader of the Opposition.

RSF: Outrage at fatal shooting of newspaper editor in Colombo
Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, news coverage: Lasantha shot dead
Dying for Journalism: TIME pays tribute to its reporter in Sri Lanka

Himal Southasian tribute: Unbowed and Unafraid

For once, I’m at a loss for words. When prose fails, we must turn to verse which is always more potent.
I remember Martin Niemoeller (image, below).
I remember Niyi Osundare (text, below).
I remember Adrian Mitchell.

This is the second time I have had to cite this poem in this dreadful week
This is the second time I have had to cite this poem in this deadful week

Not My Business
by Niyi Osundare

They picked Akanni up one morning
Beat him soft like clay
And stuffed him down the belly
Of a waiting jeep.

What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?

They came one night
Booted the whole house awake
And dragged Danladi out,
Then off to a lengthy absence.

What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?

Chinwe went to work one day
Only to find her job was gone:
No query, no warning, no probe –
Just one neat sack for a stainless record.

What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?

And then one evening
As I sat down to eat my yam
A knock on the door froze my hungry hand.

The jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn
Waiting, waiting in its usual silence.

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

5 thoughts on “Lasantha Wickramatunga: In Memoriam”

  1. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. ~Edmund Burke

    The Citizens of the World are watching! Distanced, they may feel powerless to help. Perhaps, you may compose a petition, appropriate for the requirment, that Citizens may respond, and do something, if only to sign it, sending a voice to their respective National Government leaders, to bring pressure upon the “Terror Culprits” who kill life and liberty, to stop! -and ; for the authorities to bring the offenders to justice!


  2. Yes, he was truly the Leader. The Leader in the march against crime, corruption, violence in a land once known as paradise. Paradise for now to a choice few – power hungry, ruthless, uneducated bunch of thugs – but not for long. As our Motherland bleads and cries out for Justice, Justice will prevail. I pray this justice – when it comes, unlike the tsunami will spare the innocent and swallow only the guilty. Dear Lasantha, Rest in Peace. May your death not be forgotten and may it be the last in the race of others to try and silence the Voice of Truth.

  3. Today I read the last published article written by Lasantha Wickramatunga. I have never come across a such a passionate and a forthright point of view. When so many of Sri Lankans are brain-washed by the belief that this war will be won and peace will prevail. I have heard this government propaganda over and over again. This war will not end until a permanent solution to the Tamil problem. Over the years thousands of poor Sri Lankans died in the name of the country. What people should understand is every government is using these innocent people to strengthen their political power. No doubt government have to get rid of people like Lasantha. Lastly, Sri Lanka has lost a honourable decent man. Sad thing is to know is that it was done by one of us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: