LankaDissent which was an alternative news site is closed down about three days ago. I am sure most of the readers are aware of the closing down of LankaDissent but I am writing this as LankaDissent is giving out a very important message to us, of course if we are willing to look in the mirror. This is the reason they say that prompted them to close down the web site.
In USA, which doesn’t have a 2000 year old history which is at least theoretically a secular society and which doesn’t have a great culture(according to our cultural supremacists) Monica Lewinksy is still alive. I provide this example not because it is relevant to our current situation but because it is something we all know but ignore to ponder a little bit about. Politicians are corrupt wherever(in different scales of course) but how can our ones escape so easily? I think it is just a matter of how the public react to these things. I laughed my head off in the last few days seeing how easily we allow our corrupteds to escape by providing all the foolish arguments our self.
Of course some would say that lankadissent is on a agenda to tarnish the image of ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ or some could say it is a part of the ‘international conspiracy’ against Sri Lanka. Or there is something better, accuse me of something because we are very good at shooting the messenger. Whatever you accuse me of, don’t let it be the one that goes on the line of ‘you are a colombo elite who don’t want to see the power been transferred to a rural Sri Lankan’ because I am ten times more rural than most of you and your politicians you protect. Also it is ridiculous to call President Rajapakshe a rural. He is an old boy of Thurstan College and is the son of a Sri Lankan Minister. Power got temporarily transferred in the times of president premadasa and prime minister Wijethunga but here it is again, right in colombo. Again it should be best man for the job. Who cares if the president is from colombo as long as the country is in the path to prosperity. Any way I am writing down the message of Lanka Dissent because I think it is something we should seriously give a thought about.
Message by LankaDissent
Sinhala Buddhists who believe this land belongs to the most compassionate Lord Buddha and constitutionally calls it the “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka”, sing with pride “In wisdom and strength renewed / Ill-will, hatred, strife all ended / In love enfolded, a mighty nation / Marching onward, all as one / Lead us, Mother, to fullest freedom.” as their National Anthem.
And….. in this compassionate, democratic Buddhist land enfolded with love, in wisdom and fullest freedom, media is forbidden to raise a dissenting voice. Media is forbidden to criticise the “law” of the ruling regime. The media is forbidden to speak for the people.
Many who thought they as the media have a right to freedom of expression, they have a right to information, that the people also have the same right and that it is a fundamental right in a modern civilised society, have been told very bluntly and at times most brutally, that it isn’t so in this land of the compassionate, democratic republic, run by a “patriotic” regime.
The Tamil media in the North were the first to have been told this bluntly and ruthlessly while the Colombo media did not want those dissenting voices in the North, heard elsewhere. They had to learn that lesson, first hand.
And….that was a lesson learnt by some, who are not with us to tell their story. That is a lesson learnt by some, who don’t have the right to say it, because they have a right to live some time more. For a lot, it was their station “Sirasa” that went ablaze with that lesson. It was their station that was smashed and set on fire to teach a lesson.
For Lasantha Wickramatunge, an editor with a passion for uncompromising media professionalism, it was a challenge to face. A challenge he never minced words, in meeting. He had his own aggressive style in meeting the challenge. Admired and respected but left alone without political backing.
And….. he, therefore, could not surmount this challenge, all by himself.
A lesson learnt, that needs no repeats to learn. This compassionate Sinhala Buddhist land does not tolerate “dissent”. Those who would not want to learn that living, would have to learn that in death. We who live, would come back when “dissent” comes back as a democratic right, accepted and enjoyed in a modern land of compassion.
Till then, good bye!