And Then They Came For Me…

12Jan09

Sri LankaLast week renowned Sri Lanka journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed. A friend on boingboing writes: “He was murdered because he told the truth in a place where the truth runs you afoul of murderers. … his death was not a matter of how but when. He knew it too”. In his last editorial for The Sunday Leader Wickrematunge wrote: “No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last. … That The Sunday Leader will continue fighting the good fight, too, is written. For I did not fight this fight alone. Many more of us have to be – and will be – killed before The Leader is laid to rest. I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts. … The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it. … Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.” (More news about his death and protests following his killing).
UPDATE: More comments and reaction on a Global Voices post (appena tradotto in Italiano).



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