A Sri Lankan lesson in Free Speech: Kenan Malik’s op-ed in the NYT today

Screen shot 2016-02-22 at 5.33.20 PMGaya’s intro: When I read this op-ed, A Sri Lankan lesson in Free Speech by Kenan Malik today in the New York Times, I remember the struggle, for human liberty and freedom of speech. it was not battled not on the lines of digital and global hashtag campaigns of today thriving on global ‘likes’, but the one in which Richard de Zoysa, Cheran Rudhramoorthy, Neelan Thiruchelvam, Rohan Edirisinha, P.K. Saravanamuttu, and many others both in Sri Lanka and in exile, battled on relentlessly for years and decades, during the war.  It was a struggle, among others, to keep sane, to keep enlightened thought alive, to uphold a high standard of human rights and human dignity, despite the security threat to those who did. I remember the CPA being under security surveillance.

Whatever your position may be on the individual arguments or those who espoused em, largely, Sri Lankans fought hard to voice their opinion containing thoughts that were crafted from liberal thinking, at times not reconciled to a nation at war.

Screen shot 2016-02-22 at 5.36.20 PMIt was a time when Shyam Selvadurai launched Funny Boy in Sri Lanka by speaking from the same venue as Kenan Malik did, when he spoke to Smriti Daniel—The British Council Colombo.

We had our day. We had our leaders and mentors.

We are ready now to defend free speech and call for good governance only because there are many who know what it is about and have paid a high price for hanging on to its shadow in those dark days.

 

Screen shot 2016-01-13 at 2.15.12 PMHere is Kenan Malik’s op-ed read in the spirit of quiet pride and optimism in a nation 25 years on from the abduction and brutal murder of Richard de Zoysa—A Sri Lankan Lesson in Free Speech 
Op-ed by Kenan Malik in the New York Times 
February 22, 2016