Protestor at Lasantha’s funeral
When I meet people they often ask why I’m not dead or in jail. I find this a rather odd way to start a conversation, but it’s a persistent joke. On one level it’s funny, but on another it’s the most powerful tool of censorship available. There are a few messages (murders, arrests and disappearances) that everyone forwards. So the people trying to quieten you down end up being family and friends, and they do it with the best intentions.
So perhaps it is better to not speak out, or to speak at all. If you look at it on a personal level, no one wants their relative or friend to do be a martyr. The sum of all those caring decisions, however, is an uncaring society. Where injustices are ignored and everyone looks out for themselves. Plus it’s boring.
So, while I appreciate the concern, I’ll continue to write. If you get any concrete information as to threats then I’d appreciate it, but spooking me out of ignorance is not especially useful. Personally I try to be moderate and reasonable and I don’t have any particular malice towards anybody. I don’t think people hate me as much as when I ranted a lot, but I dunno. I guess that’s no protection, but if I wanted to live a quiet life I’d go back to Canada.
I believe in a caring society, and I think that involves speaking out when you see something, not gathering your loved ones and closing the door. Also, seeing reality bent and twisted just gives me a mental twitch I can’t really control. I am what I am and I write what I think. It saddens me that censorship has become so internalized in this culture, but it isn’t internal to me. I hope that there are a few more like me, and I hope that they speak out more. That more than anything is the way to keep each other safe, but I guess it’s a hard first step to make.