Monday, January 12, 2009

Dead men writing editorials

I have been getting into a bit of an argument with a couple of friends. They seem to think that the editorial in the Sunday Leader was brilliant and prophetic.

I, ever the skeptic, beg to differ.

To me, the editorial seems to be written well after the event, which means Lasantha Wickramatunga could not possibly have written it.

The passages that look inconsistent are:

"For this I - and my family - have now paid the price that I have long known I will one day have to pay. I am - and have always been - ready for that. I have done nothing to prevent this outcome: no security, no precautions. I want my murderer to know that I am not a coward like he is, hiding behind human shields while condemning thousands of innocents to death. What am I among so many? It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remains to be written is when."

I am of course, open to correction - will someone in the know clarify the position? If indeed he wrote it, it would be truly prophetic and a fitting tribute to the man, otherwise it looks like a piece creative writing, a piece of theatre, something that defined that newspaper.

12 comments:

pissu perera said...

i know what you mean. before it occured to me that maybe he wrote it to be published in the event he was killed, i thought it was a bit creepy and sensationalist for someone else to pretend to be him. now, i'm not sure. confounding, eh?

DeeCee said...

hm...

gutterflower said...

Think PP's right. He probably wrote it before, to be published in the event of premature death.

Hope someone can clarify it for us.

Jack Point said...

Well, I found this, which seem to come to similar conclusions (read the comments below the post as well):

See:

http://inmutiny.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/the-call-of-conscience/

I would have expected that if had actually written it in full someone would have written an explanation saying that is what he did.

indi said...

It's pretty general. It's not that hard to write an editorial to be published in the event of his violent death.

It was, as he said, a matter of when

Electra said...

I don't think this is a great mystery: it is likely, like many believe, that he wrote it himself, I'm fairly sure he knew that maybe someday it would need to be published. But it does seem too updated, so to speak, to have been written before his death; in which case, it was written by possibly a close colleague. This is not weird or unusual at all: it's been done before. The fact that the 'voice' is his is purely symbolic, and the stand it takes is the general one of the Sunday Leader and those who will continue its work.

aufidius said...

I think it may perhaps have been written by someone else, but apparently lasantha was notified/noticed the suspicious behaviour of the bikers in the vicinity of his home on the night before he died..theres a possibility that he wrote it on that night sensing that he may be killed soon..hence it being updated. Nothings to say i am right,, just possibilities.

Makuluwo said...

I think it's possible that someone else wrote it for the sake of sensationalism or just to 'stick it to da man.' :P
But if he did write it, it's pretty mindblowing and well, tragic, that he knew so well exactly how he'd meet his fate.

Serendib_Isle said...

It is common practice in news establishments to keep stuff like obituaries and epilogues ready and regularly updated – especially if the subject is knocking on the heaven’s door. My guess is that this was written before and the dubious para’s have been added after the demise of LW.
Any newspaper would sell its soul to make a buck, the Sunday Leader was no exception.

NB said...

I agree with you. This is some creative writing after his death. Lasantha has trained his juniors perfectly well on creative Lies :-)

Anonymous said...

It is quite likely that it was written by someone else, but whoever it was, whether Lasantha or not, kudos to them. An amazing piece of writing, and this line particularly struck me:

"If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled."

aufidius said...

lasantha wrote it, read this

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/09/sri-lanka-tamil-tiger