Sri Lanka: Ode to a detainee

By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator on May 23, 2011 12:48 PM ET

On May 18, we posted about the stirring letter Sandhya Eknelygoda, wife of detained journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda sent to Sri Lanka's First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Check out the link: In Sri Lanka, a mother's plea to the first lady.

As if we needed evidence of how moving this case is, our virtual letter bag was full of responses to Sandhya and Prageeth's struggle. Sugi Ganeshananthan sent an email with the subject line "i seem to have written a poem re prageeth eknaligoda." You can find her poem, umbrella over bird, posted on the Groundviews site.  One need not be a literary critic to see it as a worthy testament to Prageeth Eknelygoda's disappearance.  Its tone is reminiscent of some of the quiet strength in many of Eknelygoda's cartoons.

Eknelygoda's case is now approaching 500 days old. The hope that it will just disappear is, of course, part of the government's tactic, when avoiding investigation of the silencing of a journalist. Eknelygoda worked for one of the country's few remaining critical media voices, Lanka eNews. CPJ knows there is tremendous global sympathy for Sandhya and her two sons, Sanjay and Harith. And we understand that the United Nations is continuing to take an interest in Prageeth Eknelygoda's case, even if there is little overt activity right now. Continued public expression of concern will help: Keep sending letters to Subinay Nandy, the United Nations Resident Representative - email address [email protected]. And if the spirit moves you, send verse to us.


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