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When a friend HAS to leave

Last week while I was at a wedding I received a text message on my phone
from a journalist friend. The message read “so many things have happened to
me. I have no choice but to leave the country. Take care and I will be in
touch.” I received the text exactly a week after he had called and said
that he had been going through a lot. He was reluctant to give me the
details over the phone. But he sounded hassled and worried.

I called him immediately. “Where are you?” I asked. “I’m boarding the plane
— I will be in touch”

And so he left Sri Lanka. I don’t know what happened. All I know is that he
was one of the journalists who felt he was harassed by some people in
authority and not supported. We have only a few brave journalists left. My
friend was one of them. He was born and bred in Sri Lanka. He wanted his
children to grow up in Sri Lanka. Being his friend I know that he never
wanted to leave the country. In this case I guess he had to so that he and
his family can live.

He was one of those rare journalists who wrote about children’s issues in
Sri Lanka. So for me the loss is double. And it is very sad. One by one,
when good journalists leave, a little bit of democracy also leaves with
each one of them.

For his safety and mine, I cannot write his name. Isn’t that very sad?

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