He deserved it.
His father deserved it.
His people deserved it.
It happened three or four years ago.
It happened far away.
It was photo shopped.
It can't be helped.
It may be too graphic for some viewers.
War is never fair.
The war is over.
It won't happen again.
I didn't do it.
I can't stop it.
I get nauseous.
I'm too sensitive.
I can't sleep.
I get nightmares.
I give to a cause already.
I believe in promoting positive energy.
I believe in the power of love.
Still, I'll help you look at Balachandran's trophy pictures.
Here is Balachandran two hours later lying in the dirt with five bullet holes in his chest. The blanket is gone.
Balachandran was executed in a No Fire Zone, along with countless others. Really, no one has counted. His father was Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil resistance in Sri Lanka. In 2009, some 10, 20, 30, maybe 40,000 Tamils or more were executed in a single massacre that ended a long and bloody civil war.
Well, it ended the Tamil resistance. The oppression of Tamils, which includes intimidation, imprisonment, rape, torture, murder, and disappearances, continues with impunity, partly for the reasons listed above.
The Sri Lankan government denies all of it and the rest of the world--India, Britain, the United States, The United Nations--looks away. We let the government of Sri Lanka encourage and deny the execution of a child, and we look away.
This is a manageable story because we have one handsome murderer and one lovely victim. We allow ourselves to admire Oscar Pistorius because he is handsome and smart and conquered adversity—when he won Gold, so did we all—and we allow ourselves to loathe him now because he abused our trust when he murdered his lover in cold blood. We are eager to try him. We're so intent on righting a wrong that we don't even seriously question his guilt. This, at least, we can manage--we can bury the dead, right a wrong, proclaim one man's guilt and put him away for life. We feel we've done justice. Case closed.
If you're like me, the question you're afraid to ask is How do I change the world? We may, in fact, be helpless. I don't know how to fix it. I can't lie to you; I have just come back from what I publicly proclaimed was a mental health break—a vacation from Sri Lanka. And I'm planning another vacation immediately.
But you and I must try, just sometimes, to look. When we agree to look without being able to help, we accept our complicity. It's a nauseating, heartbreaking obligation. That's how we start.