By Basil Fernando
The Amnesty Intentional has published a collection of poems titled ‘ Silenced Shadows’. It’s a collection of 15 poems and translations of the said poems into all three languages, Sinhalese, Tamil and English. Originally, Amnesty International called for poems on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka and selected 15 poems for publication. Five of the poems were written in Sinhala , five in Tamil and five in English. Now a very powerful collection of poems are available for readers in all the three languages.
The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has seen curfew for the last 41 days. Sixty-six persons have been killed, as a result of the “actions” of government forces. Most of the channels of communication remain blocked. It is reported that the authorities have gagged the media. There are concerns that even essential supplies are failing to reach most citizens. This is what the state has been witnessing in the last 41 days.
The pattern on display in the Bombay High Court yesterday, 9 May 2016, was not that of the cycle of drought affecting millions. It was that of callous – bordering on malicious – governance.
For millions of Indians hit by the devastating drought, death comes in myriad forms. Farmers’ suicides – oft reported by the media and denied by the State – are one of them. A recent and surprising pattern of drought death is heart attacks to those waiting in water collection queues.
Who can enjoy any of the basic human rights guaranteed to them by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 through the United Nations General Assembly resolution 217, if they face chronic hunger, or even worse, starvation? The answer to the question is simple. The rights guaranteed by the UDHR to peoples of all nations would be nothing more than a cruel joke on them.