A Few Brave Souls

In a world full of self-obsessed gluttons, there are a few brave and noble souls who put their fellow humans above their own interests.

Here are some of those brave souls, who fought hard and sacrificed so much so that others may lead a better life.

Two have made the ultimate sacrifice while a third continues to battle the vicious military junta:

* Stanislav Markelov, 34 – Russian human rights lawyer, who was murdered on January 19, 2009.

Read this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:

Just minutes before his murder, Stanislav Markelov was at his most defiant. Protesting the release of a war criminal he had helped convict, he declared: “The person who decided to free him … should be held criminally responsible.”

As one of Russia’s top human-rights lawyers — a rare and endangered species — Mr. Markelov had many enemies, from politicians to Nazi sympathizers. In January, someone took revenge. Mr. Markelov was walking along a busy Moscow sidewalk after his speech when a man shot him twice in the head. As the snow turned blood red, the gunman slipped away.

* Aung San Suu Kyi, 63 – Burmese leader and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who has been in prison (house arrest) for over a decade.

* Lasantha Wickrematunge, 51 – Fearless Sri Lankan journalist murdered on January 8, 2009.

Read this excerpt from an editorial written by Wickrematunge and published posthumously in the Sunday Leader:

People often ask me why I take such risks and tell me it is a matter of time before I am bumped off. Of course I know that: it is inevitable. But if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they be ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted. An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niem”ller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of  Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niem”ller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem”ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

10 Responses to "A Few Brave Souls"

  1. sumeshy   May 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm


    do you have a mail ID that I can forward a mail to abt Prabhakaran. Its a good read for all SI visitors. Do let me know.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Can you cut and paste the e-mail into the comment.

  2. boopalanj   May 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I hold high respects for Lasanta Wickramatunge. His assassination has seen condemnations from the global society beyond the borders.

    He wrote in his last editorial, “The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it: whether it be a spade, a thief or a murderer, we call it by that name. We do not hide behind euphemism”..

    He also added, “Neither should our distaste for the war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tigers. The LTTE are among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organisations ever to have infested the planet. There is no gainsaying that it must be eradicated. But to do so by violating the rights of Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting them mercilessly, is not only wrong but shames the Sinhalese, whose claim to be custodians of the dhamma is forever called into question by this savagery, much of which is unknown to the public because of censorship..”

    On a different note, “I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.” said he.

    Yesterday, President Mahinda has invited UN Gen sec, to see aids to the suffering Tamils in the camps [no different to those propaganda movies and activites by Nazi..]

    Visit this video link, if time permits.
    ‘Sri Lanka admits military bombed ‘no-fire’ zone’


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. There are several media reports that the LTTE has been shooting the Tamil civilians to prevent them from escaping.

    For example: see this NYT story yesterday.

    2. Even the video link you provide above (go to 1:58 min on your video link) quotes the Tamils as saying they were being held against their will by the LTTE, which ‘fired on them to prevent their escape.’

    We Repeat: LTTE terrorists are firing on Tamil civilians to prevent Tamil civilians from escaping into safe zones.

    3. So, let’s not demonize the Sri Lankan Army or the Sinhalese people while at the same time tacitly giving a free pass to the LTTE savages who are killing their own people now.

  3. boopalanj   May 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I did NOT raise any supporting voice to LTTE in the above comment.

    And that is why I have posted the comment of Lasanta about LTTE, where at same time he is hinting about the government-backed-army’s atrocities.

    I repeat: LTTE and the current Srilankan government are equally dangerous for the civilians.

  4. boopalanj   May 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    And the video, it was broadcasted here, and I have seen the aforesaid part.

  5. boopalanj   May 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Here are few reports by Amnesty International, on srilankan crisis.

    Sri Lanka: Rape in custody




    Sri lanka Human rights concerns


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    As your above links show, there has been human rights violations on both sides (Sri Lankan Army and LTTE terrorists).

  6. allwin   May 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    did u see ltte killing innocent people…ada rajiv gandhi [Trash Talk] karumampudicha saniyane
    enna [Trash Talk]…issue hre is saving innocent people..ok

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: did u see ltte killing innocent people…

    Media reports (that we’ve cited previously) and links provided by SI readers provide ample testimony that LTTE has been murdering Tamil civilians to prevent them from escaping to safe zones.

    LTTE is the enemy of Tamils, not their savior.

    BTW, cut the trash talk in future. We are getting tired of telling you. 🙁

  7. sumeshy   May 8, 2009 at 9:31 am

    SI, the email is with pictures. ppl will understand the real truth of prbhakaran and hence i had requested the mail id. 🙂

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


  8. Raju   May 8, 2009 at 11:58 am

    sumesh, create a “faketerrorist.blogspot.com” with the message and pictures.. that seems to be the trend nowadays

    nishika? do you own one, SI?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write above: do you own one, SI?

    ‘Raju’ – No, we don’t own any terrorists, fake or otherwise.

  9. boopalanj   May 8, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Btw, Fellow reader Raju hinted about fakeIPLplayer.blogspot.com. [Claimed to be written by one of the Indian IPL Player anonymously from South Africa, the blog gossips around all star players and their ‘leela’s].. Give it a try..!

    Admired your comment of connecting ‘Raju’ with ‘Fake’..!

    And, Watch ‘pasanga’ movie, if possible [played by all kids..].. Good I heard..[I have given a list of tamil movies previously to you for reviews..]..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Maybe, it was all done to drum up greater interest in IPL. What with election and all, maybe some people wanted to make sure enough attention was being paid to IPL. That’s one hypothesis.

  10. Raju   May 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    i meant to ask if you owned a Nishika camera.. you had mentioned before that you like cameras.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No Nishika. Only Nikon, Canon, Sony, HP et al.

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