Political Street Art in Colombo

My friend Neal told me, in response to one of the private letters I sent out with updates on our status in the country last fall, that I was learning how it felt to be a political pawn. Understandably, the conflict is the predominant political issue here in Sri Lanka, though there are plenty of others large and small as well. There have been tons and tons of interesting political posters around Colombo while I’ve been here, pretty much always from the Sinhalese nationalist perspective (not so pro-peace process, let’s say). When I saw this lovely item on a street near City Hall, a place I’ve usually passed at least a few times each week, I decided the time had come to record some of the political expressions around town. Enjoy.
Above, a closeup of the president surrounded by soldiers; below, the same poster in its streetside context…complete with Lara Croft, tomb raider!

My work in Sri Lanka is now done – well, as I draft this in mid-March, I have 1-1/2 weeks of handover left with my replacement, before I hop on the plane to take me back to Paris for debriefing and what comes next. In any case, this being the day my replacement has arrived, I’m already feeling an absolutely glorious sense of release, even though I clearly still have responsibilities for the next 10 days or so: but each day, that load will lighten as my replacement settles into his post and takes on more and more. This is a new and delightful feeling for me, since I’ve never had the chance to hand over before: in China, I wrote a handover report, and left…then, several weeks later, my replacement arrived.

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