When old acquaintances meet

Odds and Ends

He had only just reconciled with an erstwhile friend in the media, Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, when the well-known journalist was cruelly done to death by a still unidentified gang on motorbikes.

The public did not know of the bonhomie between the Head of State and the editor. Most knew only of the bitterly critical articles in his newspaper against the government.

So, when it happened, no wonder an accusing finger was pointed at the President's government, though 'knowing people' knew he would not do it to a friend. He tried telling all and sundry of his new-found friendship with his old friend. Then, he sent messages to the editor’s first wife, Raine, who had come down from Australia for the funeral. He wanted the opportunity to personally condole with her.
After several messages from intermediaries, Raine eventually agreed.

She knew him well enough as a journo herself with The Sunday Times and having interviewed him before. She wanted to look him in the eye and ask him how serious the government was about conducting a proper inquiry into the murder.

Around 4.30 p.m on January 25, Raine went to Temple Trees with her youngest child. The Big Man condoled with her, talking at length about the 'good old days', and the editor's relationship with him; about the invitation to attend the recent reception to celebrate the second marriage of Lasantha, and why he had declined.

Raine asked about the inquiry, and the President assured her that a "thorough inquiry" would be conducted. After all, "his children need to know," he had said.

Raine also indicated she was not interested in the offer of a government job, and has now returned to Australia.

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