The Long Chain, A Tribute To Gauri Lankesh


Gauri Lankesh

Some of us are not free.
We belong like individual pearls attached to a long, long chain
to which we will be forever connected
and to which we have bondage as the links hold us in placement

Yes, we are not free.
We are enchained.
This chain stretches way back before us in time
and it will stretch past our individual times on Earth.

This chain will involve people of whom we did not know in the past,
ones at present and ones coming onward to be part of our chain,
ones unknown to us and some not even yet born.

They all stretch way far backward and way into the future.
They are our connection on the ever present chain.

Whether we know them personally or not doesn’t matter
because their lives were here
and will continue to be here onward through us
to enrich us all as a totality of life on Earth.

So it will go as the same pattern with those after us.
They will join the chain after we pass away.

Every time that one of them gets taken from us, we do not weaken.
We just get stronger in a relentless resolve to take up the slack
that the loss caused by the death of someone like Gauri Lankesh brings.

Hear and see the strength of our position on the chain:

We will not stop.
(You should see my daughter going at social and environmental justice like a pitbull dog with a rat in its mouth.)
We will not stop.
(My daughter is training her one year old daughter to be another pearl on the chain.)
We will not stop.
(My sister and her husband like my parents before us, and ever so many others before even them, trained us all well.)

So another pearl,
Gauri Lankesh,
was removed from the chain.
How sad and tragic.

Yet, guess what?
We have ten or more pearls coming on down the line —
hooking into the chain of which this activist was a part.

Her pathway forward was not for naught.
We’ll honor her by continuing her in perpetuity
and for as long as caring humans exist on this Earth.
No, we will not stop since we are one despite her murder,
and since she and we are bonded through ALL time to be the same.


P.S., I never considered myself free rather than chained, actually, since I was five years old and saw Hiroshima Maidens in NYC, USA for reconstructive surgery. (You simply can’t imagine what it is like to see people with missing body parts and irradiated when you have the eyes of a five year old while knowing that your sister, parents, friends or strangers could be in this mix of them — human discards with no value unless we rise past the haters to make that value exist for the innocent harmed ones.)

Do you know about what it feels like when you’re little and young — a five year old — to be in this position? I do. It is something like this:


You are driven down to the depth of horror and, then, you look around from your terrible weakness and your utter woe, especially when as a young girl. Then you rise like an unbeatable fury in rejection of this placement.

You force the push forward against the tragic hell that scared you so much. You fight with as much power as can be mustered out of your being against the forces that made the torment that you endured. … and you do it again and again year after year as the contrary forces exude influence.

Instead of despair, my awareness eventually became empowering as it became part of my identity, Thus, it became a “wake-up call” of sorts that I would never be free since I would have to work really hard my whole life to serve humanitarian and environmental concerns.

The same position holds true for my sister, my daughter and others known to us. Truly, we have no freedom of choice. We are not free. We’re chained.

Surely, I have some very wonderful times at picnics, playing with children and others, and doing other activities. Yet my sense of self and my whole being is still not free because I will jump up at any moment to go into my core intentions in life — the ones that define me and my underlying gist or motivations.

I don’t mind the position that I have and I am happy for people, who feel temporarily free. However, I am not one of them.

I accept my chained bondage in lieu of freedom. So have some friends of mine, including my sister and her husband, who have laid their lives on the line in service to others. Indeed it is joyful to be not free when we are enslaved by our ethics, values, principles, standards and morals.

Being this way defines us as being the best that we can be in ourselves. We like these sorts of restrictions and lack of liberty that define us … so no freedom for us!

Yes, we are caught on the chain like our sisters and brothers — people like Hiroshima Maidens and people like Gauri Lankesh. They make us to be who we willingly are day after day, year after year, decade after decade and century after century.

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.

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