Thoughts on leaving my country as it collapses



E. coli illustrated by the great David Goodsell. Life is built, at the cellular level, to move

When things start going screwy, most animals just leave. Ever since some single-cell figured out flagellum, this has been the strategy. Since we were flotsam and jetsam we have moved towards the light and away from danger and, fundamentally, that’s still who we be.

Life On Earth

Early humans—as animals—migrated with the seasons, with other animals, and certainly when the gods were angry. When the seas were low we walked to the Americas, when the seas were high we didn’t walk back. It’s only today when the seas are rising that we’re like ‘no, you move’. To the fucking ocean. This attachment is the source of much suffering.

Ever since we planted seeds, since we laid stones, since we built cities, since we became from somewhere, we have bound ourselves to where we be. We don’t want to leave our homes and we don’t want other people leaving their homes and coming here.

We want everything in its place, on this rock that’s literally melting and reforming its thin crust constantly, all while spinning violently through space, around a sun that’s on fucking fire, all of it spinning around a black hole. According to the theory of relativity, we’re never in the same place twice, but in our experience of relativity, we get mad if someone moves our chair. I’m not saying our experience is wrong, but we’re bound to be disappointed.

At some level, we know this. Our cells are constantly moving, relative to where they are. Mitochondria is actually another species within each of our cells (it has its own DNA) and they know what’s up. The human placenta is derived from viral DNA and that alien code keeps the mother from rejecting the alien baby, among other things. The placenta certainly knows that—at some point—you’ve got to get the fuck out.

Life On This Island

My people have been here for thousands of years, and we’re still not indigenous. Those are even older people, the Veddahs, while Sri Lankans are an admixture of ‘Indians’ that has formed into what white people call races. Neither ‘Indians’ nor ‘races’ coherently exist, but nothing really exists so I guess it’s a difference of degree.




Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.