9/11, Brussel bombing, we have heard it all, condemned the atrocious acts committed by terrorists and sympathized with the victims, and their families. And then we go back to our everyday lives. But the narrative changes the minute we experience a similar situation akin to 9/11. Or any other act of terror for that matter. You see, when terrorism strikes your very core, it always leaves a scar behind.
The nightmare began at 8:45 am on a beautiful Sunday morning. As families were attending mass service for Easter, a series of synchronized bombs detonated across Sri Lanka successively. Three Christian churches and three premier hotels in Colombo were the prime targets of this atrocity. What started as a peaceful session of prayer and worship had turned into a blood bath, claiming the lives of 253 innocent people, who did not deserve to die.
And just like that, the entire nation plunged into grief. Sri Lankans were numb with grief, fear, and confusion. Investigations indicated that a local Islamic extremist group called National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) were behind these terrorist attacks. Later, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. Further Police, CID, and Special Task Force investigations established that the localized Islamic extremist group in Sri Lanka were acting in line with ISIS, and the suicide bombers behind these attacks had sworn their allegiance to ISIS and their cause.
The lives of all Sri Lankans had turned inside out that day. ISIS used to be nothing more than a foreign concept to many of us; a disease that plagued certain areas in Iraq and Syria. We knew that the threat was out there, but never understood the severity of the danger, until we were afflicted with it ourselves. The innocent souls lost that day did not deserve the fate that befell them. To be attacked at one’s place of worship, a place that fosters peace and serenity is the lowest of the lows! The diverse communities dwelling in Sri Lanka condemned these cowardly acts committed by the terrorists, who had yet again, twisted religious texts to suit their bloodlust. In carrying out their barbaric actions, these terrorists did not inflict pain upon Christians alone, but on every other Sri Lankan national irrespective of their religion.
What the terrorists did not anticipate was probably the solidarity showcased by all the religious communities in Sri Lanka. The day saw bloodshed, but it also saw people from different castes and creeds flocking the doors of the blood bank to donate their blood to those victims in need! It showed the world how the diverse communities stood together, as one, against the terrorists.
Sri Lanka has seen her fair share of war on terror for almost 29 years, but we will not let terrorism win.
We are Sri Lankans, we stand together in our grief and stand against terrorism. We have fallen many times, but we will rise up yet again!
By Lizzy Bennet