2019 Easter Sunday was turned into a Bloody Sunday as a wave of attacks struck at the heart of the country’s minority Christian community during busy Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. Additional blasts ripped through three high-end hotels in the capital city Colombo in the morning and a seventh and eighth blasts followed at a hotel in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and at a private house in Dematagoda in the afternoon, that has left 215 dead and several hundreds injured. Following these incidents Police curfew was imposed around the country with immediate effect until further notice. With no information available on the causes for these attacks and who the perpetrators, Northern Breeze totally condemns these terror strikes witnessed in the country on Easter Sunday as basic human rights violation. Bitter Truth is the rulers have failed to create a real lawful civil society in which individuals and society are protected by a framework and an approach based on the application of principles and rules adhered to by all, that does not privilege the politically powerful.
The value of truthfulness is universally accepted, it is so vital to society and it even exists in some form or other in the scriptures of all four religions practiced in the country, that instil the basic values and morals society lives by and all social relationships last on the principles of truth and honesty that lead to trust; both concepts of which are directly linked to one another and are values that carry society into the future. Prime Minister has said that the government was aware of an attack, but adequate precautions were not taken; sadly the stability and progress cannot be achieved without the people’s trust and state cannot achieve the goals it sets out for, truth-seeking and trust-building are vital especially in a post-conflict country like Sri Lanka. In a context where entire generations have witnessed the brutal violence of an ethnic war that spanned for three decades, bloody political insurrections, and violent civil disturbances; not only is trust between the State and its citizens important but more so among the multiple communities that co-exist. Because the Buddhists vow to refrain from being untruthful, Christians shall not lie or bear false witness, the Quran says those who are untruthful invoke the curse of God, and truth is considered one of the greatest virtues in Hinduism, yet can trust be built without truth?
As long as historic injustices remain un-addressed, the threat of violence remains ever present. It is essential for Sri Lanka to move steadily into the future, unfortunately there are still many questions that remain unanswered, but do the rulers know the truth of the brutalities and violations of their history of conflict? Do they understand the cause of the pain of the victims? Without the rulers not knowing the truth, can the public trust the Government?
While the truth about what happened is important let us hope the police and the security forces will find the perpetrators of this crime, no matter which community they belong must soon be apprehended for the atrocities. Only an environment of honesty and trust based on the rationale that clearing suspicions and doubts in the minds of victims and perpetrators alike will allow the country to move forward and reconcile with past atrocities. What matters is not punishment and prosecution of these misguided perpetrators but truth and acceptance for without a process that effectively deals with uncovering the truth, one cannot hope for sustainable peace. For over the past few decades in Sri Lanka, victims from all communities faced violations and losses. Recognizing victims of each community will not only help them to open up about the violations they faced but also realize that there are victims from opposing factions, distant locations, different ethnicities and varying cultural backgrounds who have faced experiences similar to theirs.
No matter how much the truth presents itself before us, one can always be blind to the facts if one chooses to; but a blindness of our own choosing is easier to accept than a deliberate move by someone else to keep us in the dark. And if the rulers take responsibility over uncovering these violations and identifying the perpetrators and paying heed to victims; it will if nothing else, prove an effort on the part of the Government to give truth a fair chance and let us hope they do just that at least.
With elections round the corner leaves no more excuses for the rulers and gives an opportunity for the ruled to vote in new rulers at the 2020 General Elections for they have collectively failed to serve the ruled recovering from the civil-war that was brought to finish in 2009 by the state with foreign intervention. For all that happened in the past negative peace years from 2009 to 2019, was the rulers pursued to secure their position while the opponents were trying to topple them; without serving the needs of the people healing from the civil-war. This Ester Sunday Terror Strikes in Sri Lanka gives a golden opportunity for the rulers to take responsibility over uncovering the truth behind these human rights violations inflicted on innocent people and thereby as rulers earn another five years term!