Home / FT View Editorial/ Step up for harmony

Step up for harmony


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 22 April 2019 00:10


The string of blasts on Easter Sunday has shattered all Sri Lankans and plunged the country into deep sorrow. As a country that had suffered through a brutal conflict for nearly three decades, the events had additional impact as there was hope that these sort of incidents were in the past and there was, finally, space for Sri Lankans of different religions and ethnicities to live in harmony.

Obviously relations between different communities did not improve automatically just because the conflict came to an end 10 years ago. There have been a multitude of efforts by different stakeholders to encourage coexistence, which has unfortunately been marred from time to time by violence. But the seemingly-coordinated attacks that took place on Sunday were not only targeted at a deeply-religious celebration but also at the soul of a country that was seeking, at least sporadically, to leave its past behind.

All Sri Lankans would find these attacks devastating and their repercussions are likely to be felt for many years to come. The intolerance and vehement disregard for humanity displayed by these attacks would rock citizens to the core. There is no doubt that this was a heinous and deplorable series of attacks but those who seek to sow hatred cannot be allowed to win. Sri Lankans, at this critical moment in history, cannot stand by and let those who seek to divide us succeed.

Sri Lankans have witnessed how other countries have responded to attacks on religious places of worship. It is time for us to now stand by each other and support our brothers and sisters. Care for them so that that their rights are protected, so they can follow the religion of their choice, enjoy free movement and show each other that we truly belong to one people. It is only by protecting and supporting each other that we can hope to eventually heal from the Easter Sunday attacks.

Peace is deeply connected to economic and political stability. The attacks on three prominent hotels in the center of Colombo has dealt a crippling blow to the tourism industry. In just 10 years the tourism industry had grown to a $4.4 billion industry, earning foreign exchange that Sri Lanka desperately needs. The economy, already burdened by huge debt and slow growth cannot afford to backslide, and tourism was one if not the only significant sector to show impressive post-war expansion. The livelihoods of thousands are dependent on the industry and the reputation of Sri Lanka has once again come under a dark cloud. How we respond at this juncture will have a massive impact on the impression seen by the world and how we view ourselves.

Many countries have undergone terrible events but taken control of the narrative and shown themselves to be people of great compassion, understanding and empathy. This is a time when the people can take action and through thought, word and gesture show how we can heal and move forward. This is a chance for Sri Lanka to define itself and show that it has learned from its past and is capable of building a better future. If there was ever a time to step up for Sri Lanka, this would be it.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Reflections on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Monday, 16 December 2019

It is the honeymoon period, where nice things are being said about the new President, but things will change. That’s the way it is always. The little mumbles of those who did not get what they wanted will become loud rumbles. The UNP will be lookin


Swiss Embassy employee’s case: A critique

Monday, 16 December 2019

The case of the alleged abduction and harassment of the Swiss Embassy employee is causing concerns at the level of bilateral diplomatic relations. The details of the episode that have come out into the open indicate several involvements of a suspicio


Creed of breeding leaders: Reflections on ‘Mind Before Action’

Monday, 16 December 2019

The new shift of the national leadership has ignited a ray of optimism of what Sri Lanka can become with its untapped talent. As Peter Drucker said, there are not good or bad institutions, but either well-managed or ill-managed ones. This is relevant


Sri Lanka’s worst air disaster

Monday, 16 December 2019

It was December 1974 and the Hajj was in full swing. The Hajj has been called the greatest pilgrimage movement in the world, with millions of devout Muslims travelling to Mecca every year. It is a requirement for every Muslim to accomplish the Hajj a


Columnists More