I flew out of Colombo 10 hours before the terror attacks that killed over 200 people and injured many more. Innocent people that were worshipping on the holiest of days – Easter Sunday. Quietly praying with their families and communities, grateful for their lives and hopeful for the future. Their peaceful existence has once again been ripped apart. After 26 years of civil war, which only ended in May, 2009, Sri Lanka was just starting to claw its way back onto the itineraries of backpackers, families, business travellers and big-spending tourists.
If anything, the recent Christchurch attacks proved that any city can be a target and even “safe” places – praying in a church on Easter Sunday – can become a setting for violence and destruction on an unimaginable scale. Dealing with the wounded has to be the first priority and then comes the collective healing. After that, what Sri Lanka needs is hope – in the form of their fragile economy.
If you can, fight with your passport. My brother is heading there in January and I’ll do everything I can to help him organise this “trip of a lifetime” and to experience wonderful Sri Lanka….the postcard perfect country of white beaches, cricket being played in the town square, hot and spicy food, warm and smiling faces and swaying palm trees.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved we flew out before the bombings (who wouldn’t be?), but I’m also glad that my families’ eyes were opened to this incredible country with its welcoming people, before the terror of a few hideous people was unleashed on Sri Lanka.