A Plea to Humanity - by Paramie Jayakody
My dear brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters,
I think you have all heard about the recent tragedies that our country faced. 8 bombs, exploding almost simultaneously, killing close to 300 people, and injuring twice as many. The atrocity was committed on Easter Sunday, on devoted Christians, worshipping at church, and ordinary people, gathered for a meal on Easter day. If you haven’t heard about it yet, count yourself lucky. There are days we wake up hoping it was all a dream.
I write to you today, with a plea. A plea for help, a plea for support. A plea for Sri Lanka.
300 lives of unsuspecting individuals were lost, three hundred individual flames forever snuffed out. 500 unsuspecting individuals injured. 21 million unsuspecting individuals caught off guard. We had 10 years of peace. We had come to take it as granted. This was, in some ways, a necessary reminder that we shouldn’t.
For those of you living in countries where one religion and one race is predominant, it might be hard to imagine the sort of culture we grew up in. For us, it was a normal thing when not all our friends dressed the same way, or spoke the same language. It was normal to have holidays in the calendar that you had no idea about. It was normal to go to a certain friends house and eat food you’ve never seen before. It was normal to celebrate occasions that were not, by birth, your own.
Our country was at peace. Sure, it may have had its own fights, but every family has fights. That’s what happens when you love each other.
40 years ago that beautiful tapestry of peace was torn apart, by some inhumans calling themselves the LTTE. Trust fractured, fear grew, and the ugly word ‘Racism’ reared its head. It took 30 years to defeat the LTTE, and that was 30 years everyone learned to distrust the tamil population, even though they were often more victimized than the rest of us.
10 years ago, with their defeat, we learned to trust the tamil people, and in turn, they learned to trust us. The tapestry began weaving itself back together again, and people put the war out of their minds for good. We were a country looking for peace, not for conflict. And because of that, we thought dwelling on conflict, or preparing for it, was a bad idea.
We focused on rebuilding our country, rebuilding our society, rebuilding our hearts. We were successful. The economy started growing, even thriving. We thought everything was perfect. The tapestry was complete. We were wrong. This time, the sword that tried to rip the tapestry in two, it was not even ours. An unseen object, unrelated, foreign. Calling itself the blade of ISIS, the sword tried to rip our tapestry apart yet again. But tired of being torn apart for 30 years, our threads were brighter. Stronger. Too strong for the blunt, rusty blade trying to rip them in two. They dulled, they strained, some snapped, but the tapestry held.
What I’m trying to say, is that Sri Lanka will hold. We’re tired, from 30 years of fighting that is still fresh in most of our hearts. We’re tired of conflict. And we’re a stubborn nation who are not about to give the terrorists what they want, but dissolving into chaos. No, we’re too interconnected to let that happen.
But, our government is not. Our government, unlike the rest of us, wasn’t caught off guard. They were prepared, yet not prepared. And that is inexcusable. On behalf of our government, and their lack of initiative, we apologize. For their mistakes that cost the lives of your people, we apologize. For their poor response that will continue to endanger your safety, we apologize. But please, do not judge the rest of us through them.
We’re a nation in grieving. We’re a nation in shock, in pain, in agony. We’re not a nation in anger. We see how Notre Dame is of bigger importance to you, than our lives lost. We see how, despite very public shows of support, there is no offer of help from the wealthy. We are not angry. We simply ask you one thing.
Please, do not let our country collapse. Our economy is built on tourism, more than we may care to admit. We have held strong, and will continue to be strong, as long as we can. We may not be in a state to revolt, but we promise we will elect a stronger government. But without an economy, a country, and a culture, are nothing. Please, do not give the terrorists what they want. Please, help keep the tapestry bright.
One thread among billions.