Sri Lanka Devastation Leaves Lingering Questions

Erin Oliver, Editor

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“Today as a nation we mourn the senseless loss of innocent lives this past Easter Sunday…It is imperative that we remain unified as Sri Lankans in the face of this unspeakable tragedy” (Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe).

359 people are dead and 500 are injured in Sri Lanka. The enormous number continues to rise after the massive attack this past Easter Sunday.

In the city of Colombo, nine suicide bombers carried out nine different explosions that hit hotels, churches, and other establishments. Four Americans have contributed to the death toll, with one being a young teenage boy.

The lives of 45 children have been unrightfully stolen, and a UNICEF official at the scene stated, “Many children have lost one or both parents, and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence”.

The latest headlines have revealed that the fatal attacks could actually have been prevented. The leader of the Parliament, Lakshman Kiriella stated, “Some top intelligence officials hid the intelligence information purposefully. Information was there but the top brass security officials did not take appropriate actions”. He stated the tip-off was received almost an entire month ago on April 4th. Apparently, neither the prime minister or president received the information.

Although the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility, Sri Lanka’s defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene believes the attackers to have been “educated people from upper-and middle-class households”. Because the Islamic State often takes the opportunity to claim any terror attack, officials are unsure of their involvement. They have discovered 8 of the 9 bombers to have been Sri Lankan citizens. Rumors of private terrorist groups have also been discussed as those responsible. Zahran Hashim, the leader of a local Islamist group, is currently being tracked down by police in order to discover whether they were involved.

While much is unclear about the entire event, the question of why this Southern Asian country was the target of the most detrimental terrorist attack since 9/11 has come up. The country is 70% Buddhist and about 10% Muslim, therefore the attack being from an Islamic terrorist group could be probable, due to their extreme religious motives of killing those who are not share their Muslim ideology.

So how has this affected America? Many US citizens are shocked after hearing about the horrific attack. With the recent defeat of ISIS last March, a chilling relief came to numerous nations. But, that feeling proved to be temporary after this past Sunday, as well as the recent terror attack in Australia. Now, Americans fear these private groups and whether or not they are among the United States right now.

With all the motives, controversy, and reasons aside, a chilling number of people have been brutally robbed of their lives on the most significant day of the year in Christian culture. Those lives can never be replaced and justice can never be restored to those who are gone. Despite progress made in defeating terror organizations, it seems the world will never be permanently safe from their horrors. In order to remain hopeful, Christians must remember the darkness of the realities faced everyday are temporary, and should not be depicted as forever.

Hebrews 13:14 gracefully highlights the ultimate glimmer of perseverance during these seemingly hopeless times. “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come”.