On Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka suffered its deadliest act of violence since the end of a 26- year civil war in 2009. At least 253 people were killed in six suicide bombings at churches and hotels in the capital, Colombo. Elackiya Sithamparanathan, who is doing her PhD in Wageningen, is shocked. ‘I really don’t understand their purpose; it makes no sense.’
‘The suicide attacks happened around 8:30 in the morning. Here in the Netherlands it was about 5:00 in the morning, so I found out after I woke up and checked Facebook. Later that morning, my sister called and told me all about what happened. I am from Jaffna, in the north of Sri Lanka. My father and my sister are living there and I am glad that they are safe. But I have many friends in the south, where the attacks took place, so I started contacting them straight away. Luckily, all my friends and their families are safe.
I am really shocked by the attacks, as they are the worst since the end of the civil war. The authorities officially stated that it was the Islamic group NTJ that was responsible. But they must have had the support of ISIS, as the group has claimed in a video they released. I really don’t understand their purpose; it makes no sense.
This is the worst attack ever against Sri Lanka's Christian minority. There is no connection with the previous civil war, as that was about nationalism and ethnic identity rather than religion. The different ethnic groups in Sri Lanka used to be really disconnected from one another, but this is now changing, mainly due to social media. Nowadays, everyone has access to the other ethnic groups’ perspectives and we realize that we have many things in common.
Despite these horrible events and the existing tensions in Sri Lanka, I have hope for my country. The young generation are accepting the diversity and they want unity. If people keep that positive mentality, things will move forward and my beautiful country will become a peaceful nation.