The following reflection comes from J.M. Jospeh Jeyaseelan, CMF, an alumnus of MPI's 2018 Annual Peacebuilding Training. Fr. Joseph is a member of the Claretian Missionaries and author of the book Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Post-war Sri Lanka: through the Healing of Memories and the Role of the Catholic Church. This reflection is part of Fr. Joseph's "Occasional Thoughts" series.
Sri Lanka is experiencing one of its darkest times in history. I am receiving email after email from concerned friends from around the world with inquiries about the situation in Sri Lanka. As I prepare this short write-up, I hear about an incident of a bomb explosion in Colombo (22 April at 4:30 PM). I have received also an alert on my mobile phone about a suspicious vehicle being checked in the outskirts of Colombo (5 PM). The government has decided to declare tomorrow (23 April) as a national day of mourning. Some form of emergency laws is going to come into effect from midnight today. The police curfew that was lifted early this morning is going to be re-imposed. More and more suspicious peoples, articles, and vehicles are being checked or apprehended. And fear and uncertainty is enveloping the entire nation.
The government looks helpless as it is struggling to comprehend the motivation and the culprits behind the mayhem that has rocked the country since the Easter morning. However, people are confused with the announcement by the country's Prime Minister that there was some early warning which had not been sufficiently attended to. And, this is damn serious given the scenario that has unfolded in the country in less than 48 hours. One government Minister, a presidential aspirant, was seen making promises to rebuild to their former glory all the churches that have been damaged. He seems not to have comprehended the fact that the lost lives cannot be recovered and that it is that loss the country is mourning now and not the desecration of walls and sacred objects.