An Unexpected Easter in Sri Lanka


The surprise of this attack is that the Muslim community did not have a history of attacking other faiths in Sri Lanka.

In split seconds, 253 were dead and hundreds were wounded, churches and hotels shattered as Islamist suicide bombers launched their Easter Day slaughter in Sri Lanka.

While this is horrifying, the defiling of human wellbeing on the most important day of Christian celebrations, is not new. On Easter of 2017, 47 Egyptians were killed and 126 injured when Coptic churches were bombed.

One year earlier, 70 Christians were killed and 300 injured in Lahore, Pakistan, and in 2015, 148 Christian students at the Garissa University in Kenya were attacked on Maundy Thursday, three days before Easter.

Pastor Thirukumaran of the Evangelical Zion Church in Batticaba, a city on the eastern coast, saw a young man approaching the church on Easter Sunday morning. “I asked him to sit down and [then I] stepped outside the building. Moments later the bomb exploded,” the pastor said. 29 died in the explosion.

As we absorb the sorrow and outright horror of Sri Lanka, we realize this kind of destruction is not isolated, nor will it easily or quietly go away. The rawness of this human anguish is so discomfiting that we might be reluctant to see this in both a global and local context.

For while this tragedy is rooted in its national politics, we all live in villages not isolated from the world. We might be inclined to think globally, but inevitably we must see this kind of tragedy locally.

The pearl of the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka is not new to killings and war. One hundred fifty thousand were killed during the 25-year-long civil war, a political conflict between the majority Sinhalese (who tend to be Buddhist) and Tamil (who tend to be Hindu) which ended in 2009.

While that hostility was negotiated, the country continues to live with an inner …

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