By: Michael Holzman (Correspondent)
All was well Easter Sunday 2019 until bombs ripped through churches and high-end hotels across the nation of Sri Lanka, killing 253 people and injuring upwards of 500. On the day that was supposed to be full of joy and celebration, pure tragedy struck. Many are still coming to terms with the harsh reality of the events that transpired.
The bombings have been traced back to local jihadists who did this unspeakable attack to strike fear in the eyes of the churchgoers. The religious makeup of the nation is 7% Christian, 10% Muslim, 12% Hindu, and 70% Buddhist. There were a total of eight explosions that took place; three in churches, three in hotels located in the nation’s capital, Colombo; and then an additional two as investigators searched for the suspects.
There were casualties from around the world, including citizens of Australia, Bangladesh, China, Denmark, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In response to the attacks, while undergoing investigations, the country has introduced an emergency law banning the covering up of faces due to the security issue it causes.
Sharon High School World History teacher, Mr. Thomas Sanborn, says that he was taken aback by the events as he didn’t realize the level of hostility between religions in this area. “I was surprised and horrified. It had been my understanding that the Muslims of Sri Lanka, in general, were not so radical – the Christians as well – and that most of the trouble and conflict there between faiths was driven by the anti-Hindu Buddhist majority,” said Sanborn.
SHS Sophomore Rahem Hameed was up early that morning and says that he was shocked and saddened by the news. “I remember being saddened and surprised, as Sri Lanka was not a place I typically associated with attacks of such magnitude,” said Hameed.
Sanborn says that he does not believe that this will result in a war. Despite the higher frequency of conflicts in the Middle East, this event is isolated. “I don’t think there will be a war is that even in the Middle East where such events are more common, wars are relatively rare (yes, there are a bunch of conflicts, like the civil war in Syria, and yes, there have been wars like the civil war in Lebanon and between nations like Iran-Iraq and a couple involving Israel) compared to terror events like this one,” said Sanborn.
Hameed has a similar opinion to Sanborn on this matter. “Even globally speaking, isolated terrorist attacks won’t lead to war if they continue to be decentralized,” added Hameed.
Sanborn says that one way to potentially decrease the frequency of these events would be to proactively support people of all backgrounds and make sure they feel that they are heard by their government. “It might be idealistic, but I think that the best way to prevent terror attacks is to promote and protect the civil rights and liberties of all people in a nation. That way people don’t feel so marginalized and desperate that they are open to radicalizing ideas,” said Sanborn.
Sanborn says that this resolution wouldn’t be the end all be all, as the government would need to entail an authority power to strictly tighten its grip and remove many liberties which would introduce a multitude of other issues. “Still, I don’t think that will be enough to stop ALL terror attacks (but to stop them ALL requires a level of policing and suppression of liberties that is a cure worse than the disease),” Sanborn concluded.