Sri Lanka: Reflections

 

The World Weeps,” I wrote last week in the aftermath of the horrific fire and destruction of Notre Dame cathedral. However, as many have pointed out, “that is just a building.” It lives. It will be restored. Most importantly, no one perished in the flames.

The Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka wiped out the lives of 253 innocent victims. Families in church worshiping on this holy day. Vacationers having breakfast in hotels. All ages. All walks of life. For them, there is no tomorrow.

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Sri Lankans at a holy site.

Is the world weeping? Are we becoming somewhat numbed to these dreadful acts of terror which destroy lives and much more? Does the dramatic plunge of the burning spire of Notre Dame have a greater impact than bombs ripping through a church filled with the faithful? It seems harsh, but I have to wonder.

A British gentleman I met at a luncheon mentioned Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. The British press did not make a big deal of it, he said, as “it was a small country, far away.” So, too, is Sri Lanka.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course, we are shocked with the savage attacks in the country. We are saddened to learn the heartbreaking stories of the victims. In March, brutal attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, claimed 50 lives. We worry.  Where will they strike next?

Terrorism, be it in the U.S, France, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, wherever, has claimed too many lives, scarred survivors, ruined the way of life for many. It is frightening to think that these attacks, as in Sri Lanka, have become part of life these days.

France’s billionaires are rescuing Notre Dame. Who will rescue Sri Lanka? I grieve for the country

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Nimal

when I think back on two enriching weeks spent there in 2017. I was impressed with the friendly, hard working people: Nimal, our guide and driver; Iran, a gifted cooking teacher; the jovial market vendors, the helpful hotel staff. Are they OK? What is their future?

Tourism has been Sri Lanka’s salvation. The country’s bloody 30-year civil war, which ended in 2009, kept visitors away. Gradually tourism revived as more and more discovered the astonishing sights of this island nation in the Indian Ocean. Not much bigger than Wales, Sri Lanka packs a lot into a small area: glorious beaches, ancient temples, hillside tea plantations, wildlife sanctuaries, rain forested peaks. Will the fear of more terror prevent tourists from discovering these treasures?

Tourists brought jobs and opportunities. Nimal, our excellent driver/guide, was building up a

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Chef Iran

clientele whom he chauffeured around the county. With Nimal’s encouragement, Iran, an excellent cook, had begun to offer cooking lessons in his home. More hotels were under construction, all promising more jobs. What now?

It is all troubling and tragic.  Yet, I was relieved to receive emails from Iran, the delightful cooking teacher, and Nimal, our Sri Lankan driver/mentor. Iran wrote: “We hope every bad has happen not to be repeat any where in this world. We all safe but tourism will badly suffer as our bookings are getting cancelled. Thank you and keep in touch. As a journalist you can help us lot.”

And from Nimal: “Its really unexpected tragedy and don’t know what to say.  Its bad luck for us. Tourism was good and world start to come and see our country,”  he wrote.  “We believe things will get settle soon and people will be able to go ahead with their normal life.”

Let us hope is is right.

Below are photos of Sri Lanka’s friendly folk:

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For more on Sri Lanka, see previous posts: Wonders of Sri Lanka; Sri Lanka:Wondrous Wildlife and Spicy Sri Lanka

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10 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: Reflections”

  1. Hello Leah. Thanks for your article on Sri Lanka. Our daughter and son-in-law returned from a three week visit there just before the bombings. They were deeply saddened that such friendly, happy and innocent people had become victims of terrorist attacks. Our daughter had emphasized that although the country is extremely beautiful, it was the people of Sri Lanka who had made their holiday memorable. I am happy you have written this article as often nobody cares what happens to humanity when it is not the people of their own home country. We need to care about what happens on our planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Leah, for your memories, your thought-provoking words and your reminder of what really matters. Deepest sympathies to the beautiful people of Sri Lanka.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great pix as usual. Thanks.   I was  slightly injured in Jan 12 blast here. Spent four weeks in rehab center. Regards, Barney ………      

    l

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We leave a little of your heart in many places we travel. For example, Bob and I mourn what has become of Turkey. I knew from the tales that you had loved Sri Lanka that way, and I was sad for you when we heard the news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many places we visit remain in our hearts. More than the scenery and sites, it is the memories of the people we cherish. I fear for the future of these kind and gentle people..

      Like

  5. Yes, one was a building. Representing a millennium of human (European) history.

    And here is the point : EUROPEEN.
    Sri Lanka is too far away.
    I was shocked by Notre Dame fire, but thought to myself «  how wonderful, no human life sacrificed.”
    And horrified by the assaults against humanity in Sri Lanka.
    Thank you Leah, for the photos and your personal , emphatic memories.
    Britta

    Liked by 1 person

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