When I think of Sri Lanka, I can’t help but let images of war creep into my mind. For nearly 25 years, the country was embroiled in a gruesome civil war that would forever engrain fear into the culture. During my time there, I noticed hints of pain seep into every conversation that touched on the topic of the war or violence. Sri Lankans didn’t want to talk about it. Even if they had, I would never be able to comprehend what they went through.
Waking up to the news on Easter morning that multiple bombs had exploded in coordinated terrorist attacks across Colombo, the nation’s capital, my body instantly tensed. The thought of this beautiful country experiencing more violence than it already has weighed on me. A recent trip through Sri Lanka introduced me to how generous, kind, and overly hospitable I would forever know this culture to be, and made the news on Easter all the more surreal.
It’s been 10 years since the civil war ended, and all Sri Lankans desire is to cultivate peace. Despite their experiences with war and suffering, Sri Lankans embody resilient smiles, generous hearts, and welcoming arms.
There is hopefulness in the eyes of Sri Lankans. This hope is also expressed in their actions, words, and smiles. They long for harmony and seamless coexistence.