A world away, bombings in Sri Lanka hit home for junior


The Associated Press

Special forces stand in front of a church target in the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka. Approximately 300 people died in the attacks that shook the Asian nation and junior Minuki Medis.

Melody Tavallaee, Managing Editor

Reeling from Sunday’s multiple bombings in Sri Lanka, junior Minuki Medis who has family living in Sri Lanka, is still trying to process what happened.

“At first I was just in shock. It was about half an hour after midnight and my mom and I were just chatting on the couch, when my grandma called and my aunt texted at the same time asking if we heard the news,” Medis said. “We immediately got my dad, and I went online, while my mom put on the Sri Lankan news. I was so terrified because pretty much my entire family lives really near to where the bombs went off. It’s like this heaviness in your heart of fear, grief and pain. With every clip on television you can’t help but wonder, ‘is my family there?’”

Being of Sri Lankan descent, Medis felt a deeper connection to what happened in the country.

“It hits you on a different level when its personal. It is no longer a random place and random face. It’s my home,” Medis said. “I was born in the U.S. and I’ve lived here pretty much my whole life but Sri Lanka is also my home, it’s where I visit for summer vacation and spent evenings running around the beach with my cousins.”

The bombings hit Sri Lanka hard, as approximately 300 people were killed across the nation, from churches to hotels.

“There were 3 churches and 3 five star hotels, senselessly bombed on Easter morning, which killed 310 people up to now, and wounded 500 innocent people,” Medis’ aunt, and Sri Lankan resident Shiuli Perera said via phone call. “There were 2 more suicide bombings that occurred as well, as a result of the police arriving at and attempting to search the housing complex. There were many other bombs that have been diffused as well.”

Following decades of civil war, the nation seemed to have finally found peace, until Sunday’s incidents shattered the calmness and took many Sri Lankans back to the turbulent past.

“Sri Lanka had an almost 30 year long civil war, and next month actually would’ve marked 10 years of peace. I know growing up I heard stories from my parents of how scary life was, never being able to fully trust anything,” Medis said. “My mom told me a story of how one day her boss asked her to work late and she missed her train home. That same train was bombed that day, my mom lived out of the sheer luck of having to stay at work, and that’s just one of countless stories. I know my parents have been so thankful for this peace and it hurts to see the reflection in their eyes of sights of bombings that are all too well known to them. They told me growing up this was a big part of their life, and they are heart broken that it has entered the country again.”

Taking place on Easter, a holy holiday celebrated by the nation’s Christian minority, the incident took the entire Sri Lankan people by shock.

“It was disbelief, at first I could not believe that a church could be bombed on a beautiful Easter day. I could not believe it. The 5 star hotels were having Easter breakfast, where people had mostly gathered happily with their families,” Perera said. “I could not believe it, as I too was having breakfast with my family at a different hotel. I felt numb with fear for our families and friends who were in churches at that time, for our minority Christian community, and our whole nation. The broken churches and pews stained with blood, and the belongings of victims scattered around, and rows of bodies covered in blood stains will never leave my memory.”

Since the incidents, the Sri Lankan government has disconnected social media, making it hard to contact people in the country.

“I’ve contacted my immediate family and they are safe, however we haven’t been able to reach a lot of our friends so I don’t know if they are alright,” Medis said. “My family is rattled to say the least. I’ve been messaging as many people as I can reach on Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Viber, but Sri Lanka just put a ban on social media, so it’s harder for me to reach them. My family is praying and hoping that as many people as possible come out alright.”

Along with the social media ban, the nation has been left in discord as the incident struck everyone living in the country and was an attack against humanity.

“My cousins all live there and just like my parents, their lives too have been unfairly disrupted. They are forced now to live in fear, the schools are closed, and everything is in discord. I’m outraged and livid. This is a deliberate attack on humanity and cannot be taken lightly,” Medis said. “There was no reason to target so many innocent people, especially on a day as special as Easter. My whole dad’s side of the family and myself are Christian and I know they would’ve gone to church that morning for Easter, so I was terrified.”

The bombings have left a large impact on the nation that Perera believes will affect the future of the country.

“The Sri Lankan economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and tourists visits have increased dramatically since the end of the civil war,” Perera said. “We were ranked the top country for travel by the Lonely Planet in 2019, but all that has come to an end now, with travel warnings issued by other countries. I can’t help, but see a bleak future for us, our right to live freely, snatched away.”

With a diverse religious demographic in the country, Medis anticipates a future in which all groups of people in Sri Lanka can unite and live in peace.

“Right now, people are blaming this as a terrorist attack that was carried out by Muslims though it is unconfirmed and it deeply upsets me that our world has come to place where innocent people cannot coexist and extremists taint the name of many,” Medis said. “My immediate family has three different religions in it: Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam and is living proof that people can, not only coexist, but also thrive. It’s disappointing and ludicrous to think that the world can’t just learn to love each other-which at the core, is the main sentiment that every religion teaches. It infuriates me as I wonder how many people are have to be killed and how many lives must be taken before our world instigates a much needed change.”