Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Two weeks on, the world hasn’t forgotten us
Two weeks on from the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka gradually strives to get back on its feet. In a show of unity the world continues to send its love and support to the country through many vigils that were organised this week.
The atmosphere at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia was a calming and supportive one last Sunday (28), as people gathered together in a silent rally for Sri Lanka. “It was beautiful. The whole purpose was to show the victims and their families that we support them 10,000km away,” chief organiser Sharan Velauthan tells us.
Throughout the day, passers-by stopped to write messages for Sri Lanka. “It doesn’t matter, your race or religion, where you’re from, who you believe in. We’re all united as one,” Lauren Sandeman shares. “We will all rise together and we’re all with you. We hope and pray that everything will be okay again,” Vidushi Rambukwella adds.
Amongst the crowd was also Mohammed Ahamed Yaseer, who stood holding a single candle. “I’m a Muslim, a Sri Lankan Muslim and I’m from Kandy,” he said. Mohammed strongly condemned the Easter Sunday attack and urged people to respect humanity and love.
Individuals of different faiths, gathered at the St Bernadette Catholic Church in Withington, South Manchester on Sunday (28) to pray for Sri Lanka. Emotions were high as people shared their sentiments with the crowd, amongst a sea of lit candles.
Children and adults alike from the British Muslim communities also stood in silence carrying slogans such as “Not in the name of Islam and Muslims” and “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith.”
Midland, Michigan, USA
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr was the underlying theme at an interfaith vigil organized by the Interfaith Friends Group (IFG) on Sunday (April 28) at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Midland Michigan.
“The evening full of love, compassion and togetherness,” Umbareen Jamil, a member of the Islam Center of Midland and the IFG said.
Bishop Monte Searle from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was quick to emphasise on the need to show compassion towards one’s neighbours, friends, and colleagues. “We should show them Christ-like love through service,” he said.
“Our place of worship should be a safe place, no matter what you believe,” Debbie Ballard, a member of the IFG shared. Debbie was also one of the key organizers of the event, along with Umbareen, and Barb McGregor.
Cornell University Ithaca New York, USA
Nearly 100 students of Cornell University prayed together for Sri Lanka at Ho Plaza, Ithaca, New York on Wednesday (May 1).
The vigil was organised by students Nilanthi Nagasinghe, Ishini Gammanpila and Amanda Pathmanathan.
At the centre stood a poster with the outline of the tear- shaped island, lit up by lights placed on it by all those present and adorned with their hand prints.
Ishini shared an eulogy written for 11-year- old Keiran, who was killed while having brunch with his family at Cinnamon Grand.
The eulogy, which was written by Jekhan Aruliah, describes Keiran as a boy with a “quizzical confidence and sparkling smile that instantly marked him out as a special guy.”
A letter writing vigil to spread messages of hope was hosted in Lautoka, Fiji by Sabrina Iqbal Khan, a Human Rights lawyer. The vigil was attended by several members from different faiths, and expatriates from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, USA and Bahrain also sent in their letters. All of the letters were sent directly to the churches affected by the blasts, where they will be read out to the respective congregations.
The writers gathered at a café in Tappoo City, Lautoka and those who could not attend wrote letters from their homes. Amongst those who turned up were many who were still processing the Christchurch Mosque shooting, we are told.
”It was amazing to see so many people reaching out this way,” Sabrina says.