Two weeks on, the world hasn’t for­got­ten us

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES - By Sashini Rodrigo and Joshua Suren­draraj

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.

Mel­bourne

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.

United King­dom

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.”

Fiji

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.

Silent rally in Mel­bourne and (be­low) let­ter writ­ing vigil in Fiji

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