Sri Lanka’s latest violence underscores the need for national healing
A journalist who has covered the South Asian country’s brutal civil war and fragile peace reflects on the cycle of vengeance—and the need to build a unified national identity.
The horrific Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka that have left nearly 300 dead and 500 wounded appear to have been the work of a little-known Islamist extremist group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath. If so, then the tragedy marks yet another chapter in the country’s tortured 70-year history of religious and ethnic rancor.
Sri Lankans had hoped that they were past this. Theirs is a country of sumptuous temples and uncluttered beaches, elephants and verdant tea plantations. After nearly three decades of civil war that concluded in 2009, the country’s business leaders have been eager to project an inviting face to the West. Some of them were therefore unhappy with the skeptical tone of my story