2019 May 2
Following the tragic Easter Sunday bombings which shook our little pearl island on the 21st of April, amidst the hatred and terrorism were posts shedding light on many positive acts where Lankans and citizens across the world rose to the occasion and stood in solidarity to help out those affected in any way they could.
Listed here is a collection of such positive instances which go to show that there truly is hope in times of despair when we unite.
Overwhelming response for blood donations
On the day of the explosions, despite the state of the country and the fear felt by all Lankans, an overwhelming number of people lined up at the National Blood Centre to donate blood and because of the great turnout, the National Blood Centre cancelled the mobile campaigns they had scheduled to collect blood across the country. Faith in humanity restored!
Ramesh Raju, the civilian who saved 450 lives
Ramesh Raju, suspicious of a man carrying a backpack heading towards Zion Church in Batticaloa, questioned the suicide bomber as to where he was going. In spite of the bomber’s reply that he was heading into the Church to film the service, Raju, still suspicious forced him to leave when the bomber detonated the explosives, sadly killing Raju and bystanders instantly. However, Raju’s heroic act in being vigilant saved the lives of 450 worshippers inside the Church.
An abundance of rations
Many communities came together to distribute much needed rations to the victims not only in Sri Lanka but abroad as well. From gofundme campaigns to various collection points, generosity reached new heights with Sri Lankans helping in whichever way they could.
Breastfeeding mothers treating all children alike
Posts where breastfeeding mothers offered to breastfeed infants who have lost their parents went viral. This is the epitome of the bounteous nature of Sri Lankans, “…and if that doesn’t make you weep, I don’t know what will.”
Lankans thanking soldiers
Feeling for the soldiers who shed their blood and sweat to keep our island safe, many Sri Lankans stepped onto the streets to offer food and water to show their gratitude. A simple act of kindness can put a smile on their faces, even if it is for a fleeting moment. To all the soldiers who carried out their duties while risking their lives time and time again at each site and urged us not to fear for our lives because they will keep us safe, we thank you and salute you. Even today, with the extensive checks going on they have sacrificed their time, effort and energy to help us move on from the tragic incidents, for which we will forever be indebted.
Many countries displayed the Sri Lankan flag in prominent locations as a sign of unity. Among these tourist attractions were the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Finlandia Hall in Helsinki and Tel Aviv in Israel. The Eiffel Tower in Paris dimmed its lights in solidarity, as did the Toronto sign in Canada.
Silent rallies and vigils
Among the many people around the world who honored the victims of the attacks were the Real Madrid CF players who held a minute of silence before the La Liga match on the 21st. Moreover, flags flew at half-mast outside the Scottish Parliament on the 22nd. Vigils and silent rallies were held in countries across the world including New Zealand, Pakistan, Indonesia and Sydney. Traders in the New York Stock Exchange too observed a moment of silence before the opening bell on the 22nd.
Strength and unity are essential if Sri Lanka is to recover from this tragic incident. So, as Mother Lanka recuperates from the devastating Easter Sunday attacks, we hope and pray for the safe recovery of all the victims and their families, and thank those citizens both in Sri Lanka and abroad for lending a hand and embodying what being Sri Lankan truly means.