About a month ago, a ‘Missing Lovers Day’ was held in Sri Lanka by a local group called The Families of the Disappeared. Their intent of the event was for it to be “an evening of love stories, love songs, and hope.
The Sri Lankan Civil War occurred between the Sinhalese and Tamils for decades after discriminatory laws were passed limiting the Tamil minorities’ rights. After several years of hardships, losses, and death from both sides, there was finally a ceasefire in which the Tamil Tigers were defeated, and the government gained power once again.
But the effects of this war was far-reaching, and still continues to plague families to this day. The ‘Missing Lovers Day’ was so crucial to so many families because even though the Sri Lankan Civil War ended nearly nine years ago, families are still torn apart and unable to reconcile. The war that plagued Sri Lanka had disastrous consequences, but ultimately ended in peace. After so many years, the violence and pain that plagued Sri Lanka has begun again.
Religious violence runs rampant with the houses of Muslims being burned down by Buddhist groups. Mobs have also destroyed businesses, shops, and mosques in the fervor. The situation has become extremely dire, and the Sri Lankan inhabitants are reminded once again of a time in which religious violence tore the country apart.
In response to the increasing violence, the government briefly blocked all social media throughout the country, imposed a curfew, and even declared it a state of emergency. This signifies that the military can interfere when necessary and get involved in helping end the violence. This announcement occurred after around 11 establishments in Kandy were burned in a hate crime.
While Sri Lanka has faced huge hardships at the brunt of religious violence, this is not a problem that is solely important in Sri Lanka. Yet a decade later, religious violence is still a huge aspect of life not only in Sri Lanka, but around the world.
Even in our own nation, violence still runs rampant and it is time for a change. It is time to stop persecuting one another based on religious faith and move towards a greater sense of unity.