Couple of weeks ago my country, Sri Lanka, faced a natural disaster in the form of flooding. While a portion of the country suffered from flooding, another portion suffered from landslides. People like me, who were not affected by either of these natural disasters, got together and helped those who were in need of help as those victims had lost everything they had, including their loved ones, in just a moment. The way normal people reacted to helping those in need at the time of crisis made me believe that humanity is still there. My people have always been like that when it comes to helping their fellow humans.
Then, today, I wake up to see the news on the internet that talks about another mass shooting in USA. “50 people dead, 50 hospitalized,” one of the news reports say. USA is not my country. Yet, I am sad about the news. Why? Because I am a human being. Though they are not my countrymen, they are still fellow human beings. I do not like to see anyone being the victims of violence.
Some of you may wonder what do I know about violence? Or why do I care about something that happens in USA? May be I care because I grew up in a country that was torn by war for 30 years. Until the LTTE terrorists were defeated by the Sri Lankan government in 2009, I lived in fear of being the victim of another suicide bomb attack, or losing a loved one for such an attack. Most of the international community think that while the war raged in North and East in the country, the rest of the country were okay. That only Tamil people suffered because they were the minority. That was simply not true. Sure, the people who lived in the war zone, Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims, suffered more. Yet, the rest of us suffered too. I have seen so many bomb explosions out side the war zone since the day I was born. So many innocent people, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims alike, have lost their lives because of a group that used violence to establish their goals. I nearly lost my father for a terrorist attack once. So, yes, I know about violence. That is why I feel sad for what happened in USA.
The reports imply that the mass shooter was an anti-gay activist. So, if you don’t like someone, if you hate them, you just kill them? Is that the way the world should work? Isn’t understanding others and respecting our differences the way to live? No one is exactly like the next. We see somethings in the same way. At the same time, we see some other things differently. We all should live in this world. That can only be achieved through understanding each other. Violence is not the answer.
While USA is mourning for the victims of a mass shooting, we will mourn with them too. Then, we Sri Lankans will continue to raise funds the best we can for a PET scan machine for our cancer hospital, because we are trying to save lives.