Easter, a day of celebration for Christians all over the world, turned into a day of mourning after three churches in three Sri Lankan cities were torn apart by bombs, wreaking havoc on families and friends in worship. The bombings have killed at least 207 people and injured 450 people. Officials believe the attacks, which also included bombings at high-end hotels in Sri Lanka, were carried out by suicide bombers in a coordinated act of terrorism.
We cannot imagine the hurt and pain of the people directly affected by these acts. We can only offer our sincerest condolences and the promise that we stand against all forms of hate. This past weekend was supposed to be a time for celebration, but now it will go down in history as a day of sorrow. It is yet another day in recent history where a date will become a day of remembrance for a devastating act of violence.
About a month ago, two mosques were attacked in New Zealand, killing 50 people. In October of 2018, a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburg Synagogue killing 11 people. In 2017, a gunman killed 27 people at a Texas church. These were people practicing their respective faiths and looking for a place of solace and comfort. Instead, they were killed. These are egregious examples of intolerance and hate that will haunt those affected and their families for the rest of their lives.
The world is full of hundreds of practicing religions, languages and nationalities. Clearly, we’re all different, but we can all be accepting of those differences. Acts of hate have no place in our society, yet we are continually devastated by unbelievable violence. Acceptance and love are not instantly adopted feelings and qualities. Sometimes they take an entire lifetime to teach. However, tragedies like these are reminders to be tolerant in our everyday lives and to accept and even appreciate those who are different from ourselves.
On Friday, The Alligator published UF President Fuchs’ column. In it, he wrote about the importance of tolerance and acceptance regarding religion, and we would like to reiterate his sentiment. Throughout American history, really all history, understanding the differences of others has not been easily achieved. Cultural movements spanning decades with the sole intent of equality are still ongoing. We are continually battling injustices in our society, and that is not going to end anytime soon. However, our greatest step toward stopping acts of violence like the ones from yesterday is practicing kindness in our everyday lives and promoting that kindness.
We are not naive enough to think a few kind words will bring about world peace. However, they are the best tools we have in our everyday lives to battle hate. In the end, they are also what bring about the most comfort in times of tragedy. Along with practicing tolerance, we have to be willing to teach others about our beliefs and struggles. Understanding can only come from teachings or experiences because, without it, people often misinterpret information our messages.
Sri Lanka mourns and so do we. However, let it be a reminder to look at your neighbors, classmates, friends and most importantly, strangers and find a connection — something that will bring you together. We have to be open-minded in our conversations and interactions to heal and grow in these times of tragedy.
The Alligator editorial board includes the opinions editor Michaela Mulligan, editor-in-chief Paige Fry and managing editors Christina Morales and Amanda Rosa.
A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. More than hundred were killed and hundreds more hospitalized with injuries from eight blasts that rocked churches and hotels in and just outside of Sri Lanka's capital on Easter Sunday, officials said, the worst violence to hit the South Asian country since its civil war ended a decade ago. (AP Photo/Chamila Karunarathne)