Hey guys! Most of you have probably heard of the terrorist attacks targeting churches, hotels, and tourist hotspots on Easter in Sri Lanka. Three hundred people are dead and over five hundred more are injured in what is one of the deadliest terror attacks in history. I am currently in Sri Lanka where things are slowly settling down but the country is still very much on edge. It has been less than 24 hours since the last bombing took place near the zoo in Colombo but from what I have heard, the country is slowly getting back to normal
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are still blocked, as well as messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber. I’ve been able to do a couple of updates on Twitter but for now, I don’t have much of a way to communicate with everyone. I’m laying low in a beach town about two hours away from where most of the attacks were concentrated. Although I feel mostly safe here, there is undeniably an eerie feeling of dread in the air and I feel very much on edge. Mindless things like walking down the street have turned to bouts of anxiety that a suicide bomber might be in any of the cars that drive past.
The heightened security and police presences have definitely made an impact, as last I heard, twenty-four people have been arrested and a bomb near the airport was found and defused safely last night without incident. Despite this, there are still a lot of warnings that more terror attacks might be planned in the coming days. These will likely target tourist hotspots and transportation hubs like airports, train stations, and shopping malls.
I fly out of Sri Lanka in just a few days, which honestly can’t come soon enough. My friend safely made it out of the country last night, although she said the airport was very crowded and the situation there was pretty chaotic. The mayhem is understandable as people scramble to get out of the country but my other friends who arrived at the airport today have said that it seems much more stable now. They unfortunately missed their flights last night as no taxi drivers or Uber drivers even wanted to drive close to Colombo, let alone the airport.
Living in New York during the 9/11 attacks, this situation was the closest I have come to the surreality of that day. I was only seven years old during those attacks so I was not able to fully grasp the situation, but the desolate streets, families glued to their televisions, and an almost palpable sense of dread in the air reminds me of the shock and terror of that day.
I write this with a sense of uncertainty of what is going to happen in the next few days. These last few weeks in Sri Lanka were an incredible adventure, and until now, an amazing way to wrap up a six-month expedition around the world. I’m hoping everything goes smoothly over the next few days as I have never been as excited to go home as I am now.
Sri Lanka is an amazing country with resilient people with big hearts and open arms. My favorite part of this trip has been the people and the harmony in which so many cultures and religions coexist on this island. The sickening acts of a few extremists are not a good example of what this country is like. I have nothing but love for this country, despite these few days being among the scariest days of my life. Keep Sri Lanka in your prayers.