We can't let terror smash world peace

23 April 2019 - 08:50
Priests walk into the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte Priests walk into the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019.

The Easter weekend is an important period, especially among those of the Christian faith.

Even for those who do not follow the religion, it is a time of peace and security where most take time off to be with their loved ones.

In our country, unfortunately, it is also one of the weekends where we worry about safety on our roads as the number of fatal accidents tend to increase.

As most travellers continue to return from their holidays, we hope for their safety and that - when road accident statistics for this period are tallied - they will reveal a reduction in the number of fatalities on our roads.

The holy period, according to those of Christian faith, started on a wrong footing when about 13 people perished in northern KwaZulu-Natal following the collapse of a church wall. May their souls rest in peace.

However, when turning abroad, the peace and tranquility that is supposed to characterise the weekend was shattered when about 200 people died following terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

The attacks, largely aimed at churches and other places of worship, were clearly executed to send a message of fear and terror to Sri Lanka and the world.

They were carried out to inflict maximum damage and loss of life.

Such attacks should be condemned by all peace-loving people of the world at large. Nothing justifies the slaughter of innocent people as they go about practicing their faith or carrying out their daily chores.

Although Sri Lanka is thousands of miles away from us, and their political issues are very different from ours, it is our duty to stand in solidarity with her people at this dark hour.

Terrorism is a threat to us all, especially those of us in "developing countries" who are often seen, by those who want to wreck havoc, as "soft target" which they can hit in order to send a message to powerful governments in the northern hemisphere.

We join President Cyril Ramaphosa in condemning these attacks and agree with his commitment to use the country's nonpermanent UN Security Council seat to fight extremism.

However, we call on SA to use its influence and experience to promote a world built on cultural diversity, tolerance and respect for each other's religions.