Condolences – Sri Lanka Attacks
30 April 2019 : Mr Walsh I rise to support the condolence motion of the Premier and grieve with the Sri Lankan community particularly with those from the Sri Lankan community who are in the gallery today. We acknowledge them for coming along and supporting their community. Easter Sunday is supposed to be a day of celebration. There is a lot of anticipation around Easter Sunday for those of the Christian faith. It is the holiest day of the Christian faith. It is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and follows Lent so you can just imagine the families of Sri Lanka the anticipation particularly of the children going along to the Easter service-Sunday best-celebrating what is great about Christianity and all the good things that it does in the community. And then at 8.45 a.m. local time Easter Sunday it all went very very wrong. Six blasts took place. Seven suicide bombers detonated their vests and killed at least 250 people and injured 500 more people. That is just the start of the devastation of those bombs. There are literally thousands of people who are impacted who are relatives or who are friends right across the world. With the amount of travel that we have in the world now wherever something happens in the world there is usually someone there from a multiple of countries. We have heard about those from Australia that were involved in these particular circumstances. Those bombers particularly targeted three churches in Sri Lanka and three major hotels there and their aim was to cause maximum devastation and maximum division in our community as has been said by other speakers. It is absolutely horrible for those that were involved. I think if we watch the news and look at the raids that have taken place the bomb material that has been found-and it is not just about bombs; it is about the ball bearings and the other devices that they put in those bombs to cause maximum carnage wherever they went off-is absolutely horrible. Our thoughts go out to all those people that are impacted and to those communities in Sri Lanka and across the globe where people have come from. As has already been said Australians were involved as well. Manik and Alexendria were killed in that church in Colombo. To think of the father of the husband Sudesh outside the church-what would he be thinking now? ‘Here I am not in the church with my family at that particular time’ through whatever reason it was. He is left to wonder for the rest of his life why this had to happen. I think that is just tragic and it is an example of what would be happening with all of those families that were involved in those particular bomb blasts in Sri Lanka. As I said when we stood here six weeks ago talking about New Zealand Sri Lankans’ pain the pain of all those people involved is our pain and we grieve with them about what has happened. What I would like to actually think about is what we say every day at the start of Parliament when we say the Lord’s Prayer: ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us’. It is very hard to forgive those people that have done these tragic things but as others have said we need to make sure it does not divide us and does not create further hate in the community. It is tough being a Christian or being of other religions that have faith and do forgive but we need to make sure that this does not make the world a worse place. We need to all work together to make sure it actually unites us not divides us and that we fight terrorism and we fight the forces of evil in our communities because the alternative is just horrible and we do not want to see that happen. As I said to all those who have been affected through this particular bomb blast through this terrorism your pain is our pain and we grieve with you and we wish for you to get through this as best you can and get to the end of what is a horrible horrible journey and make sure the world is a better place.