Sunday, September 23, 2012

Muslim Anti-American Protests and Sri Lanka

Yep, I’ve been away from the blog for a bit. Not the best timing, I know. The International Man of Intrigue was in India for three weeks and I was busy wrestling the Little Explorers on my own. Then my sister arrived for a two week visit and we took a little jaunt around the southern half of the island. Highlights included a safari and not getting gored by an elephant who was hanging out on the side of the highway. I’ve also been trying to upload and edit the 867 pictures we took in India down to a more modest 600ish. Yeah, I’m also starting to believe that’s still too many. That would be about three full scrapbook albums with minimal storytelling just for a 14 day trip to India. Who’s going to look at those? I guess I could have people over for dinner and pull the old, “Let’s look at vacation pictures!” and regale them with stories until their eyes glaze over.

Enough about that. The real reason I’ve been staring at my computer screen and letting myself be distracted every five minutes by things like Pinterest and a rerun of Cougar Town is that I wanted to somehow let you all know that we are safe over here. I try to find the humor in any situation, but there’s no funny way to spin the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya or the subsequent embassy protests and attacks. One of my friends and her husband and four very young children had to evacuate Tunisia in the wake of the unrest there. I can’t imagine hastily throwing what I can into suitcases and leaving the rest of my belongings behind, not sure when or if I’d see them again. Actually, I can, because I have imagined it. It’s the nature of this lifestyle. (I’ll give you a hint—my suitcase would be filled with lots of important things like photographs and those construction paper and fuzz ball Christmas ornaments with photos of the girls pasted inside that they made last Christmas. I’d probably have to buy unimportant things like underwear when we got where we were going.)
That brings me back to the question on your minds, Fellow Adventurers: What is the current climate in Sri Lanka? To me, the situation stayed a lot less tense than it was in March when the U.N. was voting on the human rights violations made by the Sri Lankan government during their 30 year civil war. At that time, the government sponsored protests and bussed people in to march on the U.S. Embassy and other U.N. affiliated countries’ consulates.
We had a couple of protests last week. Friday afternoon, about 300 Muslims marched toward the US Embassy. Before the march started, the commissary opened for 30 minutes to allow American staff and families to get a few necessities in case things did go south. The International Man of Intrigue was first in line with booze and Diet Coke. We have to be realistic about what we want to have if we have to hunker down here, Fellow Adventurers. In the end, the protest was peaceful and the Sri Lankan government did not allow the protesters to march all the way to the Embassy.
The makeup of Sri Lanka is such that this reaction makes sense. The population is about 70% Buddhist. Less than 8% of the population is Muslim and a good portion of that population lives on the opposite coast of the island, which, with the lack of highways and infrastructure, is a long day’s drive from Colombo. The ruling party is Buddhist and does not have a lot of positive feeling toward the Islam contingent in their country. While they’ve been around as a minority for 400+ years, the last thing they want to do is give the government a reason to be angry with them. Maybe it’s not the most positive reason for these protests to stay calm, and maybe it’s not the one they’re giving, but it works for me.
That being said, there are much bigger demonstrations planned for Monday. I am not sure what the protesters’ mood will be then. I don’t know what the government reaction will be. I do know that I continue to pray for peace in the world and among religions, and that I will also be making a quick run first thing in the morning to get some Diet Coke before things get started. A girl can never be too prayerful or too prepared.

1 comment:

  1. You are in my prayers and those of my prayer group at church.