It is true what they say that the wise never wait to learn from their own experience; rather they learn from those of others. Sri Lanka has been the victim of a deadly terrorist attack over the week that left several immediate lessons for those willing to see. Thus, I think it is wise to acknowledge them where possible for we ought to be prudent in this life.
The first and the most obvious lesson one can draw from the attack is the vulnerability that comes with the division. The country was struggling with myriads of internal disputes that ranged from political to economic woes. As such, the Islamic state terrorist noticed Sri Lanka’s situation as the country had positioned itself as a soft target. When the attackers hit, the government was entangled in its internal disputes, miscommunication, and poor resource mobilisation that it could not do much to help its people. Accordingly, as a country, we should understand the value of unity. It is age-old wisdom that nothing can shake a united house yet we let our leaders divide us with petty issues. We should no longer stand such mediocre approach to national unity, lest we forget, the potential vulnerability that accompanies it.
The incident showed us that we should always design security services that are adaptable to changes on the ground as opposed to relying on previous accomplishments. Sri Lanka has been plagued with conflict over recent history as mentioned earlier. Among the historical causes of conflict is the rebel group named Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lanka intelligence successfully managed to curb this decade’s long menace in 2009. Since then, no change whatsoever was instituted in the country’s security apparatus especially in intelligence gathering. Consequently, when the Islamic State was making their moves on the country, they went by undetected because of the inflexibility of the security agencies. We should be wary, thus, of being overly comfortable with our previous attempts to vanquish terror within and without our borders. Mechanisms should be instituted to ensure flexibility and adaptability in intelligence gathering and response measures. Therefore, the world is rapidly changing and so should our security approaches.
The lesson Sri Lanka has taught us is resilience. Sri Lanka is a troubled nation. However, that has not killed the human spirit among the people. They reconciled from decades’ strife and found their way to amicable peace. Similarly, they did not let their attackers break them. In the aftermath of the incident, the state came together as a nation to heal. Every corner of the country united in collaborative efforts to help those affected. As an outsider looking in, I could see the beauty of the human spirit hold the nation together. As a people, we should strive to nurture what is already within us to grow closer in times of disaster and property.