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Currently, I am a Fellow for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program (Future of Audio Entertainment Challenge) at The DO School. I am a media professional, social entrepreneur and storyteller who experiments with media and art to document life, and I have worked with nonprofits, governments and campaigns internationally. I have an M.Sc. in Social & Cultural Anthropology from the London School of Economics & Political Science.
For Sri Lanka, Easter weekend brought on tragic events in the form of terrorist attacks which have caused the deaths of more than 300 and injured over 500 others.
On this episode of The Daily, the underlying tensions behind the violence are brought to the fore and much of it is rooted in the country's dysfunctional government: "You have a division at the highest levels between the president and the prime minister. They were disputing who was in control."
With power struggles, instability and volatility raging in the political landscape, at the same time, local police become aware of a radical preacher spreading extremist views and attempting to garner a crew. However, despite Indian intelligence confirming that a certain "Mohammed Zaharan is planning suicide attacks against Catholic churches in Sri Lanka," nothing is done because the country's focus is just as split as its leadership:
Some people believe it goes back to this political division at the heart of the government, that the president is so intent on shutting out the prime minister from any security matters that he’s hoarding all this information to himself and not really doing anything with it. The suspects who are named in the memo are not arrested. No security is added at churches, and life goes on, until April 21. At about 8:45 a.m. Easter Sunday, bombs explode at several churches and hotels across Sri Lanka.
It is not until a few days later that the involvement of ISIS is confirmed, but despite the previous solid evidence, the lack of government action is not what really raises questions but rather as host Michael Barbaro asks: "What does it tell us that this small, local, not well-financed, not-all-that-seriously-taken group was able to be harnessed the way it was by ISIS?"