NEW BERLIN — Sri Lankans who call Wisconsin home expressed their dismay over the Easter Sunday bombings that targeted churches and hotels in their home country.
Eight Sri Lankan natives met with TODAY'S TMJ4 in New Berlin. They said being here makes it tougher to see the violence and devastation unfold.
More than 200 people were killed in the bombings. Reports said hundreds more were injured.
“We couldn’t believe our eyes that such a nice day this even took place," Ajith Wijenayake said.
The group described Sri Lanka as a country where people from all backgrounds live in harmony. They acknowledged the country's violent past but said following a decade of peace this latest news haunts them, and the first thing they did when they learned about the bombings was check on their family members.
“I have seen all those things previously, so this bad experience I don’t want to see it again," Roshan Nanayakkara said.
“I know we’ve had a past," Serene Cadiramen said. "But we thought we were beyond that."
Cadiramen added she was especially troubled thinking about the families and children who looked for new dresses just for Easter, a day which is typically a celebration for Christians.
"I think what's important for us to show the world is that we are still united, and we're not blaming any religion," Krishan Cadiramen said.
"Whenever news like this breaks for a couple of weeks, couple of months, people are all concerned and involved. But it’s going to take much longer than that to bring us back to normal." — Krishan Cadiramen
Cadiramen said as the weeks go on he hopes the world does not forget Sri Lanka.
"Whenever news like this breaks for a couple of weeks, couple of months, people are all concerned and involved," Krishan said. "But it’s going to take much longer than that to bring us back to normal."
A community of Sri Lankans said they are working to organize a group prayer this week. They have also started a GoFundMe account to help victims' families.