June 2019 Editorial

Once again as we go to press with our bundle of news and stories of small town Ferntree Gully, the horror of terrorist attacks in other cities envelopes us.

The sacrilege of shooting faith communities at worship on Easter Sunday is even more appalling. We extend our sympathy to the people of Sri Lanka as we did to the people of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Two of our editorial team were especially shocked by these events: Beth Duffy has family in Christchurch and visited them recently. Prasadini Nanayakkara was born in Colombo. She was holidaying in Cairns over Easter. We asked them to share this editorial.

Prasadini:

While my husband and I were on holiday in Queensland, we heard the terrible news of the
Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka.

Far away from the tropical shores of our beautiful first home, we were both deeply saddened and shocked. Apart from strolling restlessly along the sun-soaked beaches of Cairns, we couldn’t muster enthusiasm to do much more for the remainder of our stay.

We watched with the world, events unfolding as messages of sympathy and sorrow emerged from many quarters. Soon after I sent the photograph to Gully News, came the reply from the editor Anne Boyd: “such beauty and then such grief…”

The irony was not lost on me. The beauty of Cairns all around me seemed to lose its lustre – so much about its tropical climate served as stark reminders of Sri Lanka. Anne wrote further, “the joys and sorrows of all the world are now the joys and sorrows of each one of us.” A weight shifted slightly from my heavy heart. Even in the wake of unimaginable horror, there’s gentle solace in solidarity. And that I must say is the true and enduring beauty of our world.’

Beth:

On 15 March I was working on my computer at home in Ferntree Gully when I glanced at a message from my daughter that came through on the phone beside me: “Hope everyone’s ok in Christchurch. So horrible!”

Worried and assuming that it was another earthquake, I turned to the ABC News and found it was so much worse.

How could a person do this – inflict such violence, pain and suffering on his peaceful innocent worshipping neighbours? I felt ill for Christchurch, New Zealand and humanity.

I couldn’t work any more and spent the rest of the day contacting family. My brother forwarded an email from his eight year old grandson whose Christchurch school was in lockdown that afternoon. “It was a very weird scary day. Now that I am home with my family I feel safe.”

Anne Boyd, Editor