This morning the world awoke to yet another story of terrorism and carnage, this time in the island nation of Sri Lanka. At least two hundred people have been killed, with another four hundred injured, some grievously, in a series of suicide attacks at churches filled with Easter celebrants and hotels filled with guests. As of this writing, no person or group has claimed responsibility for these actions.
On behalf of the entire UCI community, I extend to the victims and their families and friends our deepest condolences and sorrow, and I offer our sympathy and support to our students, faculty, staff, and friends from Sri Lanka and South Asia.
Events like these are becoming increasingly commonplace. It was only five weeks ago that I wrote a message like this about the mosque shootings in New Zealand. It was only six months ago that I wrote about the shooting in Thousand Oaks. It was only seven months ago that I wrote about the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. And so on, and so on, and so on.
The world is weary, but it is important that we never accept events like this as normal, as part of our world today, no matter how often they occur. Instead, as I have said before on similar occasions, let us rededicate ourselves to being a source of enlightenment for our nation and for the world, paving the way toward a more just and peaceful future, where hope trumps despair, understanding subdues ignorance, empathy overrides insensitivity, and respect conquers hate.