What is ‘justice’ for Easter survivors?

The discourses on and investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks are still far from being over, and the main topic – i.e. justice for those who were affected by the attacks – seems to have subdued other pressing issues that are yet to be looked into. The Easter Sunday attacks not only left hundreds of bodies and people that had lost the sense of being alive, but also paved the way to create a community – i.e. the families of those who died in the attacks – that are socially, psychologically, and economically challenged.

Most families lost their breadwinners, and some lost many members of their families. The attacks also left some with severe psychological trauma and damages for which some are receiving medical treatment indefinitely.

A recent Facebook post by a woman who lost her husband and children in the Easter Sunday attacks, which read that her commitments and responsibilities as a mother and a wife have become empty and that today she has become weary of the struggle to live, shows the true state of many who lost their families in the attacks and are struggling to live with the trauma and shattered family units with little to no support even two years after the incident. The fact that the country does not get to hear such realities as much as protests and debates about the Easter Sunday attacks is unfortunate.

The struggle is not confined to the loss of breadwinners or other family members. There are also many including breadwinners who were rendered unable to find or do jobs due to the severity of the injuries they sustained and/or due to the disabilities that resulted from the injuries. Even though the Government took steps to give compensation and medical assistance to those who sustained injuries in the Easter Sunday attacks, the aforementioned story of the woman who was affected by the attacks is evidence that assistance needs to be improved and especially continue. Even though some groups, especially non-governmental organisations, have come forward to assist them, limitations in how long and to what extent they can afford to assist calls for state-sponsored interventions.

It is true that the rulers and authorities have already taken several steps; there is, however, a lack of long-term mechanisms in place to revive their collapsed household and family economies. However, allowances that last only for several months or years, or loans that are likely to further worsen their financial status, do not constitute solutions, even as short-term measures.

What is necessary is a long-term mechanism that makes sure that those affected by the attacks have jobs to make a living out of, and those who are still receiving treatments and/or were disabled have a support system to obtain proper treatments and fulfill their basic needs. The rulers and authorities have an undeniable responsibility to ensure that justice is served in full, which includes the long-term wellbeing of the people.

The country has paid more attention to getting justice for those who died, which without a doubt is vital, and justice for those fated to live without their family members or good health appears to be receiving little attention. At the end of the day, legal action against the culprits of the Easter Sunday attacks, or justice as we call it, can fill only people’s hearts. That justice does not fill their stomachs, nor does it pay their medical bills.

Debates and measures concerning justice for those affected by the Easter Sunday attacks should address these issues as well, since, if left unaddressed, they can last a lifetime, and the rulers and authorities cannot turn a blind eye to the justice that is yet to be served for them.