At the end of every year, Google releases a list of the most popular trends in terms of the highest spikes in traffic they have had. And this year, Sri Lanka has topped the list, and made it to the number one spot in the "Where Is" category, trouncing searches like "Where is Area 51" and "Where is the hurricane now".
You would think a meme that enraptured most of the Western world for three months (and more) straight, which brought together UFO buffs, stoners, meme lords in Pepe the Frog costumes and multiple others, who were as equally unexpected (or expected) to turn up - performing the sacred Naruto-Run so they can "run faster than the bullets," in the vicinity of the outskirts of Area 51, a US military base, would have spiked more traffic on the internet simply on the terms of how bizarre it all was.
Yet, no, our little island nation that is not larger than a speck on the map of the world, and overshadowed by the giant landmass right above us, has turned up to grab more of the attention.
This year has plunged Sri Lanka into the spotlight, which is why we decided to explore the reasons that might have prompted people to type into Google, "where is Sri Lanka."
Securing 52.25% of the votes, Mr Gotabhaya Rajapakse was appointed as the President of Sri Lanka on the of November 2019, and this brought about special attention around the world as he was painted by the international media as "part of the country’s most powerful political dynasty" and a "controversial figure", and that the vote was divided down ethnic lines. But of course, President Gotabhaya Rajapakse put everyone at ease by stating that he would, "Protect the civil rights of all those voted for me as well as those who didn’t."
Ousting 51 competitors from 51 nations, Sri Lanka's Caroline Jurie was adjudged Mrs World 2020, bringing fame to Sri Lanka. Featuring rags to riches story, Caroline Jurie, despite many obstacles in her way, worked towards overcoming them all and being crowned as Mrs World.
When the Prime Minister of Britain, one of the P5 countries of the UN speaks, people tend to listen to what he has to say. The Tories' manifesto said: “We will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability and justice across the world, and in current or former conflict zones such as Cyprus, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, where we maintain our support for a two-state solution.”
Although this does sound quite contradictory, Conservative Party. Deputy Chairman Paul Scully later confirmed that that particular line only referred to the Israel-Palestine situation. We do wonder though, how such a line that could be interpreted in such a drastic way, could be included in the manifesto.
"I hope there will be a reconciliation in Sri Lanka and accountability for what happened in the past and long term peace in Sri Lanka," said Boris Johnson, in a speech thanking the Tamil community.
Sri Lanka was ranked as the top country for travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet, and undoubtedly, this must have prompted people to check out the location of the "beautiful, tropical island" that is a must-visit.
The Swiss Embassy claimed that unidentified men detained one of their employees against her will last month and tried to force her to "disclose embassy-related information." The interference of the Swiss Embassy and by extension, the Swiss Government, by harbouring the individual for 14 days and releasing her only after a court order, demanding permission to airlift the employee and her family without local immigration formalities, the incident being reported by the Swiss Ambassador instead of the employee, and to the Prime Minister instead of the Minister of Foreign Relations, has certainly stirred up word about the country. The fact that the proper facts haven't reached the international domain, remains an issue to be remedied as of yet.
Almost synonymous with the "Where is Sri Lanka" searches have been the search for "Sri Lanka Bombings." Due to the fact that the highest search was during the months of April and May, we can arrive at the conclusion that these attacks were one of the main reasons behind us being plunged into the spotlight.
The tragic Easter Bombings that took place on the 21st of April this year, shook our country to its very core and was the most brutal form of violence and terrorism the country has seen ever since the end of the 30-year-old civil war in 2009, taking the innocent lives of 259 people. The country underwent a period of social unrest following these attacks and has subconsciously affected many aspects of our everyday lives.
Sri Lanka has undoubtedly arrived at a very important juncture in its history, and we thrust upon us are very exciting and interesting times. What unforeseeable surprises will the new decade have in store for us?
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