‘Love is the answer’: Dad who lost two children in the Sri Lanka attacks says he won’t let hate win
In the face of extreme violence and the loss of his two teenage children, Matt Linsey’s stance is admirable and heartbreaking and right.
It is the senselessness of such violence and murder that is hardest to take, admits Matt Linsey.
The 61-year-old banker was having breakfast with his children at their hotel in Sri Lanka when the first of the many bombs went off on Easter Sunday. His instinct was to flee with his children. But a second bomb detonated as they escaped the dining room into the corridor. This was the blast that killed two of his children – Daniel (19) and Amelia (15).
Last week’s suicide bombings were a coordinated attack on seven buildings in total – mainly churches and hotels. The Sri Lankan Health Ministry has now revised the death toll down from over 359 to 253 explaining that the condition of the remains and the difficulty identifying them was what lead to the discrepancy in numbers.
Meanwhile, security fears remain in the country amid ongoing threats from Islamic extremists with police confirming that they are looking for up to 140 people believed to have links to Isis over the attacks.
“I should have stayed and covered them with my body”
In an emotional interview with CNN, Matt says he is tormented by what unfolded on Easter Sunday. “My children were so nice, they actually went down to the buffet before me and got the food for me and filled up my plate,” he said. “And I wanted a bit more to drink, I was going to get it, my daughter said, ‘No I’ll get it.’ Maybe I should have stayed and covered them with my body.”
The investor in merging markets who is based in London told The Times that it was so dark after the blast, he couldn’t tell if his children were okay. “My son looked worse than my daughter. I tried to revive him.
“A lady said she’d take my daughter. I carried my son downstairs to an ambulance, we took him to the hospital. I yelled ‘Please help my son, please help. I thought my daughter was better off. I couldn’t find her because I was with my son.”
Matt later discovered that his teenage daughter had died in another hospital.
Our favourite song
When asked about his rage over the murder of his children, Matt says a song his daughter loved as a little girl has stayed in his mind. “One of our favourite songs is a song called Love is the Answer. When my own dad passed away, my daughter and I – that became our song. She was only six.
“Yes, you want the government to do what they have to do to stop these people. I agree with that completely. But also – to the people on the other side: Love is the answer, ultimately”.