Published: June 27th 2010June 15th 2010
one barbarian cream, please
the local D&D for 'Lankan polizei. tons of roadside stops. more for drugs than arms i think...
who would win??
this is one of THE top questions kids always asked in zoos.
and when you try to explain to them that the two would never meet - their faces pout. and they just restate the question. or start arguing among and amuck.
[of course, I prefer this question over inquiries about parsel tongue or what would happen if pokemon met a grizzly bear. na, ja.]
here in the Eastern Province in Sri Lanka,
I can say: the lion wins.
...as the singala lions have finally (we hope) outbeat the tamil tigers. and peace has been here for 1 year...but after 30x365 days of bloodshed...will the government finally do what it takes to give tamils what they need? and want?
...it's with a wee but o'irony that during this Chinese Year of the Tiger,
i'm in the land of the feared (or heralded. or both simultaneously.) Tamil Tigers
otherwise known as LTTE....
with tigers on my mind, i headed, trepidatiously, into tiger habitat to see what the war has left.
most people I ask (and I ask quite directly, as the 'lankans are quite
caught this monk about to enter the long security line to get into the major temple in Kandy. was hit by a suicide bomber during the war. turns out, tho, some monks found blood on their hands, too, during the war. not a stigmata. (note: suicide bombing was founded in sri lanka. what an honor, eh?)
open) brush off the war like it never happened...
but there are certainly signs, and stories.
...the military presence in the north increases along the roads, the fancy resort I was at had been paying the tamils to not blow them up (and probably still pay them. damn, why didn't the hotel rwanda think of that?)....i hear anger over the GSP loans
. over millions to Hillary
. accounts of lingering refugee camps - or shantytowns where the refugees were ushered into to please the camera.
i still wonder, where are all the people affected and traumitised hiding?
and where are everyone's true opinions hiding?
hidden away in rehabilitation prisons (the tigers)?
visiting low-lying help centers (lions and tigers and bears oh my)??
I don't know, yet.
and i must say, i boarded the bus to 'Trinco shakily. i mean, years in senegal and i avoided the south there, but here i was about to head into tiger country. and it occurred to me I hadn't told the embassy where i'd be...damn damn damn. i knew enough not go to traipsing through possible mine areas
, but what else should i know?
as crows have taken over this island off of Trinco, so did tigers once hold the city as their fortress. today, the beach shows almost no signs, save a do-not-enter area. tourists and fully hijabbed girls splashing about.
i actually met my first face of war getting onto the bus headed north. (see foto).
Saman. now 28. was injured when his navy seal boat got attacked....he didn't tell me much, except show me where he was shot and just smile about it. he's still in the navy. and still works in same waters he was shot in.
the waters that I could easily see a few kilometers down from the beach where I was swimming...
and as i post this after almost 2 more weeks of traveling, i have yet to meet another Saman, or another brother of Saman, or anyone who does more than shrug or smile
. beyond general complaints of a dynastical government and hopes for rising tourism, i leave sri lanka with a similar shrug i suppose. a conflict seemingly forgotten.
another, more vibrant conflict to follow...
[some wildlife for you, Cap'n]
There are more photos below