The sad sad story of an island called Sri Lanka

April 24, 2019

It has taken the better part of ten long difficult years for Sri Lanka to shed its blood soaked past of irreconciable sectarian violence and mindless civil war. In those years Sri Lankans gradually got used to the idea of exchanging their military greens for loose fitting colorful shirts to make tourist feel at ease….foreign investments eventually trickled into the country in the form of factories and hotels to cash in on the abundance of cheap labor, balmy weather ,beautiful beaches and promise that life in general will get better day by day……BUT with the recent tragic bombings ripping thru Colombo. It seems the terrible past that Sri Lankans have been trying so hard to put behind them is suddenly right before them again.

Meanwhile peace remains as elusive as ever….a forlorn dream perhaps in a distant and small island called Lanka

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‘Anyone who has ever experienced war. Even the sort of man who seems not to fear anything at all….will shake.

Let there be no mistake…they will shake so violently that they will even cry like children.

These things I’ve seen and lived thru in Africa. It is not pretty business…..war that is.

Now let me get to my point.

Sri Lankans are not really normal people like we all know of normal people in Singapore. They cannot be. Because the specter of war once touched them deep in the marrow of their bones….that might well have been many years ago. During the hey days of the Tamil Tigers.

But once a man has gone thru that sort of experience. Although he will insist he’s a changed man. He’s never too far from the door that leads to predition. Its like an ex alcoholic who has to struggle thru the night over what’s left in a bottle somewhere in the dank darkness of the kitchen…his past calls him like the vespers of a siren. This is why war is so terrible. Because it never leaves you once you’re touched by it. Its as if you’ve seen things that eyes are not meant to see…..as if once you’ve gone there, you can never come back home again. But the most chelating aspect of war is that it compels one to betray everything that is good and noble….and after the last shot has rented out and its over…the war within you rages on.

That’s when the daily battle begins!

You literally spend the rest of your days reclaiming what was once taken from you by the war like a mad man trying to fashion a dwelling from left overs. You will yourself to believe once again that man is elementally good and not malevolent….and whenever you see a rare act of human kindness. You keep so very still. As if you’re witnessing a prophecy.

You grow colorful flowers because you want so hard to believe in the idea that tomorrow will be better than today.

You do all these things religiously like a man fingering thru the litany of his prayer beads. You do it unthinkingly. Because to think is to go thru the horror all over again.

And as time goes by the scream of low flying jets and ear splitting artillery shells that once woke you up in the dead of night begin to tone down…you no longer smell imaginary napalm or burning flesh and life slowly returns to you again…the sweet repose life where you might just lie down on grass and look on into the paraffin blue of yonder and even toy with the belief – this is actually what life is all about…only for it all to suddenly go right back like an ironic game of snake and ladders to square No.1.

That’s why its so sad that this terrible incident happened to Sri Lankans….they were just starting to trully forget…just starting to believe in the idea of a future.

My fear is this is just the beginning of what seems like another long bitter conflict.’

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