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The War Nerd June 26, 2003
 
Sri Lanka: Terrorists with an Air Force
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
 

Pop quiz: Who were the first suicide bombers?

It's sort of a trick question. Depends on the style of suicide you're talking about. If you count kamikazes, then the Japanese air force gets the honor, if it is one. If you mean vehicular mass-manslaughter--guys in trucks or cars bumping over the curb to double park'n'explode outside US embassies, then the real trendsetters were those Shiites who drove their truck into American, French and Israeli bases in Lebanon in the early eighties.

But if you're talking about simple pedestrian suicide-bombers, the kind who stroll around wearing those fashionable TNT vests, the ones who drift into fast-food strip malls in Jerusalem and pull their instant-hamburger string...well, it's pretty clear who gets the credit for that. That distinction goes to those underrated killers, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE for short. The LTTE did its first walking suicide-bomb in 1987, killing 40-odd government soldiers in some hellhole called Nelliyadi. Sri Lankan secutiry forces

Nobody's heard of the LTTE. I'm not sure why. They're big enough, and lethal enough, to deserve more coverage. Maybe it's because most of the people I see around Fresno are too damn stupid to even know where Sri Lanka is, never mind figuring out who's fighting who over there. I have to interrupt myself here to curse out Fresno a little.

You know, when it's cool and rainy I can almost stand the place. But the heat -- I just can't take it. It's bad enough being fat in cool weather, but when the heat comes on, it's fat people who suffer the worst. Sweating all the time, folds and wads of greasy skin. You make yourself sick. I make myself sick. Every store window you go past turns into a mirror and you see yourself waddling past like a jerk in that stupid white acrylic XXL dress shirt, with the tie choking your fat red throat, big armpit stains -- and skinny joggers go by and they're not even sweating.

But it's not just me. I swear to God, everybody in Fresno gets about 20 IQ points stupider as soon as the hot weather starts. Yesterday I spent 40 minutes trying to get home, just sweating onto the plastic carseat. I'm ready to kill somebody and I look around--everybody's sitting there all patiently, listening to Christian pop on the radio and humming along. Bunch of smiley-face morons.

Then I look past the cars and right where the tract homes stop it's nothing but desert. Like a line: one side housing, other side wasteland. I start realizing, Nobody should be living here. It's worse than a desert. At least a desert has some integrity. A desert you could respect. Fresno doesn't even make it as a desert. It gets about five lousy inches of rain a year, just enough to keep us out of Desert rating. It's "semi-arid." No class at all. Tamilian Tigers

That's why I get all enthused about my job in the summer. The hotter it gets the more I want to hear about war and death, and the bigger the better. That's why Sri Lanka sounds good to me right now. It's a good, big war and went on for a good long time. Good graphics, too. I'll try to send the eXile some of the post-suicide bomber pictures -- like the one with the guy's head all by itself on the ground, looking happy.

Sri Lanka's one of those tropical hellholes that changed its name when the Brits left. Burma turned into Myanmar and Ceylon -- like the tea -- turned into Sri Lanka. It's a little droplet-shapes island off the southeast tip of India. And it's one of those wonderful multi-ethnic countries where people spend most of their time killing each other. The players here are the Sinhalese, who are maybe two-thirds of the population, and the Tamils, who are the other third. The Sinhalese hang out in the South and West of the island and the Tamils stick to the northeast. The Sinhalese are Buddhists, the Tamils are Hindus.


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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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