What is up Party Plaid People!?! Sorry for the hiatus, but the Plaid Avenger got Shanghai-ed on his way to Pyongyang to play ping-pong with Jing-Jing the giant panda bear and official mascot of the 2008 Chinese Olympics.Ha! There’s your damn bear reference! Now this is officially the blog of Lions, Tigers, and Bears—and if you just said “oh my!” to yourself, then you are officially as gay as the Lollipop Kids in Munchkinland.But I digress as usual…
What I’m really here to educate you about involves beer and bombs, but not in that order.I landed here in Sri Lanka and after a week-long binge decided that you Americans should know about a couple of animals of note here in the former British colony known as Ceylon.This country has some fascinating wildlife you should look into…but these are no ordinary Lions and Tigers….
Ah yes! Now that you have painstakingly perused those particular publications, let’s get on with the pontifications.The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers, is a group that can be identified as either a rebel alliance fighting for freedom of its peoples, or a terrorist group stirring up trouble and causing political and economic turbulence in Sri Lanka—depending of course on the point of view of who you ask.If you ask the Tamil folks, they are freedom fighters; if you ask Sri Lanka, the EU, India, and the US, they are terrorists.So what gives?
This is an easy one to understand.Most of the folks hanging out in Sri Lanka are ethnically Sinhalese, comprising about 80% of the total population. The ethnic group called Tamils is concentrated in the north, east, and western provinces of the country, and can be further subdivided into two groups. Tamils, who were brought as indentured servants from India by British colonists to work on estate plantations, are called “Indian Origin” Tamils. They are distinguished from the native Tamil population that has resided in Sri Lanka since ancient times.
Ancient origins or forced labor, either way the Tamil ethnic group has its roots in India and account for about 10% of the total population. Thus, a minority. And a minority that feels threatened, coerced, or otherwise downtrodden by the Sinhalese majority.Is that the case? Hell if I know, but that’s the way it sits here in the 21st century…And as such, many Tamils feel they need to have their own territory independent of the Sinhalese controlled Sri Lanka proper.In short, it’s a civil war situation pulling the country apart. But that’s a common story the world over.What makes this one unique?
What are they known for? The Tigers should perhaps be credited mostly with the pronounced use of suicide bombers as a strategic tactic—and specifically using women as suicide bombers too.While we often think suicide bombers as a distinct tool of extremist Islamists or Palestinian splinter groups, Sri Lanka has been at it for a while too, and has been much more deadly with them, especially when it comes to targeting public officials and military targets as opposed to civilian ones. Of great note, the Tigers killed Indian Prime Minister Sri Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
The other thing that sets the Tigers apart from modern day terrorist/rebel organizations is that they have a well-established ground base or territory that they work from (see map), a well-established and easily identified military organization (as witnessed in their cool uniforms), a totally wicked official logo (see above), a naval force (the Sea Tigers), but most importantly and most currently: air power.On March 26th of this year the Tigers flew a couple of small aircraft under the radar and dropped a few bombs around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.That is ballsy stuff my friends!No other group labeled as terrorist anywhere else in the world is so visible or carries out such organized attacks as the Tigers.
Mind you, I’m not singing their praises.This whole conflict should have been resolved peacefully years ago, and the Avenger blames both sides for being pig-headed and short-sighted.Over 60,000 Sri Lankans have died since 1983 as a result of this petty civil war, with no clear end in sight. Damn, why do we humans have to be so damn dumb?
From dumb to numb. Now let’s lighten the mood with the other topic of the day: Sri Lankan Lions! While the Tigers motives may be mischievous, the Lion in definitely the king of this jungle! I’m talking about beer my friends…a kick ass stout to be exact.
Originally brewed by Ceylon Brewery, the Lion line has expanded into its own in the last hundred years to be the premier export beer of the country. Still brewed in the hill town of Nuwara Eliya and now also in the recently established Lion Brewery in Biyagama, Lion Stout and Lion Lager embody all that is good and wholesome in the island country. And the Plaid Avenger will not lead you astray my friends–the stout is the more worthy your attention.Dark, rich, coffee and chocolate hints of pure deliciousness await you when you plunge into this beer.And packing an average 8% alcohol by volume, Lion Stout makes Guinness look and taste like baby shit in comparison.
You should easily be able to find this beer in any specialty store across the US…but why settle for second best?Get your ass on a plane and visit Sri Lanka—cause the beer packs an even bigger punch when it’s fresh in-country. I swear on the plaid pants my mother knitted me, this shit is more like 15% alcohol when you get it on tap in Colombo.Now look, you may think I’m a bullshitter, but I don’t mince words when it comes to my drinks…and even a professional drinker like myself got totally whammied by just two 20 oz. tall boys of this stuff in a hotel lobby outside the capital. Damn! That shit was good! I think the stuff brewed for consumption in Ceylon must have hallucinogenic properties…cause I got a warm fuzzy feeling after just one, and after the second I woke up with a Tamil Tigers tattoo across my ass!
Damn those Tigers! But praise the Lion! The Plaid Avenger has struck again!