There were tracer bullets in Colombo. They called the World Cup for Australia early, declared them victors and forgot there were 3 overs left. SL played the rest limping, Colombo was submerged in darkness, gunfire and rumours. Something is wrong with my head. It must be my head. It rained on the pitch in Barbados. It rained in Colombo. Driving back to CH to see the rest of match. See strange flashes. The light disappears. It’s a blackout, but I kinda just roll with that lately. Get in, screens are running on generator. She’s looking over my shoulder, sees tracer bullets. We huddle. Make phone calls.
April 29, 2007 (AFP) – A Shell building in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo caught fire early Sunday following a suspected aeriel attack by Tamil Tigers, an official with the energy group said.
“There has been some explosion and we don’t know the extent of damage,” said Shell Gas’s media manager, Chamani Herath Pathirage.
Fire engines were rushed to the scene after reports that three buildings had been hit, but there were no reports of gas storage tanks being affected.
I didn’t know. Heard explosion and saw bullets. My dad said he could see tracer fire from our window. I saw tracers as we left. Downtown Colombo. This keyboard sucks. I need to get home.
My head hurts. There are a thousand movements colliding in my skull and I’m too dreadfully sober for any of it. I was in the midst of re-fracturing my heart when the power went out. Look over her shoulder and there are bullets going up. My innards lurching, I could only watch as the rest of the world spun and went all wobbly. Someone got a TV working in a corner of the club and we can hear their distant cheers. The phone lines are clogged. Everyone is looking for their friends. A friend tells me that a fight has broken out, six guys are beating the crap out of someone for a girlfriend thing. Something trivial, something like I’m feeling, directed outwards. But at this time. I can hear the scuffle. Some blows. That is the last straw, now just let the chaos tumble.
Get in the car, get everyone in the car. Focus. Refocus. Get to a house. The power is back. The match is on. Sri Lanka is losing badly. We need 12 runs per over. That’s impossible. But possible. Still watching. Come back from a hallucinogenic cake commercial and the match is over. It says Australia ICC World Champions. The Aussies are hugging, celebrating. They’re bringing the podium onto the field. I don’t get it. There are no new outs, Sri Lanka is 200something for 7. But the game is over, or is it, wtf? And again wtf? Are Sri Lankans running the ICC now? Apparently the game isn’t over, the celebrations stop. There are 5 eerie minutes of TV while these professional sportsmen mill about to figure out what’s happening. My God, play goes on. It is impossible for Sri Lanka to win, but plays goes on after Australia has been declared victors. In all honesty, this is the most fucked up sporting event I’ve ever seen. Sports has its oddities, but it is largely isolated from the chaos. There are winners and losers, numbers, it is an oasis of rules in a tumbling world. But tonight, of all nights, even that is crumbling. In a tragic bureaucratic snafu, the ICC has ended a championship game that wasn’t finished. My head is spinning, spinning.
And that is terror. Not the ICC. Not even the LTTE. Just complete, utter mindfuck. All the rules break down. All the order tumbles. Things are unpredictable, dangerous. The effect, however, isn’t abject fear. I just feel numb. We’re all kinda used to it. This is Colombo. I walk down Maitland Crescent and see bullets in the air. Hundreds of people see the bullets. We look for a while and walk on. What to do? What to do?
In the bigger picture, which I got an uncomfortable slice of, the LTTE bombed a Shell gas storage facility in Kerawalapitiya (Map), to the North of Colombo. Apparently the Air Force has binary radar and fired every available gun to target those planes. To quote LBO again:
Colombo city was blacked out shortly after 1.00 am Sunday local time, while most residents were watching the Cricket World Cup final between Sri Lanka and Australia.
Tracer fire was seen in several areas of the city including the Colombo Port, Ratmalana airport and Katunayake airport as troops fired into the air.
So, an isolated attack results in a blackout of Colombo, really fucking scary gunfire everywhere and a panicked populace. I heard that a plane was shot down in Ratamalana, that Galle Face was bombed, everything. The military response to a single plane is to fire guns everywhere. Do we have radar? Wasn’t that around in World War II? This was probably the biggest cultural night of the Sri Lanka year. It unites everyone. CH was packed. All the clubs were packed. Homes, kades, cars, everyone. Even the LTTE spokesguy said the LTTE wouldn’t fight during the World Cup. But they did. They panicked the population during our holiest time, and lit God knows how much oil on fire. We lost the World Cup. We are at war. My life is another story.
I need to sleep. Things are hard to process.