Attack on Galle
Trip Start Sep 26, 2006
31Trip End ??? ??, 2007
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This was the first attack in the Southern Province in a long time.
That morning, Pati (the guy downstairs) had gone to visit his ailing mother a few streets over. Upon his return, he ran into the house yelling "they're attacking Galle! They're attacking Galle!"
We quickly turned on the TV to find out what was happening... and nothing. I was expecting at least some sort of report on one of the morning shows airing, but nothing. Nothing on the radio either. Such a contrast from the Western norm - where every channel would be showing a live feed (whether it was the attack, a smoke stack from kilometers away or some 'expert' giving us his 'unbiased opinion' of the event....). But nothing!
So I went to work where I couldn't understand what people were saying except for the word 'Galle' here and there. Some people were frantically trying to get in touch with family members over the phone. (Someone later explained that phone communication around Galle was shut down in case some 'bad people' were trying to communicate amongst themselves).
Finally, someone explained that 3 ships had tried to attack the navy. The navy had intercepted and the attack was over. End of story. My mind was at ease. Then I get an SMS from WUSC (in Colombo) stating that Galle had been attacked and that 'fighting continues. Don't move.' Then a Korean volunteer who is also stationed at INDECOS gets sent home by her organization.
And I start to wonder - should I be worried? Am I safe? So I start asking questions: How do we know which story is true? How do I know if I'm safe? THEN I get laughed at! Haha - the little Canadian girl is scared! That was a bit insulting...
Regardless, I had nothing to worry about. However, I had no way of knowing if I had anything to worry about. That's the part that's difficult to deal with. People keep saying 'be safe' but there's little information to use in order to make decisions which I know will ensure my safety. What to do?
Whereas I used to hear 3 or 4 helicopters daily at work, I now hear them quite frequently. I am told they are patrolling the shores. On one hand, knowing that they are guarding is reassuring. On the other, the constant reminder that the country is on the brinks of war is somewhat burdensome.