tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN October 29, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
trump. >> i'd like to punch him in the face. >> how does that compare with the actual president trump? >> i would bomb the [ bleep ] out of him. >> trick or treat, mr. president. >> happy halloween. that does it for me. thanks for being here. "parts unknown" is next. ♪ >> tracy: let us take you now, to the island of short memories, and the small village of fat hopes. it's hardly featured on any map, but thanks to the civil war, the
lies, the small village of fat hopes had grown in importance, for all the wrong reasons. they spoke in color, in the village, as they did in most parts of the country. the cost of living made people purple. people often felt marooned, and the jokes were always black. ♪ ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting
soldiers, guerrillas, fighters, and suicide bombers of the l.t.t.e., but the black crows who hover ominously over the breakfast buffet on the veranda. a man with a slingshot patrols the lawn, driving them away with an occasional shot. [ traffic sounds ] colombo, the capital city of sri lanka. unlike the last time i came here, nearly a decade ago, this south asian island of nearly twenty million, does not feel on lockdown. there are no longer the military
checkpoints and heavy equipment, sandbags, or barbed wire in between the airport and the center of town. there's a new, democratically elected government, voted in by a coalition of former adversaries. everywhere you look; construction, expansion, new hotels, foreign money; something that looks a lot like hope. hundreds of thousands of dead and missing later, the country is at peace, and we can go where we want. hopefully, people will be able talk about their lives; last time, they couldn't. >> dharshan: so this is the galle face green. it used to be a place for the english families to come and hang out on sundays.
and it was also the home of the first golf course in sri lanka. this is our central park. >> anthony: ah. ♪ ♪ >> anthony: what are we eating today; by the way, what's good here? >> dharshan: so this is all sri lankan street food. all these kitchens are run by muslims, so there's no pork dishes here. a lot of seafood. >> anthony: dharshan runs several popular colombo restaurants, including the ministry of crab. and when not catering to the needs of his customers, he
enjoys simpler fare. ♪ >> anthony: so what distinguishes between sri lankan cuisine and indian? >> dharshan: i think our curries are lighter, and i think it's the access to seafood. like if you look at mumbai, it's 20 million people, the oceans are under pressure. here it's still clean, we can have access to great seafood anytime. >> anthony: when did the war get bad? >> dharshan: it got really bad, i think, 2005 onwards, it was really bad. >> anthony: yeah, we were last here in 2008. i mean just to get into the hotel, i remember, from the airport, we had to go through one security cordon after another. >> dharshan: and we were, during those times, we had no idea when it was going to end. i've done business in this country never knowing what a peaceful time to be.
>> anthony: how long have things been quiet? >> dharshan: well, the war ended in 2009. it's been eight years. and it takes time for things to happen. things have happened, the city is not overgrown, we are not over-populated, oceans are still clean. >> anthony: whatever the underlying problems were, do you think they are being addressed, or will be addressed? >> dharshan: i think they are being addressed, maybe a bit slow. but i think you will find a difference. the whole world has changed; and it's great to see stuff like this. >> tracy: evening fell, upon the small village of fat hopes. suddenly, they heard a noise that filled them with dread. [ whistling ] [ banging ] [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> tracy: there was, honestly such a culture of fear. an incredible amount of self-censorship. we had death squads, people, journalists, so many being disappeared. this kind of white van phenomenon, where your loved ones were taken from you and you never heard from them again. there's still so many of those cases going on, and just a real
feeling of fear. >> anthony: from 1983 until 2009, sri lanka's bloody civil war divided the island in two. splitting the country along religious lines: buddhist sinhalese majority in the south versus hindu tamil minority in the north. years of mistreatment and suppression led to the formation of the l.t.t.e., or liberation tigers of tamil eelam, and their campaign to seek an independent state. the conflict ended in 2009, but an enormous number of internally displaced persons, or idp's as they're referred to, remain in refugee camps. >> tracy: ladies and gentlemen, appearing now, and before it is too late, the travelling circus of refugees.
[ thunder ] >> anthony: colombo native tracy holsinger is the founder of mind adventures theatre company. not long ago, to even talk politics, let alone stage a play deemed controversial, could be dangerous. >> anthony: the play that you've been doing, it came from a book, "the boy who." >> tracy: "speaks in numbers", by mike masilamani. yeah, it was first performed in november 2009. so it's -- >> anthony: no way. controversial, would you say? >> tracy: a little. the play is about internally displaced people. after the end of the war, we had over 300,000 people in camps. the largest one of them was built to house 100,000 people, but ended up-housing 227,000 people. tents that were designed for maybe five people to be in, had 10-15 people in them. there were no toilets in the camp, there were just these big
>> woman 1: you can't take anything inside the camp. search this. hurry up, next! >> tracy: the play was staged at a time when all this was so raw for us, and there is no way to speak directly about what happened, i think it's still very difficult, not just for us, but for people to acknowledge that these terrible things were done to part of our community and our people. >> anthony: was this a perilous thing to do, and how was it perceived at the time? >> tracy: you know i didn't think about whether it was perilous or not, and that's probably bad on me because i involved all these other people. let's see this dance, we're moving on. for me, the important thing was making sure that, in whatever form it got out there, the play is out there and it reminds people that this, this happened. >> woman 1: we found the person responsible for trying to poison the minds of all you good people, with these lies. she was sleeping amongst you, living amongst you, and there are many others like her. let this be a lesson to you all, this is how we deal with traitors. take her away! ♪ >> anthony: so, are things getting better? >> tracy: i would say in one sense we are not so afraid, you're not afraid to speak out. but also, i wouldn't say everything is wonderful, it's not. i think that things are slowly being pushed, but it's too slow.
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these spices built empires. >> anthony: wow. >> kumar: this is the chicken curry. then you have a potato that is spicy. >> anthony: right. >> kumar: then you have the beetroot, and this is one of the traditional samples of sri lanka. >> anthony: right. kumar lopez is a tamil who works for the sri lanka press institute. we sit down for lunch at a local rice and curry joint. >> anthony: so last time i was here was nine years ago. things have changed a lot. >> kumar: i think, yes, i think the fact that we are able to eat today without even thinking that there could be a bomb that could
go off at any moment, it certainly a bigger peace that you couldn't expect before. but i believe that peace can go to another stage, another level. in the mindset of those who have been impacted by the war, i think there needs to be further work to be done. >> anthony: after world war ii, the british left sri lanka. over time, the buddhist sinhalese majority both excluded and repressed the mostly hindu tamil minority, channeling populist fervor to turn discrimination into law. >> anthony: what is the generally accepted underlying reasons for the conflict in the first place? >> kumar: the main cause, or the main objective was to have a separate land for the tamils. the underlying reason for that being there were discrimination,
there were racism, and that basically brought them to this stage. >> anthony: by 1983, the situation reached its boiling point. the l.t.t.e. began waging what would become a 25 year guerilla war, before government forces crushed them in a brutal final offensive. >> anthony: i mean, the war was won militarily. is everybody speaking now? >> kumar: i think the underlying objective of the present government is definitely to bring about lasting peace. they've actually encouraged some of the -- in the north, to give job opportunities. so, peace is something that everybody is looking for. >> anthony: so, i'll be taking the train to jaffna shortly, this is a big deal. >> kumar: oh, it was not running probably for the last 30 years. >> anthony: whoa, whoa. it wasn't -- hasn't been running for 30 years? >> kumar: yeah, it hasn't been running for the minimum 20 years. >> anthony: because of the conflict? >> kumar: because of the conflict. >> anthony: wow. [ thunder ] ♪
[ rain ] ♪ >> anthony: wi the war over, sri lankans can now travel freely across the country; all the way north to jaffna. last time, we couldn't go there. today, we will. early morning, colombo station. the platforms bustle with a mix of commuters, long distance travelers, and the occasional tourist. ♪ ♪ breaking free from colombo's gravitational pull, the landscape opens up. second and third class compartments host a mix of
long haul; ten hours to jaffna. [ whistle ] ♪ that the jaffna queen runs at all is a symbolic move towards reunification. as the fight for an independent tamil state in sri lanka's north intensified, the l.t.t.e. destroyed these tracks. for the last two decades of the war, jaffna was all but cut off from the rest of the world. ♪ the l.t.t.e., unable to match the military might of the sri lankan army, fought their war by other means; every means they deemed necessary. acts of terrorism, suicide
bombings, political assassinations brought government retaliation. and collective punishment, of an equally terrible kind; and enormous in scale. the north suffered massive bombardments of civilian areas. hundreds of thousands of tamils ended up in refugee camps. by the time it was over, war crimes had been committed on both sides; those caught in the middle paying the ultimate toll. in the final weeks alone, at least 40,000 people were killed in a war the outside world knew little of. nearing the end of the line, weary passengers awake to find themselves in a different world. out the window, the air is thick; the smell of salt and sea.
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♪ >> anthony: jaffna is about as far north as you can go without hitting india. this is the homeland of sri lanka's tamil ethnic minority, and during the civil war, base of the l.t.t.e. tamil tigers. remnants of the conflict are hard to miss. ♪ [ speaking in foreign language ] but on any given day down byhe coast, the fish market buzzes; a hive of activity, and commerce.
fresh product comes in, deals are made, money changes hands; life goes on. >> janah: initially, before the war, the north and east contributed 40% of the gdp. >> anthony: and now? >> janah: 3%. there were so many industries here, everything was destroyed; there was no electricity for a long time. i had a coconut farm here, about a hundred acres, and it was completely destroyed during the war. there is not even a single tree without a bullet hole.
>> anthony: like many sri lankan tamils, janah was born here, but with considerable regret, spent much of his life abroad. >> anthony: i mean the fighting has stopped. >> janah: absolutely, that's true. >> anthony: what's changed? >> janah: a lot of things have been rebuilt. slowly, now they are focusing on rebuilding infrastructure, they are renovating all these ponds and lagoons, and now slowly business is thriving in this part of the country. >> anthony: the underlying
discontent, the given reasons for the war. is there a sense that those problems are being addressed? >> janah: the war was very brutal, and people, after 30 years, everybody is tired of war. we have a very affected population; there are about 30,000 war widows, close to 25,000 orphan children, about 15,000 people who were land mine victims. from the government side, they are still a bit scared, that there may be war popping up again, but slowly now they are addressing issues, like employment-wise, opportunity-wise, and there are a lot of occupied lands, now they are slowly giving it back. >> anthony: so, hopeful? >> janah: yeah, i see the progress. what i see here is the human resilience, like, you know, after going through this war for 30 years, how quickly people here can rebuild. [ bells ] >> anthony: so, what's happening today? first of all, where are we? >> janah: this is a kali temple.
>> anthony: and kali is? >> janah: kali is a destroyer of evil. people go and pray, and have kali temples in villages because it destroys evil power. >> anthony: both good and bad? >> janah: yes. >> anthony: protector? >> janah: protector, destroyer. >> anthony: and destroyer. >> janah: yes. because kali is also known for courage and valor, like when people go to war and things like that, they go and pray to kali. to give them the confidence an the courage to go and fight. [ bells ] >> anthony: after decades of cultural suppression, tamils take great pride in their customs, traditions, and religious festivals. ♪ around here the madai festival is the most auspicious day of the year for hindu's to balance their spiritual debts. believers show devotion through suffering; enduring acts of great pain and hardship called kavadis, or the burden debts.
kavadis can take many forms: you could make a pilgrimage to the main temple on shoes made of nails, or roll there on the ground, often for a distance of several kilometers. these are some of the way believers express gratitude to kali, or implore her for help. ritualistic body piercing is another such expression. [ drums ] [ chanting ] >> janah: i'd say it's a very interesting thing, they prepare for a very long time. 28 days they fast, and they condition themselves mentally. and when they come to the temple, and there is a special
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♪ [ birds ] >> anthony: the islands off jaffna's coast were holdouts during the tamil resistance, and saw heavy fighting. the people who remained, like the landscape itself, bare heavy scars. this was a conflict that left more than 80,000 women widowed. >> anthony: well, the whole island is very quiet; i mean i did not see shops filled with people or children playing in the yards or people in fields. it felt very, very, very quiet. is that a good quiet or a bad
quiet? >> gowrie: so it's an area that has been severely depopulated, as you would have noticed when you came here. >> anthony: now, when you say depopulated, people fled, people were killed, people were disappeared? [ speaking in foreign language ] >> lady with glasses: in 1991. prior to that, 22,000 people were residing here in this village. >> gowrie: within three hours, in 1991, the entire area was evacuated of its population. people have only started coming back to live here relatively recently. a very small percentage of the original population that has come back.
>> anthony: in tamil society, as in much of the world, women have few rights. no official system to look after or support them. the north ceylon community project seeks to address that problem; providing a home and training for women who might otherwise be living on the street. gowrie is from this area, and one of the organizations benefactors. >> gowrie: culturally, a woman who is a widow, who has lost her husband, is a total social outcast, and become terribly vulnerable to all other types of abuse because they have no source of income, they have no one to protect them, no one to look after them, so this organization has grown to be a safe haven. ♪ >> anthony: now, you provide food, shelter, job training? some road to financial independence? >> gowrie: when they come here, they are given a place to stay. they also, there is a group of women who come here for daily work. and there are different projects
that are skills training projects for the women, and within this space they are given the strength, the skills, and the opportunities to change their lives. [ speaking in foreign language ] [ bell ] >> anthony: so, why stay? i mean, it's an obvious question. so many have left, why stay here? >> gowrie: where you come from is very important. so i think in this culture, it is about where your roots are. where your family history is. >> anthony: what about these kids? when they are 16, 17, 18. >> gowrie: they are going to finish their education and then they are going to be looking for jobs. and those jobs are not materializing in these areas. so, in the past, a number of young people would find ways and means, often very risky ways and means, to leave sri lanka and go abroad.
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♪ [ cracking ] ♪ jaffna crab curry, might be for me anyway, the holy grail of sri lankan cuisine. spicy and fiery in a cuisine known for being spicy and fiery already. during the war years, it was hard to get crabs like this; and still is today; the majority being exported to other parts of the country and abroad. but in this time capsule of a home, it might as well still be 1953. i've been invited here by dr. ravi, his sister, jeeva, and their beloved auntie, best cook in the family. >> dr. ravi: so there we have it, welcome to jaffna, welcome
to paradise. >> anthony: thank you, thank you. these are delicious by the way. >> dr. ravi: they are great, aren't they? >> anthony: wow. are they toasted, and then? >> jeeva: with yogurt. >> dr. ravi: dipped in yogurt, dried, sundried. >> anthony: it's a beautiful home. >> jeeva: thank you very much. >> anthony: built in the '30s? >> dr. ravi: in the '30s, late british period. >> anthony: how is it that this remained in the family, that you were able to hang on, that you are still here? >> dr. ravi: so during the war, the tigers lived here. and then the sri lankan army lived here for a little while. my father kept coming back here making sure that he made his presence known. >> jeeva: i think the thing is that it was, it has a lot of, you know, family stories, so even a lot of my cousins have a great attachment to this house. can i get you some more crab curry?
>> anthony: please, thank you. thank you, so beautiful, thank you. so delicious. i've been to a lot of places, just after really awful, awful conflicts. some nations there is a simmering and boiling sense of injustice, rage, humiliation; particularly when you have large groups of young people unemployed wandering around. do you think that there is any possibility, that if everybody doesn't get their recipe right, that we could see, you know, another generation of adversaries? >> dr. ravi: generally speaking, people want to get on with it. because, my generation, they certainly don't want to go back to that. i think that generation that might, are the 5-6 year olds at school now, would have forgotten the horrors of war. as you go back your ak-47, my six months in the sun. >> jeeva: i think i am optimistic, but i think that one of the first things that we need
to build is to build a trust amongst the people. there are lots of idps still, still in camps, and if they could be given back their lands, that might be useful to also jump-start the economy. >> anthony: it should be a paradise. i mean look out the window. >> jeeva: the potential is incredible. ♪ ♪ stare with me into the abyss ( ♪ ) ♪ stthe strikingly designedyss impolexus nx turbore. and hybrid. lease the 2017 nx turbo for $299 a month for 36 months.
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♪ ♪ >> anthony: so, 20 years from now, are you optimistic, pessimistic, what do you think? >> tracy: you have to be optimistic, you have to be. empathy is everything, it's part of what makes us human. that's what, that's where we have to connect and understand each other, it's all very idealistic, i know that. for some people, the hurts are
too deep, for some people it's too late for forgiveness or trust, or, you know you have for example communities that have been displaced 13 times over the past 25 years. >> anthony: that's what you call a breeding ground for -- >> tracy: trouble! >> anthony: for trouble. >> tracy: yeah. >> anthony: sri lanka has been through, and endured, a lot. far more than most. it's a lot to ask of any place, to put aside such things as hate, fear, a desire for revenge. it might still be too much. but there is indeed, it appears, reason to hope. >> man in blue shirt: hi, tony! >> anthony: hey, how are you doing man? >> man in blue shirt: nice to meet you! >> anthony: hey, nice to meet you. greasing up the, what's that, grouper? >> man in blue shirt: yeah. >> anthony: you put it on the, banana leaf, is it? >> man in blue shirt: yeah, that's right, yeah. ♪ >> anthony: any fishermen here? >> man in red shirt: yeah, they
are all fishermen. >> anthony: okay, so what happened during the war? could you fish? >> man in hat: yes. >> anthony: straight through? >> man in blue shirt: they only have to get the permission, and then they're limited for, one kilometer. >> anthony: did people feel safe anywhere, to do what they did? >> man in red shirt: any time, nobody felt safe. curfew was installed here, 4:00 curfew. otherwise you can be shot. these people have to make a living. they have to make -- catch fish to feed their home, feed their families, so they have to go. ♪ ♪ >> anthony: all right. what's up bro? what's up young man? >> anthony: most of the world, when you've been through a struggle like this, so painful, and so vicious, usually at the end of the day, people cannot say "look, i'm exhausted, nobody wins here." we all want to live in a world where we can take care of our
children. are we at that point in sri lanka? >> man in red shirt: jaffna people never beg; but they will fight. please, look at the future. don't let the young people, again, to go and take up arms. invest, develop, give them some guidance. these people who ran a war, these guys have built torpedoes, submarines. >> anthony: ingenuity. >> man in red shirt: they were also keen about destroying the war, terrorism, destroying the terrorism. they never value the strength of the people. >> man: really? >> tracy: yeah. >> man: is that how this ends? >> man 2: that's the story. >> tracy: it's a little depressing, no? >> man 3: how about a message of hope! >> man: yes! >> tracy: all right, let's talk about it. [ chatter ]
>> tracy: and then one day, the civil war of lies came to an abrupt end. >> anthony: harsh question. why should americans, watching this, why should we give a shit? why should people care about sri lanka? >> tracy: i guess -- i don't know why americans should care. i just want sri lankans to care. the story has to go on, and for it to go on, we have to have some hope. citizens were asked for what they most desired, and that is how peace came to the island of short memories. the warring parties fast realized that it didn't matter who won, or who lost, because in the end, they were all on the same side. ♪