Tea Time with Terrorists: A Motorcycle Journey into the Heart of Sri Lanka's Civil War [NOOK Book]

Overview


Armed with a map, a motorcycle, an infectious sense of humor, and a dim understanding of Sri Lanka’s war, author, artist, and adventurer Mark Stephen Meadows arrives in the country intending to have, as it were, afternoon tea with terrorists. Figuring that the first step to solving a problem is understanding it, he journeys north into the war zone, interviewing terrorists, generals, and heroin dealers along the way.
He discovers an island of beauty and abundance ground down by ...
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Tea Time with Terrorists: A Motorcycle Journey into the Heart of Sri Lanka's Civil War

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Overview


Armed with a map, a motorcycle, an infectious sense of humor, and a dim understanding of Sri Lanka’s war, author, artist, and adventurer Mark Stephen Meadows arrives in the country intending to have, as it were, afternoon tea with terrorists. Figuring that the first step to solving a problem is understanding it, he journeys north into the war zone, interviewing terrorists, generals, and heroin dealers along the way.
He discovers an island of beauty and abundance ground down by three decades of war. As he travels north through Colombo, Kandy, and the damaged city of Jaffna, Meadows gives his riveting take on the war. Known for child conscription and drawn-out torture methods, he explains, the Tamil Tigers also invented suicide bombing and were the first to lace together terrorists and financiers into international networks of militant uprising.
In Sri Lanka, Meadows discovers a deep view into an ancient culture. Along the way, he learns to trap an elephant, weave rope from coconut husks, and cast out devils, and he actually has tea with a few terrorists. This is the inspiring story of his journey and an enlightening meditation on the interconnectedness of globalization, the media, and modern terrorism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Advance Praise for Tea Time with Terrorists

"Meadows' courage and the personal relationships he builds with the people he meets in Sri Lanka reveals the extent to which our fears are only a sign of how much we still need to learn. His warm approach and bridge-building provides an insight to civil strife that is unprecedented in other works. An excellent undertaking." —Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

"'I went because knowledge is terror’s strongest antidote,' Mark Stephen Meadows writes near the start of his book, and he achieves this goal well. Tea Time grants knowledge not just about Sri Lanka, but about terrorism, its genesis—a deadly serious subject, but all told in a voice as familiar as an old friend's." —Peter Allison, author of Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide and Don't Look Behind You!: A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos

"Meadows's journey along the razor's edge brings refreshing clarity and enlightenment. He lets you feel, smell, taste and touch Sri Lanka in its moment of tumult. A great read for those seeking more than news reports and academic analysis. Highly recommended." —Robert Young Pelton, author of The World's Most Dangerous Places and Licensed to Kill

Library Journal
Europe shaped this inveterate hitchhiker and motorcyclist's interest in the media's perceptions of terrorism, which drew him to the island nation of Sri Lanka, home to the Tamil Tigers, to study the terrorist ethology of militant nationalists. Although Meadows chats with a number of persons touched by or responsible for terrorist acts in Sri Lanka (one even gives him a media packet), his book features more historical prolog than in-country adventure. Some charming stories of drinking tea and exploring caves will draw in readers, but details of his bike trek don't start until page 160 or so—understandable considering the complexity of the subject matter. The author also waxes poetic about toilets and weaves folksy stories about elephants into the narrative of his adventures. His insights into the political and military psyches of terrorist leaders and the link between poverty and terrorism are spellbinding. With black-and-white photographs, a time line, and a glossary. VERDICT This compelling but somewhat disjointed account is a worthwhile addition to larger international affairs collections.—Elizabeth Connor, The Citadel, Military Coll. of South Carolina Lib., Charleston
Kirkus Reviews
A persistent journalist travels through war-torn Sri Lanka, seeking greater meaning in a terrorism-driven conflict. On 9/11, Meadows was stranded in Paris, without a flight home to the United States. He stayed in Europe for a year, met his future wife and felt profoundly affected by this new kind of warfare. He decided to learn more about terrorism and picked Sri Lanka as a case study. In such a small country with a relatively isolated conflict, Meadows thought that he might be able to gain access to the nucleus of terrorism. Since 1983, the island nation off the Southern coast of India has been embroiled in conflict between the Tamil ethnic minority in the north and the sovereign Sinhalese majority. The Tamil forces are led by an insurgent militant group, the Tamil Tigers. The author sought entry into this group, hoping to apply lessons learned from them to his study of global terrorism. He began in the south, acclimating himself to the culture in a sleepy beach town, and then moved north on his motorcycle, traveling through the bustling capital of Colombo, the northern stronghold of Kandy and finally to Jaffna, the northernmost Tamil community, destroyed by years of fighting. The author's persistence is impressive, as is his ability to gain access to some influential members of the Tigers, but his motives remain murky. Even though Meadows became invested in the country and its people, it's unclear whether he actually gained further insight into global terrorism, or was just using Sri Lanka as a convenient, exotic example. A somewhat interesting travelogue by motorcycle, but the author's journey feels more like an abstract intellectual exercise than a genuine investigation into Sri Lanka's unique, tragic situation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593763695
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,193,818
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Mark Stephen Meadows has hitchhiked 15,000 miles, sailed four of the seven seas, and visited fifty countries. His writing and art have documented hitchhiking through Iraq and crossing the United States seven times by motorcycle. He also co-invented four patents relating to artificial intelligence and online environments. He and his wife live on their sailboat, The Blue Goose.
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Table of Contents

1 Compromises

The Day That Started with a Bang 10

Sama 16

2 Ahangama

The Island 24

Honorary Dinner 45

Good and Bad 57

Dancing Devils 60

Heroin and Saris 73

3 Colombo

The English Equation 86

The Major General 102

The Terrorist Who Thinks It's All Unnecessary 110

The PLO-Trained Munitions Consultant from London 124

The Mahout of Social Services 142

4 Kandy

The Bomb of the Temple of the Tooth 152

The Couple with Broken Glass and Good Karma 164

5 Sigiriya

Karma, Part I: The King Who Drowned in the Earth 168

Karma, Part II: The King's Son Who Drowned in The Earth 173

6 Aluvihara

The Monk with a Gun 178

The Brit with a Book 188

7 Vavuniya

The Red, Red Road to Jaffna Town 194

Pink Yank Jack Cracker 211

8 Kilinochchi

The Man Who Lived in the Horizontal Rain 216

Coughing Morning 229

The Killed Secret Weapon 237

The Men Who Sold Fish 244

9 Jaffna

Bicycle City 250

The Library 260

10 The Road Back

Recessional 264

The Art Form of Terror (On Imperialism) 273

The Message from God 282

Addenda

Sri Lankan / Eeelam Militant Groups 287

Glossary 289

Time Line 291

Selected Bibliography 298

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