15 October, 2018

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Remembering Malati: Tamil Women Freedom Fighters – The Epitome Of Unparalleled Courage & Chivalry

By Usha S Sri-Skanda Rajah –

Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

Yesterday was a solemn day. It was a day that ought to inspire all Tamil women and men – to take the ideals of our freedom fighters and continue the struggle for the emancipation and restoration of Tamil Eelam. We have to win back Tamil Eelamfor them who sacrificed everything for this sacred cause.

Yesterday, 10th October, we commemorated the 31st anniversary of the first woman martyr 2nd Lt Malati. It is in Malati’s honour and the many women martyrs after her, that the 10th of October was proclaimed Tamileela Pengal Eluchchi Naal – தமிழீழ பெண்கள் எழுச்சி நாள்– Tamil Eelam Women’s Day of Awakening – the awakening of and the rising up of Tamil women against not only tyranny but all forms of discrimination and oppression directed at women:

The statement that followed the proclamation speaks volumes: and I quote: “The people should remember the contributions of 2nd Lt. Malati and recognize the fundamental changes the Tamil liberation struggle has created in Tamil society in regard to the equality of women… The struggle has freed people from the shackles of superstitious customs, infused new blood and taken the society in new directions… “Liberation does not mean just freedom from foreign domination and tyranny, but also freedom from religious and gender discrimination and oppression of women.”

End quote. 

Tamil Women Freedom Fighters were far ahead of their time!

2nd Lt Malati was the first woman freedom fighter who gave her life for at the age of 20 on the 10th October 1987 in Kopay, Jaffna in a confrontation with the IPKF. She was not only the first woman but also the first to die defending the Tamil homeland – the Thamil Munn (Tamil Soil) against an Indian army that turned against us. 

Adele Balasingham in her “Women Fighters of Liberation Tigers” … writes

And I quote:

“The Indo- LTTE war broke out on the 10th October1987. On the very first day of the war, the LTTE women’s unit confronted the Indian troops at the strategic junction of Kopay, a village 5 kilometers from the Jaffna city. As a convoy of Indian troops advanced along the Navatkuli-Kopay Road the LTTE women fighters encamped at Kopay were prepared to confront a powerful force. 

The women fighters were near the Kopay junction in defensive positions when a convoy of Indian troops arrived in the black of night. Hundreds of troops jumped out of their vehicles and started to advance towards the women fighter’s positions. Heavy fighting broke out. Our women cadres fought hard, putting up fierce resistance against a formidable contingent with superior firepower. In that clash Malati died. Malati was the first women fighter to die in battle. Janani, a veteran of many battles, takes up the story of Malati’s death. 

“We were in our bunkers firing at the army. Hundreds of Indian troops had jumped out of their vehicles and were firing as they moved towards us. Motor shells were exploding everywhere. We knew the army was advancing quickly. Malati was shot in both legs. She couldn’t move and she was bleeding profusely. Realising that she was mortally wounded, she swallowed cyanide. A decision had been made to withdraw because we were heavily out-numbered. Myself and another girl went over to carry Malati. Malati refused to come with us. She begged us to leave her and asked us to withdraw. Nevertheless, we lifted Malati and carried her and when we arrived at a safe place she was dead.”

End quote.

Since then there have been countless Malatis who have given their lives for the cause of freedom, some who survived but suffer the scars of war – those women, who stood shoulder to shoulder with the men, second to no one and showed unbelievable and unparalleled courage and chivalry this world has ever witnessed. 

They are icons, their names will be engraved in gold in our history, they dared to go where others have feared and faltered and we salute them. 

Only way we can repay them, in a small way, is to carry the mantle – but also to help former women freedom fighters and wives, daughters and parents of freedom fighters – and also former men freedom fighters, many of whom still suffer the traumas of war, to rebuild their lives and stand on their feet– including families of those disappeared by the government of Sri Lanka and its agents – also to advocate to free those languishing in jails without charge. And although we the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam are essentially a political formation to win the restoration of an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam – as individuals – each one of us, can come forward to be responsible for improving the lives of at least one of them.

Today 10th October, the year two thousand and eighteen, I speak for many Tamil women, that we will live by the solemn oath we’ve taken in our own minds, that we will work to ensure that Tamil destiny will be in Tamil hands, that we will reinforce the promise we made to ourselves to vindicate the sacrifice of our women freedom fighters and men, engage, educate, persuade and convince the international community towards conducting a referendum, as we continue the struggle for justice and freedom, that we will not rest and do whatever it takes, even if we are no more, to bring the younger generation of Tamils to take over the struggle, until it is won.

This is our promise to our women and men freedom fighters.

Ithu Sathyam!

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Latest comments

  • 5
    2

    Stop arguing like small children, understand the hard facts.

    Mainly people from Sri Lanka and abroad are manuplating our people to do violent acts.
    Tamils boys and girls went to the level of dieing is not because they wanted, they were pushed to the limit and others used them.
    Who’s fault it is Sri Lankan Goverments fault, not protecting the people of Sri Lanka. If a Hindu, Christian, Buddhiest or Muslim does things to harm the stability of our country, the laws should take care of it.

    The Sri Lankan goverment wanted to uplift the living standards and employment for Buddhiest people since the majority people were not equality represented in positions and wealth.

    This is not only because tamils had higher propotion of good postions in Sri Lankan socity, the majority of rich people of Sri Lankans were afraid of a communist equalent political uprisal.

    The tamils who were poor and not previlaged surffered badly and they even had less operchunities to have a living like the previlage socity. The tamils who could pull strings or pay their way left to other countries to create a living. Who’s fault is this ? is it high cast Vellalars fault ? I would say it is Sri Lankan goverments fault. It didnt take care of its own citizens.

    Same also happened to Singelease youths, which brought JVP.

    The rich and bainy ones always survived.

    Our goverment has not taken responsibilities for actions like several other goverments. Lets join hands and develop our country without talking about the past.

    • 1
      2

      Chingkallam stop posting your lies and propaganda under a Thamizh name

  • 3
    2

    Usha you confuse me. In Jeevan Hoole article you put comments demeaning we Tamils now you sing hosanna for us Tamils. Who are you really?

    • 1
      2

      Do not get confused Chingkalla woman. We all know that you are a Chingkallam and not Thamizh. You think we are dumb like you.

    • 1
      0

      always look at the logo of the comments to see whether it is Usha’s.Someone is using her name to send a comment to sinhala_man and he uncovered it.

  • 3
    2

    yes, i do not trust usha too. she comments about us tamils so badly

    • 1
      1

      There is no such name called Koneswaran amongst Thamizhs. Got caught out. I think you are the same Chingkallam who has posted the last three comments under pretend Thamizh identity. What a pathetic creature you are.

      • 0
        1

        I think people are confusing Usha Candappa, the Colombo Chetti lady who commented negatively about NE Tamils, with Ms. Sri-Skanda-Rajah who is known as a Tamil nationalist based in Canada for a long time.

  • 1
    1

    There are some personal attacks on Usha and Brian. International community has termed SL as the ‘Land of the disappeared’. Please get out of your state of denial. It is time to stop treating Tamil grievances as something that will go away.
    ‘The Guardian’ of 13 October 2018 had this.
    Sri Lanka, the land of the disappeared – a photo essay. Photographs by Moises Saman and essay by Tim Adams. Link
    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/oct/13/moises-saman-interview-sri-lanka-tamil-minority-aftermath-war
    Or directly guardian/world/Asia/SE Asia.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Mr K Pillai
      I do not think anyone here has ever disputed problems we had as a developing nation in-fact we are the victims of crimes too. Sorry I can not speak for those who make derogative remarks. I have always read your comments with interest and all others with due respect too. I will share the following as to the solutions offered for consideration or rather imposed on all of us by the politicians and the youth alike from North to South without any due consideration to other citizens view point who were all equal stake holders of their own destiny too. The ‘voiceless majority’ never told anyone at gun point what others should follow. Earlier I have defined 4 era for the convenience of discussions as it will show we all have fed each others ego and in the process lost a lot of blood/context of living and sadly led us to the state you described above ‘Land of the Disappeared’. Land of the Disappeared does not include the majority of the population who had paid their life and their children’s life defending the nation for a better day hence the generalisation of the armed forces too as evil does not wash well. The contrary or rather controversy here is the same gun trotting violent liberators be it from the north or the south have not acknowledged/accounted/put in record of all the hideous crimes they have committed in the name of whatever their causes have inavriably made the Nation Building an impossible scenario/task for any Head of State and to the ‘non believers of these causes’ who are the majority of our Nation. (please just look at the number of people voted under duress then and now for such causes analysing each and every campaign of non fatal discussions/intimidations and then the subsequent man date??)

  • 0
    0

    Continued
    If you draw a loss of life vs time from say 1900 to 2000 (paying speacial attention to the era’s I defined with time lining of the national and the international events meaning what we had to manage as a Nation) will reveal the Tamil and the Sinhala youth never offered workable solutions because the adopted methodologies have silenced the majority. That is why the article above and its content (except the loss of this Childs life we did not take care) as well as the recent disputed movie Demons in Paradise does not bring justice to the Majority. The minority here is the ones talks about divisional politics and the retribution amongst themselves is what holding us all back from moving forward is what need to be discussed. One has to note this majority is a willing to accommodate all too to date is a very healthy sign. We can not have selective investigations but can have (1) Tamil crime on Tamils (2) Sinhala crime on Sinhala (3) Sinhala vs Tamil and then proceed to war crime investigation will be a meaningful and will lay a good bench mark for a healthier future. However if we are all for Peace and Reconciliation then it is this Minority vs Majority has to be clearly understood and not Tamil vs Sinhala is the point. If this is about land reforms/releasing innocents in the jail/armed forces giving land back to the people then this requires acceptable faces for the discussions but not the same TNA/TULF/PLOTE/TELO/EPRLF….JVP’s and other facist religious organisations……this is what is holding the entire to ransom…..just as an example if I care about Tamil rights then given a set of tried methods failed perhaps one should pave way to others to do their shaping of the future.

  • 0
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    Continued
    The history indeed is repeating itself in which we are collective losses perhaps excerpt some of us now have made home elsewhere. Just to further drive my message please look at South Africa/Malaysia and other countries where Tamils live did not resort to the same solutions as we have adopted perhaps they made better decisions to sail through the storm for a better weather and now the beneficiaries too. Discriminations comes in many forms including the language but how the life struggle is any better for those without the language problem is what one has to focus from now on will yield a better tomorrow. Once more no one in their right mind will ever justify any crime on anyone not it is about relativity but necessity is not to loose context. I wish all that energy and sacrifices were used by all the SJV politics to JVP politics were used in economical discussions we could have liberated our people of poverty a long time ago. Try to offer the same solutions to India and other nations that we were stuffed with then you will know what I am thinking. If we look back our history with language/race/religious/cast/class politics then one would know it is not the governments vs people it is our own DNA makeup that has created all kind of discriminations too. then to talk about cockyness/thuggery/rapes/stabbing/killing/miming which were all there in all the community from north to south…….this is what I mean when I feel we lost context but not as an demeaning remark on others opinions. I am born 1963 and brought up under Mr Thiagarajah’s household I certainly know to certain degree the social ills over and beyond the Sinhala Only act that required fixing/priority the most but we focused on an incorrect action list have led to the non sequential actions make it impossible to tackle issues in the interest of all.

  • 1
    0

    Brother Pandi Kutti, don’t jump to conclusion, I think we have an issue. I went through so many past comments one by one. They are by Usha Sri – Skandar – Rjah ( not Usha Candappa.) herself and noone else. I am positive Usha Sri – Skandar – Rjah has posted anti Tamil comments discreetly. I am postive not Chinkalagi woman as potrayed by you.

  • 1
    0

    It is strange and preposterous for someone to say Koneswaran is not a Tamil name. What about our holiest shrine – Koneswaran Tample? Sinhalayas trying to trap us

  • 0
    0

    Thamodaran Thampo, are you Balasubramaniam Thampo’s son (Bala Thampo’s)? I have been looking for him.

    • 0
      0

      Singaravelu

      Are you sure you are looking for Tampon or Thampo’s son? It appears you need loads of Tampons.

  • 0
    0

    No I’m Robin Thampo’s (film producer) son. Bala Thampo was my uncle.

  • 0
    0

    Ms. Skandarajah,

    You are insane to call the terrorists as Freedom fighters. With this statement, we can understand mind set of a few racists individuals and Vellalas. How many tamils that they have killed in cold blood for dissent including so called their own political leaders and tamil groups and Tamil intellectuals. How many unarmed innocent civillians that they have killed? Is this so called freedom fighting?
    This insane metality for non-existing issues with non – practical solutions managed to deceive the Tamil masses all along since 1933 to 2009 and no more.

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