12 December, 2019

Blog

Tamil Tiger Women: Through Selected Writings By Them

By Charles Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

The web-site tamiltigerwomen.com contains material, both poems and prose-sketches, selected and translated from the original Tamil into English by Dr N. Malathy: my thanks to her for sending me a copy. The documents are rare in that they are the writings of women (many were teenagers or in their early 20s) who were Tiger combatants. Presumably most, if not all, are now dead, killed in action. I may be mistaken but think their names as given are nom du guerre. Much of the material they left behind was destroyed by the government. Dr. Malathy is owed a debt of gratitude for collecting, translating and making available for posterity these intensely personal perspectives. It is, one hopes, an on-going project to which others will contribute. Eventually, a data or document bank can be established from which those interested can draw. Our memory and recall are not to be trusted. Memory adjusts and alters the past, and creates something different, that is, something that did not happen quite the way we remember and believe. But many of the works selected here are not the product of distant recollection but were written as it were in medias res, and so are all the more valuable. I admit: immediacy does not eliminate subjectivity. Reading the fictionalised contributions, one recalls the words of Nadine Gordimer, Nobel-Prize winner for Literature: Nothing factual that I write is as true as my fiction. If there is death and awful injury; great grief and unutterable pain; mutilation, hardship, exhaustion, shortage of food and medicine, there’s also warm camaraderie; brief and in-between moments of teasing, tomfoolery and laughter. Love finds brief expression in ‘Fire within’ by Ampuli. Neela belongs to a carrier-team tasked with bearing away the dead and the injured, bringing forward food and ammunition. Suddenly, in the midst of the “fire” of battle, she catches sight of Hari, her love. She had believed he was in another theatre of the war, and the fearful thought wells up: will she also carry his dead body?

Even after death, the Tamil Tigers continue to excite sharply contrasting reactions, and those who attempt a balanced approach risk the ire, if not abuse, from both extremes. Some see them as heroes who, inspired by a precious dream, fought for about three decades even though they were internationally isolated (a poem composed by Barathi accuses the United Nations of protecting not the vulnerable but the “vultures”); were massively out-numbered, and didn’t have a single jet-fighter or helicopter: see, Sarvan, ‘A great military victory?’ in the Sunday Leader of 25 October 2009. They fought with courage, often displaying chutzpah as in, for example, their attack on Colombo airport, 24 July 2001. Others see the Tigers as cruel and foolish: most of us are not immune to the infection of partisanship, though we may not be conscious of carrying the bacillus. The way in which the war ended brings honour neither to the government nor to the Tigers. The latter are accused of using thousands of Tamils, including children, women and the aged as human-shields – the very people to whom they had sought to bring freedom. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 4), it is commented of a character facing execution: “Nothing in his life / Became him like the leaving it”. The same is not said of the Tiger leadership. There are several examples from history of courage to the very end, such as the Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BCE, where Spartan King Leonidas with 7,000 men faced a Persian army thought to number about 150, 000. On realizing that he had been betrayed and was trapped, Leonidas released the bulk of his army and remained with a few to fight to the end. “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”

The Tigers were a complex phenomenon: in other words, there were contradictory elements which went to form their make-up. As I have written elsewhere, if there was cruelty in them, there was also discipline and courage; if there was strategic error, there was also tactical brilliance; if there was foolishness, there was also exceptional intelligence; if there was fatal stubbornness, there was also ingenious improvisation; if there was ruthless ambition, there was also pure idealism and the total self-denial and self-sacrifice such idealism can create. (For the last, see my review of the documentary, ‘My Daughter, the Terrorist’ in: www.sangam.org/2008/08/Film_Review.php?print=true) As far as I know, there are no reports of the Tigers (unlike Sri Lankan government soldiers) indulging in rape, be it of civilians, alleged sympathizers or captured combatants. Again, unlike with government security personnel, there is no record of the Tigers stripping naked, publicly taunting and humiliating Sinhalese, were they soldiers or civilians. (Gang-rape and rape continue with complete impunity in Tamil areas occupied by the army: see the Human Rights publication of 2013 titled We Will Teach You a Lesson. I have drawn attention to this book in Paper No. 5904, South Asia Analysis Group, 2 April 2015, and in Colombo Telegraph, 3 April 2015.)

In the present ‘blog’, Dr Ms Malathy does not concern herself with politics, with right and wrong, but with the experience of female Tamil Tigers as expressed in their own writing. War is presented in its detail – and in its terrible waste and tragedy. These poems and prose sketches reveal the individual, sentient, human being behind stereotype labels such as “terrorist”. The contrast between the beauty of nature and the cruelty of human beings has long struck and saddened humanity. In the words of Bishop Reginald Hebert: “where every prospect pleases, and man alone is vile”. If Sri Lanka is a “Paradise Isle”, as touted in tourist literature, it is so in terms of its natural beauty and not on political, economic, social or ethical grounds. These last are gifted neither by the gods nor by nature but are the creation of wise and caring, sustained and patient, human endeavour. In ‘Rise up for the new dawn’, also by Barathy, bird songs welcome a beautiful new dawn and trees shake off their dew. But then the blood of the female comrade next to her “paints new pictures on the soil”; the trees are crushed and birds rendered wingless.

Under the Tamil Tigers, women enjoyed a rare degree of emancipation. They carried out the same duties, did the same work, suffered and died as their male comrades. They saw it as a challenge to prove they were as good, if not better, than the men and so deserved their new status as equals. In Malaimahal’s Puthiya Kathaikal (‘New Stories’), the Indian army for the very first time in its history battles an all-women unit. (Female Tiger units are known to have routed all-male government forces.) It is indeed a new story because it is about a new breed of women freed from the notions and constrains of conservative society. Words from the poem ‘Easter, 1916’ by Yeats come to mind: “All changed, changed utterly: / A terrible beauty is born”. (The Easter uprising was an attempt by the Irish to free themselves from British imperial rule but it couldn’t prevail against superior numbers and fire-power.) A mother is shocked that her daughter who as a child was even afraid to go out in the dark (presumably to the toilet) is now a Sea Tiger, wearing shorts and diving deep into the dark depths of the ocean. Another woman comments that the sea, outraged at this unbecoming behaviour by a woman, will surely storm and rage. In Pillai’s perceptive and tragic Malayalam novel of the 1950s, Chemmeen, the belief is recounted that the life of a fisherman far out at sea is in the hands of his wife ashore. Should she behave improperly, Kadalamma (literally, sea-mother, meaning the goddess of the sea) would visit vengeance on her husband. Such pseudo-religious beliefs were (are?) used by older folk to control the younger, particularly women. Patriarchy, supported by complicit, conservative and collaborative women, often disguises its drive to domination as religious piety and social propriety. As Louis Althusser showed, state and society maintain themselves through Ideology which includes religious belief. The exploited – in this case, females – are persuaded to believe in and support their own exploitation and subordination.

In ‘What price?’ by Malaimahal, a group of female Tigers is surprised to come across an old man crying on the edge of the frontline. He explains that the land on which they stand was his, intended to meet the dowry required to ‘settle’ his daughter. Now the land is gone; with it the dowry and his daughter’s future. “What is the point in my living when I cannot do anything for my child?” It is dishonourable for a man to demand a dowry, and an insult to the woman to have one paid, and the pernicious dowry system was rejected by the Tigers. In this sketch, a female Tiger decides to write to her brothers urging that, when they marry, they should not accept a dowry. Under a ‘Carthaginian peace’, the situation of Tamil women in the occupied areas, now far worse than before the war began, is pitiful. It is not only harassment and humiliation at the hands of soldiers but conservative Tamil society has reasserted itself, and women who were free and enjoyed as much scope as men are now consigned to playing traditional roles. A former fighter cannot even climb onto a low wall to pluck a ripe fruit because that would be un-ladylike: please access ‘Haunted by her Yesterdays’;

‘Eluthaatha Kavithai’ (‘Unwritten poem’) was composed by one Vaanathi shortly before she was killed in action. Its refrain begs, “Write my unwritten poem / This is my plea to you”. But while others may die with or even for you, each must die her or his own death. So too only Vaanathi can write Vaanathi’s poems, and she is no more. They emerged from her unique inner-being. (Every human being, terrorist or freedom-fighter; however lowly and obscure, is unique.) Dr Malathy has done what’s possible by rescuing these works and making them available to a wider readership. It is for readers to access this ‘site’ and form their own opinion: mine is merely an attempt to draw attention to it.

Finally, there is the aspect of translation. In Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 3, Scene 1), when a character is temporarily transformed into an animal, his friends exclaim: You have been translated! A translation is a new avatar in a completely different form. Those who don’t know the original language can form impressions, make judgements, only on the basis of the translation before them: translators bear a grave responsibility. Secondly, to translate, say, from Italian to French is easier than translating not only from a different language but also from a very different culture: as is the case here. Thirdly, while translation assumes near native-speaker competence in the target language, to work on literary texts calls, in addition, for heightened sensitivity to language and its nuances. So it is that the same text has been translated into the same language by different individuals, each not quite satisfied with the effort of her or his predecessor. For example, Homer’s Odyssey has been translated into English over the centuries, each version more or less different. Variety of interpretation is enriching and to be welcomed. The present translation may leave much to be desired but it must be commended for what it does: preserve and disseminate. No doubt, there will be different translations, other versions, of this and other Tamil-Tiger literature.

We want minds to strip away falsity; to nurture empathy and to bury difference.
(Adapted from ‘We want beautiful minds’ by Ampuli, included in ‘Tamil Tiger Women: Through Selected Writings by Them’)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8
    9

    I salute their courage, they always in our hearts. Brave fighters, geopolitics destroyd their brave liberation struggle against one of the worst stone age monsters…

    • 6
      3

      And what were you doing while these girls were fighting Muthu? Stacking tins of Captain Mackerel at “Ponniah’s Superstores” in Croydon? :D

      • 0
        1

        we were at your home.

        • 2
          1

          Really? I take it you were one of the coolies I had scrubbing the toilets at my house then – when did you get online :D

          • 1
            0

            Wee Thamihz Senior Journalist Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

            “I take it you were one of the coolies I had scrubbing the toilets at my house then”

            You are mistaken ravivararo for a toilet cleaner. Was ravivararo at your home while you were away on assignment?

            You have to have a very serious word with your wife/partner if you have one. Is ravivararo your local milkman?

            Check your children’s DNA.

      • 1
        0

        Wee Thamil Senior Journalists Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

        “And what were you doing while these girls were fighting Muthu? “

        Did you ask your partner what Jamis Muthu Banda was doing in your house while you were away on assignment?

        Jamis Muthu Banda is not partial to beauty. Anything goes for him. He is a sort of a pervert. Therefore you should have a serious talk with your wife/partner.

    • 5
      4

      Jamis Muthu Banda

      “they always in our hearts.”

      Hypocrite.

      I am told some of them are reduced to destitution and lot of the former tigresses are being treated as dirt in their own villages.

      Those who escaped to South East countries are now facing uncertainty and imminent danger of being arrested and deported back to Sri Lanka or sent to prison for violating immigration rules.

      I am also told some of them were raped and tortured by the security forces while being kept at those concentration camps run by Gota and his fellow war criminals.

      “Brave fighters, geopolitics destroyd their brave liberation struggle”

      They may or may not have been brave fighters however as Tamilan what are you doing to alleviate their suffering?

      • 0
        2

        My beloved Tamil vedda, my friends and me all doing great thing to our ex liberation fighters….we will do our best…thats all i can say now…mind u i am one of them.

        • 2
          2

          Getting fired for liberating change from the counter doesn’t make you an “ex liberation fighter”, Muthu :D

          • 1
            0

            ‘thats all i can say now……mind u i am one of them’

            I did not know that Mutt u is now a woman. How did the surgery go?

            • 0
              1

              damn Sinhala fool….one of u mean…not dick & pussy…u typical Sinhala damn fool…I am fighter like them…

    • 6
      0

      Mutt u, why is Adele Balasingham only mentioned in the Bibliography?
      How many of these thousands of women were children?

      • 6
        0

        Exactly !!Let us have some comments from you (Muthu) and all of you including Oosha on Mrs. Adele Balasingham, the “:auntie” who personally hung “garlands” of cyanide on young girls. She is no better than Pol Pot and others like him.

        • 2
          4

          Kumaran you Sinkalam.

          Let me give the answers you are looking for. You can hide behind a Tamil name but your mesage is Sinkalam.

          First of all get the Tamil names right.

          It is not Oosha it is Usha. As for Adele Balasingham let me clear the air.

          She was the wife of a War Hero unlike you a lover of War Criminal.

          There are two seperate isssues here.

          1) Sacrificing your life voluntarily for a cause called Martyrdom not in the name of Religion like ISIS.
          2) Being forced to die like your barbaric brothers.

          I will deal with the above in that order.

          1) Adele is being charged by you lot for Grooming Young boys to embrace Martyrdom.
          She did not recruit them forcibly but these were volunteers. She may have been wrong in grooming them knowingly. You are guilty if you knowingly have sex with an under aged Girl.
          But here we are talking about stark choices for these boys. Either die in the hands of you lot or die for a cause to survive. The Dean talked about Creative Vision and Humor and why didnt that Vison manifest itself into treating Tamils equally without butcherring them starting from 1958 to this presennt day.
          Adeles crime was to spell out the choices to these young innocent Boys. They didnt have to sacrifice their lives and the Blame lies with you so dont try to shift it somewhere else.

          2) Being forced to die.
          Many of your Barbaric brothers were stuffed with Drugs to get them into rage to fight to death under orders given by Gotha.
          These Soldiers were on a one way ticket to Mars which there were not aware of and that is why thousand deserted.

          If Adele is guilty of anything the UN inquiry after September will get to the bottom.
          I am sure she will face the inquiry willingly and if she is found guilty she will face the Consequences.
          But if I represent her I will rely on Miitigating Circumstances brought on by your Brutality and plead for clemency.

          Let the UN be the Judge and Jury and not GOSL headed by MS, RW Desmond and SF.

          • 4
            1

            Kali, I guess you are aptly named !

            It is not important if I am “sinkalam”, Thamil, Muslim, Burgher etc. What is important is I am as well as all of us are people of one nation, Sri Lanka. You sound exactly as what you are: an extremist. Adele Balasingham is a foreigner (Australian) and spell out to me, please how her husband can be regarded a “war hero”.

            • 1
              2

              Kumaran:

              We are not people of One Nation and if that was true you wouldnt have butchered us Simply because we are Tamils.

              ***how her husband can be regarded a “war hero”.

              *** Just like you consider the THUG a Hero who in our eyes is a War Crimnal it is our right to treat Anton as a Hero and his wife as one of and Honour and Cherish.

      • 3
        1

        Paul

        “How many of these thousands of women were children?”

        Good question. Women could not be children. Naturally female children do grow into womanhood.

        By the way could you also find out from the state war criminals how many of their innocent victims were children.

    • 4
      2

      Muthu, YOU can talk mightily because none of your close relatives were killed or maimed. What is so good in dying when the only good thing is to live?

      • 1
        1

        kumaran

        “What is so good in dying when the only good thing is to live?”

        What do you say to those innocent victims who perished in 1971, 1987 – 1991, through out the last 30 years, and those victims who lost their life since in numerous racially motivated riots through no fault of their own?

        Did they have opportunity to live and enjoy good things in their life? Did they want to die before their natural death?

        • 2
          0

          Yes, I was there in 1971 and 1987 during the JVP uprising (or rebellion) or whatever you call it. No, none of them wanted to die and my heart bleeds for them as much as all the Tamils and Sinhalese who died later. What is your point? All I say is, we have to move along. I am as a Sri Lankan ashamed of the events that took place specially in 1983 but we have to move along. I know many Germans who are ashamed of what they did to the Jews but they moved along. That is why Germany progressed.

          • 1
            1

            kumaran

            “I was there in 1971 and 1987 during the JVP uprising (or rebellion) or whatever you call it.”

            Simple, I call it terrorism, in fact it was terrorism. JVP was lead by a psychopath. LTTE was a terrorist organisation and was lead by another psychopath. Since 1971 state sponsored terrorism was used to cow down the people. It continues up to now. Until Jan 2015 state terrorist in chief was Gota and he too is a psychopath.

            Hope you do agree with me.

            “All I say is, we have to move along.”

            Not until a proper independent investigation is carried out on all war crimes committed by all sides to the conflicts since 5th April 1971.

            “I am as a Sri Lankan ashamed of the events that took place specially in 1983”

            You should be ashamed of many things about this island, first calling yourself as Sri Lankan for the name change from Ceylon to Sri Lanka was not approved by the people in a referendum. The name was manufactured by the racists and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

            There had been many recorded atrocities against people before and since 1983. You got a lot of things to be ashamed of, therefore don’t stop at 1983.

            “I know many Germans who are ashamed of what they did to the Jews but they moved along.”

            The German war criminals were subjected to Nuremberg trials. Then the German moved on.

            Here in this island we have too many smart ass patriots who believe the Sri Lankan state never committed a single war crime since 1971. I believe you are one of them.

            • 2
              0

              Native, the Nuremberg trials judged only a handful of the top Nazis. But the vast majority got off scot free with booty and many lived and a few continue to live in S.America, The US, and other countries after leaving Germany very discreetly after the war. There were the large ‘SS’ Divisions, the “death’s head’, and gestapo who left the land when the war ended. Even very recently, a Nazi in his late ’90s was tried. Many were brought to book by the Israelis and now they too have ended that search.

              I am not suggesting for a moment that we should tolerate brutality by one side. It is my hope that justice will prevail and I believe that one day, we will all face judgment, for what we have done and what we have not done.

              We all have many things to be ashamed of. But being a Sri Lankan is not one of them.

              • 1
                0

                kumaran

                “Many were brought to book by the Israelis and now they too have ended that search.”

                Zionist will never stop the search for war criminals.

                “We all have many things to be ashamed of. But being a Sri Lankan is not one of them.”

                You ought to be ashamed of being a Sri Lankan for the change of name was sham. The government of this island at the time did not get consent from the people on an island wide referendum.

                Since its independence this island had time again witnessed racism, inhuman treatment of most hard working people, war crimes and crime against humanity, human rights violations, land grabbing ,lies and more lies, corruption, thuggery, rampant child abuse, nepotism, inequality in terms of income, wealth, power … etc distribution.

                If you cannot stop all the above please stop batting for Sri Lanka. You will be sorry for being a Sri Lankan, maybe not now but in the future.

                I assure you I won’t tell you ” I told you so”.

  • 1
    5

    It is very pathetic and sad to hear the voices of the women combatants, who remains alive now and fac3es hardship. There are many who were raped and murdered by the armed forces. Who is to blame?

  • 6
    2

    “Under the Tamil Tigers, women enjoyed a rare degree of emancipation. They carried out the same duties, did the same work, suffered and died as their male comrades.”

    If women in Tamil society traded their Thaalis for cyanide capsules, so that they may experience a false sense of freedom in a fascist organization then I give thanks to god I was not born a Tamil women.

  • 2
    6

    A fair assessment and reflection. Your quote;

    “…the Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BCE, where Spartan King Leonidas with 7,000 men faced a Persian army thought to number about 150, 000. On realizing that he had been betrayed and was trapped, Leonidas released the bulk of his army and remained with a few to fight to the end. “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”

    In 2007 some LTTE leaders wanted to know more about the “Battle of Thermopylae”. Forced recruitment had also started by then. I then thought whether they are getting ready for the battle that had already started in the East and knew they the end is near. Pirapaharan did let civilians go and also asked many of the political persons and combatants to leave and he and a few decided to fight to the last.Unlike at Thermopylae, the last days at Mullivakal before and after is recorded and the battlefield immortalised in satellite pictures. The crimes that the SL forces from Commander in Chief down the line to the soldier on the ground committed is now documented. September will be a crucial month for Tamils and Sinhalese. Will there ever be peace in Sri Lanka?

    • 5
      3

      Oh the tales We Thamizh tell ourselves to get over the fact that our Thalaivar hid under women’s skirts and used children as cannon fodder to try and save his own hind :D

      • 1
        1

        Wee Thamihz Senior Journalist Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

        “Oh the tales We Thamizh tell ourselves to get over the fact that our Thalaivar hid under women’s skirts”

        So did the Sri Lankan armed forces. Then of course they hid behind Thalaivaru’s fat bum.

    • 2
      0

      The comparison of the Tamil Tigers with the Spartans and other Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae is very misplaced. Firstly, the Spartans would have regarded the use of children in actual warfare (as distinct from training for it) and the use of civilians as human shields as practised by the Tamil Tigers as complete and unmitigated cowardice of the worst kind which Spartans culture regarded as utterly shameful.

      Secondly, the Spartans, along with hundreds of other Greek soldiers from other states, who remained in the valley to block the much larger advancing Persian army for seven days did so to allow the majority of the Greek army to retreat and regroup so that they could defeat the Persians later, which they eventually did. It was not a tactic of ‘death rather than defeat’, on the contrary, it was a tactical last stand to facilitate later successful victory.

      A better comparison, in my opinion, is between the surrounded Tamil rebels in 2009 and Hitler and the Nazis’ infamous Operation Clausewitz in the last days of the Third Reich in 1945. The purpose of Operation Clausewitz, which even some Nazi leaders refused to implement because of its barbarism, was to turn the German cities into battlefields against the advancing allies and to mercilessly use the entire German civilian population, including unarmed women, children and the elderly, as living weapons and shields in the Nazis’ last desperate attempt to prevent defeat. This hopeless operation, if it had been fully implemented, would have resulted in hundreds of thousands more German civilian deaths. It was also intended as a “punishment” by the Nazi leadership on the German people for being unable to defeat their enemies, the British, Americans and Russians. In that respect I think Prabhakaran’s and the Tamil Tigers’ final attitude to their fellow Tamil civilians was identical.

  • 3
    1

    No comments on Mrs. Adele Balasingham, the “Auntie” who should be charged for mass murder? She is seen “garlanding” young, innocent Tamil girls with cyanide capsules.

    This where the international community and the Sri Lankan government has failed.

  • 4
    1

    The battle of Thermopylae was a war between INVADING Persians and Sparta. What we had in Sri Lanka was a rebellion by a power-hungry Tamil man (Prabakaran or Pirapaharan or whatever) against the lawful Government of Sri Lanka. There is no comparison and so long as we ignore these fundamentals, there can be no reconciliation.

    What about the JVP rebellion in 1971 and 1987? Why no comments about the many Sinhala youth who died in that misguided and hopeless campaign?

    • 1
      1

      kumaran

      “What about the JVP rebellion in 1971 and 1987? Why no comments about the many Sinhala youth who died in that misguided and hopeless campaign?”

      How long have you been dwelling in this forum?

      • 1
        0

        Long enough to get tired of dwelling in the same old cauldron and not seeing any progress on life.

        • 1
          0

          kumaran

          “Long enough to get tired of dwelling in the same old cauldron and not seeing any progress on life.”

          You should be asking the Sinhala/buddhist state why it has permitted JVP to remember their dead/fallen sinhala/Buddhists comrades/terrorists in public and not allowed the relatives and friends to remember dead/fallen members of LTTE?

          As long as these discrimination exist in life and death, you will continue to see conflict all over this island.

          I do think you are pleased with your own one sided views and you do not like to acknowledge your own hypocrisy.

  • 3
    7

    Prof. Charles Sarvan:

    I read your articles with tears in my eyes of the sacrifice made by our great sisters. They suffered as combatants and they knew that they were putting themsellves in harms way.

    I want to challenge some false propaganda by the Sinhala Media.

    1) Others see the Tigers as cruel and foolish: most of us are not immune to the infection of partisanship, though we may not be conscious of carrying the bacillus. The way in which the war ended brings honour neither to the government nor to the Tigers. The latter are accused of using thousands of Tamils, including children, women and the aged as human-shields – the very people to whom they had sought to bring freedom.

    *** This is factually incorrect. When the army captured Jaffna Penisula many moved to Vanni fearing Army brutality. They went there voluntarily and found peace and security.
    When the LTTE fighters were surrounded and the area they cotrolled started to diminsh people moved with the Fighters. Many fighters had their families with them and I know many. These people were asked to move into So called SAFE HEAVENS which the Sri Lankan army shelled causing CARNAGE. What choice did the people have it was either death by shelling or after Capture Rape Torture and finally death. It is all a lie by the Army that LTTE used people as Human Shields.

    Let me give you my take on the following.

    2) As I have written elsewhere, if there was cruelty in them, there was also discipline and courage;

    *** Cruelty is torturing someone and caussing Physical Harm. You can never blame LTTE of Cruelty. They killed the barbaric soldiers in combat.

    2) if there was strategic error, there was also tactical brilliance;

    *** The stragetic error was due to lack of means to nullify the Air Supremacy of Sri Lankan Airforce. LTTE had no SAM.

    3)if there was foolishness, there was also exceptional intelligence.

    *** The only Foolishness you can attribute to Praba was his decision to Kill Rajiv.

    4) if there was fatal stubbornness, there was also ingenious improvisation;

    *** This was a fight for survival. Either you or them which is not a Choice.
    5) if there was ruthless ambition, there was also pure idealism and the total self-denial and self-sacrifice such idealism can create.

    *** You make it sound as if they were in a Competition to amass wealth to become Millionares.

    6) (For the last, see my review of the documentary, ‘My Daughter, the Terrorist’ in: http://www.sangam.org/2008/08/Film_Review.php?print=true) As far as I know, there are no reports of the Tigers (unlike Sri Lankan government soldiers) indulging in rape, be it of civilians, alleged sympathizers or captured combatants.

    *** The above is absolutely correct. This was the Sankilian Code of Conduct. Credit to LTTE under Praba.

    7) Again, unlike with government security personnel, there is no record of the Tigers stripping naked, publicly taunting and humiliating Sinhalese, were they soldiers or civilians.

    *** I would say it was due to Modesty which forbade them.

    8) (Gang-rape and rape continue with complete impunity in Tamil areas occupied by the army: see the Human Rights publication of 2013 titled We Will Teach You a Lesson.

    *** Krishanthi epitomised the Tamil Struggle.

    Now you know why the Quest for FREEDOM is still burning BRIGHT.

    • 3
      1

      kalistani

      “I read your articles with tears in my eyes of the sacrifice made by our great sisters.”

      Don’t lie you hypocrite.

      On the contrary you were happy to see more people were being killed by the Sri Lankan war criminals hoping that the west would intervene and divide the island, thereby creating your stupid Eelam for Eelam Tamils.

      Had you been honest with yourself you would have pressed the LTTE to hand over all the civilians/reluctant combatant to ICRC (counted in and counted out) for their safety.

      You blood thirsty heartless Tiger supporters never demanded LTTE to surrender all Tamil civilians/reluctant combatants who were force-ably retained as human shields.

      • 1
        2

        Grandad I dont want wake Grandma up.

        You senile, old fool. What rubbish are you talking about. You are a century old. We are whether you like it or not the future.
        After September for Stateless like you and the rest of the 5.8 million Sinkalams it is

        COMPLY OR DIE.

        Have a Pitchai Pathiram ready. Wee are not Blood thirsy like you we a Freedm Thirsty.

        • 1
          0

          kalistani

          “Have a Pitchai Pathiram ready.”

          VP was carrying a begging bowl permanently on his head while he was alive.

          Amma Aiya please spare us with a cease fire from 1987 to 2009,

          Amma Aiya give us your money,

          Amma Aiya give us your children,

          Amma Aiya give us your gold

          Premadasa Aiya spare us some arms and ammunitions

          MR Aiya give us some money

          …….

          ……….

          Thalaiva (MGR) give us some money

          …..

  • 4
    2

    A touching and poignant review, probably reflecting both the nature of the book, and Dr.Sarwan’s empathy, intellect and language skills.

    We lost a generation of young men and women, committed to a cause, which in hindsight appears inevitable. The best of a rare bloom of determined idealist youth aid the ultimate price, under circumstances, that could never be understood in full.

    The inevitable question is ‘ what if they had lived’, to make a difference to those who survived the tragedy that were the wars? Then, the question than comes up is, would they have become what they did without the wars?

    The LTTE, shaped them and paved the way for their ultimate demise! It was a moment in history that will be remembered for its hopes, successes, failures and the factors that led to a calamity. The stars in this panorama, were the young women who broke barriers of social norms in a manner that could not have been expected. Those who survived the war, have been sucked back into the vortex of backwardness and perversity of a war battered society, to be stranded , fearful, frustrated, exploited and angry. Yet, I will always view them in good light for bringing out the best in our women, shedding light on their potential and making them leaders in a traditionally male- led society.

    The few LTTE female cadres, I had the opportunity to talk to, also were a blend of bravery, courage, confidence and an admirable modesty in speech and mannerisms- a rare combination. They were and should be models for our young women even today to unleash their potential, while yet being the carers they have always been.

    It is a sad story- a tragedy- that brought out the best in our young women and made them revolutionaries , who broke traditional and biological barriers, under unenviable circumstances. It is unfortunate that it lasted only a moment in terms of history. It has to be however acknowledged that the phenomenon has bequeathed us a legacy of tensile women who are bearing the brunt of the tragedy that yet lives on, post war. However, we also have a generation of young women born during the long years of war, who are liberated in a physical and cultural sense, but without the intellectual capacity to lead a damaged society to healing and progress. Many continue to be a reflection of the tragedy that engulfed the Tamils.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

    Thanks, Dr.N. Malathy for your book that has inspired Dr.Sarwan to produce a wonderful review. I hope I will have the opportunity to read your book.

    • 2
      2

      Dr. R N

      The inevitable question is ‘ what if they had lived’, to make a difference to those who survived the tragedy that were the wars? Then, the question than comes up is, would they have become what they did without the wars?

      *** First if they had lived they would have fallen victims to Rinderpset.

      OR

      Ask GOSL why they had to die.

      • 0
        1

        Unfortunately, Rinderpest is not a zoonotic disease. However, your comments some times make me wonder whether you are suffering from ‘ Human Spongiform Encephalomalacia’ – a human form of ‘ Mad Cow Disease’.
        It softens the brain and leads to erratic behaviour. You may be the first one to contract it among humans! Were the cows you were recently feeding MAD?

        Dr.RN

        • 1
          0

          Dr. R N

          With your dealyed and stupid reply you have proved that you are an Animal doctor and treat animals. Your BRAIN has completely degenerated. You have added another word to your limited vocabulary.

          MAD COW Disease. Did the IPKF bring it and give it to Sinkalams.

  • 5
    1

    The main job assigned to them was to infiltrate Sinhala border villages and kill and terrify those poorest of the poor who were surviving on one meal a day. They executed the task brilliantly by splinting open pregnant women and dashing babies on trees to save bullets.

    At the last stage Prabakaran ordered their hair to be cut short so that they cannot escape unnoticed. So they became easy targets and were shot by both parties.

    These heroines surrendered rather than biting the cyanide capsule.

    Their unmatched brutality towards the innocent is legend.

    There is no heroism in killing and maiming unarmed poor. They are the most despicable lot born within boundary of this island and shame to all womankind.

    • 1
      2

      Ranga( ratna)

      You are suffering from a memory loss like the many in Sinhala Lanka. You are suffering from delusion. You have an nimal insticnt and you kill for a living and we killed to survive. Your killing Spree has come to a sudden end after 66 long years.

    • 0
      1

      showing inhuman might of your SL army against Tamil women is well known universal fact and needs judicial purview.

  • 0
    0

    Dr Malathy is doing a great service by translating the writings of young Tamil revolutionaries. I beg her to continue her work so that non Tamil readers could benefit, read and judge Tamils’ liberation struggle correctly, unlike Dayan and Rajiva.

    Many thanks to Prof Charles Sarvan for his review.

  • 0
    0

    Tamil Poems relating to liberation struggle,that were translated into English appears in a book titled Tamil Eelam Literature, published by Tamil Information Centre London in 1996. These poets are non combatants but welll known in Tamil literary world.
    Anyone interested should read this anthology.

  • 3
    0

    The fact that they bombed buses and killed innocent people who were not even involved in the politics web they were caught up in I think that overrides any moral superiority you portray them for having over the government who you allege raped Tamils IMO.

  • 2
    0

    This story does not show their brutal past. Many of these Tigresses were killing machines probably brain-washed at the time. Innocent Muslim and Sinhalese villagers were beheaded by these “women tigers” but they were regarded as heroes by LTTE for killing innocent people. Now it is the real world, we have accept the fact that there is no “winning” in terrorism. No one in the world has won anything using terrorism. These people should force Tamil politicians to join hand in hand with main political parties so North can be developed. Please give up any separatism thoughts if you have any. It will not work any more, only people in west use this ‘idea’ as a part of their job, not to help others.

    • 1
      0

      Gamini

      “Please give up any separatism thoughts if you have any.”

      Please ask the Hindians whether they are interested in dividing this island for their own geopolitical interest (greatly supported by Sinhala/Buddhist stupidity) or a united states of Sri Lanka would serve Hindian interest immensely.

      “Please give up any separatism thoughts if you have any.”

      Very reasonable request.

      Will you now tell the stupid Sinhala/Buddhist racists to stop building their Sinhala/Buddhists ghetto in this island?

      Even if the Sinhala/Buddhists decide to divide the island, they should obtain prior permission from Hindians. Leave the worrying to Hindians and start worrying about the Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto.

      • 0
        0

        Sinhala Buddhist ghetto is not a good place to live. N.V., please tell me why don’t you leave this ghetto to the paradise just 20 miles away.
        Soma

        • 1
          0

          soma

          “N.V., please tell me why don’t you leave this ghetto to the paradise just 20 miles away.”

          My people won’t leave because this is our island.

          You have your ancestral homeland in South India whic is only 20 miles away across Palk Strait. You go and buildd your Sinhala/Buddhists ghetto there if you want to and convert all your Tamil Nadu brethren into Sinhala/Buddhism.

          When are you leaving, we can arrange Kallathoni back to where you belong.

          “Sinhala Buddhist ghetto is not a good place to live.”

          However pigs like to live in pigsty. Similar to pigs Sinhala/Buddhists love to live in a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto.

  • 3
    1

    I have a question for

    KOOmaran SUnkalam
    Sinkala Sankran Sarrrmaaa
    Ranga

    You are all now shedding crocodile tears for these child solidiers. Where was your conscience when Prabakarans youg sone who was not even old enough to reaiise that he was about to be killed after being tortued. The fear in his eyes before he was killedd will haunt me for the rest of my life.

    YOU BLOODY ANIMALS

    Sinhabahu or (“Lion-arms”), was the son of a Vanga princess and a lion. He killed his father and became king of Vanga. His son Vijaya would emigrate to Lanka and become the progenitor of the Sinhala people.

  • 2
    1

    Ms / Mr Kali,

    I thank you for the detailed “challenge” – as much for its argument as for the restraint and dignity with which you express your disagreement. The last two, sadly, are often missing in Sri Lankan discourse.

    Chaucer writes of one of his characters in ‘The Canterbury Tales’: Gladly would he learn and gladly teach. (Not quite sure: quoting from memory). My teaching days are long long gone but I remain happy to learn. I will think of the points you have taken the trouble to make. Once again, my thanks.

    Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan

    • 1
      0

      Dear Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan,

      I am grateful for your response. And we are on the same wavelength and as you noticed that is what is lacking in Sinhala Lanka. Next time when you are in London please let me know and I would love to meet you as you would be an assset in our search for Freedom Justice and Equality.

    • 2
      0

      Dear Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan:

      The fact that you chose to address me as Ms/Mr.Kali hasnt gone unnoticed. It is indeed an honour.

      Thank you

      Kali ( not the Goddess) the Human.

  • 1
    0

    Sarvan to Kali:
    “I thank you for the detailed “challenge” – as much for its argument as for the restraint and dignity with which you express your disagreement.
    What a marvelous bit of irony!!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.