20 September, 2018

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The Poisoned Dream

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Epigraphs: The easiest thing of all is to die; the difficult thing is to live (Kierkegaard) “We learnt life through pain. Now we must overcome pain in life” (Poisoned Dream, p. 122).

The author, born 1974, was a Tamil Tiger soldier. Captured, together with thousands of others at the end the war, he was interned and tortured, escaped from ‘the Paradise Isle‘ (paradisiacal in geographic and scenic, rather than in ‘man-achieved‘ political and economic, social and cultural terms), and now lives in exile. The book’s rear cover describes it as a work of “autofiction“ which suggests that the core experience – capture, torture, escape – is autobiographical, factual, here presented in fictionalised form. (To distinguish it from autobiographical fiction, the ‘voice’ in autofiction is usually that of a first-person narrator who has the same name as the author. See also, “fact” plus “fiction” going to form “faction”.) Page reference given within brackets is to this text. Yeats in his poem, ‘A Prayer For Old Age‘, writes: God guard me from those thoughts men think in the mind alone. Karthick Ram Manoharan’s Afterword‘ combines perception and passion, and his contribution deserves reading by itself. Incidentally, the Afterword begins on page 215 and not as given in ‘Contents’: “After word (sic) 213”. The two translators (and the author) should have been better served by the printers: there are several mistakes and blemishes. Words are not infrequently run together as if they were one: the result either of carelessness or, more likely, an unrealized unfamiliarity with the English language.

Posthumous atonement is not possible, except in imagination: see, for example, Ian McEwan’s novel, Atonement. Those who suffered and died are dead: they can’t be extended a posthumous restitution. And yet there’s the human drive to articulate; to express (ex-press); here, to give voice both to the dead and to the victims who are either unable or unwilling to speak. Recollection is not presented by an omniscient third-person narrator but through the voice of a subjective, fallible, first-person. The very first words are “Nothing to lose, nothing to look forward to“: we are plunged in medias res, and share the narrator’s disorientation and closeness to despair. 

Kuna Kaviyalahan, The Poisoned Dream. Translated from Tamil into English by N. Malathy and Karthick Ram Manoharan. Chennai, 2017.

In several literary (and non-literary) works, a character either at the end of life or in an extreme situation of crisis or sorrow asks: How did I come to this? What were the steps? Were they fortuitous or inescapable? To what degree am I to blame for what I now endure? As Kierkegaard wrote, life is lived forwards and understood backwards. This introspection, this mental investigation, is not to alter the present which is often beyond the ability of the character, nor even to shape the future. It is the human desire to know; to understand: knowing for the sake of knowing. So it is that Shakespeare’s Othello, even though he knows he’ll be dead in a few minutes, wants to know why Iago destroyed him. (Iago declines to answer and Othello dies, like many others, uncomprehending.) Poisoned Dream is a retrospective, introspective and inquiring work. Despite all the external brutality and humiliation, it is essentially a work of interiority: “Why were [are] we cursed like this?” (37). 

Turning to the title of this book, W B Yeats in his poem, ‘Among School Children‘, asks: “How can we know the dancer from the dance?“  Similarly, there can be no “dream“ without dreamers. This leads to questions such as who is the dreamer? What led her or him to dream? What was the dream? That one dreams implies present reality is unsatisfactory or unhappy. What then was or is that reality? Dreams can be said to be of two kinds. The one, following Freud and his work on the interpretation of dreams, is often mere wish-fulfilment. Such dreams, whether asleep or awake, are an indulging in fantasy. In contrast, when Martin Luther King famously declared, “I have a dream“ it was a wide-awake call to action. Dreams do not by themselves become reality, and Martin Luther King’s call to “dream“ was with the full knowledge that it meant effort, pain, sacrifice and, in his case, death. He dared to dream and died so that his people would lead a better life. (So when answered, prayer is answered it’s because of, and through, human effort. As I have written elsewhere, prayer is prelude and preparation for effort, and not an easy substitute for it.)  The “dreamer” in Poisoned Dream, the first-person narrator, is called Gouthaman; sometimes Gouthama. Ironically, it’s a name Sri Lankans associate with Gauthama Buddha, “the Soul of Greatest Compassion“.

Injustice can be reacted to with passive endurance or by an ‘active’ dream, as in the sense in which Martin Luther King used the term. In his novel, Great Expectations, Dickens observes that nothing is so “finely“ perceived by children, and so finely (sharply, painfully) felt as injustice. And, one might add, by adults. John Rawls in his A Theory of Justice states that it’s a sense of fair-play that leads to justice. Decree 1V of the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (1975) states: “the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. For reconciliation with God demands the reconciliation of people with one another”. Human beings must be reconciled with each other before they can be reconciled with God, and this reconciliation can be based only on true justice. One cannot be at peace with the divine while not at peace with the human. A Hadith of the Prophet Mohammed expresses it differently: You will not enter Paradise unless you believe. And you will not believe unless you love one another. In other words, love for and among humankind is the basis of religious belief and salvation. The dream in this novel is to be permitted to live what ought to be (and is in some other countries) an ordinary life, a life of freedom (37). With defeat, that dream is shattered.

The debate and discussion among the imprisoned soldiers is how and why their defeat came about (67). They believe their cause was just, and they had fought with commitment and courage. Then why did they lose? (72). What had they done wrong? (163). Is it that, unable to go further forward, they were yet unwilling to “back-off”? (65). “A powerful and successful liberation movement had been destroyed… What is the root cause of this defeat? How many generations will suffer because of this defeat? Will my people face their end with this defeat?” (38). Military defeat cannot be entirely explained on military grounds: there are several other factors at play. Gouthama and his former fellow soldiers are prisoners; cut off from the wider discussion; newly arrested, disorientated by torture, pain and uncertainty. They cannot be expected to provide anything like a comprehensive answer.

Torture, extreme, degrading and often resulting in death, was carried out in secret camps known only to the then Minister of Defence and his associates (87). Since the camps didn’t officially exist, neither did the prisoners and so anything could be done to them. Lord Acton’s famous observation that absolute power corrupts absolutely finds one of its most horrific truths in such officially non-existent camps. For most of us “torture” is fortunately a word and not an experience, and so we can dismiss or discuss academically; deny or minimise. But one of the gifts of literature is that it enables us to enter the life and experiences of others, even those far removed spatially or experientially. Gauthaman, a soldier trained to observe, gives us not only a description of the minutiae of daily life in a concentration camp – one is reminded of Solzhenistyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich    but even of the construction and layout of buildings. 

The torture victim in a sense never recovers fully; he or she remains injured for ever. The wounds of humiliation never heal 81). What’s more, the effects of torture can be passed on to succeeding generations. For example, the effects of torture can make a man or woman an unsatisfactory parent, in turn adversely affecting the child or children. The harm may not only be mental and emotional but biological. In the  London Review of Books (10 May 2018, p. 5) it’s claimed that transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has been demonstrated.” My nephew Dr Mithran Somasundrum, a research scientist, explained it to ignoramus me as follows: Trauma can cause a change in the activity of a particular gene, and this altered gene activity can then be passed on. So, basically it’s “Yes”, a trauma can cause a change which can be inherited by the offspring.  

On torture, I quote a few lines from Song of Prisoner by Okot p’Bitek (perhaps best-known for his Song of Lawino) “Ten uniformed stones / Break into my tiny hell…/ The earth shakes her belly, / The walls jump / And dance, / The stone floor / Urinates”.  In Poisoned Dreams, inebriated soldiers share pictures they have taken on their cell-phones of their torture-victims and of the gang-rapes they participated in. Swift in ‘A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms’ (Book 4 of Gulliver’s Travels) writes that what distinguishes us from animals is our intelligence but that same intelligence, if perverted, can result in horror. I used to tell students that the not infrequently heard statement “He behaved like an animal” is unjust – to animals. Animals are unable to devise torture both excruciating and prolonged; they never indulge in gang-rape. The reaction of the majority of people to allegations of torture is one of outright denial, minimising or, in most cases, a deliberate looking away: they have their own life, its preoccupations and pleasures to pursue, and they simply cannot be bothered. But willed ignorance is not exculpation. Silence makes one complicit in that it enables torture to continue. (Ref. ‘The Silence of Others’, a 2018 documentary on crimes committed under General Franco.)

To see Poisoned Dreams as an anti-Sinhalese work would be a simplistic, if not crude, reading. The picture the author presents is complex; it’s not a simple ‘black and white’ opposition. There’s a Sinhalese sergeant who tries to soften the harsh edges, though his powers are over shadowed by others, and he must be careful not to endanger himself. Another officer tells his prisoners: “We fought each other in the war… Who won and who lost is also a different matter. But we must not forget we are all soldiers. I have seen your fighting skills [and] am really surprised that you were defeated” (p. 138).  The escape of Gouthaman and three comrades is significantly enabled by a woman at very great risk to herself. She even hides Gouthama in her house, thus endangering her old mother as well. That woman was a Sinhalese, in love with one of the escapees. The autobiographical novel ends will Gouthaman heading to the home of someone who he thinks will help him escape the Island – again despite very grave danger. If the friend does help, it will not be for payment or for material reward of any kind. That man is a Sinhalese. Besides there are Tamils who collaborate, spy, help in running the camps and in torture.

The author’s intention, as I read it, is not to apportion blame, not to cry “J’accuse” but to share both experience, and reaction to that extreme experience. I will not rehearse details, dwell on the physical aspect of torture where crude men and women, devoid of culture and religious doctrine; bereft of morality and compassion unleash suffering on the helpless. Human nature is such that, in some, degraded specimens of humanity excite and justify degradation. What is central is the narrator’s observations and reactions. Lord Byron in his sonnet, ‘On the Castle of Chillon’, asserts that though one can be imprisoned physically, the human mind is “chainless”. And so it is with the narrator who finds patches of “freedom” through using his mind (146). The mind sometimes, even in dire situations, registers the inconsequential, such as the military trucks making the wet ground muddy and slippery (154). In extreme physical and mental pain; disorientated, he wonders why he now hears the wind. How could it now burden his mind? “Was the mind in the heart?” He registers the paradox that silence, the sudden absence of sound, can explode violently like a bomb. He observes an imprisoned father seeing his baby for the first time and tenderly stroking its soft hand through the cruel barbed-wire. A heavy darkness descended: “Does darkness have weight?” (23). There’s no ‘human nature’ in the abstract, separate from wider, external factors. In battle, comrades would risk their life to carry away the wounded. Now defeated; fellow comrades become fellow prisoners; without hope, ideals and goals. Some of them turn spies; lie and betray in order to save their lives or to gain slightly better treatment. As I have written elsewhere, Lord Acton’s words are thought to apply to those who possess and wield power, but power also corrupts some of the powerless in their struggle for survival. As the narrator observes, they have been made tattered pieces of cloth caught in thorny bushes. Gauthaman notes that what appears to be sympathy for the vanquished (“Vae victis!”) in some could in reality be a covert expression of arrogance (64). I suppose it’s rather like the rich man who throws a coin to a beggar not out of sympathy but as a demonstration of his own material superiority.

Milton’s Samson is pained by thoughts of “what once I was, and what am now” (‘Samson Agonistes’, line 22). No longer functioning as a group, each prisoner is thrown on himself, and each reacts differently. The struggle was begun because community dignity was being constantly violated (102) and now “debased” men force them to lose their dignity. Without individual dignity, there can no community dignity.  “We laboured so hard to build something. Why these unbearable lashes on our back?” (214). Morality and justice are lies. In such a state, suicide becomes seductive. The ultimate dishonour for a Tamil Tiger fighter was to save her or his life at all cost, surrendering every other consideration. Then why not strike at the torturer and be killed? Isn’t it dishonourable to survive in these circumstances? (82). The cyanide capsule he has successfully concealed is comfort and temptation. And we leave Gouthama in the bus, journeying into an unknown and uncertain future: the subtitle of Stud Terkel well-known work, Hope Dies Last, is Making a Difference in an Indifferent World. 

And the light shines in the darkness (New Testament. John 1:5)

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  • 1
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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      Eelam tamil patriot

      Brilliant.
      As far as I know the CT editors are fine.
      Keep up your good work.

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    “The author, born 1974, was a Tamil Tiger soldier.”
    Correction:
    The author, born 1974, was a Tamil Tiger TERRORIST.
    (TERRORIST: One who kills and maims third party innocent civilians in furtherance of a political idology.)
    Professor Savan is a very shrewd man I have noticed. He admires those were engaged in killing and maiming innocent third party civilians in furtherance of HIS political ideology.
    Soma

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      Soma,
      The culture of killing, burning of alive children, women, elderly civilians, drilling of eyes of alive persons, butchering of innocent passangers using swards, knives are well known culture that was developed and established in this beautiful land well before the birth of LTTE and you should know who are those terrorists. I am sure you are one of those terrorists or the pedigree of one of those. Are you proud of your uncivilzed past?

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      somass

      “The author, born 1974, was a Tamil Tiger TERRORIST.
      (TERRORIST: One who kills and maims third party innocent civilians in furtherance of a political idology.)

      Alright you don’t mind calling Somawansa, Wijeyweera, Wimal Sangili Karuppan, …………………. and hundreds of thousands of others who had a single exclusive ideology who were willing to kill and did kill innocent civilians in the name of JVP terrorists.

      How about those who instigated and killed unarmed innocent civilians in 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981, 1983, …………….. any chance of being named terrorists?

      How about those who instigated state terrorism in 1971 and between 1987/1990, for example Premadasa Udugampola, and hundreds of thousands of members of state official and unofficial security apparatus and politicians some of the them are currently have been accepted as successful politicians?

      How about those killed innocent civilians during the past 30 years or so?

      If I were you I would stick to my day job unlike you threading into areas you chose to know nothing, where you will find plenty of s**t yet inadvertently step on it and touch it even though it smells miles away.
      I pity you.

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        NV, Ajith
        You are not defending LTTE, rather by mentioning other instances of terrorism you are confirming that their modus operandi in pursuance of their Vadukkodai objective was killing and maiming innocent third party civilians. USA said LTTE were the most ruthless terrorists.
        Soma

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          It is the same USA said taht over 40,000 Tamils were massacred by Sinhalese military and committed war crimes and the worst human rights violation.

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          somass

          “You are not defending LTTE”

          What made you think I would ever defend LTTE? Why did you expect me to defend LTTE?

          “USA said LTTE were the most ruthless terrorists.”

          When did you become a Yankee Dick to trust USA?

          I have told you many times and will say it again Vattukottai resolution was dead on arrival in 1976 immediately after it was passed and buried in 2009 with all sorts of fire crackers exploding,………..

          Did Vattukottai resolution mention LTTE by name which would be the sole representative, had authority to fight the Sinhala/Buddhist state, kill maim and destroy?

          Please cite reference.

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            It was Anton Balasingam who said on NDTV that the killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi was a “ monumental blunder”, committed by the LTTE.
            Similarly the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976 was a “monumental blunder” by the TULF.
            Both of the above were the consequences of the 1956 “Sinhala Only “ Act by PM SWRD.
            The consequence of all the above is what SL is today.

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              Uthungan

              “It was Anton Balasingam who said on NDTV that the killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi was a “ monumental blunder”, committed by the LTTE.”

              Within days LTTE’s political commissar Suna Paana Tamilchelvan refuted Anton’s statement by saying it was an incident of grief.

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    Re. the comment by “Soma”, the Tigers also had people doing non-combat work, and I meant to stress that the first-person narrator didn’t come under that category. See for example, his training in observing detail and his survival-skills.

    I should have made it clear, mea culpa, but my focus was on other (more important / interesting) aspects, not excluding the literary.

    Sarvan

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      Dr Savan
      By using the word “combat” you are again trying to suger-coat the principal mode of operandi of a terrorist which is kiling and maiming innocent third party civilians in furtherance of a political idology.
      Many Tamils now seem to wonder “What is the root cause of this defeat?”. Answer should be obvious to any third party onlooker. Kiĺling and maiming of innocent third party civilians cannot go on forever. Sri Lanka is an island and we have no place to go. A do or die reaction is inevitable. Tamil political class was too cofident of the terrorist strategy(killing and maiming of innocent third party civilians ) of LTTE, they decided to go for the Vadukkodai objective in one go irrespective of the cost in blood. The rest is history – terrorists are writing their biographies (sans how they killed the innocent people )
      Soma

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        somass

        History, facts, humanity ……………. all the good things in life are not your forte.
        Therefore I forgive you for making stupid observation.

        Are you single and a miserable loner?
        Jim Softy the dimwit is.

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    Well written review. Superb and i am proud of you Anna.

    Thanks to Malathy and Karthick too.

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    YOu imply that you review a book. but, nothng about the book. what is inside the book except for terrorism, Anti-sinhala Tribalism and LTTE brutalities. Some Tamils losers had come and to defned you and that is all.

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    IF the Army arrested anyone they should have been in Bozza. they di dnot keep terrorists in unnamed camps. In order to be an autofiction, A LTTE cader should have written what happened in Secret LTTE camps and how their caders tortured others. [edited out]

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    another question for the authro is whether MALATHY and the other cader are in the MISSING PERSON’s list. Because One LTTE writer KARIKALAEN was later saying that MALAHTY was messing or killed.

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    Thank you very much, Prof. Sarvan. It can’t be easy reading all this and conveying so well the the feelings that are aroused within you.
    .
    Nine years after the end of the War, it is sad that so many comments are from Sinhalese who can’t accept that the soldiers who defeated Kuna Kaviyalahan were like Kuna themselves people with human limitations.
    .
    Soma, you come through particularly badly. Can’t you understand, at this 9 year distance that the politics doesn’t really matter? You seem such a nasty little Lilliputian resentful of the universal values that are implied to exist among sensitive humans.
    .
    The author and Prof. Sarvan are interacting with the readers on a far higher plane than you can imagine.

  • 5
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    Soma and similar Sinhala-racist Tamil haters can never fathom the wisdom of
    men of peace like Prof. Sarvan. Both the LTTE and the JVP fought for a cause but
    received different forms of treatment from the State – more the Sinhala majority.
    But an increased number of Sinhala learned are beginning to understand the Tamil
    position – as opposed to the LTTE armed struggle. The late Ven. Sobita Thero being the foremost. The challenge ahead of us is if the can be country go forward with the Tamils reconciled – living in peace and justice. That will define the future of the
    long fractured island. Needless to say, Sinhala majoritarianism holds sway and the Rajapaksas aided by the militant clergy feeding it in the leadership role. To use a popular local. cliché “coming colours no good” Sri Lanka is playing with fire.
    She will inevitably inherit the whirlwind – in that process that began in 1956.

    Pandaranayagam

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    There was NEVER any evidence of Professor Sarvan condemning Tamil Tiger terrorism or slaughter of buddhist monks in Anuradhapura or the massacres at Kattankudy, Dollar and Kent farms etc. Do you know why? He was a Ballerina dancing to the tune of the LTTE and SunGod back then. Did you EVER SEE A Single writing condemning the execution of Amirthalingam by the LTTE? or of Neelan Tiruchelvam and Kadirgamar? NOPE not here not on TamilNet Tiger bile duct either. Why? The cheered and approved of the LTTE methods as long as they appear to be winning. Now he cites the scriptures to show how Christian he is. Too bad he was not there at PTK or Wellamulla Vaikkal to fight and go to Eelam Heaven. No tears for VP or LTTE and all the fighters who pretended to be civilians. He only has balls now; same as Father Kirubaran, Father Joseph etc. All pretending to be great proponents of peace and Jesus on earth. Aney palayang yakko yanna. Why dont you tell us what your boys did to the 600 Policemen who were ordered to surrender? You massacred all of them. What about the Mosque in Kattankudy? August 3rd, 1990. No one kills the children anymore? Your boys did and you said NOTHING. This year it will be the 28th anniversary of that Tamil Hindu and Christian Terrorist Tigers heinous act against our Muslim people. My muslim people.

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    Tamil Tigers carried out torture and drained blood off from captured Soldiers. The camp in the jungles of Vavuniya is proof of their torture chambers. It is right close to Irainamadu reservoir. Go visit it and see what your Tiger Boys did to people.

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      Nintavur
      _
      I am sorry is Irainamadu reservoir in Vavuniya ?

      “Tamil Tigers carried out torture and drained blood off from captured Soldiers.”

      How did you find out?

      “Go visit it and see what your Tiger Boys did to people.”

      All those who you were tortured are still live near Irainamadu reservoir?
      Please let me the address/details of this area .
      I might visit these people and see what actually had happen to these people.

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        He must be one of these ex Muslim Jehadi home guards from the Nintavur area , who would have been terrorising the Hindu Tamils in the Amparai district. Burning, looting, raping killing Tamils, ethnically cleansing them and destroying Hindu temples. Now an ardent follower of political Wahhabism , a Salafist/ISIS supporter. Just read his comments here and in other forums. Part of the eastern Muslim Salafist propaganda machine, that wants to steal the entire east from the Tamils. He really knows what happened but like most Muslims in the island choose to ignore and give their own spiel, to suit their own Salafist agenda. My Muslim people! What does he mean by this ? Islam is a religion and Muslims are a very diverse people belonging to different races, ethnicities, linguistic groups and they come in all colours. You get Arab Muslims, Turkish Muslims, European Muslims from Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, Malay Muslims, African Muslims, Tamil Muslims, Bengali Muslims. You mean to say all these divergent groups of Muslims who hardly identify with each and in most instances fight and kill each other , on the basis of language, ethnicity and the type of Islam and idealogy are all his Muslims? Or does he mean the pretend Arab South Indian origin Tamil Muslims of Sri Lanka, called Sri Lankan Moors? This sort of talk is typical Salafist/ISIS talk.

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      If not for the generosity of the Tamil Hindus and Christians you will not be existing in the island , especially in the east.Yes Tamil tigers are terrorist and Muslims who were aiding and abetting the Sri Lankan government and armed forces to kill, loot rape and ethnically cleanse thousands of Tamils , especially in the east in places like Nintavur are saints. These fake Arab, immigrant Dravidian converted Indian Tamil, Muslim backstabbers came to the east as refugees, a few centuries ago, seeking refuge from Portuguese and Sinhalese persecution. Now these ungrateful Wahhabi Arab worshiperss, have multiplied like rats and want to steal the Tamil east for themselves and will do anything. From independence they joined with the racist Sinhalese establishment to marginalise the island’s Tamils. In the south under the leadership the Muslim politicians they joined with Sinhalese mobs and criminals to kill loot rape and destroy Tamil lives and possessions. In the east, Muslim home guards heavily armed by the STF were busy killing raping looting and ethnically cleansing thousand of Tamils and destroying Hindu temples. They tried it in the north and were caught by the LLTE and expelled. The Kattakudi mosque is a hotbed of Islamic extremism and was used as an armed depot, where arms were stored to destroy surrounding Tamil Hindu villages. This is why LTTE attacked it. In 1985 though Mosque loudspeakers in Kattankudi Muslims were urged to ethnically cleanse all Tamil Hindus from the area and they obeyed this and led by Sinhalese policemen did this. Sammanthurai – Kali Amman Temple destroyed by the Muslims in 1990.Karaitivu – Kannaki Amman Temple damaged by the Muslims, who accompanied the armed forces.

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      cont: Sammanthurai – Kali Amman Temple destroyed by the Muslims in 1990.Karaitivu – Kannaki Amman Temple damaged by the Muslims, who accompanied the armed forces. Addaipallam – Meenachchi Amman Temple damaged by theMuslims during the same period.Karavalu – A village in close proximity to Kalmunai – An
      ancient Kali Kovil completely destroyed by Muslims. At
      present, a Mosque stands at that – place. Meen Odai Kaddu – Pillaiyar Temple completely destroyed.by Muslims. Muslim community settled at that site. The Tamils of Amparai are deeply grieved over the several instances of the destructions caused to their places of
      worship as well as other horrendous acts of violence
      caused to their kith and kin. Here is an unforgettable
      incident: In 1990, Nintavur village was rounded up by the
      security forces and Muslim Home Guards; 64 youths males
      and females were taken to the Nintavur Murugan Temple.
      They were slain and shot. Those killed and the groaning
      lot were set on fire along with the temple. The strange
      thing is that there is no trace of the existence of a
      temple at that site which was once a recognised place of
      worship. This area, is now one where no Tamils can go
      into it and it is now a Muslim region.

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      contd: Eelam War II set in motion a calculated series of
      aggressive attacks by the Sri Lankan Security Forces
      against the Tamils of the Eastern province. The process
      of genocide of the Tamils’ or the ‘De-reliction of the
      Tamils’ by the Security forces received the active
      support from both the Muslim militancy as well as the
      Muslim politicians. In particular, Amparai District which
      had a permanent and long-standing Tamil population of
      thousands of families, were subjected to all forms of
      violence by both the Muslim hooligans and Muslim Home
      Guards. When I refer to the word ‘Muslims’, it undoubtedly refers
      specifically attributed to the destructive activities by
      Muslim Home Guards, Muslim Hooligans and the Muslim
      politicians. By this process, they ensured the compulsory
      displacement of the Tamils from their traditional habitat
      and to strengthen their own positions with ulterior
      motives. The fact that the security forces went on the
      rampage in Tamil regions in the Amparai District paved the
      way for the Muslim forces to plan and carry out calculated activities to achieve their objectives.In the process of destruction directed against the Tamils, the community lost a number of the educated Tamil intelligentsia. Several Hindu Temples were set on fire
      and destroyed. The Tamils lost all their belongings
      including houses, agricultural lands, movable and
      immovable properties. They were compelled to vacate their
      traditional villages and move out to safer areas

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      contd: The Muslims who acquired both political as well as
      economic strengths utilized the terrific war situation to
      establish and seize by force a political platform to suit
      their needs. Result: Amparai District, portions of which
      were once under Tamil regimes over a period of
      traditional occupation with a proud heritage overnight
      became alien property. Hindu Temples with centuries-old
      heritage, which contributed to their moral and religious
      ways of life, were destroyed completely leaving no
      traces. Tamil villages in the District such as Palamunai,
      Panama, Meem Odai Kaddu, Oluvil, Nintavur, Samnlanthurai,
      Karavalupattu, Deegavapi, Maanthoddam, Kondavedduva,
      Poorani, Chemmanilwalam, Thangavelauthaplram,
      Udumpankulam, are strange lands to the Tamil community
      having been converted to Muslim areas. Moreover, other
      Tamil villages with a preponderant Tamil population,
      namely, Addapallam, Chavalakadai, Thiraaikemi,
      Sorrikalmunai, Veeracholai are now facing eminent dangers
      of being engulfed by Muslims using their political and
      economic machinations. All forms of destructive
      activities directed by the security forces against the
      Tamil community as well as their economic targets, paved
      the way for the Muslims to reap the harvest and
      strengthen their position. Tamils were murdered
      systematically on a planned basis. The remaining Tamils
      were strangled economically with no prospects of carrying
      out farming activities, marketing their produce or even
      moving freely without fear.

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      We hear of various slogans like: ‘ Muslims of the North
      should be re-settled traditional, lands taken by force to
      be handed over to the owners ‘ – are often heard from
      both Muslim leadership and reasonable Tamil leaderships.
      In that context, it becomes imperative that the cause of
      the Amparai District Tamils too should be spotlighted on a
      similar footing. With the on-going war situation over a
      length of time, the Ampara Tamils who were subjected to
      all sorts of inhumane and atrocious activities have
      suffered immense hardships. Their traditional lands too
      were secured either by force or malicious means by
      Muslims. Such lands too should be handed over to these
      who occupied them. The same thing with regards to the Tamils from the Trincomalee district who were subject to ethnic cleansing by both the Sinhalese and Muslims. Thirty years ago this area was a Tamil Hindu majority district. Now due to large scale Sinhalese colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Tamils and very low birth rate amongst the Tamils . Tamils have become a minority in their home land here.

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    An aside
    Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan’s review of “The Poisoned Dream” has had a plethora of comments – more to come.

    Yet the expose’ of corruption does not evoke much interest. Why?

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