all towns are
one, all men our kin.
|Home||Trans State Nation||Tamil Eelam||Beyond Tamil Nation||Comments||Search|
Selected Writings by Margaret Trawick
War and Tamil Women: A Women's Eye-view
[see also Women & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam]
Tamil women, have been long subject to oppression of a dual nature. On the one hand, women comprising a little more than fifty percent of the Tamil people have borne the brunt of national oppression stemming from the chauvinist Sinhala policies. On the other hand, women have subject to an internal form of social oppression rising out of male chauvinism. This form of oppression is reinforced by the conservative traditions and cultural norms inherent in the Tamil community. However growing national oppression brought about a situation where Tamil women took to arms. The normal patterns of life underwent rapid transformation with large numbers of youths migrating.
The situation escalated in 1987 when the IPKF was in Jaffna. Women
experienced the worst in their own soil at the very hands of the people whom
they trusted. The incidents are too many to mention. The following is one
from the stories of some women. She was a lively, vivacious and self
possessed 38 year old professional woman with a eleven year old daughter.
Her husband worked abroad.
On 12 November, in the morning, three Indian soldiers came to our house
at about 8 O' clock. My mother was in the kitchen, only my daughter and I
met them. They said that they were checking and started pushing my daughter
into a room, I dragged her shouted 'Amma, Amma, checking checking. Then the
soldiers at the sentry point near our house came running to our house. They
who were in our house told them they were checking. ( I lost my gold chain
also ), They did not stay long. However, we were scared. I took my daughter
and hid her in a small box room at the rear of the house and at about 9.30,
we saw the same three soldiers coming again. This time they had not used the
front gate where the sentry point is located, but came through another
adjoining vacant house, jumping over the parapet wall.
The stories are so traumatizing and makes one feel exhausted and impotent
and as women angry at ourselves, our class, our men, our whole passive
society. The above is a story of a survivor of sexual violence. There are
numerous reports of suicides, deaths followed as a result of inhuman gang
rape and torture and molestation. The middle class families in cases of rape
and molestation have always tried to hide and submerge the incidents. This
type of handling the victimization of women individualized the pain and
trauma and created far reaching damage to their inner selves.
In two incidents on the 12th, 15th and 18th of August 1990, ninety, ninety five and ninety one civilians, respectively, were shot and hacked to death and burnt alive by Muslim home guards supported by the army, in Senkallady, Thuraineelavanai and Veeramunai in the Eastern province.
Women with their memories haunting with the sights of the distorted forms of bodies of their beloved, but still with the responsibilities awaiting their services as women, tending the young, the elderly, adjusting life in the worst of living conditions, still made incomprehensible, due to indiscriminate shelling, aerial bombing and torture.
Complete majoritarian Democracy, in countries divided on ethnic lines will never satisfy the minority. In circumstances where the majority refuses to come to an amicable settlement with the minorities, the minorities have no way other than fighting for their right for self determination. Even in such a situation the majorities are the gainers as they easily brand these freedom fighters as "terrorists", a word often used to gain the attention and sympathy of all the so called parliamentarians around the world. Ultimately it is again the minorities who are the losers.