Sunday, August 13, 2017

A. V. Koshy writes

Swapna Sundari 

(First Draft.)

Sri Lanka

If you had seen with me

the bombed, shattered glass front of the Esplanade

or those boys with guns in their hands (6)

in Colombo

perhaps we would have rushed back to the hotel

and made frantic love

to overcome the sight

but you were not there.

(6) Refers to the time of the Sinhalese/Tamil civil war.

1 comment:

  1. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamiḻīḻa viṭutalaip pulikaḷ), also known as the Tamil Tigers, was founded in 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran to create an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka, leading to the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009). Between 1980 and 2009 the LTTE carried out 168 suicide attacks causing heavy damage on civilian, economic and military targets. The first prominent one occurred on 5 July 1987, when the LTTE filled a truck with explosives and wedged 21-year-old Vallipuram Vasanthan (“Captain Miller”) into the driver's seat so he couldn't move; his hands were tied to the steering wheel and one foot to the accelerator, and he steered the truck into the army camp at Nelliady Madhya Maha Vidyalayam. Miller was most likely killed at the first barricades when soldiers opened fire, but the truck kept going, ramming into the main school building and exploding, creating a crater as big as a bus and killing 39-100 soldiers. The incident was videotaped, and Miller became a revered figure in the LTTE, regarded as the first Black Tiger and his face used on the insignia of the Black Tigers, specially selected and trained to conduct terrorist operations; between 1987-2009 more than 330 Black Tigers made suicide attacks. Karumpuli Naal (Black Tigers Day) was celebrated to commemorate all Black Tiger martyrs, and a shrine, including a golden statue of Miller, was built at Nelliady Madhya Maha Vidyalayam. After the Sri Lankan military re-captured the Vadamarachchi region in 1996 they destroyed Miller's shrine, but locals managed to hide his statue, which was re-installed with a new memorial plaque in 2002 during a Norwegian-mediated cease fire agreement; when the fighting resumed the statue was destroyed by armed men in 2006, and its dais and plaque were destroyed by the army in 2010. In the 1990s the LTTE developed a suicide bomb vest that would be emulated by terrorist groups around the world; on 21 May 1991, the LTTE became the first terrorist group to kill a world leader, when Thenmozhi Rajaratnam (“Dhanu”) blew herself up at a campaign rally for Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur, near Madras, killing him and 14 other bystanders. (Gandhi was the grandson of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru; he became the nation’s 6th prime minister after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi by two of her bodyguards; in 1987 he sent peacekeepers to Sri Lanka, leading to open conflict with the LTTE; his widow Sonia became the president of the Congress party in 1998 and led it to victory in the 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections.) In 1993 an unknown Black Tiger murdered Sri Kanka president Ranasinghe Premadasa and 17 others during a May Day rally in north Colombo.


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