A Fleeting Moment in My Country: the Last Years of the LTTE De-Facto State

A Fleeting Moment in My Country: the Last Years of the LTTE De-Facto State

By: N. Malathy (author), Radha d'Souza (preface_author)Paperback

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Little is known about the Tamil liberation cause and struggle, as it has been widely dismissed by global powers of all persuasions - the USA, Russia, China and India - each driven by their own real politik reasons and self-interests. Isolated in their struggle and condemned by world opinion, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) nonetheless proved capable of withstanding all external forces for a period of decades, drawing large numbers of Tamils, both inside Sri Lanka and outside in the Tamil Diaspora, to support its cause. The LTTE created a progressive internal movement that succeeded in breaking down ancient caste barriers that had resisted the political inducements and leadership of figures such as Gandhi, and inculcated a climate of social justice and equality. This book, written by a Diaspora Tamil engaged in human rights work in the Tamil-controlled area of Vanni up until it was overrun by Sri Lankan forces, provides a compelling insider's look at the motivations, issues and complexities of this largely secret civil war. This is what life was like on the ground inside Tamil-controlled territory where the forces of war were held at bay - until 2009 when it was overrun by the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil genocide began.

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About Author

N. Malathy is member of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora and a naturalised New Zealand citizen who has lived in New Zealand for four decades. She has written extensively on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and also translated a short novel set in the Vanni context which has been accepted for publication by Penguin India. She spent four years in Sri Lanka, in the Vanni District under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), from 2005 till 2009, a period marked by the gradual weakening of the 2002 Norwegian brokered ceasefire, which eventually led to the brutal war in which LTTE was defeated and its leadership killed or imprisoned. During this period she worked in many institutions, including a human rights body, a women's organization, and an orphanage. Her experiences spanned working with LTTE to release child soldiers, preparing documentation for peace talks for the same body, documenting human rights violations by the Sri Lankan military and working on a project to raise awareness of domestic violence. Radha d'Souza practiced as a barrister in the High Court of Bombay and taught at the Universities of Auckland and Waikato in New Zealand and presently teaches Public International Law and Development at the University of Westminster.


Foreword by Radka d'Souza; Preface; Chapter 1: The Girl Who Would Be A Fighter; The book opens with the author's unplanned but dramatic introduction to the Vanni district as a relative stranger, which permitted a chance observation in microcosm of the complexities that surrounded the child soldier phenomenon.; Chapter 2: Castaway Children; To ameliorate the destitution resulting from three prior decades of war, there were extensive welfare institutions in Vanni. The many aspects of war that affected children impacted the child soldier issue.; Chapter 3: The Achievements and Fate of Janani and the Senchoolai Orphanage; Janani, a long serving female LTTE member, and the institution, Senchoolai, which she headed which cared for orphaned children, are legends in the history of LTTE. This chapter relates the history of Senchoolai - its unique achievements, its heartaches, its organizational aspects and its eventual fate.; Chapter 4: Rituals of a Nation in Struggle; The unique and pervasive rituals instituted by the LTTE were followed by everyone and were well entrenched. They were mostly centred on LTTE members who were killed in action. Major ritual days, the martyrs graveyards as a central symbol, shrines and other pervasive icons and the emotional connection of the people to these are described.; Chapter 5: NES0HR: Monitoring Human Rights in Tamil Eelam The author began work at the human rights body, NESoHR, an off shoot of the 2002 peace process. This chapter describes the types of complaints against LTTE brought to NESoHR by civilians.; Chapter 6: Documenting Atrocities Against the Tamils; The author carried out extensive research and documented the large scale massacres and disappearances, the eviction of people from their land, the denial of fishing rights of the coastal people, and the government sponsored projects to cause deliberate demographic changes.; Chapter 7: The Media Voices of Tamil Eelam; This chapter describes the type of topics covered by these media and how they changed as the war intensified and as various embargoes were imposed on Vanni.; Chapter 8: Educating the International Peacemakers; The author's observations of and experience liaising with, all types of international agencies - the peace makers, UN and others bodies - sheds light on the mandate mentalities of the peace makers and the struggle for justice mentality of the Vanni establishment.; Chapter 9: Child soldiers; The evolution of the child soldier issue in LTTE, its efforts to address this under international pressure, and the author's role in this effort are all described here. The reader will understand why the child soldier issue was a persistent problem within LTTE and how this issue became a hot topic on the international scene.; Chapter 10: Internal Debates; Some debates that came up in Vanni add depth to the description of the society. While cricket emerged as a unifying factor, purity of language, and the forced recruitment instituted by LTTE from 2006 onwards altered the social fabric. Though this issue itself was not debated publicly, many of its flow on effects were debated.; Chapter 11: Women's liberation, Vanni style; The LTTE had a very pro-women policy and it had achieved progress in this area but LTTE women also showed frustration that more progress was not being made, particularly in relation to domestic violence.; Chapter 12: Vanni social space; The LTTE culture permeated into the wider Tamil society and its unique institutions, centred on remembering the dead martyrs, were functioning in the Vanni. The institutional structures of the LTTE and how they interlinked with external institutions of the Lankan government and the international agencies is described.; Chapter 13: Civil Development during peace time; This chapter describes the flourishing of the Vanni institutions during the early ceasefire period: a profusion of developments in the fields of, education, health, disability services, welfare institutions for the disabled and the destitute, courts, child care, human rights, environment protection, children's park, bookshops, libraries, retail outlets, banking, fine arts schools, public transport are among the many sectors that flourished.; Chapter 14 Fleeing the War Zone: The Slow walk to Mullivaikaal and Evacuation; The war gradually evolved from middle of 2006 until March 2009, forcing the author to leave Vanni by ICRC ship during the last phase. Her first hand description of the evolving crisis is made more poignant because throughout this crisis she was involved with documenting it for both NESoHR and the LTTE Peace Secretariat.; Chapter 15: The internment camp; Experiences of being detained in military controlled camps with 300,000 other Tamils who walked out of the war zone is described in this chapter. I describe, the conditions that were wasting the children, the brutality of the military, and the unpleasant atmosphere of living in a crowded area fighting for the limited resources of food, water and shade.; Chapter 16: No Nation is an Island; This last chapter describes the author's emotions, after arriving in New Zealand and learning about the fate of the people of Vanni she had come to respect and like. The chapter also describes her views on the present situation: the splintering of Tamils into factions and the international players' duplicity.; APPENDIX: A Brief Note on the History of the Conflict.

Product Details

  • publication date: 11/09/2012
  • ISBN13: 9780984525546
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 188
  • ID: 9780984525546
  • weight: 245
  • ISBN10: 0984525548

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