Killing Fields Tweets

Eyewitness: Sri Lanka's Killing Fields


By Paul M.M. Cooper, On Saturday, May 24 2014

The following account is based on interviews to Tamils Against Genocide. Personal details of Mayuran (not his real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect his identity. Mayuran was in his mid-30s when the Sri Lankan army advanced into the LTTE-controlled North-East of Sri Lanka in its final assault. He first joined the LTTE when he was sixteen, and had been part of a team that laid claymore mines along enemy positions and also taught combat to new recruits. In Mayuran's own words, here is what he saw. In 2009, when the Sri Lankan Army first declared its so-called “no-fire zones” people began to flock to these small areas in their tens of thousands as the shells began to fall all over landscape of mudflats and low jungle of the Vanni region. Houses, bunkers, camps and refugee infrastructure were constantly hit in the wake of the Government offensive into the North. Soon, after the government had repeatedly hit the no-fire zones with barrages of artillery,  Read on...

 
By Paul M.M. Cooper, On Sunday, May 18 2014

The following account is based on survivor interviews to Tamils Against Genocide. Personal details of Ainkaran (not his real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect his identity. Ainkaran volunteered in a hospital in the contested North East of Sri Lanka when the government began its final offensive on the Tamil separatists. It was 2009, and the outlook was grim for the LTTE. The cadres had set up fortified settlements far behind the frontline in order to escape the artillery of the Sri Lankan Army, but there were some shells, with a range of 3-5km, that could still reach even these safe havens. As the fighting intensified and the shells began to fall, Ainkaran helped to spread the sign of the International Red Cross across the roof of a school building that they had converted into a hospital. From up on the roof, you could already see the smoke rising over the trees, and hear the distant thud of the artillery. When artillery fired, you first heard a deep  Read on...

 
By Paul M.M. Cooper, On Saturday, May 17 2014

  The following account is based on survivor interviews to TAG. Personal details of Ahalya (not her real name) and her family members, place names and dates have been changed to protect their identities.    Ahalya was in her late twenties when the war in the North of Sri Lanka came to an end. She was the sister of an LTTE soldier who was killed fighting in the war, and since his death had been determined to do what she could to alleviate the suffering of the Tamil-majority population of the LTTE-controlled zone.   During the war, Ahalya helped out in the Vithiyasaalai Hospital in Oru Kiraamam, while her mother and father stayed at home and looked after her little son. It was hard work, at first, dealing with the wounded and the sick. She grew tougher, though, and before long her work at the hospital, along with caring for her child, became the focus of her life.   The  Vithiyasaalai Hospital, like most institutions and public services in the North of Sri Lanka, was run by the LT  Read on...

 
By Tamils Against Genocide, On Friday, May 16 2014

For the first time in 5 years, we have decided to selectively open up our archive of witness accounts from inside of Sri Lanka's Killing Fields. Here we publish some of what was told to us by those who witnessed first hand the genocide in Sri Lanka. We have changed the names of people and places, and even the dates of events, redacting identifiable details where possible to protect our sources. The Sri Lankan state still actively hunts down and persecutes those who speak out about the events of 2009, so much so that a full and fair narrative may take years to emerge. We'd like to acknowledge our team of multi-disciplinary volunteers - lawyers, international relations and social science scholars and technologists who helped with the work needed to record these stories and who have almost all chosen to stay anonymous for reasons of security.  The accounts here have been selected and written up by our resident linguist Paul MM Cooper .    Read on...