MOTHERS OF SRI LANKA’

 

A SHORT STORY

By Rajeswary Balasubramaniam

(published in the ‘Tamil Times’-London in 1996, this story will explain why I am campaigning for Peace and Unity in SL.)

London 1996

“It’s going to be a hot day” Devika pulls the curtains apart to see the weather outside and mumbles to herself while getting ready to go to work.

The clear blue sky is decorated with wandering soft white clouds moving in slow motion. The street is nearly empty as it is only about seven in the morning, but would be noisy and crowded in no time.

The man next door is playing reggae music, loud as usual. Devika puts the audio tape on and goes to the bathroom. Within a few seconds, Tamil devRajes.Botional songs fill the house with calm rhythmic tones.

She gets ready and comes down to make some tea. Her children are asleep in their rooms, next to hers. They were playing games with their friends until late last night and they are going to wake up late. Their cat, Josie is wandering around the room and licking her feet as is usual in the morning. The black cat is very beautiful and moves as elegantly as a well-bred young lady. The cat mews at Devika.

Cat wants her food, but the boys won’t be awake until late. “Okay Josie, come down, I’ll feed you”. Devika strokes the velvety body of the cat. She turns the radio on in the kitchen to listen to the seven o’clock news. Devika always listened to the world service in the morning before she went to work.

Another news bulletin about Sri Lanka, the Mullaithivu attack. The news reader is going on about the number of deaths in the attack. Devika stops opening the tin of cat food to absorb the news of the attack. “Nearly a thousand young men had been killed according to various sources and the Sri Lankan government is looking for terrorists and are fighting back with naval, air and the armed forces.

The news goes from Sri Lanka to Rwanda, Burundi and so on, to give details of the third world mania for killing games. For the radio broadcaster these bulletins are just more incidents.

For Devika?

Her imaginings of the scenario are too much to contemplate. What a tragedy! Losing her appetite now, she couldn’t be bothered with her cup of tea. She turns the radio off and gets herself ready to go to work. There is a knock at the door and the post man drops the letters.

Bills, bills and more bills, a never-ending flow of bills: the water, electricity, gas and telephone. Sometimes they all come at once, like a heavy ‘flu with head and body aches. With those bills there are two blue air mail letters. Suddenly Devika feels numb in her heart.

She dreads airmail letters as they usually bring bad news. That was all that had happened for the last fifteen years in Sri Lanka. She puts the letters in her work bag and goes upstairs. The devotional song is still going on, she turns to the statues of Gods and Goddesses and asks “Why, why this madness of killing in Sri Lanka?” Could she wait for an answer?

Men have taken the place of Gods in Sri Lanka and are playing the ‘war’ game with innocent people.

Devika goes to her little son Ravi’s room and says “Bye darling…see you later” although he is fast asleep. He is eleven years old but for her he is her ‘baby’. She kisses him gently and watches his angelic face for a while, and mutters “how many children like this one have died in Sri Lanka today? How many mothers have lost their loved ones? When is it going to stop, and who’s going to stop it? Is there anyone who would dare to challenge the government? Where has all the spirituality gone?”

She shuts her son’s bedroom door and hurries to the street. Josie the cat follows her up to the corner of the road. There is uproar in the next street, she can hear. The noise is increasing every second as some children are screaming as loud as possible to protect an old oak tree which the council are going to cut down as they think the tree is a danger to the shop nearby (which sells cosmetic products which are often tested on animals).

The infantile child soldiers screech and scream in their little voices, their small spokesperson saying that the destruction of that tree will damage the way of life for many birds who use the tree to perch, and there are two varieties of squirrels living in that tree which are most beautiful to look at.

There are a few children dressed in ‘bunny’ outfits to symbolise the rabbits who are some of the occupants of the bushes that surround the tree. Some five-year-olds are holding a banner saying “save our tree and the animals in it”.

There are local reporters as well as one of the TV reporters to cover the issue. This old oak tree is in national focus for the last few days as the protest is being broadcast on British national TV portraying the up rise to save the tree as a ‘people’s issue and affecting the local community’. The animal rights campaigners who are against testing on animals are there too with their placards with sentimental slogans to save the animals throughout the world, and protesting against any cruelty to animals.

There were the Ecologists as well, going on about the destruction of natures green fields and rain forests by greedy men in the world. “Look at what we have got now; out cities and towns are polluted with dirty air, look our streets – they are scattered with cars and lorries, this is all based on man’s greed, they exploit everything and everybody”.

“What a world – cats, birds, squirrels, rabbits and an old oak tree have the right to exist in the world but there is no right for ordinary Tamils in Sri Lanka to live because they belong to the wrong ethnic group”, Devika mutters to herself sadly.

The girl from the corner house is just coming out to the street. An Indian young beauty in her twenties with a seductive smile, slim figure, a simple blue outfit which complements her golden skin colour and flowing long black hair. She walks in the style of a well-trained fashion model who knows how to make other people turn and admire her elegance and charm. Devika had said ‘hello’ now and then to that young lady, other than that she has nothing much to say as they both always seem to be in a hurry.

Every time Devika looks at the young lady, she thinks of her nieces’ back home. Her cousin’s daughter Savitri was almost like another girl who is just passing by, one of the most beautiful girls in that village. Devika closes her eyes as she refuses to let the thoughts about Savitri to come to her any further as those memories are too painful.

A mother with two small children from the white house near the main road is behind her. Devika says good morning to the mother as usual – they meet every morning at the same spot. There has been nothing except ‘good morning’ up until now.

“ It’s going to be a hot day,” the woman said, looking up into the blue sky.

“Mmm” Devika.

The mother of the two may have been from Ireland as her English accent was not the same as Devika’s English friends.

“You are Sri Lankan, aren’t you?” she is asking, keeping her stare on Devika.

“Yes….but how do you know?” Devika is surprised.

“Well….my husband was listening to the early morning news and he mentioned you came from Sri Lanka. ”

Devika still hadn’t worked out how he had known.

“Oh, you’re wondering how he knew, aren’t you? Mrs Patel from the corner shop told him you’re from Sri Lanka when Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup. ”

Devika smiles politely, partly about the world cup, and partly because she was about to be asked about the early morning news. “Oh yes, some of my country men are good at the cricket field, and some are good at the killing filed too.” She wanted to honestly say to the woman.

“ The radio said that thousands of people are dying in your country, do you still have family there?” They have reached the bus stop now. Devika can’t answer – as the bus comes to a halt, she gets on. She waves to the mother, who waits for another bus. The bus is very crowded, people waiting their turn to get in, some muttering about the lateness of the bus, others patiently followed others. Her mind is still with the question from the mother of the two. “How many are being killed?”

“Its bloody murder.” A fat man with a huge stomach trying to move into the back of the bus yells at the driver. Devika places herself between a young lady who is plastered with heavy make up, heavily soaked in a nauseating perfume and a thin lady who is coughing intermittently with a slight wheezing.

Devika’s bus journey usually takes about twenty minutes and she will read something to pass the time. She fishes through her handbag and instead of finding the airmail letters she sees a note, which is about a Tamil woman who needs Devika’s help.

A Social Worker phoned Devika yesterday and asked her to come today to do a translation for a Tamil woman refugee who is in England and has to see a psychiatrist. The refugee woman came to England four months ago, lives alone and had a baby about two months ago and is having post-natal depression. She cannot communicate well as her English is not good. The social Service is considering isolating the child from her mother as the mother is not in an appropriate medical condition to care for the child.

A Tamil refugee!

That’s the identity for about 500,000 Sri Lankan Tamils abroad; no name, no status, no qualification, no address is needed except the word ‘refugee’! Devika puts the note back into her handbag as the bus stops at the tube station. She runs down to the platform as she doesn’t want to miss the train. Within a few minutes the trains will be packed with people like the sardines in the tin. She takes the airmail letters out as soon as he finds a place to sit down. Both letters are from Colombo, one from her sister another form her friend. Her friend Geeta’s letter which Devika has opened first:

“Dear Devika, please help me, I have no-one here to turn to, my son was arrested by the police few days ago, as they think he is one of the Tamil terrorists, as you know my family never has anything to do with politics, yet, as you know, in Colombo if you are a Tamil that is enough for you to get arrested and you don’t have to do anything. They took him a few days ago, I was trying to locate his whereabouts but with difficulty; now of course they are expecting me to pay a lot of money for his release. This politics in Sri Lanka is a big business. The police will ask for money in the police station, the army takes money at the checkpoints, the politicians will earn money from any means whether that is from an arms deal or from foreign aid to feed the hungry. Renting a house is a nightmare for a Tamil in Colombo, existing is a day to day struggle here, please help me”.

Devika’s eyes welled up with tears. Geets’s life is being destroyed by the awful political situation in Sri Lanka for the last fifteen years. Geeta was living back in Eastern province very happily before the trouble started in Sri Lanka, with her teacher husband and her three boys and two girls. When the Sri Lankan government systematically arrested and tortured the Tamil youths in the Tamil area, Geeta lost her elder son. A brilliant student from a Christian college, arrested, tortured and his mutilated body found in a field day after his arrest. The the army came to look for ‘Tamil terrorists’. When they couldn’t find men………..? Devika can still hear the screams of the Tamil women who were the victims of this brutal communal violence. ‘Oh poor Geeta’ Devika says to herself silently.

The other letter is from Devika’s sister, who describing the most recent ‘round up’ by the Sri Lankan army; how many people have died or disappeared as a result, and how many have either been recruited by or joined the Tamil militants to fight the government in their village.

“Dear sister, the life here at home is like a living hell – there is no future for the poor in Sri Lanka, you can run away abroad only if you have money or if you have some one abroad to help you, otherwise the young ones have no job to occupy them, the government take poor Sinhala boys to the battlefield to be massacred, poor Tamil boys have no future, therefore they are letting them into the war as a way of ‘living’. Some of them are the same age as your little son, what else can they do? Stay home and be arrested or killed by the Sri Lankan army? The recent sad thing was that our niece Premalatha has gone with the Tamil militant after her father and a brother have been taken by the army; as you know there is very little chance that they are alive. I wonder in our country if there s any one left to fight for peace, freedom, justice and humanity at all”

“ I am going early today”. Devika announces to her colleague Caroline Simpson. Caroline used to work for one of the International organisations and she was in Afghanistan helping women and children. She got injured by a Russian missile and nearly lost her life. Now she is working for this women’s organisation and has some knowledge of the Sri Lankan situation. Caroline looks at Devika who is busy organising the names of the women who come for advice. Their work involves helping women with varying issues from domestic violence to pregnancy testing.

“Are you OK?” asks Caroline – Devika is nearly in tears – thinking about what is happening in Sri Lanka. “How can I be OK, Caroline? Will you be happy when you hear that your countrymen are killing each other in thousands?” Samantha Johnson – the receptionist- walks in and says, “It’s a shame, a damn bloody shame!” Caroline and Devika look at each other with a question in their eyes. “It is a shame that your people are killing like this in your country…you see I booked a holiday to go to Sri Lanka, and now I can’t go; why can’t your people behave themselves properly like other human beings?

How simple a question for Samantha, but giving an answer doesn’t seem to be easy. The telephone is ringing. One of Devika’s sons is on the phone and she can hear her little fellow Ravi wailing away very loudly in the background.

“What is the matter?” Devika is panicking as she hears her son crying. She always worries about them when they are at home alone during the holiday, although son Segar is about fourteen and very sensible.

“Mother the cat has been hit by a car, I think we ought to take him to the vet……..can I take some money from the kitty?”

“ Of course darling, you take some money for the cat but make sure Ravi is ok, and calm him down a bit, otherwise he will be crying all the way to the vet.”

“Yes mother”.

She puts the phone down. The children love their cat and the little fellow wouldn’t even eat if the cat is not at home as he is very fond of that animal.

“Some of the Tamil fighters are same age as your little son” the words from her sister’s letter echo in Devika’s head!

The poor children of Sri Lanka have been denied their right to be children in Sri Lanka, the poor Tamil boys are in the battlefield, some poor Sinhalese boys are at the beaches to sell sex to the foreign paedophile who has no hesitation or moral restraint against exploiting innocent lives for their perverted sexual desires!

Have the politicians in Sri Lanka a conscience about their subjects or that is the way they want the country to rot?

These questions often come to Devika’s mind but no one will give her an answer.

“Are you alright?” Caroline asks Devika again when they are alone. Devika tells her she has to go and help a Tamil refugee in North London.

Devika would rather not talk about the news. Caroline often asks Devika about Sri Lanka and the political situation. Some of Caroline’s questions are too complicated to answer, such as ‘why are these Sinhalese armies killing the Tamils in a frenzied way?’ or sometimes she will read of the attack by Tamil militants on the Sinhala villagers and would ask ‘why are the Tamil militants killing the innocent women and children?’.

”caroline the atrocities done by many groups including the government, the government have no language or religion, they will send their armies to kill any who oppose them, they did in the 1971 to kill nearly 60.000 poor Sinhala boys and girls in order to eliminate revolutionaries, there are lots of arrests and murders who does it? is it a work of criminal gangs or the officials who wanted to discredit the nation’s good name abroad”.

Caroline may not understand when Devika explains that the Sinhala governments regardless of their party political point of views wanted to continue the war to stay in power and would not give the Tamils or the poor the right to live in Sri Lanka like any other citizens in the world. All these violences are the creation of the people who wanted to keep up their control on power, not just of the militants alone.

When Devika reaches the Tamil woman refugee’s place the social worker is awaiting her at the estate. The estate is a massive concrete jungle with over a thousand families from all over the world. Unemployed, refugees, drug users, criminals, people with mental disorders all put in one block! A hell of a life to experience.

The estate looks very untidy and littered with all kinds of rubbish, like a slum in Colombo. Children are playing loud and rough, young men are standing and staring at the passers by. A group of young women with provocative outfits are flirting with one and other.

The weather is hot, the heat practically burning the skin, the humidity makes the atmosphere stuffy. Devika fans her face with a paper. The social worker gives more notes to Devika; the details of that young mother. Her name is Luxmy Sundaram, she came with her husband to come to UK and stopped in Africa and the agency sent her first to England as they couldn’t send both together. She has no relatives in London. The social worker has been trying to find someone who could speak Tamil in the block but she couldn’t find anyone yet. They walked the stairs that are scattered with rubbish including dirty needles and used condoms, smelly faeces and urine. Devika feels nauseated.

“What is the matter with the lift?”

“ Oh those things never work properly in the council estate, do they,” the social worker replied. When they reached the fourth floor, Devika feels giddy as well as nauseous as she hasn’t had anything to eat all day. They knock on the door a few times and it is opened reluctantly. There is a thin young woman with sunken eyes, dull expression, uncombed hair, with a baby in her arm.

“ Hello Luxmy, I have brought someone who can help you.”

Luxmy looks at Devika.

Devika asks, “How are you,” in Tamil, within a second that Tamil refugee mother has burst into tears and is weeping uncontrollably.

Devika puts her arm around the mother.

“Please don’t let them take my baby away from me…” she sobs.

“ No, I won’t let them if I can help the situation get better”. Devika takes the little baby from the mother. The baby is well covered with a soft blanket.

“ Can I remove the blanket…it’s very hot…the baby is sweating heavily,” says Devika to the mother. The social worker exchanges a glance with Devika that tells; ‘you see, this mother has no idea how to cope with a baby.’

“ I don’t want my baby to catch a cold, my husband wouldn’t like me if I don’t care for the baby properly.” Luxmy says nervously.

“Not to worry, the baby won’t catch cold in this weather.” Devika says gently while making the baby comfortable.

“ I lost everyone in one shell blast in Jaffna, now my husband is in Africa, I’m here, they are going to take baby away.” Luxmy’s body is trembling with pain when she cries. Devika spends two or three hours with Luxmy, as she has to go with her to the psychiatrist and bring her back to the flat.”

“We must find someone who can speak Tamil in this block” Devika persists, as she thinks Luxmy needs constant support as well as good observation.

“There is a Muslim family upstairs, I don’t know whether they are from Sri Lanka”, the social worker says, and they go to the tenth floor to look for the family and by this time Devika has nearly fainted with tiredness and hunger as well as worry about her children at home.

The Muslim family is from Sri Lanka, ‘I hope they are not from the North’ prays Devika, as a few years ago the minority Muslims from the North were expelled by the Tamil Tigers as they were a security risk for the majority Tamils in that area, and since then if Devika meets and Muslim in London, they are not hesitant to express their anger. Who wouldn’t by angry? If someone lived in an area for generations and was forced to leave because of their ethnic origin any normal person would feel humiliated and discriminated against.

Mrs Karim is a kind lady from Kandy – the midland of Sri Lanka and she lives with her two sons and a daughter in London. The children are students at the nearly college. Mrs Karim lost her husband in a car accident and she couldn’t afford to pay the mortgage and so she moved to a council house recently; she told them, “At least we are safe in this country, whether there is financial hardship or not, I feel really sorry for people, particularly the mothers in Sri Lanka, who are losing their loved ones.”

Mrs Karim gives them home made ‘vadai and sambol’. Devika observes Mrs Karim’s gentle manners and Devika can tell that she is a woman with a genuine sympathy for others. Mrs Karim sits in front of her visitors to listen to what they have to say.

Devika explains to her about Luxmy on the fourth floor and asks her whether she could help the young mother. “ Of course my dear, after all we all are Sri Lankan. We should help each other, I’ll definitely go down and do whatever I can, and I’ll tell you something else, my seventeen year old daughter is fond of children, she could be more than happy to help Luxmy.” Mrs Karim says cheerfully.

“ You Sri Lankan people are very kind. You come all the way to North London to help and this Muslim lady is going to help the mother. I think your people are very kind”, smiles the English social worker when they are coming to the bus stop. Devika does not say much.

Sri Lanka, shaped like a tear drop, in the Indian Ocean, with the most splendid natural beauty on earth. But today the beautiful landscape is decorated with the decaying bodies of the next generation, demolished ancient buildings and temples, the rivers carry headless corpses, from the lamp posts are swaying away so called ‘traitors’, femininity is facing constant abuse from all sections, mothers with no children, women with no husbands, the land in some places bare and ruined, the price of a piece of bread is going up every day to meet the cost of the war which brings nothing but destruction!

“Are we all kind to each other? What are we doing to each other and why are we letting these mindless politicians and religious fanatics destroy our young ones; the politicians’ children will never go to the battlefront, why do we allow our children to die for them to enjoy luxury of life? Isn’t it enough for us to see other parts of the world which have been destroyed in no time like Bosnia, Rwanda or Russia who, like us, are trying to be superior to each other because of ones race, colour, religion or language? We breath the same air, drink the same water, walk on the same grass, look at the same blue sky but we behave like savages to please the politicians and religious fanatics”. She would like to ask sixteen million Sri Lankan people if she had the chance.

“ How can I help Geeta?” She is thinking, while she is in the tube train to go back home. She will send money to help Geeta. “Giving money won’t solve any problems, but to do campaign work with others who have the same problems as her may create some awareness about the increasingly dangerous situation in Colombo”. She thinks of her Sinhala friend Thilaka Ratwatte who had lost her brother during the 90’s when the United National Party was in government and was arresting anyone who was against them.

Massive graveyards had been found in the Sinhala area, allegedly those graves contained Sinhalese youth who were against the government. Thilaka’s brother was a journalist and wrote about the human rights violations in Sri Lanka, and one morning the plain clothes government officials came to take him for ‘questioning’ – then he ‘disappeared’ from the face of the earth without trace. Thilaka was frantically trying to find out about her brother’s whereabouts with no success, as the government was denying any knowledge of seeing or having contact with Thilaka’s brother. That was the end of a Sinhalese progressive man who campaigned for human rights in Sri Lanka.

When Devika reaches home the house is in a zombie mood as the cat is still with the vet with internal injuries due to the car accident. Little Ravi is in tears and crawling onto the settee, moaning. Segar in philosophical, saying that ‘every life has a meaning and it ends one day, Josie cat had a happy life and she gave so much pleasure to all of us in the house.’ Cat gave pleasure to people in the house? Devika wonders. The Cat brought half-dead mice and birds to show off her love for the boys! Ravi won’t stop weeping.

Devika wants to dial Thilaka to find out how to help Geeta. Devika phones Thilika while stroking her little son who is weeping. Thilika is angry with Sri Lankan politicians as usual. “ I am sorry Devika about your friend, I hear that there were about a thousand soldiers being killed and the government is going mad with bombing on innocent civilians in the Tamil Areas. Who is going to stop this carnage, savagery, barbarism?” Thilaka’s questions are like Devika’s but none knows the answer.

Thilaka gives her some contacts in Columbo for Devika to get in touch with.

A few days go by and the cat is still with the vet, under observation after having an intravenous infusion as she has lost so much blood due to the car accident. Ravi is coming to terms with the tragic situation, just as any human learns to live in hope for the best. Devika is busy trying to meet with people who can help her to secure the release of Geeta’s son.

“There are over seven hundred Tamil youths who have been arrested in Colombo” one said. The ‘war’ in Mullaitivu is still in progress, costing enormous damage to the Tamil people in Paranthan, Kilinochy and of course in Mullaitivu areas and no one has any idea of the scale of the damage, as the government won’t let any independent reporters go to the ‘war’ zone. There are rumours in Colombo often saying things which have no basis in reality, but some reliable reports say that there are over 200.000 people around the ‘war’ zone being displaced to the escalating fight, and that makeshift hospitals are crowded with children for whom there are no medicines or facilities.

A friend of Devika’s asks her to come to an event which is organised to commemorate the 1983 July riots in Colombo against the Tamils by the United National Party government officials backed Sinhala racist mobs, when millions of rupees worth of Tamil’s property was damaged and many Tamils were burned alive in front of horrified foreign tourists in Colombo and thousands of Tamils went through untold sufferings. Tamil political prisoners were killed inside high security prisons.

This evening’s commemorative event in London is on a grand scale, portraying the past with graphic posters, reports, and discussions, debates. Devika is here alone, not many people say hello to each other; although they are all Sri Lankan Tamils there is no obvious brotherhood (or sisterhood) unless one belongs to a certain Tamil area in Sri Lanka. The children in the hall are wearing their best dresses, and the women are wearing or Kanchipuram or Kashmere silk sarees, which are the dream of poor Tamils back home. Children are collecting money for ‘refugee children’ in Sri Lanka, women are preparing delicious food for men engaged in the action of self promotion, men with expensive suits and nicely trimmed moustaches (some are dyed to cover the greying) who are on the platform chanting the glory to the Tamils and explaining why we continue the war.

Suddenly Devika feels the surrealism of the picture.

She remembers what Geeta has written. Politics is a business for some people. The attacks and the carnage, the suffering of mothers like Geeta, to fight for the rights of Tamils, girls like Savitri, who has chosen (?) to be a suicide bomb, her young body blasted along with her ‘enemies’ (?) and her mother couldn’t even bury her ‘body’ – all these issues have no meaning in this absurd setting. None of the rich women at this event would match to Geeta, or Savitri, or Premalatha, or the Tamil refugee Luxmy in the council house.

Devika walks out of the meeting with a question in her mind: ‘Is it our situation that has given to some people the opportunity to organise social events, to get to wear expensive outfits, eat delicious meals and gather and meet their kith and kin, and friends to maintain a heritage that can survive here in London? Do they really want peace and justice in Sri Lanka – of course Devika knows none of these people will ever go back home from their comfortable lives in the West. So it is easy for them to talk about the ‘war’ as if they are watching an Indian commercial film, with very little feeling.

She goes home disappointed.

On the way home she can hear the celebration activities around the old oak tree which is ‘saved’ by the ‘people’ who fought for their rights. The tree is decorated with yellow ribbons by children from all over the street; parents are having a party to celebrate their children’s victory.

“Are we the Tamils in London really, really campaigning for security for all the children in Sri Lanka? She asks herself the question as usual.

There was a call from Colombo, Segar says. She phones a friend to find out the recent news. Geeta is waiting there, expecting Devika’s call. Geeta can’t speak, her voice is cracking, “my son…..my son…..” she won’t complete the sentence. Her friend comes on the line.

“Sorry Devika….they found Geeta’s son’s body…” there are pauses at both ends.

Devika’s throat is blocked with a lump of some sort and she has no words to comfort her friend.

“By the way….” her friend continues, “ your sister said your niece Premalatha was one of the fighters who died in the ‘war’ with the Sri Lankan armies in Mullaitivu”.

Devika puts the phone down. Tears falling like a river on her cheek.

Ravi starts to scream suddenly as he sees Segar was coming with his head down and a sad face from the vet.

“My cat….my poor cat” Ravi is crying. Devika cuddles her son tenderly. Segar does not have to say anything in words.

They all sit together, crying, “The poor little Josie cat is dead isn’t it?” Ravi asks Segar.

“ The vet tried very hard”, Segar said.

There is a long pause between all of them, then she tells the children “your cousin Premalatha is dead too in Sri Lanka.” She can’t tell them the details of the carnage. The children look at their mother, trying to remember their cousin whom they met when they were little.

“ Do you remember a girl who has a red doll from me?” She asks them

Premalatha like any other Sri Lankan Tamil or Sinhala young woman could have been a good mother, or a teacher, or a writer or an actress, or a dancer but her life has been destroyed by the political violence in Sri Lanka.

All those young who died this week could have been able and wonderful citizens of our future, but what a waste, what a waste!

They are silent. The children may not remember anything about Sri Lanka, just like the children in the hall who were trying to commemorate the deaths back home. She cries for the children and the mothers of Sri Lanka, her children cry with her without and real understanding of what is going on in Sri Lanka.

End.

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