Category Archives: women in ethnic conflcits

Empowered Women rise from the Ashes of Sri Lanka’s War

Avani Dias,  courtesy of ABC Net, May 14 May 2017, where the title runs  Border Girls: Women in Sri Lanka take on male roles to help recovery from brutal civil war,” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-07/border-girls-help-sri-lanka-recover-from-civil-war/8499728

Women and girls whose male relatives were killed in Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war are now helping the country recover, taking on roles formerly reserved for men and heading to schools and universities to complete their education. The so-called “Border Girls” mostly come from towns and villages which formed a human buffer zone between the opposing sides during the 27-year conflict, which ended in 2009 and left tens of thousands of civilians dead, many of them killed in the war’s bloody final phase. The majority of border girls, who are from the Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim ethnic groups, lost their partners, fathers, and brothers in the war, which pitted government troops against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) guerrillas, also known as the Tamil Tigers. Now these resilient women want to independently lead a change in Sri Lanka by pursuing their education and altering community attitudes so women have a leadership role in the traditionally male-led society.

Saroja Dilrukshi, 16, lost most of her family during the Sri Lankan civil war

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Malaravan’s War Journey for Tiger Tamils, 1990s

War Journey, being translation of  Por Ulaa reviewed  here by three Indian intellectuals

ONE > R.K. Radhakrishnan: “A Heroic Life after Death,” 8 July 2013, The Hindu

Just as political parties in India used music, theatre and cinema with stunning results, the LTTE relied on the written word, and folklore, with the help of platform speakers in Tamil. Heroes are created long after their death. The embellished folklores, the sexed-up citations, even made-up stories of courage, valour and sacrifice — all contribute to the creation of a hero from an ordinary human being, who is often left without a choice of how, why and if he/she will be remembered or celebrated. Institutions and movements seek to capitalise on the emotional appeal of the ‘supreme sacrifice’ to further ‘The Cause.’ Continue reading

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Footsteps across Continents: Hedi Simon and the Stadlens of Austria and Britain

Matthew Stadlen, in The Telegraph, 11 November 2013, where the title is “Family history: retracing the steps of a romance disrupted by war”

In 1938 my grandfather, the pianist Peter Stadlen, was returning to his native Austria from a concert tour of Ireland when he happened to meet a girl on the ferry home. As a result he caught a cold from chatting to her on deck, and had to stop over in Amsterdam. The fates were with him, because the following day – 75 years ago – the Nazis marched into Austria; Peter was a secular Jew. He was able to communicate with his mother and sister, who were still in Vienna, and urge them to leave by the next train to Holland. From there, all three made it to London as refugees, and that is where my family has been based ever since. They were lucky.

 Hedi Simon … also known as Heidi Keuneman before her second marriage to Peter Stadlen

My great-great-uncle, known as Onkl Friedl, did not escape. He was one of the very first to die at the hands of the Gestapo when they moved into Vienna. He had been chief economic adviser to pre-Nazi Chancellors of Austria, and was immediately put under house arrest. A paraplegic, he always kept cyanide in his ring in case he should ever be caught in a fire, unable to escape. He tricked the Nazi guards into leaving his room and took the poison. I have red hair but neither of my parents do: Onkl Friedl was a redhead and I’ve always believed it comes from him.

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Face Our Future: Jihadist Offshoots and Continuing Maelstrom in Middle East

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Traversing Lanka: Walking Woman emulates the Bike Man

Devika  Casiechetty matches up to Rob, the British Bike-Man

 Rob as in https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/a-british-bike-mans-bike-ride-in-sri-lanka/

Nushka Nafeel:She stepped in where Angels feared to tread,” Daily News, 29 March 2017

Women today have progressed in a variety of fields and reached the pinnacle of achievement but yet when a girl informs her parents or elders that she would be travelling out of town, or even stepping out of the confines of her home, the first question everyone in Sri Lanka asks is “Who are you going with? Will you be safe? Are you not scared?” The premise is that girls are not safe going out on their own and this is the question that Devika Casiechetty set to answer when she decides to walk around Sri Lanka alone. Her mission is, “A Girl on a Solo quest.”

Casiechetty’s idea was simple as it was to walk around Sri Lanka on her own to prove that Sri Lanka is the safest place to walk around solo as a woman but with the course of time, her initial plan begin to change. “I have now decided to not only explore whether Sri Lanka is safe to walk alone as a woman but also to ascertain whether it is unsafe and how we could make it safer for women,” she said. Continue reading

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Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where it is presented with a different title ….  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/histrionic-voice-as-spark-for-ethnic-violence-political-extremism/

Anguish and grief are powerful emotions that can contort and wrack a body. While ‘suggesting’ helplessness, the anguish that engulfs a person can also empower that person … and others connected to that person by commonalities of interest/emotion. In this manner anguish can transcend obstacles, generate waves of bitterness and swell into paths of retributory hate and punishment. The ‘little’ drops of tears can swell metaphorically into ‘waves’ – and even inspire enraged mobs (mostly male) bent on punishing the purported root of the tears, a recalcitrant Other, an enemy family or “community” deemed to be the cause of that expressive anguish or deemed to have transcended local norms. In southern Lanka that community can be a neighbouring caste grouping or ethnic group or religious group (Muslim Moor,[1] Hindu, Buddhist, Christian).

Let me highlight the argument by presenting an unusual juxtaposition.

  1. Expressive Grief displayed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman at a protest demonstration before David Cameron by persons whose kin have been missing in the course of Eelam War IV

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Being an ex-Tiger Today. Where have all the roads gone, long time passing!

Arthur Wamanan & Ruwan Laknath Jayakody courtesy of The Nation, 11 March 2017, where the title is The battle after the war”

Life continues to be a struggle for 45-year-old Kathir, a former Tamil Tiger combatant, and his family. Kathir was one of the 12,000 Tiger cadres who underwent a rehabilitation process soon after the end of the war. Kathir was lucky to be released after a year of rehabilitation. “I was disabled due to the war and therefore my time at rehabilitation centres was just one year,” he said.

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