February 19, 2018 – Today, the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research released a new set of stories as part of the ‘Stories of Mullivaikkaal’ series in the ‘Stories of Resilience’ project. The new stories released once again demonstrate the strength and pain of Tamil women who survived the last phase of the war, and the ways in which they had to manoeuvre through the conflict. Stories can be viewed at www.storiesofresilience.com
Eventually they were all taken to the IDP camp where again Vasuki was separated from her family. There, everyone was forced to strip naked before military officers being allowed in. “Our dignity was the last thing we were carrying – they made sure we had to lose it as well to be alive,” Vasuki said. They had not bathed in four days and Vasuki had dealt with having her period that whole time so she insisted on bathing. Vasuki lead a group of people that had arrived with her to the river in the camp to bathe. But upon arriving at the river, a soldier stood on the bank with a camera taking pictures of her. Vasuki says she hurriedly bathed and then as they were walking back the soldier who was still taking pictures asked which block she was in and her name, so she lied and gave a different name. That was the first and last time Vasuki says she went to the river to bathe but adds that she knows of at least 10 girls who went missing from that river. – Vasuki’s Story
‘Stories of Resilience’ is a project by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) that aims to document and share stories of strength, courage and resilience of Tamil communities before, during and after the armed conflict. ACPR intends to preserve these stories for current and future generations of Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Diaspora as part of a broader conversation about Tamil identity. This project aims to contribute to efforts around the world to document and share stories of Tamil survival, by documenting stories of those who still live in Sri Lanka and continue to persevere.
‘Stories of Mullivaikkaal’ is a series that presents alternative narratives from survivors of Mullivaikkaal which does not narrow their lived experiences to helpless victimhood but rather promotes and accepts their agency. We hope that this series will raise awareness about the struggle and resilience of the survivors of the last phase of the war and broaden the conversation about assisting those who suffered mass atrocities during the end of the war.