(This is just one example of how the wounds of trauma and the post traumatic stress disorder damages the psyche of the survivors)
I enjoyed swimming in the sea. Won prizes in sports. We lived close to the sea. I remember as a little girl, we had run for shelter when we heard the sound of the planes. In the beginning, I thought it like a car in the air, but later realized that it could drop bombs that would explode destroying the buildings, our boats and trees. I carefully listened to what people talked. But I couldn’t understand the real reason. May be we speak different languages. However I knew we look alike. Every time I hear the bombing or seeing a dead body, I sensed rage brewing in my heart.
The bombers come at dawn or dusk in the beginning. Hovering over, they just drop bombs aimlessly. I still remember seeing my Uncle who was wounded by the bombing. It was strange. I noticed only the pink flesh of him. I don’t remember him bleeding, but an awful smell was around that place. When I see these, the anger and the rage against those who did was increasing in my mind. I thought my call was to take revenge! How long are we to suffer like this? What harm did we do to them?
The intense shelling bombing and shooting made us leave all what we had and move towards Vanni. We ended up living with a farmer in Kilinochchi. It was a different world. When I joined the school, I found that my friends had the same sense of hatred and anger. So we decided that we should help them. We did go to their office to get registered to become fighters. I was turned back as I was too young. But the next year my long time desire became a reality. Seeing the young women in camouflaged dress and looking very smart gave me the boost.
I was sent for training. I underwent the basic training. But they chose me to be specialized in a particular duty. I was made a trainer for others. During the final days I had to do the most difficult and heart breaking duty to do. It was a difficult task. For the first time in my life, I started to feel low and depressed as I had to carry on my shoulders the wounded girls wincing in pain. They haunted me with questions and cries… “Acca, (Sister), I can’t bare the pain! Acca what are we fighting for? Acca what will happen when I die?, etc” Some of them gave me their last letters they had written to their families and friends which they would have written long ago the crushed papers saying good bye to them.
Life! What does it mean? Just fighting and holding my comrades when they die? I got disgusted. I wanted to live. During the last days, I was almost left alone. Nothing to eat. I got wounded. When I was in the hospital, I met one of my distant relative. I pleaded to help me get out. It was too late. The hospital was destroyed. No way out. I lost hope. Since I was wounded they took me to another camp, a detention camp. I tried to befriend them. That was the only way out I thought. They taught us skills, I learned sewing. Because I had the mask of a pleasant face and tried to please them, I was released.
Amma. I am being haunted by the feeling of guilt. I am really angry at myself. I hurt myself dashing my head on the wall. Sometimes I feel I have no right to live. A couple of times I tried to hang myself to commit suicide. I myself volunteered to fight. Now I am alive while my friends are dead and gone. I manipulated the people in the detention camp to come out! I can’t bear the negative feelings now. I am unable to rationalize! Tell me whether I was wrong in all the decisions I took in my life?
(For the first time she buried her face on my lap and cried her heart out)