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Marie Colvin new biography describes visit to de-facto state of Tamil Eelam

An upcoming posthumous biography of the widely acclaimed journalist Marie Colvin, Lindsey Hilsum’s ‘In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin is an extraordinary account of one reporter’s fearless and ultimately fatal dedication,” includes accounts of Colvin's time in the defacto state of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during their ceasefire with the Sri Lankan government.

Colvin wrote extensively about the suffering of the Tamil people in the Vanni under the government imposed economic embargo, and the massacre of Tamils at the brutal end of the armed ethnic conflict in 2009. 

She lost her eye after coming under grenade fire from Sri Lanka’s army when exiting the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam. The journalist was on her way back after interviewing the head of the LTTE political wing, SP Thamilselvan.

The head of the LTTE poltiical wing was later assassinated by the Sri Lankan government as the peace-talks and ceasefire deteriorated.

Writing a personal account after losing her eye under Sri Lankan military fire she said,

“A week earlier I had secretly entered the Vanni, a 2,000-mile area of northern Sri Lanka that has been the refuge of the rebel Tamil Tigers since the government captured the Jaffna peninsula in 1995. The Sri Lankan government bans journalists from travelling there.

The ban meant journalists could not talk to the leadership of the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE), even though the government was involved in negotiations with them through a Norwegian envoy to begin peace talks. The only news of the problems with those negotiations came from the government.

More important, the ban prevented any reporting on the plight of the 500,000 Tamil civilians, 340,000 of them refugees, bottled up in the Vanni suffering under an economic embargo that the government denied existed.

I had travelled though villages in the Vanni and found an unreported humanitarian crisis – people starving, international aid agencies banned from distributing food, no mains electricity, no telephone service, few medicines, no fuel for cars, water pumps or lighting."

See full account here.