Beneath the Ashes: Remembering Black July and the Violence Before 

This year marks 36 years since the Black July pogroms. The brutal state-sponsored violence by Sinhala mobs lasted a week and saw the death of at least 3,000 Tamils, destruction of 5,000 shops, and displacement of over 150,000 Tamils. At least 500 Tamil women were raped and many families were burned alive. It also prompted the first large exodus of Tamils: 500,000 fled the island, giving seed to a global Tamil diaspora. The Black July pogrom carried all the hallmarks of genocide: most notably, mobs were armed with voter registration lists distinguishing Tamils as targets of violence. In this...

Tamil Survivors of Genocide Deserve Justice in their Lifetime

Twenty-nine years ago, Vellupillai Viyazhamma’s son, V. Ranjan, was forcibly disappeared. Viyazhamma appeared before multiple commissions and inquiries over the years, refreshing her trauma each time in a desperate attempt to find answers to her endless question — what happened to my son? Last week, Viyazhamma passed away in Keppapilavu. At least twenty-one mothers, including Viyazhamma, have died in their pursuit to learn the truth about their disappeared loved ones. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan military claimed it did not receive any surrendering Tamil fighters during the final stages...

Maaveerar Naal: Mourning is a Human Right

- Brannavy Jeyasundaram Mourning is for the living. It enables us to process grief, understand loss, and above all, invite healing. History is full of rich and meaningful mourning customs, indiscriminate of cultures, because how else could we possibly move on? In a way, mourning the loss of life promises our own survival. It is for this reason, I believe, mourning is a human right.

Thileepan, Hunger and Remembrance: Why Do We Starve?

Starvation occurs in three phases. First, the body halts consumption of glucose, its primary energy source. Then, it scrapes away at fat deposits. Once those are depleted, it finally cannibalizes muscle mass to feed the brain. The body enters a delicate balancing act, substituting glucose for fat and eventually protein, until organ function is affected and results in death. The ultimate cause of death, in general, is cardiac arrest or the stopping of the heart. At its core, starvation is a process of desperate sacrifice.

Remembering The Sencholai Massacre — A Gendered Attack on Tamil Women

- Brannavy Jeyasundaram It was August 14, 2006; two years after the earth-shattering tsunami had ravaged Sri Lanka, leaving its people in destitute. The North-East was particularly vulnerable, with limited access to resources and deprivation of aid by the Sri Lankan government — despite being the worst-affected region . In this aftermath stood the Sencholai children’s home for orphans in Mullaitivu. In an effort to shift the dependence on state-sponsored relief, a ten-day workshop on first aid and disaster management was organized by the Mullaithivu and Kandavalai Principals Association. Over 400 young women between the ages of 17 and 20 years old were gathered at the home to learn how to provide for the suffering. At the beginning of day four, shortly after sunrise, four Sri Lankan air force jets dropped sixteen bombs over the home, killing 53 school girls and 3 teachers. Over 150 girls were seriously injured, suffering deep wounds, lost limbs, and severe burns. In a devastating irony, they had become the subject of their study.