Declared Melani Dissanayake, Human Rights Lawyer and Human Rights Activist
A novel named “Uyir-anai” was released in London by the Tamil Information Centre (TIC) on 20th August 2016. This is the real life account of a former LTTE fighter who fought fearlessly for his motherland, witnessed the most horrendous war crimes during the last war in 2009, suffered the most inhuman torture in hands of the Sri Lanka army, escaped custody, fled Sri Lanka to save his life and claimed asylum in the UK. The title of the book means a “Dam of Life” in English. This explains how the LTTE members actually sacrificed their own lives and form a dam made of their bodies to protect the lives of the innocent civilians from the blind indiscriminate attacks launched by the Sri Lankan army to massacre the people who were trapped in the war zone. This proves the allegation that the LTTE used the civilians, as human shield is not only wrong but also absurd. In fact the LTTE used their own lives as a shied to protect the innocent Tamil civilians from being slaughtered by the Sri Lankan army’s chemical bombs and cluster ammunition, which are prohibited by the international law.
More than hundred audience including several academics, experts, lawyers and human rights activists attended and took part in this event. The highlight of the event was the speech delivered by Mrs Melany Dissanayake, a Human Rights Lawyer and a leading human rights activist. She completed her LLB in Sri Lanka and LLM in the UK. She had been a practicing lawyer in Sri Lanka and involved in many cases of arbitrary arrest and abductions. She continues to work as a volunteer researcher for the International Centre for Prevention and Prosecution of Genocide (ICPPG) and helps victims to submit complaints to the UN against torture. The full text of her speech as follows;
“Good evening ladies and Gentleman. First of all, I must thank you all for inviting me to this event and giving me this golden opportunity to speak before you to day. Coming from the Singhalese Majority Community, I am proud to be here to day and support you in your struggle to justice and independence. As a Human Rights Lawyer, I has represented and assisted number of Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act – known, as PTA and some of them were former LTTE members. However the real story of “Adithan” not only made me cry but also gave me a clear understanding of the freedom struggle of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
I had the opportunity to read the Novel named “Ujiranai” which means a “Dam of life” life in English. I must thank Miss Rubini and Miss Janutha for interpreting the book to me in English and Singhalese as I cant read Tamil. This is the true story of a freedom fighter who joined the LTTE and fought for the freedom of his motherland, Tamil Eelam. This Novel portrays his selfless and fearless journey until the end of the war. This also covers the unimaginable sufferings he faced at the end of the war, his horrific experience in the custody of the Sri Lankan army and until he fled Sri Lanka to survive.
I can summarise the Novel in 3 parts to understand the story easily;
The First Part is very important and impressive. This documents the life as an LTTE member, which many of us were not aware. As a Singhalese person, I used to believe that the LTTE members are ruthless terrorist which is the false ideology fed by the Sri Lankan Government to us. But this Novel enlightened me of the real life of LTTE members and their genuine patriotism. This shows, why the LTTE was forced to take up arms as the last resort, why the Tamil youth choose to join the LTTE and fight for their own rights. This explains their true intention and thrust for freedom. Their sacrifices and dedication are beyond words. They gave up all
luxuries for the freedom of their own people. The discipline thought and maintained with the LTTE is excellent. I have never seen or heard another army or organisation with such good discipline. The guidance of the LTTE leader is beyond words. I am indeed impressed by the proud and successful life of an LTTE member during such difficult times.
The second part is a mixture of happiness and horror. The experience and feelings of an LTTE fighter the during the peace talks between 2002 to 2006. The LTTE entered the peace talks with genuine hope to resolve the ethnic issue without war. But the Sri Lankan Government, especially Former Prime Minister Rani Wickramasigle designed this peace talks as trap to establish the LTTE. This is the most dishonest and cunning coup designed to destroy the strength of the LTTE and the moral of the fighters. Most LTTE members including Adthian has no reason to doubt the intention of the cease-fire as they genuinely fought for their own people. The way the LTTE members tried to build up a country with all infra structure within Vanni is impressive. They were all happy at the beginning but the things began to go wrong. Finally the war erupted following the numerous coward breaches of the ceasefire agreement committed by the Sri Lankan army. The experience suffered by Adithan during the war is horrific. He explains how the LTTE members tried their best to save the civilians during the last war. They put their lives as a dam to protect the lives of the people. This has become the title of the book. This part is very touching and will definitely make anyone to cry.
The third part is the saddest part. It talks about how Adithan survived the horrific
war and until he fled the country to save his life. Especially the treatment he receives from his own community is intolerable. He sacrificed his life for the country but now he is struggling to fed himself. It is a shame that we all are turning a blind eye. Some one who fought for his country should be honoured. But the bitter truth is that his own community looks him down. This should be changed.
Why Adithan joined to the LTTE? Is he a terrorist?
Youth like Adithan was forced to take up arms to defend the Tamil community from Genocide. He only fought to re-gain the lost independence of the Tamil Home Land. How can this be terrorism? How can the Western Countries brand the LTTE as terrorists?
The Sri Lankan Government brought the war to a bloody end by killing more than 140,000 Tamils. Many LTTE members surrendered with white flags were mercilessly executed. Others are being tortured and raped. Are these not terrorism? Why the Western Countries remain silence now?
The Tamils fought for their own rights and own independence. The LTTE was their sole representatives and they were not terrorists. Tamils have every right to live peacefully with independence like the Singhalese. They are equal to us in every way. In fact the Racist Singhalese Sri Lankan Government is the terrorist and war criminal. Any genuine Buddhists and good Singhalese would never agree with the Genocide being committed by past and current Sri Lankan Government. Although the LTTE was defeated and the armed struggle is silenced, we must continue this struggle. It is in our hands to carry on the fight for the freedom in political and peaceful way.
Adithan’s story changed me today. This made me to realise the truth behind the freedom fight of the Tamils and made me stand up you. Like this, more read storied must be documented. More Books should be written to enlighten the Singhalese and the rest of the World. I sincerely congratulate the author “Santhy” for this excellent work.
In conclusion, I hereby promise you that, we, the Singhalese brothers and sisters who follow lord Buddha genuinely, will stand by you in your struggle for freedom.
Thank you all again for giving me this opportunity”
After a healthy discussion, the event ended successfully sending the massage that Tamils will ultimately win their lost independence in Sri Lanka.