May We Remember.

Painting by Keera Ratnam

Painting by Keera Ratnam

May we remember. The month of May creates a sense of calmness, the calmness that follows terror and torture. Here, we present to you, a collection of life incidents, compiled by Anbu from eyewitness accounts. They represent thousands of other stories that have been left untold. Please be advised that these stories contain materials that may be unsuitable for some readers. You may continue to read at your own discretion.

The real names of the author and characters in these short stories are not available to public at the moment. Thazhumbkam is obliged to protect the identities of the people involved in these stories and their relatives whom may be in danger should their identities be revealed. Thazhumbakam is a Tamil Genocide Memorial Museum initiated by the Human Rights Advocacy Council of Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance.


I felt a shell blast near me. When I woke up, two of my friends were lying dead beside me. I tried to get up. I couldn’t. I felt something oozing out of my stomach. I tried to feel the wound and blood started flowing like water out of a tap. Nobody was in sight. Around me, laid tens of lifeless bodies. I crawled as much as I could towards the road. I fell unconscious. When I regained my consciousness, I was only able to hear a few voices. The young voices were that of members of the Tamil Eelam Medical Unit. I heard many people crying and weeping around me. One of the doctors said, “the wound must be in the liver, we can’t do much”. Another female voice said, “No, it looks like the bladder. We should start the treatment”. I lost my consciousness again.

When I woke up, it was calm all around me. The place was like a mortuary. Even those with little mobility had forced themselves to leave the place as it was continuing to be target of the army’s shell attacks. I crawled into a bunker space nearby. There were thousands of wounded people in the many bunkers in the sandy beach area around the temporary hospital. Those of us who were not able to walk and those that lost their limbs in the war had no choice but to continue to be in the bunkers.

Despite my wound and exhaustion after the surgery, I, along with thousands of others, gathered my energy and tried to walk. After kilometers of walking, I joined many others to be treated in the hospital. I later learnt from those who were in that area, that the army had shot those who were unable to move one by one, and filled the bunkers of unconscious people who did not have any mobility with sand. These memories haunt me even now and I have many sleepless nights.

I remember the young face of a boy who encouraged me to leave the bunker saying, “Anna (elder brother), I don’t have both legs. I can’t move. But you can. Try your best to move out of here.”


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