Looking back on a fifteen-year career as a Tamil Tiger

Rohini Mohan in Guernica:

JagathWeerasinghe__64__600Cowering behind the tree’s foliage, Mugil thought of her husband Divyan, who would be on the field somewhere, driving the cadre around. How he could be working she didn’t know. No one seemed to know whether they were coming or going. Several Tiger high commanders had surrendered to the army, and it was nerve-wracking to keep track of who was trustworthy and who was playing double agent. The counterattacks, too, seemed vastly disproportionate. One time, Mugil counted the army shoot sixty rounds in reply to a single round of fire from the Tigers.

Her parents were still in PTK. She had been meaning to find out if they were safe; they were also looking after her two sons, whom she hadn’t seen in weeks. Maran was three and wouldn’t miss her, but Tamizh was barely two. He would bawl if she were gone for more than a few days.

How much might these girls’ parents worry about them? Mugil could still hear them screaming and there was nothing she could do. Through the rain-drenched leaves, she watched an army boy snap off the girls’ cyanide capsules from around their necks. Another shorter man rammed the butt of his rifle into a girl’s hip. As she clutched it and crumpled to the ground in pain, he kicked dry leaves and sand into her face. The front of his boot hit her nose. Writhing in pain, the girl folded her hands toward him. But he was already unzipping himself and pushed her on her back. Mugil looked away. The girls were only as old as she had been when she joined the Tigers, perhaps younger.

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