Monday, November 29, 2010


Tamil demonstration, Yonge Street, Toronto, 2009

    ‘I was a Tiger. Why I joined the insurgents? Are you sure you want to know that? Did you see a human brain? I did. My next door neighbour was wounded in a military raid on our village. The top of his head got blown off.  I could see his brain. I took off my shirt and I covered his brain with it. What happened to my neighbour? He died.
    One day another man in our village was shot by government soldiers. He was wounded in the abdomen. His intestines were coming out. I was trying to put them back into his belly but I could not. That man also died.
    I was very young then. I wanted to protect my people so I joined the Tigers. Although I was with them for three years, I did not kill any soldiers as at that time they did not attack our land. If they had attacked us, I would have killed many of them. I know how to use fifteen kinds of weapons.’

    Aththan is drawing an accurate picture of a hand gun and instructs two other young men how to use it. One of the men shows me a photograph on the front page of a newspaper. I do not recognize what is in the picture. ‘Opium,’ he says. He knows its price.