Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Tamil woman with 17 days old infant with bullet wounds tells reporter: if LTTE fight for us how come they shoot us

(By Walter Jayawardhana)

Stewart Bell of the National Post is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable Western reporters about the Tamils of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The Canadian reporter now in Sri Lanka covering his favorite story asked a Tamil woman in a hospital with a 17 days old infant with bullet wounds an interesting question. "Asked how she felt about the Tamil Tigers, who have led a three-decade rebellion for the creation of a Tamil homeland, she smiled. "When they started, they said they are fighting for the Tamil people, but if they say so, how can they shoot us?"

"The rebels gave them no choice. They threatened to shoot anyone who tried to abandon them, Mrs. Dhanalakshmi" told the reporter.

By listening to several like her Bell said he could understand the glimpse of the life inside extremely narrowed rebel territory. The following is the full story:

"Just 17 days old, the girl was fast asleep in the slender arms of her mother, whose hip was bandaged where the bullet had struck.

"Born in a bunker in the heart of Sri Lanka's northern war zone, to a lullaby of shelling and gunfire, she escaped last week in a fishing boat with her mother.

"Now they are IDPs, internally displaced persons. They are exhausted and frightened but relieved to have reached safety after a year on the run in rebel territory.

"Interviewed yesterday at a military hospital, the mother provided a rare glimpse of life inside the strip of beachfront where the Sri Lankan Army is trying to finish off the country's separatist rebels.

"The United Nations described the situation in the conflict area as a "bloodbath" yesterday after a hospital official said that almost 400 had died in a weekend artillery barrage that the rebels and the government blamed on each other.

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