Posted on December 14th, 2020


This is the last essay in this set and it presents two contrating celebrations of grief over the Eelam War IV.


  in 2019,the sun was scorching at the Mullivaikkal memorial grounds as people gathered to remember loved ones and Tamil civilians killed during the war that came to an end on May 18th 2009. Groudveiws reported htat lines of lamps and young coconut plants were laid out in lines in the soft sand. Surviving family members, loved ones and members of the community stood next to them. Each placed flowers at the base of the lamp and stuck joss sticks into the sand next to photos of their lost loved ones.At 10.30am, each individual lit a lamp, in memory of the many lives lost during the fighting. When the individual lamps are burning, a symbolic flame is lit on a memorial of two blood-stained hands rising towards the sky. The crowd in attendance then lines up to offer flowers and prayers at this plinth.

Individuals who were leaving after the memorial’s proceedings ended were met at the entrance by a small-open backed lorry, filled with large metal cooking vats. Young men spooned congee out of this and into plastic bags for the people to take home. It was also being distributed to individuals to be eaten at the site. ‘Mullivaikkal Congee’, a civil society initiative for the ten-year memorial, was meant to remember the staple diet of civilians trapped in the conflict area and No-Fire Zones at the end of the war. The dish made of rice, water and salt or sugar was cooked by civilians, or cooked and distributed to them by the LTTE, and the easiest thing to make while in such circumstances.

Here are photos from this performance.



These photos are from the War Hero memorial on the Sri Lankan Parliament grounds. Some of these names are repeated at more than one memorial dedicated to war around the country. Here is the sequence at the national memorial ceremony. Here you see genuine , heart rending grief.

( continued)

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