Sri Lanka: A Terrorist in the Family
Inside the life of a female suicide bomber
BY Beate Arnestad
October 02, 2008
Read more about Sri Lanka's history of conflict and the latest developments there.
Beate Arnestad worked for many years at the Norwegian broadcaster NRK, mainly producing arts and entertainment programs. Her first documentary "Where the Waves Sing," in 2002, traces the life of a former painter and governor in the forgotten Danish-Norwegian colony of Tranquebar in India. While living in Sri Lanka between 2003 and 2006, she began exploring the concept of women in war, which turned into the film, "My Daughter the Terrorist."
Considered the most professional guerilla organization in the world and one of the first to employ suicide bombing, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have engaged the Sri Lankan government in a brutal civil war for the past 25 years. It's one of the longest-running wars in Southeast Asia in which an estimated 70,000 people have lost their lives.
In an effort to create an independent Tamil state in northeastern Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers, as they are also known, have conducted at least 170 suicide-bombing operations since fighting began -- by far the most attacks carried out by any guerilla group until the Iraq war in 2003. In recent weeks, government forces have pushed deep into Tamil territory toward the Tigers' administrative capital of Kilinochchi in an all-out offensive to destroy the organization for good.
When filmmaker Beate Arnestad, a 20-year veteran of the Norwegian Broadcast Corporation, moved to Sri Lanka in 2002, she became interested in what happens when an entire generation grows up surrounded by a constant threat of violence.
"I wanted to try to understand what goes on in a country suffering and trying to live in a war zone -- not for one or two years but for their whole lives," she told FRONTLINE/World.
Arnestad was surprised to learn that 30 percent of these suicide missions were carried out by women. When she asked Sri Lankan journalists about the prospects of making a film about women in the LTTE's Black Tigers division -- the unit specifically trained as suicide bombers -- she was told that it would be dangerous and pointless as the Tigers would never grant her access.
When filmmaker Beate Arnestad, a 20-year veteran of the Norwegian Broadcast Corporation, moved to Sri Lanka in 2002, she became interested in what happens when an entire generation grows up surrounded by a constant threat of violence.
Nevertheless, she started driving into the rebel-controlled territories for more than year, establishing a network of contacts within the organization and asking to make her film.
"Finally, I think they were just tired of me. And at some point they gave in," she said.
The resulting film, "My Daughter the Terrorist," is believed to be the first time any selected suicide bombers have spoken on film about their training and motivations. In this version for FRONTLINE/World, we see a portion of the full-length feature along with director Arnestad discussing what it was like to make it.
The film introduces Dharshika and Puhalchudar, two 24-year-old women who have been living, training and fighting side-by-side for the past seven years. They are part of the Black Tigers, and are prepared to strap Claymore mines to their chests and blow up themselves and anyone within 100 feet of them to benefit their cause.
"When we have no bullets left and can't do anything, we have our cyanide capsules," Dharshika said, revealing the small glass cylinder filled with cyanide that both she and Puhalchudar wear around their necks.
Gradually, the film shares some of Dharshika's past, and her personal reasons for fighting with the Tamil Tigers. She left home and joined the group before she became a teenager.
"When a child experiences too much sadness, she can't feel anymore," her mother Antonia told Arnestad during several interviews during the film. "Not all children are able to accept the suffering," she said.
Antonia rarely sees her daughter, and often checks through pictures of dead soldiers to see if Dharshika is one of them.
Since the film was completed, Arnestad has not been able to track down Dharshika or her mother. But as of July 2008, she did receive word through an aid worker that he'd seen Dharshika and that she was still alive.
But with the fighting in Sri Lanka intensifying again, Dharshika's future remains uncertain.
-- Matthew Vree
Palama Silva - New York, NY
Please DO NOT show any film that glorifies terrorism.
LTTE is a ruthless terrorist organization, the only terrorist group in the world, which
- assassinated two world leaders, Rajiv Gandhi of India and R. Pemadasa of Sri Lanka,
- killed hundreds of politicians and over 60,000 innocent civilians,
- held people of own Tamil community as human shield.
FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
A number of you in this discussion have expressed concerns about our recent "Rough Cut" posting, "A Terrorist in the Family." Some have suggested that the story glorifies the struggle of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), a separatist group involved in a bloody conflict with the Sri Lankan government; others feel the story aims to justify the actions of the "Black Tigers," the all-female suicide-bombing unit of the LTTE, whose members are at the center of the film.
We recognize that what makes this story so unique, provocative, and insightful to some -- filmmaker Beate Arnestad's access to the Black Tiger training camp --opens up the possibility for misunderstanding to others. To help make the filmmaker's intentions and her relationship with the LTTE as clear and transparent as possible, we included an interview with Arnestad in our version of the film, and published a more extensive transcript online (See Interview With the Filmmaker)
In this interview, Arnestad tells us that she came to this story as an outsider, curious about the other side of a bloody conflict that Sri Lankan journalists pay a heavy price for attempting to cover according to ongoing research by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
After lengthy negotiations with the LTTE, Arnestad said she was allowed to set the terms of her filming, choosing the members of the Black Tigers she wanted to profile and retaining full and final editorial control. She also insisted on meeting the mother of the Black Tiger she spent the most time with. It's here that she learns about the war-torn world in which growing up to become a suicide bomber could become comprehensible.
To be clear: The LTTE has earned its place on the U.S. State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations by directly targeting civilians in suicide bombings, murdering its political opponents, and forcibly recruiting members into its military ranks, sometimes children. A fuller treatment of the conflict in Sri Lanka would also detail the government's own trail of violence, brutal reprisals, and repression. But the merits of Arnestad's project are as much personal as political. Setting out to fill an important gap in the journalistic record about the LTTE, Arnestad came back with much more: Not a justification or glorification of terror, but a fuller appraisal of its costs -- not only among the lives of innocent civilian victims, but among the families of the perpetrators as well.
We are not aware of any Norwegian government support for the LTTE or the Black Tigers, or any payments from NGOs to Arnestad during the making of this film. Earlier this year, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense attempted to prevent a screening of Arnestad's film in the United States, and various interest groups loyal to the Sri Lankan government have sought to discredit the film because of its partial funding by the Norwegian government, which is often perceived as sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers.
We also recommend that you watch our 2002 broadcast story, Sri Lanka: Living With Terror, which offers an unflinching look at the Tamil Tigers and its campaign of terror.
If the romantic racialist abolitionists formed these beliefs via some culpably defective process, discrimination on the basis of these beliefs would constitute wrongful discrimination.
We all were living in harmony until the Tigers started this movement. It is not the fight for freedom. It created loss of many innocent lives. both Tamil and Sinhaleese. Not only that, they took away the FREEDOM itself. Many should understand, if the Sinhaleese are bad, how come there are Tamils living in Colombo but no Sinhalese in the Nothern area. Who killed their own people who went against them. Is that FREEDOM?
Nalliah Sivanathan - Chadstone, Victoria
It's not correct to say that there is Democracy in Sri Lanka. Killing opponents is not democracy. The government has blood on its hands with brutal murders committed by members of the ruling parties. The recent murder of the leading journalist and editor of The Sunday Times is proof of how the President and his kinsman commit murders under the pretence of democracy.
Nalliah Sivanathan - Chadstone, Victoria
How the conflict originated is being purposely omitted by most of the Singhalese commentators. There wouldn't be smoke without fire. The fire was set by the only Singhala policy and passed in 24 hours to gain political advantage by the SWRD Pandaranayake. His ancestors are a Pandaram caste. He became PM then. Government sponsored colonization and race riots against Tamils created this situation for an armed struggle. Now you go from there. This is a fine a film that narrates the rest through these bombers.
Okay, hold on. Do any of you know what terrorism means? Go read the dictionary. And you say we are sucide bomers going out to kill 100's of sinhalese? Then what do you call the crises the sinhases are doing genius! Get your facts straight before you put some nonsense on the web.
LTTE survives on the ignorance of innocent people that have fallen to the "minority" part of their selfish cause. In reality, they don't care for the Tamil people at all, they are being held as HUMAN SHIELDS as we read/write this! They are an internationally recognized terrorist group, so please do your own research before you let a documentary tell you anything; quest for truth or knowledge is only at your own hands. Wish you luck.
Sri Lankan state is a ruthless terrorist organization responsible for killing tens of thousands tamils. LTTE is just an outcome of the racist sinhalese oppression and mass murders of innocent tamils civilians.
herath - kandy, srilanka
Don't hail on terrorism of LTTE. They are blood thirsty cadres who killed more than 20,000 so called their own Tamils who acted against them.
shanika pulidevan - Toronto, ontario
I am a Tamil myself. My story and the experiences I have had in my life are vastly different to what Darshika reveals on your documentary. I can only relate to her as far as being a Tamil. The similarities end right there. I was not running away from the Sri Lankan Army. I was running away from the violence inflicted by the LTTE on our own people for the sake of bringing freedom to Tamils. The only reason why I decided to share my story here is to broaden your perspective on how complex the civil war that has been raging for twenty odd years in Sri Lanka.My family use to live in Northern Sri Lanka where the majority of the population are Tamils. My father was a school principle in a North Eastern town of Puttlam. In 1994, a group of Tamil Tigers came to the school during broad daylight to question my father for not closing the school to commemorate the death of an area Tiger military leader who was killed by the Sri Lankan Army. Tamil Tiger group delivered the message to our town that all the businesses and schools should be shut down as a mark of respect for the slain Tiger area leader. As an educator, my father passionately believed that Tamil children's education should never be compromised and they should not be dragged into the civil war because if we do so, we are destroying the future of our ethnic group and education is the only way out of poverty and the hardships we have encountered as Tamil people.On June 17th 1994, three LTTE carders came to the school and shot my father and killed him for disobeying the Tiger orders to close the school. Tavis, as a Tamil, I want to believe that LTTE is fighting for the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka. My family and so many other families have become victims of a group that claims that they are fighting for people like me.I want to see Tamils live in Peace in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and I want to die in that land when I grow old. However, I do not fear the Sinhalese as much as I fear the LTTE. After my father's passing away, my mother decided to send us to Colombo (the capital of Sri Lanka; the majority of the population are Sinhalese) where my Aunt was living. I was able to live without fear for my life, meet new friends who were Sinhalese and finish my education in a school in Colombo.I do not deny that mistakes had been made by the Sinhalese government in the past to alienate the Tamils. However, my tragic story reveals that my family and many other Tamils like me are fearful and have become victims of LTTE's tyranny. We were not able to ask questions or get answers to our inquiries as to why my father who was a decent, hard working, respectable human being was killed. The only message that came through the deputy area LTTE leader was that disobeying the orders from the LTTE could cost your life, therefore "do as you are told and do not ask questions".When I migrated to Toronto, Canada in 1998, I could see the same style of bulling happening when the LTTE sympathizers collected money for their Cause. The message we received from the pro-LTTE groups operating in Toronto was that if you do not make any financial contributions to purchase the weapons that are needed to kill the Sri Lankan army soldiers, they have a hold on our families left behind in the Northern part of Sri Lanka. Extortion was the name of the game as to how they collected the money.I am deeply saddened to witness the killing of my own people who are trapped in the refugee camps in the North by women suicide bombers who are as young as 17 years old. If my father was alive, his heart would have broken to hear such horrific news of young men and women to be training by LTTE to commit such brutal acts of violence against my own kind. Since my father's death, it opened my eyes to look at the bigger picture and the poison LTTE has been feeding our own people. The Tamil youth, our best resource and hope for our future had been poisoned and we lost the freedom to express our concern about what is happening to our youth.Make no mistake, there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to destroying such a beautiful ethnic group and most of all I place the blame squarely on the ruthless LTTE organization for destroying our youth and training them to be child soldiers. It is sad what had happened to me but it would be tragic if I do not speak up against the so-call liberators who act more like dictators. There isn't a single day I think of my father and it gives me strength to know that I have a huge role to play in letting anyone who is willing to hear my story know how the liberators have become the thugs and destroyers. The west has a very important role to play in all of this. The funding for LTTE machinery needs to be stopped and place pressure on both parties to work on a deal to let my people live peacefully in such a beautiful island with peace and harmony among the Sinhalese.
You are a brave and a unique lady managing to get to north of the country as many, including UN officials, were brain washed by the government and kept away from Tamils areas.This is the real truth why Tamils are fighting for their rights and freedom that they have never had since colonial days. You proved beyond any doubt these Tamil soldiers are not terrorists as we all are led to believe in the modern Western society.You need to show this piece of video to world leaders who are still sleep walking on the issue of the Tamil Struggle for Freedom in their own land.
Sunderapandyan Ramar - Chennai, Tamilnadu
Being an Indian Tamil, I have been closely following the Sri Lankan conflict from my childhood. I wish the western countries realize soon that the sufferings of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are real and that the Tamil Tigers are indeed not terrorists. I live in the US currently and hope that US will remove the ban on Tamil Tigers and help them achieve the very freedom that all US citizens are enjoying. Sri Lanka has abrogated the ceasefire and gave some excuses for the same. Sri Lanka has committed/committing serious human rights violation which will only produce more voluntary suicide bombers. The division between Tamil and Sinhalese are obvious. They cannot live together as a single nation any more.
I want to thank Beate Arnstaad and if she is single, I want to marry her. She is a beauty.
In the 1980's, the state of Columbo supported mobs by giving them electoral lists, with addresses, on where Tamils were. Tamils were dragged out and beaten and burnt alive. My mother's house was destroyed and they were searching for my family, but they hid next door in a Singhalese house. When the mob guys, who were with army men also, asked where my mom was, the Singhalese family lied and covered up to save us. My uncle was imprisoned because he protested peacefully against the state's discrimination. My friend lost both his parents thanks to aerial bombings, which have killed many many more civilians than suicide bombings. The actions of the state constitute both ethnic cleansing and genocide. Tamils were driven out of their homes and murdered to rid Colombo of Tamils.I'm not against the Singhalese people. There are good people on both sides of this war - like the Singhalese people who saved my family. I don't support the Tamil Tigers and I don't condone the murder of innocent civilians, Tamil and Singhalese alike. I don't approve of child soldiers. But something as ruthless as the LTTE could never have popped up out of thin air.I think both sides need to face and accept the reality and history of what happened, and whats happening, including the fact that both sides are committing inhumane acts. The Singhalese people have to become aware, and protest against their government, the Tamil people need to stop depending on militants and seek peaceful means. I have no faith in our leaders, however I have faith in people. We are the casualties of a civil war but I think that we can also be the solution. We have to end this war, for humanity's sake.
vanaja vignaraja - maryland, usa
The suffering and pain the tamils underwent throughout our childhood during the so called riots, nobody knows and the pain and burden we are carrying away from our birth land nobody can feel it. The boneless tongues can move anyway but if there is a god, he will show the truth one day. We have nothing to boast to our children about our motherland. Even in the west, people are tracing their ancestors. Where is our history? Where we can read our history when it has all have been burnt to ashes. Mother nature can only ease the heaviness of our hearts and wipe our tears. We are living in the 21st century and in a global village, with no discrimination. So who will hear our pleas, too?
I don't think this piece is glorifying terrorism. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. These people are just fighting for their rights. Put yourself in her shoes and think what would you do - wouldn't you kill those who are responsible for the deaths of your people? Yes they killed Rajiv Gandhi but he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Sikhs in Punjab.
Alistair Shaw - Bristol, BRISTOL
There's a difference between journalism that condones terrorism and journalism that seeks to shed a light on why people use violence. The latter, which I believe this piece does very well, is an important part of the role the media is supposed to perform in democratic countries. If we accept at face value the mother's story of government planes dropping bombs on areas full of civilians, and killing many of them, how exactly would the critics of this feature characterize that type of violence? It's the classic hypocritical interpretation: if the people doing the bombing or shooting are wearing uniforms that's a shame but understandable, because they must be the good guys; whereas if they're living in the shadows that's "terrorism" and they're the bad guys. We need to switch off the lazy labels pinned on people by our governments and ask ourselves one simple question: what would we do if we were in the same position?
dan - Madison, Wisconsin
Your film is important, since very little is reported concerning this situation in Sri Lanka. The sadness of violence on both sides of this complex conflict is unnerving. The pain of suffering and unending cycle of violence is disturbing! In 1917 Professor Christophre Nyrop wrote a book called "Is War Civilization?". He understood the processes of war and the reasons humans seek it. Perhaps one day war will be seen as a thing of the past.
What about the mothers of children who went to school and never came home because they were killed by terrorists bombing schools and school buses?
Terrorism is glorified in the West when the victims of these atrocities are not of a Western(white) origin.
parvaz parvaz - toronto, on
I wonder what have these war or those who are involved achivedis not it enough
only civilian are being killed.
There is not a war solution for this conflict.
These two communities should come to a point that there must be a peace and it does not come true but with forcing those BIG BOSSES ( WHO SEND THEIR FAMILIES OUTSIDE) to come to an agreement. What is wrong if you make it a federal goverment?
I just feel sorry for civilians who are killed every day from 2 sides.
God BLESS EVERY ONEPARVAZ
TorontoOh, by the way, in western Iran we have a province which is called ELAM, most people speak Kurdish there. I wonder if there is any connction in the past history but I doubt it because there is no one there like tamiles People there.
Lakshitha Fernando - Santa Barbara, California
It is obvious that LTTE is a terrorist organization. More than 30 countries listed them as a terrorist organization including the EU. All governments that have ruled Sri Lanka have proposed political solutions for this conflict. But the LTTE opposed it every time. They don't want to solve this in a democratic way. Sri Lanka belongs to every group whether it is Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslim or any other mixed race. It can't be divided into seperate sections as a Sinhala homeland or Tamil homeland or any other homeland. Suicide bombing is an activity of a terrorist group motivated by terrorists. So, the LTTE can't be call the liberators of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. The present government is doing the right job to eradicate terrorism in Sri Lanka. The recently liberated Eastern province has been successfully brought back to the democratic ruling by the present government. It is good proof that terrorism has no place in a democratic country.
Shanm Sham - Seattle, WA
I am from India. I know how the minority, but brilliant and hard working Tamils, their culture and their home land were systematically replaced/occupied by majority, but lazy and fundamentalist Singhalese.LTTE is branded by India and Western countries as terrorists for tactical purpose; LTTE are defenders of their home land.
kyara - Ridgewood, New York
Wow a lot of words and interesting! About terrorists and what they do to get to NY and what's their steps. It must have taken a long time to get here. I feel bad about the people that can't come here to New York. I like that they talk about the children.
nal S nathan - Chdsn, Vi
Whatever is said and done is in the past. Corrupted politicians didn't have the foresight to see the future. Even now the present Singhalese politicians haven't changed to accomodate Tamils. They have taken the wrong path to kill all the Tamils, treating all tamils like they are LTTE members. From start to finish they are Buddist and you could see the actions are totally againt buddist Doctrine. According to UNP's intelligence Rajepakse Brothers are the killers of Janaka Perera.
It is really depressing to see how even these so called public media (PBS/NPR/PRI) also trying to play with tragedies around the world, like private media outlets which run after cheap ratings. The other day I heard on NPR that they were trying to make the Palestinian mother of a suicide bomber and the Israeli mother of a suicide bomb victim shout at each other and the reporters were making some sarcastic comments about the way these women argued. There is no wonder why LTTE will allow this kind of documentary to come out from European journalist. This is not much different from the most of their propaganda videos. It is humorous to see how they try to emphasize that it is so difficult to get these Norwegian people to get access to LTTE area. Most of the Norwegians prefer Kill-in-Nochhi (pseudo LTTE capitol) to Colombo in any time of the day. On the other hand, what do you expect the mother living under LTTE dictatorship to say about her black tiger daughter. You can find thousands of mothers who got their kids abducted by LTTE cursing LTTE outside LTTE area. Can't you add one of their comments too in here, just to be balanced? Do you think LTTE will give the same freedom then to do the documentary? This is really laughable.If you are saying that "We are not aware of any Norwegian government support for the LTTE or the Black Tigers," you have not done your homework properly. It is written in every wall, just listen to what LTTE's former second in command (Col. Karuna) has to say about this. I do not expect them to explain the whole history of the issue in this kind of a short film, but at least put it in the right perspective. Be balanced on the issue. If you are saying this is not about glorifying LTTE, can you point out any other documentaries PBS/NPR did on Alquda, Hamas or at-least about Fidel Castro/Che Guevara like this, without adding any criticism about their activities.
Siva Logan - Boston, Mass
This is in response to the FRONTLINE/World's editors note. I am a 52 years old Tamil and lived my youth/young adult life in Eelam (North & East Srilanka) under oppressive Sinhala government military/police rule. I was one of the lucky (along with another million) Tamil to emigrate. A million Tamils live in Colombo/suburbs as virtual prisoners. It is unfortunate that the plight of the Tamils in the East and in the Jaffna peninsula that live in Nazi-style concentration camps have not been highlighted by the western media. Your note conveniently side-steps the fact that Eelam Tamils voted by more than 82% votes in 1977 to seek self determination. Despite this vote, the Sinhala government continued to deny the Tamils their rights in their own lands and, worse, brutally suppressed their struggle for freedom. The Tamils in Sinhala military occupied lands in the East and in Jaffna are left with limited choices. Unlike Palestinians, Kosovians, Dafurians and Somalians, the Tamils in these regions do not have anywhere to escape? For more than 25 years, Tamils with young children, who can afford the price, cross the dangerous seas and seek refuge in India. The Tamils learned the hard way that they have to fight back. Over the last 30 years, Tamils were able to fight and were at par with the Sinhala forces. Unfortunately, the post-9/11 war on terror unfairly supported the Sinhala majority and their government against the Tamils. Today the Sinhala government has snubbed the US/EU/Canada/Australia/South Africa/India call for devolution & equal rights for the Tamils and instead has allied with Iran/Pakistan/China and carries out daily aerial bombings that kill Tamils and destroys their property. The Sinhala forces have destroyed the Tamil lands; they will not stop until they subjugate the Tamils.The US/EU responded with force when Kosovo was attacked; the African Union/UN responded with a Peacekeeping force when Darfur was attacked; US/UN implemented a no-fly zone when Kurds were attacked by Iraq; and US/EU pushed Israel to make with Palestine. But, the Tamils have no protection and have to fight Sinhala state terrorism on their own. The three million Eelam Tamils in the Island of Srilanka and the 65 millions of Tamils worldwide will not allow the Eelam Tamils to be subjugated.Unfair treatment of the Palestinians created the middle-east melting pot. Similarly, the continuous unfair treatment of the 4 million Eelam Tamils right to self-determination is on the verge of creating a similar situation. I hope that PBS and Frontline and other mainstream news agencies will take up this issue and highlight the plight of the minority Tamils and demand that the UN send a peacekeeping force to protect the Tamils.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Very surprised about all the writings regarding the conflict in Sri. Lanka. After all Sri Lanka is a democratically elected government. If there are any disagreements or dissapointments they should be expressed by a vote. Resorting to a old Leninist-Stalinist methods to ease the Tamil peoples' problems is a fairy tale. We know what happened in Russia with millions killed, as they say, for the cause. The western governments were horrified then. How come similar methods employed by the LTTE terrorists seem to be accepted?
This is a very nice documentary that I came across when it was heavily dipped in politics as it came out to the public where the Sri Lankan government has went far as accusing the producer and director as terrorists. This is the problem of our western thinking; we quickly label them as terrorists but we are so slow in finding out in why they go to that extreme. We labeled the Kosovo Liberation Army as terrorists only to realize later that it was a native force fighting against the occupying Serbia. Fidel Castro was welcomed by the majority of Cubans while the USA had its geo-political reasons. One man's victory is another man's loss. While the majority of Tamils hold LTTE as freedom fighters (who have used guerilla and conventional warfare method to the extreme); the Sinhalese and others who have geo-political interest of not wanting to see the re-emergence of the Tamil sovereignty will regard them as terrorist, enemy, outlaws, etc. Every time guerilla warfare happens in our history, they have only developed, from the Chinese to Vietnamese to Eritrean to East Timor and now the spotlight is turning toward the LTTE. Every liberation army has adopted tactics that were unthinkable at the time and the LTTE are no exception. Look at the reason why they picked up the arms and what drove them to be so committed instead of questioning their tactics. I wonder if all the soldiers who died in Word War I/II will be called suicide soldiers as the western nations knew that they are sending most of their soldiers to their grave just to resist the invading Germans (the soldiers happily marched to their death in the name of freedom).I honestly admire the Black Tigers for using the suicide tactics to minimize their own casualty and increase the casualty of the enemy. Sri Lanka has one of the massive armies in comparison to it's population and spends so much on it while that money could have been used in massive development, building the Sri Lankan identity while giving the Tamils the right to self-determination which would have made sure that the Island stays as one nation. Instead the international community has driven the Tamils to go this extreme to seek freedom because we did not reach out and hear their suffering.
Nagesu Singam - Toronto, Ontario
Tigers are not terrorists regardless of what many Western governments and the Indian government say. Sri Lankan Army terrorists and Army-aided Sinhalese have killed thousands of innocent Tamil civilians over the first 35 years of so-called independence in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government made the Tamils of Indian origin stateless persons, made Sinhala the only official language, introduced so-called standardization in university education thereby opening the doors for less qualified Sinhalese students to gain admissions to universities and closing the doors for bright Tamil students; the government colonized traditionally Tamil areas with Sinhalese convicted criminals and so on and so forth, before Pirabakaran formed the LTTE. Today, we are with Pirabakaran because all of our other leaders have become irrelevant. Condoleeza Rice would not approve us because she wants to appease the Indian government. Still it will be us who will eventually win. Pirabakaran is not just our leader. He is our God. Know this fact sooner, it will be better for this world.
vijendran velupillai - Klang, Selangor
Great effort of the director. Gives some insights of one's attachments towards the cause. I just hope and pray with the WILL of GOD both sides SHOULD give and take AND the WAR!
Excellent work. The truth is there is no justice for ethnic Tamils. LTTE is just the excuse for GOSL to carry out more brutalitiy against Tamils. More than 70,000 people were killed since 1958 and there is no conviction of a single soldier or govenment minister to date. The media is the only hope for justice but not many people want to hear about the poor and weak peoples' plight. What we need is some nuetral party in a conflict zone or occupied area. Let the Tamil people decide their fate for an united or divided state via democratic process like Kososva. The majority failed to look after their fellow citizens of the country. Simply, Sinhala majority is led by racist politicians with policies. This war is not going to end. Reason Tamils who trusted the majority who let us down time and time again. Battle may be won, the war is not over.
adam - san francisco, california
Whatever the intentions or sympathies of the filmmaker, it seems like many people in this discussion are missing the obvious point. This video does NOT condone terrorism in any way. And make no mistake about it, the Tamil Tigers are terrorists who have done horrible things. They forcibly kidnap children, brainwash them, and turn them into child soldiers. An unforgivable crime against humanity. The Tamil Tigers also pioneered the use of suicide bombings -- another inexcusable blight against humanity.But having said that, what this very moving film shows is the pain caused by any civil war or ethnic conflict, and of course, as is always the case, there is discrimination and there are atrocities on both sides. No one is completely innocent here.In particular, this is an extraordinarily intimate portrait of a mother and daughter divided by war. Tragically, the poor daughter seems to have been turned into a mindless killing machine. My feelings are all with her mother, who must bear the separation and immeasurable sorrow of losing her daughter to a violent cult.Finally, for those Sinhalese Buddhists who, understandably, can't bear to see anything that in anyway explains the conditions of their enemies, I suggest you watch the Frontline World documentary, "Living with Terror," that appears on this very same web site. It is an unmistakable denunciation of terrorism.
This doesn't glorify the LTTE for those who don''t understand the Tamils. This shows how a mother is helpless and crying inside. Can Tamils live peacefully with their heads up after LTTE is eliminated? NO. Do I agree with LTTE in everything? No. I don't want my own child to be sucide bomber. So I don't want some one else's to be either. Because of that I cannot support this cause.
The reason why our war is not ending is because of people like Beate Arnestad and her country want it to go on. Norway has interviened as a peace negotiator but supported the terrorist. The only solution is to finish the LTTE and have a political solution. The people of the North have suffered too much, for too long. The bigger problem for the Tamil peole is their caste system. They rape the girls so that they are not pure and have no option but to be a black tiger. The tamil people suffer and sacrifice their children while the LTTE top leaders enjoy. The question to be asked is will Prabakaran send his daugter to war ? Has he been injured in battle? For anyone who needs independant news updates on the situation in sri lanka log on to www.lankanewspapers.com
R B - San Francisco, Ca
The footage shown here is heartbreaking for a myriad of different reasons.
As previous comments have acknowledged, the situation must be understood in its correct historical context, which, universally, is neglected in coverage of the conflict. Though many others here have provided their own version of history, there is a paucity of verifiable facts.Here, briefly, are some that put the origins of the conflict in some context.1. When the British left in the late 1940's the country was run as a meritocracy; admission to universities and positions in public service were awarded based on performance on standardized tests. Within this system, from 1948 until 1956, the Tamil minority (~20% of the population) controlled ~50% of these positions.2. In response to this perceived inequality, Sinhalese politicians swept into power on nationalist platforms and, assured a parliamentary majority based on the ethnic makeup of the country, passed a series of laws to return power to the Sinhalese people. The first such law was the 'Sinhala Only' Act, passed in 1956 which made Sinhala the only official language of the island.3. The initial Tamil response to such legislation was peaceful protest (Satyagraha), which was answered by ethnic cleansing in the form of riots that were condoned by the Sinhalese-controlled government, military and police force. These riots are documented, and occurred on multiple occasions, most notably in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1974, and 1976. No one has been convicted for the murder of Tamil civilians during these pogroms. 4. During this period a peaceful political solution was pursued by Tamil organizations such as the Tamil National Congress and the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). This political process was punctuated by the institution of the 'Republican' Constitution in 1972 that eliminated Section 29(2) of the original constitution drafted in 1948. This section dealing with the protection of minority rights was interestingly stricken from the new constitution.5. Along with this new constitution, 1972 brought with it 'selective standardization system' laws which effectively limited the number of Jaffna Tamils that could enter into university. This created a specific population of young, school-aged Tamils in the north that were left out of the educational system, denied access to higher paying jobs, and subjected to periodic ethnic violence that was allowed by the government. These disenfranchised youth were the ones that began to organize into the radical Tamil separatist paramilitary groups, of which at the time there were many in addition to just the LTTE.6. The government sponsored Sinhalese colonization of Tamil areas (Mahavelli Dam project), fatal attacks by state police on Tamil scholars during the 4th International Conference of Tamil Research in Jaffna in 1974, and the burning of the 97,000 books and ancient manuscripts within the Jaffna library by government agents (the sum total of the literary tradition of the Sri Lankan Tamil people that was highly venerated within the community) were the social events that immediately preceded the Vaddukoddai Resolution in which the TULF advocated a separate state and began to run on a separatist platform. This process was still peaceful, and shortly after 1977 the TULF had won the majority of parliamentary seats in Tamil areas, which, some would argue, was a mandate from the Tamil people regarding the need for devolution of federal power and the need for a separate state. 7. The largest scale ethnic cleansing of Tamils took place in July of 1983, when island-wide riots erupted, reportedly in response to an LTTE attack on a military patrol in the north. During these riots an estimated 3,000 Tamils were killed, hundreds of thousands of dollars in property were destroyed and tens of thousands of Tamils fled the country. In Colombo during this time the government provided voters lists and busses to allow mobs of angry Sinhalese citizens to target and attack their Tamil brethren. This fact has been contested since 1983, but those who were present during the events on both sides know the truth.8. Shortly after these riots the government passed the 6th amendment to constitution, making it illegal to advocate a separate state, effectively banning the TULF and essentially all Tamil representation from the parliament. Some would argue that the government did this with the intention of pursuing a military solution to the ethnic conflict, assuming at the time that it could quickly overpower a small guerilla movement.These events plunged the country into the following 25 years of terrible civil war which has bred, amongst numerous other things, the women we meet in this brief video.That is part of the context of the current conflict, and I welcome any challenges to the events I have listed here.This said, let me be clear that I do not condone the current military solution that all sides of the conflict have chosen to engage in. The government's recent advances in the east and north are eerily similar to the events that surrounded the fall of Jaffna in 1995, when the promise of a swift military solution was initially made, 13 years ago. If world history is any lesson, there cannot be a military solution to this conflict, though surely the nationalistic elements within Sri Lanka will persist in trying to prove this wrong. Sadly, the cost of this approach is more civilian lives.The only solution lies ultimately in dialogue, devolution of power and the assurance of opportunity and education for all people of Sri Lanka, Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim alike.Please pressure the SL government and LTTE to allow international monitors, journalists and humanitarian aid to reach the Tamil civilians, like the mother in this film and the hundreds of thousands like her, soon.Peace be with you.
DO NOT GLORIFY TERRORISM.
I think that, like the Norwegian peace brokers who actively supported a terrorist organization, Beate must also be paid by LTTE to make this video. I wonder how Norway or Beate will act if there is a terrorism situation there. I am a Muslim and have many friends from other communities for whom I would die to keep the friendship. I wonder if Beate will go to Iraq and Afghanistan and make a movie of their plight. Let alone maybe Kashmir for a change. I have lost friends and close family members in suicide bombings by these Black Tiger maniacs. If they say they fight against atrocities caused by the Army or the majority why would not the army do the same to them? If you would have lived peacefully I am sure you will be respected by all communities. Tamils live in other part of Sri Lanka; why not have the Muslims and Senghalese live in East and West? Tamils are an intelligent community but when it comes to the LTTE, they are just a brainless and brutish bunch of idiots. Madam Beate, why dont you make a movie of a brave soldier who is fighting to defend Muslims/Sinhalese /Tamils and Christians? LTTE is only talking about fighting for Tamils?
A majority Sinhala/Buddhist country is causing many injustices. Ceylon became Sri Lanka, Avenues became Mawatha, English as the official language became Sinhala, marginalizing the Tamil speaking minority. Now, the next step is in progress, planned by the Sri Lankan politicians promising peace for the majority as propagated by Bhudha to return to the paradise island. This is being done by the brute forces of the ruling govt. of Sri Lanka. If that is what they believe Bhudhism preaches, Bhudha would be in tears. My heart goes out to the struggle the Tamil minority survivors face in the North and East of Sri Lanka. I feel the pain of Dharshika, Puhalchudar, their families and all of the Tamil minority being harrassed in the name of a "war on terror."
- chicago, illnois
Why did the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers fund a United States congressman to visit this area? Are the Tamil Tigers poised to take action against the United States of America? Why did Danny Davis visit this region?
Gundu mama - BC, Canada
Tamil people would not have LTTE exsist today if they didn't carry guns. Hopefully. the Sri Lankan army will finish their job this time and bring an end this one man's stupid dream of Tamil Ealam. We had a peaceful life before 1983. Let our people of Sri Lanka live in peace. Bring this war to an end. As Col.Karuna said, Prabakaran is a very angry man who wants to continue his war. It is time for the Tamil people to stop worshiping him as their leader; and all the supporters of LTTE who live outside of Sri Lanka, it's time to stop sending money to LTTE. This will bring a settlement in Sri Lanka.
I don't care what the agenda of this mockumentary is, it will never be justified no matter what to murder innocent people like these HOMICIDE BOMBERS do.
This mockumentary is pure propaganda. First of all, the LTTE told this HOMICIDE BOMBER what to say. Second of all, she did not "leave" home. She was kidnapped and forcibly brainwashed, and now barely a teenager she thinks the greatest thing in the world is to murder innocent people like all homicide bombers have done. Thirdly, this carefully produced piece of propaganda intentionally selected a Catholic member of the primarily HINDU LTTE to speak to in order to play up those religious sympathies.Beate Arnestad, why don't you make a documentary of the hundreds of people killed and horribly maimed by these HOMICIDE BOMBERS??? Or is that not compelling enough?
John Rajah - london, london
When I read these comments one thing I can understand is people who say the LTTE are terrorists; these are Singhalese people. A Tamil never says LTTE; as terrorists, they are Tamils gods. When Tamils were humiliated and killed the Tamil militants started to fight against the government. Some people here are trying to turn the Sri Lankan history the other way round, but the world knows the truth but some don't like to speak about it.
'Other side' has structural violence of 60 yrs by successive governments and a series of pogroms 1956! 1958! 1977! 1981! 1983! against Tamils - I hope a film-maker comes along to produce something about these pogroms. What about the mass murders as retaliation by the Army? Chemmani massgraves? Welikade massacre would be really a bone-shaker! Bindunuwewa is so gory that only a few would even watch it!!What's the point of even talking about these to the people who are in TOTAL DENIAL?
After 60 years of ethnic strife including 30 years of armed conflict, here we have the rich & powerful countries (mostly of the West) naming the problem simply as "war on terror" and tacitly supporting - or is it conniving with? - the Govt of SL to commit what in any impartial individual would call as genocide. If the custodians of morality, ethics and justice - the so called West - say that a minority should lead a subjugated existence under the tyranny of majority as the Tamils have for the past 60 years - as openly preached by none other than the Army chief of SL Mr Sarath Fonseka - then I bless every Tamil to become a suicide bomber - the poor mans equivalent of the indiscriminate aerial bomber. After all Justice and Truth should win.
This is an excellent piece of work by Beate Arnestad.Thanks a lot to open the secrets of Black tigers.Because they are peculiar type of fighters. I read researches on Tamil tigers. Professor Peter Schalk made some good works. Civilian loss of life is rare when Black Tigers attack. Even no civilian killed in the attack (2001 July on rememberence day of Tamil Genocide of 1983) on Colombo air base and adjoining International Airport.Its made me think about their sharpness and sense of humanity. So its obvious the world take a different look on Tamil Black Tiger commandos comparing with blind Islamic fundamentalist suicide bombers.
I read recently read an article about Black Tiger Strategy in their official publication ('Viduthalai Pulikal' means Liberation Tigers). You can read this rare translation in this website.
I really want to thank Beate for creating this documentary. A true unbiased documentary and let the viewers make up their own judgement without influencing one way or other. A true journalism is exactly that. It is unfortunate that we don't see a lot of this. Thank you.
Saravan M - London, UK
It appears this is but a mere microcosm of a bigger ethnic, religious and national tragedy. A small part cannot be equated to the whole. It could be diversionary. Balance is needed as to why all these suicide bombings have happened in the aftermath of gross crimes against Tamils by the State and its Agents from decades before and decades after suicide bombings to the present day. Aerial bombings of Tamil villages (with WMDs included), of schools, hospitals and even orphanages are all part of the whole story of crimes against humanity on the island. That is why a UN sponsored international tribunal is needed to fix blame where it lies and get at all those guilty for war crimes. The real fix can come only when real consensual democracy, good governance and human rights are restored to all citizens and not only restricted to the majority Sinhala Buddhists by capricious politics backed by brutal regimes acting with impunity under Apartheid laws imported from former racist South Africa!
Well done Beate Arnestad. Sri Lankan Tamils first fought for their rights which they enjoyed during British Rule before 1948, through non-violence and all the Sri Lankan Governments used force to suppress them. The LTTE too used non-violence once through Thileepan who even died due to Hunger Strike for the rights of Tamils. All of the efforts by Tamils to get their rights back went in vain and finally they were forced to choose this technique to get their rights. It is sad to note that some of your readers under this column still do not understand the history.
saman samaranayake - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Good documentary. I beleive this would be quite useful when everything settles down after the war. To complete this I urge you to http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2008/10/how-first-class-tamils-promoted.html">read this article done by a Tamil. I beleive these types of stories are rampant in both sides of the conflict. I as a Sinhalese feel sad and I do hope she goes through this war safely and may have the chance to be a complete person.I hope nowhere else in the world there should be conflicts like this.I sincerely hope the Norwegian government takes its own share of responsibility for fostering this brutual killing machine called LTTE.May all live in peace and tranquility.
sas senthy - london, UK
This sad to watch. Nobody wanna know why this people want 2 be a suicide bomber. They r just labelled 'terrorist' n 'child soldier' all that defaming terms. killing children n raping children.... is it fair? if u kill n rape a child, aint da child has the right 2 fight back. i'm a gal. if some1 does that 2 me, i wud take my revenge. wouldn't u ? u may not have proof for that in SL as there is nobody can talk when pakse, sekas & 'dr' mrvyn silvas r in da JUMBO cabinet, defence & r da powerful figs in the parayah, failed state. if u r brain-washed like others dat SL Armed forces r are so clean. Check dis out wat they did in Haiti wen they went under UN flag as peace keepers. Aren't u ashamed of ur ignorance?!http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7075866.stmhttp://sundaytimes.lk/071104/News/news0003.htmlSo many mass graves in Eelam, innocent people killed n dumped like animals. Nobody ever held responsibilities by the authorities. Don't just blame it on LTTE for everything & live in ur brain-washed world of racism. here is one proof. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/331824.stm
Thanks for bringing the truth.. and shed light on the freedom fighting on the Tamil people. Freedom is not free like Sinhala Raciest Gov, who employ Terror on Tamil people's hearts and minds. The People who are Fighting against State Gov Terrorism called Terrorist????? That only makes sense in Sihala Gov
I am requesting everyone to help to end the killing and destruction in that island. On both sides people who are really affected by this war are living under poverty line.
Successive sinhala governments since 1948 are failed to protect civilians on both sides. The governments done everything to be in power. Only the countries, which do not have any economical interest in that region can help to solve this madness and restore peace and justice to everyone in that island.
New York, NY
It is true that LTTE commits terrorist activities (which, btw, the filmmaker illustrates at the beginning of the film so I am not sure where the suggestion of bias is coming from). The girl did not join LTTE because she was told to stand in hot sand for hours but because her father was killed in an aerial bombing (as her mother explains later).The point the filmmaker is trying to make (which appears to be lost in the partisan arguments) is the fact that normal people are joining LTTE because of mistakes that have been made by the government (which is NOT the same as saying that LTTE is right). LTTE initially gained support among the Tamils because there was discrimination against Tamils (those who argue otherwise are either lying or unaware of facts, I am sorry to say). The government could have taken steps such as implementing a federal solution but the Sinhalese hardliners consider it to be the same as breaking up the country. They thought, as one of the posters here also states, that the solution is destruction of LTTE. The unfortunate side effect of the attempt to destroy LTTE is that it has made girls like the one portrayed in this story to join LTTE. It is very difficult to attain peace when the government, as part of its war against LTTE, makes the lives of average Tamils even more difficult. The government should genuinely address grievances. How many atrocities committed against Tamils have been prosecuted? This is not the way to win their hearts and minds. In other words, the actions of the government have further legitimized LTTE in many Tamil's minds.Hawks, whether they are Tamils or Sinhalese think that the solution is war. The saner and thoughtful people in all countries recognize that wasting people's lives through war is only a temporary band aid unless you also effect other solutions.Instead of pussyfooting for years by creating commissions which come up with half-baked solutions that never get satisfactorily implemented, the government should look to implement genuine solutions which will weaken LTTE from within.
Siva Logan - Boston, Mass
The minority Tamils have been denied their rights by the majority Sinhalese and their governments for over 50 years. In the 1950's, the Sinhala government first imposed "Sinhala" only as the official language and then imposed their religion on the citizens. Then they began to establish Sinhala settlements in Tamil areas. Today, most of the Tamil areas are High Security or Economic Development Zones administered by the Sinhala forces.
The majority Sinhalese and their government have brutally supressed the Tamils fight for equal rights and self determination. Unfortunately for the Tamils, post 9/11 global war on terror sidelined the Tamil struggle for equal rights and self determination. Today, it is no secret that the Sinhalese government forces administer Tamil areas under their control as Nazi concentration camps. Tamils have to get special military issued identity cards to live in lands they own in Tamil areas. Even worse paramilitary forces allied with the Sinhala government have now been accused of rape, abduction, kidnappings and disappearances. More than 1 million Tamils have fled Tamil Eelam, another 1 million have been displaced and the remainder live under Sinhala State operated concentration camps.Beate's story highlights the plight of the Tamil youths and Tamil children who have lost their loved elders due to the brutal actions of the Sinhala government and their forces.
It's a moving story. And it's sad that this young child has been put into this situation and I feel for her mother and all innocents from all sides caught up in the war. However, the story line that she is a black tiger is not true. Black Tigers are not exposed to the media in any form or manner without precautions to hide his/her identity. The moment a black tiger is exposed to the media she or he ceases to be a black tiger since the ability to intermingle with the civilians is the most important aspect of being a Black Tiger.The child interviewed here is a regular from one of the LTTE brigades.
kash v - texas, texas
Of 70,000 dead, 70 percent of those dead are Singhalese. 12 percent are Muslims, and the rest are Tamil. Who is killing whom? LTTE is asking for something no one can give them. In 30 years of war, Sri Lanka has had 5 presidents democratically elected by Singhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers, Jha, Chetties, Indians, and other peace-loving democratic Sri Lankans. How many times has the LTTE leadership changed? Zero. The common factor is therefore LTTE. People the Black Tigers have killed include Rajiv Gandhi, PM of India, Premadasa, President of democratic Sri Lanka, and Gamini Dissanayake, opposition leader. And more Tamils have died by the hands of the LTTE than anybody else. 90 percent of the north is Tamil people. How is that possible? Systematic ethnic cleansing carried out by the LTTE for years. Prabhakaran formed his organisation on the blueprint of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. He and his supporters make the Nazis look like boy scouts.Thirty years of war, and the LTTE don't have any POWS. How is that possible? What happened to all the Singhalese villages and Muslim villages in the north? What LTTE has done to people in Sri Lanka who oppose them is worse than what happened in Aushwitz. The LTTE is even more methodical, systematic, and ruthless. Unlike the Nazis, the LTTE leaves no paper trail. Who does the LTTE answer to? The democratically elected Sri Lankan government answers to its people, to international agencies, to UNO, to ICRC, to donor nations, to every Tom, Dick, and Harry NGO. Do you want to believe the word of a Terrorist over a democratically elected leader? No Sri Lankan governemnt can come to power without the support of the ethnic minority parties.Ask any Tiger, and they will give the same story that this girl gave. It's there doctrine. This story justifies child recruitments, suicide bombings, terrorism, extra judicial killings, killing POWS, and so on. If this girl was in a lot of pain as this documentary claims, and if the LTTE was a responsible organisation, they should have rehabilitated her, not turned her into a suicide bomber.More than 50,000 Singhalese have died. When a Singhalese dies, is their blood not red? Do their loved ones not shed any tears? Are we so insignificant that rich countries trivialise our deaths? There are only 13 million Singhalese in the world. There are 80 million Tamils in the world. Who is the minority?The LTTE is asking for two-thirds of the country to be exclusive to 3 million Tamils in Sri Lanka. Eighteen million Sri Lankans would be packed into one-third of the tiny Island like sardines, having only the Colombo Port, and a few coconut trees to live on. How is that fair?There is a tragedy happening in Sri Lanka. A few racist Tamils are wiping out an entire race, and still managing to convince the world that they are the victims. Does any of this ring any bells? The LTTE is the Klu Klux Klan of the Tamil people. The LTTE is made up of Tamil supremacists, who are deploying millitary methods that violate the Geneva convention to further the policies of a few Tamil fanatics. Only fanatics use suicide bombing. If their claims are true, they don't need violence to achieve it.
Sri Lanka's civil war out dates the Black Tiger regiment and the associated "suicide bombing" phenomena.
I have seen this documentary in its entirety; the cadres make a convincing case of "suicide bombing" being a tool in asymmetric warfare. It is not the form of the weapon, but the affects of it that should be of concern. LTTE's suicide bombings have killed fewer than 500 people, compared to Sri Lanka Air Force's bombing campaigns that have killed more than 30,000 Tamils.
Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam - Los Angeles, California
Thank you Beate and Frontline for the presentation. I have seen the whole film. I admire the neutral point of view of your interview and the film. I have not met any "Black Tigers." But I have met many LTTE civil and military persons during the period 1994 to 2007 and worked with them on humanitarian matters of the war and tsunami affected families. You have captured and portrayed the spirit of the LTTE cadres and the essence of their and the Tamil struggle. To those who have not met the LTTE cadres you have given a glimpse into their motives and commitment. In addition, you have provided a window into the hearts and minds of the conflicting emotions of the mother, and through her, the families' mixed emotions of pride, pain and hope. Like the mother and you, I also look for the names on the list of "Marveerars" for persons whom I have known. In my yearly visit to the North, I stop by the "Maveerar's" headstones memorial to pay my respects to those whom I have known and others who have given their lives to regain the rights of the Tamil people.
The objective of this film is to justify suicide bombing. Please DO NOT let these people use your reputable organization to give publicity to their terrorist activities.In Sri Lanka all nationalities, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, and others, live in harmony in all parts of the island (except in the areas controlled by terrorists). Therefore there is no civil war in Sri Lanka.Extremists started this war claiming Tamils were discriminated against by the majority Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. However, this claim is completely untrue in Sri Lanka. Since minority discrimination is very common in many countries, some Westerners without critically looking at the issues in Sri Lanka, believed this claim.If you are going to show this film you SHOULD show a documentary discussing the other sides of this story, the true story of this conflict.
It's a good story. I must thank the the director for this hard work. When I saw this film I felt very sad about this mother and Darshika. I think she has sacrificed her life for this endless matter. She has been misused by the terrorist leaders to achieve there goals. This is not freedom for Tamil people. So this sitatuion was create by the former Sri Lankan government and the Prabakaran. They must be answerable.Thanks again to the filmmaker.
Beate Arnestad: I just saw these 13 minutes and 44 seconds of your heart-touching clip. It left me in tears and deep thought. I'm still speechless. I hope the world will open its eyes to what is happening to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Please help us. Please help me and my mother country and my people. I was born and grew up my whole life in one of the world's safest countries; Denmark. I'm thankful but it is painful to see what's left behind. I feel helpless and want to do something. I pray for these strong souls like Darshika and many many thousands of other young Tamils. The media closes their eyes and the world turns their back against us....
Jay Clayton - San Diego, CA
This film offers a rare glimpse of the suicidal arm of the LTTE. But the journalist fails to mention the atrocities that have been committed by the Black Tigers in the south. She almost blames the Sri Lankan military for forcing the girls to join the LTTE. Being made to stand in hot sand is a small price to pay compared to losing a limb to a bomb exploded at Colombo Central Bank by the LTTE.
Wow! A very convincing documentary for people who don't know the truth. Beate Arnestad was not only a journalist but also a paid aid worker for an NGO.If you don't follow the rules of LTTE then you are dead. Even in the desperate situation now, they won't let anyone walk freely or talk to anyone in that area.It doesn't matter who you are - if you don't tell people exactly what LTTE wants you to tell people then others will die.I am from Jaffna, and my kids never wanted to join but they were forced to disappear and die for the LTTE leader's dream.
I am a Tamil who lives in the UK. God please save my fellow Tamil brothers and sisters.
auckland, new zealand
Would you show a film about Islamic terrorists training to kill Americans on American soil? I wonder how the American public would react to it. Funny how it's only cutting edge journalism when it's someone else that's being killed.
Helikaon Khan - London, Englan
You do realize that the LTTE political wing arranged all of this to look like they are the victims? These cadres were speaking the exact lines from their doctrine.
Velu Praba - Wanni, Jaffna
Please tell Darshika that she's merely dreaming and the dream of Eelam will fall flat on her face with her demise. As for the Norwegian government, they are known as the "White Tigers" for their open support to the Tamil "cause". And you want to know why? These Norwegian MPs are dependent on Tamil votes to keep them in their little parliament. I see Norway and the Norwegian connection in Sri Lanka as a hindrance to the peaceful existence of that land. Maybe this is another bid to colonize Sri Lanka by ANOTHER foreign Western nation. Hands off Sri Lanka and stop glorifying terrorism!
Chandran Jeyapalan - Amsterdam, Netherland
I don't understand how journalists come to the figure of 70,000 people who have lost their lives. During the last 5 years, all journalists have quoted that same figure. But in Sri Lanka, every day 10 to 20 people are dying. Please update the figure in the future.
LTTE is not the first group to use modern suicide attacks. Hezbullah used them in 1983 against multinational forces. The LTTE started using the method only in 1987. However, the LTTE was innovative in its use.
The people who made this film had no idea about the other side of the coin.They had no idea about the history or the reason why the minority Tamils were betrayed by their own race, or the reasons for starting this war while they had numerous chances to make peace with the majority Singhalese and also with minority Muslims.Instead they followed a psychopath, killing innocent Singhalese, Muslims and Tamils. Not only that, the Tamils cleared Singhalese and Muslims from their areas (in the north), sending them to refugee camps where they have been living for the past 25 year. LTTE is a highly racist organization with no regard for democracy or the lives of people. It grabbed power by force and is keeping Tamils down by force. It is a sad fact that the filmmakers support these criminals without knowing the true story of this conflict, which started after the colonization by the English who wanted the majority to be controlled by a minority in practicing their divide and rule theory.
Godfrey Sam - Sydney, NSW
Excellent. Poor girl had to sacrifice her life to all tamils in the world. She is a real Christian freedom fighter.Sri lankan Tamils must get their own state.
The suffering of this war-torn area is real and many kids have only known war and bombing in their lives. But even when you consider the current state of this crisis, that is only one part of the story. LTTE is not just a resistance to a mass authoritarian discriminative regime waging war on the Tamil people. War is simply the only option that any democratic government has left to keep this ruthless terrorist movement continuing inhumane activities. They were never genuinely open for talks. The history of this problem goes back to the colonial period of the country. The British used minority Tamils and gave them more power in the country and used ethnic discrimination to control 78 percent of the Sinhala population under the British jack boot.When the so-called freedom came, the wealthy elite Tamils did not want to give up their uneven portion of the power and divide it among the nationalities evenly. But when democratic elections took place they were not able to keep that control any more. Then they used Tamil nationalism to make poor Tamils fight against the democratic government calling it the Singhala regime, with the help of south Indian Tamil movements. Tamil terrorism has dragged the whole country into a total disaster for the last 30 years. LTTE is the worst thing to ever happen to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. There was no discrimination against Tamil people just because they were Tamil before. Whether you were Tamil or Singhala, poverty was the initial problem.Just looking at the life of a woman terrorist without any pretext, as in this clip, gives a complete wrong picture of the issue. And it increases the pain on these poor Tamil people. Any humanitarian going into the country today should educate these poor Tamils about the real situation, and let them know about what democracy is and how the rest of the world views the LTTE -- as a dictatorship. The only way to do this is to take out the LTTE. And this is almost done now as most of the LTTE controlled area is liberated and the eastern province recently held an election. Most Western journalists look at these issues using pre-coined abstract models, lumping Dafur, Haiti, Sudan and Sri Lanka in the same boat. But if you look at the local scenario deep enough you will see it is a completely different situation.
Princeton, New Jersey
You are glorifying a US-banned terrorist organization through your highly-respected program. It is well known that the Norwegian government, despite its involvement in Sri Lanka to foster peace, is funding and supporting these manic terrorists, who are also banned in the European Union and Canada. The Norwegian govt. sponsored and supported this film, which glorifies terrorist acts like suicide bombings.
Please remove this web article -you are taking part in promoting terrorism at its most barbaric state in the USA. You are unknowingly setting up the stage to having suicide bombings a commonly-seen act of vengeance in the US.