A women in Puthukkudiyiruppu, a survivor of the battle between security forces and tiger rebels, is seen sitting on the ground. The armed conflict killed men from both sides, making many women widows in the process. (Picture-AFP)

A correction needs to be made. If wars are declared between two countries and with Sri Lanka’s conflict described as a non-international armed conflict, the terminologies currently been applied to wives of LTTE widows need to be immediately corrected. War widows can be described as only those whose soldier husbands have died in military operations on behalf of the Nation/State. This immediately denies reference to Terrorists who are often carrying out destabalizing operations, funded by proxies against the state.

Terrorists do not have international jurisdiction nor are they provided any protection under international laws. It is best that LTTE widows are given a different name and certainly not war widows – that definition does not belong to wives of terrorists and is reserved for women whose husbands sacrificed their lives for the nation! War widows are the wives of the over 27,000 soldiers who died for the Nation and not wives of LTTE terrorists.

The international endeavor to project the notion of war dead attempting to link these numbers to compliment the hysteria behind the false numbers they are quoting as dead is just not working.

Obviously the reference to war widows and the numbers being quoted as ‘dead’ or ‘missing’ are aimed at claiming that these are the numbers Sri Lanka’s soldiers are accused of killing. However, it stands to reason that if these widows are to be considered as ‘civilians’ where are the widows/families of the LTTE cadres? The subtle attempt to project the widows as civilians is certainly questionable moreover when Sri Lanka’s conflict was not a war per se, but a nation that had been suffering 30 years from terrorism had taken a decision to militarily deal with the internationally banned terrorist movement. This was after years of negotiations, ceasefires and even foreign mediated peace talks had all failed to find a single solution to stop LTTE’s carnage.

We keep returning to the numbers we are accused of killing. It is important that we know who the dead are (even if they are civilian or combatant), where they lived, details of their families etc. Everyone is making accusations, but no one is providing details. The easiest way out of this is to say these people are ‘missing’ and that is supposed to allow the accusations to continue endless and the country castrated as murderers and leaders held hostage to war crimes charges!

While we can empathize with the plight of women whose husbands had been members of LTTE terrorism, we cannot allow these women to be defined under the category of war widows which is a place dedicated to the men who sacrificed their lives to defend the nation.

Moreover, when we realize that the terminology is being sheepishly used as a means to balance and provide foundation for the accusation of 40,000 – 225,000 supposed dead civilians omitting reference to LTTE cadres, we certainly object to this reference to war widows. Elsewhere the description given is ‘black widows’

What has not been said in terms of numbers is of the numbers being accused
• How many of the supposed dead were really civilians as per international description

• How many of the supposed dead were combatants

• How many of the supposed dead civilians died in combat
Coverage given by foreign parties

• Al Jazeera documentary “Sri Lanka Widows of War’ covers some 90,000 ‘forgotten’ Tamil ‘war widows’ only and conveniently omits to mention whether these are civilians forced into combat or wives of LTTE cadres -

• Reliefweb report of 2015 titled “Help at last for Sri Lanka war widows” speaks of 50,000 headed by single women…. The interviews also refers to husbands ‘gone missing’. There is also mention of low interest loans of up to $260 specifically for these women.
What is unbelievable is that without even being able to establish who is dead and who is missing there is blanket reference to ‘war widows’ covering only the last few months of the military operation, totally ignoring 30 years of LTTE terrorism with no one bothering to cover the plights of

• The unarmed civilians killed by LTTE bombs, suicide attacks, chopping up villagers etc

• The Sinhala and Muslim widows as a result of LTTE killing their unarmed spouses. (why are they not referred to as war widows and foreign media does not cover their stories and hardships)

• The Sinhala & Muslim widows and families now left to fend for their own without any financial support (though LTTE widow are getting interest free loans and international media propaganda too)

• The real war widows number over 27,000 (of which 12,000 died during CBK’s 12 years in power)

• The real war widows are also the wives of 5000 soldiers whose names have been given to the Missing Persons Commission because their whereabouts are still unknown.

While we do empathize with the men, women and in particular children who were held captive to an ideology bankrolled by foreigners (India/Church/West) to advance their geopolitical agendas it stands to reason for the Tamils themselves to wake up and realize what their stand in this is. Do they wish to continue to peddle a bogus grievance because various paymasters order them to do so or should they now realize the irreparable damage being done?

We feel for the children in particular who were taken from low caste and impoverished Tamils in the Vanni that became a breeding ground for LTTE’s child soldiers. The plight of these children honestly meant nothing for the high caste/class Tamils living in Colombo and overseas – in fact they encouraged the LTTE to recruit more and more and more.

Now with LTTE virtually destroyed, those that financed the LTTE have wiped their hands of the wives of the men that went to fight for the LTTE. It is these women who are now facing difficulties because life for them when LTTE reigned meant a lot of Tamils got bullied by them – they were the Mahavir families and the big shots throughout all the areas that LTTE reigned. Now that LTTE is no more, the Tamils who were bullied and fell victim to LTTE are now giving them returns. These are truths that are rarely highlighted.

What also needs to be looked into is the statement by LTTE’s Tamilselvan who said that 35% of LTTE’s fighters were from Tamil Nadu, if so how many of their wives are pretending to be Sri Lankan Tamils and living in Sri Lanka though they are technically illegal immigrants?

In conclusion what needs to be categorically said is that while agreeing that there are plenty of Tamil women widows – the present terminology being used as ‘war widows’ cannot be used for widows of LTTE terrorists. What cannot be forgotten is that there are also plenty of Sinhala and Muslim widows because LTTE killed their unarmed husbands while in addition to this there are over 27,000 real war widows – the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to free the nation from the scrooge of terrorism.

The international community need to come out with another name – they cannot use the word war widow for wives of terrorists (even war widows in US, UK, Europe, Russia and elsewhere will not like be placed on par with wives of terrorists!)