This Item appeared in Dilshy Banu’s Facebook post and I have borrowed it and its photographs for circulation via Thuppahi – in part because it marks a little “outpost activity” in the course of the war and largely because I have met Dilshy and respect her courageous career choices and her lines of philanthropic endeavour….. Michael Roberts, 18 November 2021
Dilshy Banu: “Kokkadicholai in Batticaloa: Traversing Tension during Eelam War IV”
Back in 2006, 15 years ago, Sri Lanka was going through civil war. The Tamil Tiger Terrorists held lands in the North and East of Sri Lanka which were known as ‘uncleared’ areas. This particular spot was the entrance to Kokkadicholai, once an uncleared area. Those days it was a ferry that carried people from Rebel controlled areas to Government control area. After war, there’s a bridge. I was a journalist when the war started, back in 2006. And later, was working in Batticaloa with relief agencies. I was researching a lot on Batticaloa for a book at that time while I went above and beyond to help many people in Batticaloa. There was a SL Army Special Force check point at the place. I laid down a flower today to show my respect and courtesy towards those Uniformed Service Members. I was crossing certain boundaries to help people, because all I wanted [and want] was a better life for all in Batticaloa. I am thankful for those in Uniformed Service in Sri Lanka for maintaining an open view on what I was doing in Batticaloa. And sparing my life while I was in Batticaloa from 2006-2008.
Today, the Batticaloa people don’t know the sacrifices I have made on behalf of them! For the past 15 years, I loved Batticaloa and held the children in the North to be my own children. That 15 years of love of Land and All, comes to an end now! I let go … …. while being thankful to the SL Army Special Force team who were serving in the Kokkadicholai entry/exit point 2006 and 2007.
A Personal EPITAPH for Dilshy Banu from Michael Roberts, 18 November 2021
Dilshy first appeared in my horizon when I presented a seminar at ICES on the Manik Farm IDP operations mounted by the GoSL with support from local and internaional NGOs and some western governments. I cannot recall the details of her commentary but her courage in speaking out from the floor despite an incomplete command of the English language was what became etched in my mind. Moreover, she had volunteered for relief work at Manik Farm and spoke from experience.
I made it a point to get her email address and can also point readers, now, to a book she produced on the Manik Farm operations — one she managed to write and present to the world on her own initiative.
I kept in touch with her in sporadic fashion thereafter via digital media and know that she made her way to USA — God knows why !! — and had a difficult time there. She is, apparently, back in Sri Lanka and presumably has access to friends and family.
Here, then, is one helluva Muslim lady, a Muslim Sri Lankan…. a total contrast to Zahran and the jihadist men and women who mounted the April 21 Easter assaults in 2019. …. Yes women too because one jihadist family in Colombo commited hara kiri, so to speak, by blowing themselves up when the police came to their door in Colombo and others stood by their menfolk in Samanturai when it was raided by the police.
SEE …………. a book that appeared in 2012