Hear My VOICE: Ganeshwary Santhanam ~ “I am blessed to be alive”
She joined the movement - branded a terrorist group by many - and left during the ceasefire, got married to another fighter and gave birth to a son, before being pressured to rejoin the LTTE in 2006. Like thousands of Sri Lankans returning to their homes today, she hopes to build a new future.
“I joined the LTTE almost 10 years ago to fight for the freedom of the Tamils. My parents were not happy about my decision. I dropped out of school due to the war. My childhood dream had always been to become a Bharathanatya dancer, but my dream was never fulfilled.
“After serving in the movement for nearly 10 years, I left the LTTE during the ceasefire time in 2002. I got married to an LTTE cadre, and gave birth to a son. We were a happily married couple.
“But in 2006, that life of normality was to change when I was pressured to join up yet again. During that time, I was given rigorous training along with other women in the village and proved myself a better fighter than most.
“At the same time, it was very difficult because I was worried about my family. I always thought if I die who will look after my family? Memories of my family were always in my mind when I was on the battlefield. On the other hand, I did not have a choice to decide this on my own and I continued to fight. I prayed to God to save me and let me live for my husband and son. Later, my family and I would become displaced from our village. I gave birth to another son and am currently jobless, as is my husband.
“The war was terrible – so much suffering and loss. I want to educate my children and make them better citizens. I want to forget the bitter past and forgive others and lead a peaceful life.
“I have fought in the battlefield, but I managed to survive without any injury, while many of my fellow fighters died on the spot. It’s a miracle of God. I am blessed to be alive.”
She was featured in a photo journal posted on BBC website on 9th of May 2006. To view, please click on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4753509.stm