Let Me Rest for Five Minutes or Chemmani Awaits

“Let me rest for five minutes” the words still haunt me over and over. The deepest, saddest, cruelest words, I have ever heard. No one would interpret the underlying meaning of those words. They are not merely words. They are drops a heart bled; they are painful droplets a body shed; they are blooded tears from a dried pair of eyes; they are the cry of a wingless bird that wanted to rest in peace; they are the words caused by a dove of peace that spread its wings widely over the political sky. The words disturb the core of my senses when I am awake. Terrifying dreams lengthen my sleepless nights. Horror of those words danced around me, over my head, below my feet and inside me. ?“Let me rest for five minutes” ?“Let me rest for”?“Let me rest”?“Let me”? This is how her words died along with her they said. The words screamed in my head. A whirl of panic sunk me in its darkest, deepest waves. The words have not lost its strength and power even though years have passed. A decade of journey through the time machine has not succeeded in lightening the memories. Still fresh and terrifying, they haunted the mind, body and even that beautiful village?Chemmani*. Once a beautiful village, still remained beautiful with a camouflage of being peaceful. Underneath that peace and beauty lay the midnight horrors. ? Even though , there was peace in the country literally, there was no peace in the minds and hearts and surroundings. Not only the midnights but also the dawn, dusk and midday were frightening.  The vast Chemmani plain was chilled with the morning dew, mist of the dusk and overwhelming fear. The air was filled with frightening memories, haunting spirits and the rotting smell of corpses. The skin was always printed with goose bumps. The tiny dark hair on the brown skins stood straight like a bullet ready to be shot fast. Even the dogs sensed the restlessness of the minds and the air. They howled in the nights nonstop. ? Adding terror to the environment, there were stories of hearing screams at midnight. People who went out in the night came back fear stricken with stories of seeing dark mysterious images. The truth awaited in the dark to be revealed.? Jaffna peninsula is a mango shaped hometown of Tamils within the mango shaped Srilanka. An ancient city of Tamils, where their traditions, culture, customs and religion were preserved for centuries. Once praised for its high level of education, English speaking people and high percentage of civil servants.  Jaffna’s peace and tradition were intentionally destroyed by the state military after the capture of the peninsula from the freedom fighters in 1995. In all the countries where family is the basic structure of the society, and where women are the heart of the families, virtue of the woman is the firm foundation for everything. The military intentionally destroyed the virtue, the self-respect, and the dignity, of our women. Our families’ foundations were found deep down in the wells, or in the bushes, or on the beaches pushed away by the waves.? Corporal Somapala, a soldier in the Srilankan military, was arrested being accused for the military’s human right violations in the peninsula. A corporal, not quite innocent, but not to be accused for obeying his officers, to escape the blow of the punishment, revealed the truths that were buried in the dark. Shocking revelations echoed all around the island. Media flashed the truth to the outside world. A mass grave in the beautiful plains of chemmani was dug out. Mankind shocked to the core. Finally, Krishna and her family came out of the darkest grave with other four hundred skeletons.? Krishna, named after the flowers bloom in December, a month she was born, really was delicate as a flower. Being a only girl of a well educated, sophisticated family, she was brought up well protected from the external harms of the society. Her only brother Ramanan adored his little sister as a fairy princess. Dark curls of hair hung loose as bunch of grapes around her eyes. Beautiful little brown eyes danced with excitement and  joy. She was known for her intelligence around the village. Her family, friends and neighbour hood knew she would get the very difficult entrance to the medical college, her life long dream. ?On her way to the final exam, the gate way to her life time ambition to be a doctor, she was stopped by the soldiers at the check point. Soldiers were ordered to bring her inside the camp for a thorough checking even after she produced her student identification. Without the presence of a lady officer, a it was said in the UN charter, she was thoroughly checked not only once, but for forty times by forty men.  A small build seventeen year old girl with a delicate body soft as a flower was thoroughly checked all over her body inch by inch for forty times by giant like army officers. Born in a culture where sex before marriage, even the knowledge of sexual act is a taboo, she panicked with shock. She had never heard her mum saying anything about what to do when a man lay on top of you. She never heard of sexual intercourse and what would it do to her. Will it hurt? Will it pain? Will it be interesting?  Is it acceptable for the army officers to use her like that? The pain went through her answering all her questions when she screamed for mercy.? “Ah…leave me alone. It is hurting……Please”? Her words were left in vain each time a man abused her. First she begged not to touch her. Then she begged them to touch her gently. Finally she begged them to let her rest just for five minutes.? “Let me rest for five minutes.”  The beasts never let her rest a second.? “God, let me die in peace”, she prayed god to help her each time her legs were held apart. God never responded.? “Anna, help me anna, they are torturing me.” She cried to her brother believing he would hear her. Instead they gagged her mouth with a piece  of cloth.? She lost her blood; she lost her voice; she lost her hope in mankind; she lost her belief in god; finally she lost her senses falling into the darkness. Still the checking went on. On and on.  Finally, she closed her eyes not to come out of the fort of darkness, not to come out of the cruelty that tortured her body and soul, and not to come out the burial ground dug inside the camp compound. ?A jungle fire would not spread as fast as Krishna’s arrest news. Her mother fainted hearing the arrest news. What would have happened to her, if she had known that Krishi was already buried? Ramanan screaming “Krishi…..” brought all neighbors to their house. Next door neighbor, a friend, volunteered to go with them to the camp, not knowing he would not see the next day’s sunlight. The army, sensing the threat in the threesome, took them inside for an investigation. They were never seen afterwards. When they finally returned it was from the Chemmani grave, not from the army camp. Poor family died not knowing their beloved Krishi lay in the same grave. Krishna lay peacefully resting in the grave not knowing her mother and brother joined her in the death path to protect her all the way along. ?Graves opened their mouths gaping for a release. The rotten smell spread in their air. Horror and terror seized the environment. People avoided Chemmani road, but could not avoid the frightening chill of their hearts. Commissions were formed; media screamed for justice: the nations condemned human right violation; Somapala was released with the other accuseds not being able to prove guilty.? Chemmani awaits, with its terror stricken plains, justice to be dug out. Fear stricken faces await to be protected by humanities’ hand. Krishnas are still waiting down in the wells, buried in the zero zones, thrown in the forests, and preyed to the fish, to be found out; to be rested in peace at least for five minutes.

41 Responses to “Let Me Rest for Five Minutes or Chemmani Awaits”

  1. Mayooran Says:

    Wow..as much as my blood pumps out my veins, tears are coming out my eyes…

  2. Vino Says:

    This story must be given enough publicity. There are hundreds of Kirishathi’s affected by the cruelty of occupying sinhalese forces in the tamil home land.

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  4. Easwary Says:

    It’s touchy. It’s delicate matter. Krishanthy was violated 40 times. Why continue even after she died? Kindly find solutions to save other Krishanthys than continuing to rape her even after her death.

    The trend of this article is vulgar “…each time her legs…”

    Though heart bleeds for Krishanthy, this article makes angry even at the person who wrote this!

  5. Sris Says:

    It is a heart breaking story. My heart goes out to all the girls no matter where they are being abused and used by the situation. Real freedom to womanhood is free from this torture. How are we going to stop this cruelty happening.

  6. Theepa Says:

    I agree with you that my wording are so powerful. I donot get which kept you awake and disturbed you. Whether the power of the words or the transparancy of the incident.If it is the trasparancy of the incident,I am happy my intention succeded as transparancy is the only way which would bring out more of Krishanthi’s. It is not propaganda. It is the feelings I felt when I heard the stories. Just telling in one sentence that they raped her or murdered her will not describe the real sufferings. Our people should know what is going on. If it kept you disturbed, yes I want that to happen anyone who reads it. Read my poetry ‘do they know ‘ As a woman who witnessed the sufferings, who met the women who survived after the torture I am tough enough to use those words.

  7. Easwary Says:

    Reaction to Easwary’s comments dated 20/09/08 by Cherran: (In case Theepa did not know about it?)

    I agree with you, but nobody knows about the pain and suffering a person went through in his last moments when his dead body washed ashore or his decaptiated
    body found in the bushes.
    We are too concerned about numbers,I guess. When a girl is abducted and found dead the next day, its taken as an isolated incident.
    The person who wrote this (Theepa) may be failed in her attempt to show the pain and suffering. I also felt uneasy when reading some of the sentences.

    But in a period where people lost insights and fall prey to propaganda, this kind of attempt is much needed. You stressed a great point here.
    I hope she will take that in to account and improve.

  8. Easwary Says:

    Easwary said on he 21/09/2008 and Theepa replied 21/09/08 posted above on 24/09/08:

    Though I do not express myself in a convincing way to satisfy our Tamil friends, my painful feeling for our people remain deep in me. Each time I read a discrimination or violence in the media, it hurts deep in me. I wonder as to
    when all these would come to an end and how it would happen.

    I am not against the article or this kind of propaganda. It could have been better worded, especially the sexual harassment Krishanthy underwent.

    As a mother, as a woman, it did hurt me to read it so transparent. I could notsleep the night I read this article. I woke up around 1 a.m. and I wrote the message.

    May be I am over reacting, but careful wordings or vocabulary would have been appropriate.

    Circulation of this to all my friends also a propaganda in a way.

  9. Easwary Says:

    Easwary replied Theepa on 22/09/2008:

    When I wrote the comments I did not know the author of it. Therefore, it is not to hurt you.

    Secondly, I did not say “misuse” of words. They were very transparent and decorative descriptions to my eyes.

    The secretion coughed by an animal reached ornamental decoration in the blog… e.g.

    “…checked all over … inch by inch…”
    “…lay on …”
    “…will it hurt?…”
    “… each time a man entered …”
    “…her legs were …”

    When reading the incident it gave me an impression that I was reading a novel. Please read the comment by “Vino”- “This must be given enough publicity”. It did not occur to that person to say as . All as if a movie was being watched!

    On a healthily maintained lawn, a weed, though it is also green, it does not get the attention of everyone, except those who care for the lawn!

    Still, this article painfully drew my attention, you succeeded!

    I do know
    The steel cover is full of scars
    In everyone’s life;
    Never let that carry
    Ever your emotions!

    Good continuation!

  10. Easwary Says:

    Quick definitions (propaganda)

    ? noun: information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause…

    2. Propaganda is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

    Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

    —Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion

    Here, I believe that this is a reasonable propaganda to keep awake all those who knew the incident and also to inform those who did not know the incident! In a way, soliciting for a reasonable cause is not considered wrong!

    Cool down lady!

  11. Easwary Says:

    Easwary Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    September 24th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    When I wrote the comments I did not know the author of it. Therefore, it is not to hurt you.

    Secondly, I did not say “misuse” of words. They were very transparent and decorative descriptions to my eyes.

    The secretion coughed by an animal reached ornamental decoration in the blog… e.g.

    “…checked all over … inch by inch…”
    “…lay on …”
    “…will it hurt?…”
    “… each time a man entered …”
    “…her legs were …”

    When reading the incident it gave me an impression that I was reading a novel. Please read the comment by “Vino”- “This story must be given enough publicity”. It did not occur to that personhim to say as incident. All as if a movie was being watched!

    On a healthily maintained lawn, a weed, though it is also green, it does not get the attention of everyone, except those who care for the lawn!

    Still, this article painfully drew my attention, you succeeded!

    I do know
    The steel cover is full of scars
    In everyone’s life;
    Never let that carry
    Ever your emotions!

    Good continuation!


  12. Sris Says:

    Hi Theepa, I have read all the comments. I have also read the poem.I have to also agree with Easwary. It is important to bring stories like this out for which I salute you. At the same time wording is very very important although said that “meaning is not in words but in people” My piece of advice is to take things positively and improve. I just copy the sayings from Easwary’s email which is very true.
    “Those who praise you at present are dining with you at the same table; “Those who point out your mistakes are helping you found a healthy future path”. We need people like you. Keep up the good work.

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  41. Theepa Says:

    Find out what trigers you mind to write. Some people are inspired by happiness. Me only sadness and anger for personal matters or something I witness. I need to be alone to write. I do not sit to write. I write whenever I get the inspiration to write.

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