18th May: Mullivaikkal Genocide Remembrance Day

Written by: Thanura Premakumar (13), Pranaya Selva (13), Dinuja Sivalingam and Madusa Esan

The bloody civil war between Tamils and the Singhalese Government forces in Sri Lanka broke out as a resistance to the continuous oppression and genocide of Tamils. Thousands of Tamil civilians were fighting for life and death for years. On 18th May 2009, the continuous oppression and genocide since 1948; and the civil war since 1983 were brought to an end by a climax of structural genocide on Tamils. Both the Tamil civilians and the freedom fighters; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were massacred. Many Tamils ​​are still living with an uncertainty of whether their loved ones are dead or alive. This includes the respective leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Mr Velupillai Prabaharan. 18th May 2009, the Mullivaikkal massacre, will always be remembered as an important and unforgettable Remembrance Day of structural genocide on Tamils, which has also become a part of our history and identity.

The Sri Lankan government committed continuous oppressions and genocide since 1948 and put the 26 years-long armed conflicts to an end by an injustice act. Its climax was Mullivaikkal. It is remembered as an important day because it has made a huge impact on Eelam Tamils. It is a symbolic day for state-sponsored structural genocide. Despite all the violations that took place in the horrible war, the Mullivaikkal massacre stands out as an episode of a nightmare in the Tamils´struggle for freedom. Painful reports on Mullivaikkal expresses unexplainable brutality and the ruthless murders that took place there. The Sri Lankan government asked the innocent people to take shelter by moving to the “no-fire zone” in Mullivaikkal and promised them a “safe zone”. Food, medicine and fundamental supply were prohibited to this area. In such insecure life, “கஞ்சி” (kanci/ congee)1 was the only lifeline of hope for these people. The Sri Lankan government forces trapped the people in Mullivaikkal by shelling, gunfire and bombing with heavy weaponry and prohibited weapons. The bombing of people in the no-fire zone is a war crime alone. Hundreds of thousands of Tamils died and went missing. 

Image: January 2009. Wikipedia.

The Tamil people have gone through a lot. They suffer from loss of their families and friends. Many are still controlled by the Singhalese government in the North East of Sri Lanka. Many still live a life with uncertainty and fear. Their hope is peace, freedom and a life without sadness, sorrow and oppression. This is why 18th May is an important and unforgettable day for every Tamil. This day will be remembered forever.


1 Kanci (கஞ்சி) is a Tamil word meaning “rice-water, water poured of rice, starch.”  (T. Burrow, 1984). The Tamil word Kanci is used in English as congee.


Congee of hope. (2021). Congee கஞ்சி just add hope. Retrieved from https://www.congeeofhope.org/
Slettholm, A. (14.11.2012). FN sviktet Sri Lankas sivile. Aftenposten. Retrieved from https://www.aftenposten.no/verden/i/y3Ea2/fn-sviktet-sri-lankas-sivile
T. Burrow, M. B. E. (1894). A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary(2 ed.). Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/DravidianEtymologicalDictionary_201811
Williams, R., Weaver, M. (18.05.2009). Timeline: Sri Lanka conflict. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/may/18/sri-lanka-conflict

புதுப்பிப்பு│Update: 10.05.2022

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