Mullivaykkal – a symbol of evolution. So are butterflies
Mullivaykkal is a village located in the Mullaittivu district in Vanni. It is along the Nanthi Lagoon (Nantikkaṭal; நந்திக்கடல்) on the northeast coast of Eelam (Sri Lanka). May 2009 was the last phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). During the last phase, a strip of land in Mullivaykkal (முள்ளிவாய்க்கால்; Muḷḷivāykkāl) was declared as a “No Fire Zone” by the Sri Lankan Government. Soon, Tamils were trapped in the “No Fire Zone” surrounded by artillery shelling and airstrikes from all sides, while International media and humanitarian organisations abandoned the Tamil people in Mullivaykkal. A Tamil genocide in the “No Fire Zone” took place in Mullivaykkal. After May 2009, the village name has become a symbolic name for the Tamil genocide. The event is also known as the Mullivaykkal Tamil Genocide, Tamil Genocide or Mullivaykkal. The international community and the media describe the incident in Mullivaykkal as a massacre and slaughter.
Based on history, Tamils are experiencing both massacre and genocide as part of a structural genocide that continues till the present day. It consists of ethnic genocide and cultural genocide. It is essential to differentiate events of massacre and genocide from the history of the Tamil’s right to sovereignty since 1931 (The State Council of Ceylon was established). Mullivaykkal was the peek event in the decades-long structural genocide of Tamils. However, Mullivaykkal can also see as a symbolic term for past and ongoing oppression, discrimination, denial of rights, massacre, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
The use of the right terms is vital to not exaggerate or undermine the trauma of the Tamil people. The world might have different perspectives on the events in the history of the Tamil freedom struggle. But only you and we can tell our story.