Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare, and Play in Batticaloa

Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare, and Play in Batticaloa

Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare, and Play in Batticaloa

Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare, and Play in Batticaloa

Synopsis

Enemy Lines captures the extraordinary story of boys and girls coming of age during a civil war. Margaret Trawick lived and worked in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka, where thousands of youths have been recruited into the Sri Lankan armed resistance movement known as the Tamil Tigers. This compelling account of her experiences is a powerful exploration of how children respond to the presence of war and how adults have responded to the presence of children in this conflict. Her beautifully written account, which includes voices of the teenagers and young adults who have joined the Tamil Tigers, brings alive a region where childhood, warfare, and play have become commingled in a world of continuous uncertainty.

Excerpt

This book is based on field notes and interviews I did in the Batticaloa District of Sri Lanka from November 1997 through June 1998, plus material from briefer visits in 1996 and 2002. Most of the interviews and notes were recorded in the Paduvankarai area, just across a narrow lagoon from the town of Batticaloa. The narrow coastal peninsulas on which the town of Batticaloa and other main towns of the district are situated were and are held by the Sri Lankan army. Batticaloa District, which contains Batticaloa city and Paduvankarai, is a Tamil-majority area within Sri Lanka. Pauvānkarai in Tamil means “the side where it goes down.” What goes down on that side is the sun, and Paduvankarai is known for its beautiful sunsets. Indeed, the whole landscape is gorgeous. But some people say that Paduvankarai has its name because so many bad things have happened there. During the time of my work there, the Paduvankarai area was under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Tamil rebel army that is fighting for the independence of Sri Lankan Tamils from the Sinhala-dominated government of Sri Lanka. Sinhala people constitute the great majority (70 to 75 percent) of the population of that country. Tamils are the largest ethnic minority there, and they have been subjected to harassment and persecution at the hands of the government, the armed forces, and civilians. Armed resistance and terrorist acts on the part of the LTTE have been met with increased persecution and violent reprisals on the part of the government. Many people have disappeared without a trace, or their bodies have been found much later. And so the conflict has escalated. From early 1997 through late 1998, the war was at a climax.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.