In 1986, I met a student in Chennai who had come from Sri Lanka and she described the situation in the war torn Tamil Eelam.
Her father was dragged out of the house and beaten to death and the house burnt.
She told me how the ‘Tigers’ were protecting and fighting for their rights. I was very disturbed and did drawings to describe my emotions but somehow put it aside as the drawings were not able to move me then.
I’m now 55 years old and a few days ago my friend had sent a forward, a video showing the relief on the face of Sri Lankans abroad when they came to know, 28 countries have removed the ‘terrorist’ tag and acknowledged the ‘Tigers’ as freedom fighters.
I am not sure how significant this acknowledgement is but I felt a certain lightness and relief after watching the video.
I did two sketches and wrote a poem and recorded the moment.
THE FREEDOM DANCE
…i saw between lines and dots
…within shades of dark and light
…a dancer with a painted body
…dancing on a stage of tattered corpses
…that floated filling the murky floor
…with broken chains
and wings that spread towards the sky
…the dancer moved…through the
unmoved bits of “dead life”
…the rising sun looked a little mean
…in the background of life
yet it moved raising its head to be on stage
…like the rest of the cast
…in awe I asked…who are you?
…why the dance…why the images on your flesh
…that seem to speak a certain thought?
Me? the dancer asked…and continued dancing…
Im the dancer with a ‘heart’ of an island
…where the ten headed warrior king once lived
…master of war and a musician at heart
My face and body…masked with tiger stripes…reminds one of
the memory of the tiger and its valor that lives
among us…eating the same shoots
and protecting our old and young…
This dance is sacred…for only this morning
…a foreign cloud whispered in my ears
of a new lease of freedom that had come into our land
…as the ‘terror’ tattoo… was finally erased by keepers of 28 lands
…it is a dance of happiness
…yet a dance to remember how far we have come
Each mark on my flesh
…a lizard seeking its prey
…a crying face, a woman ‘abused’…tortured
and little children hoping for “Hope God” to arrive
they are memories…
…the crystal I hold on my left palm is the keeper of time
…with an elephant embedded within to tell the world
…we remember…we cannot forget
…the egg that I hold in my right palm is but the dreams
of our people…we are waiting for it to hatch
…the birds, the insects and the butterfly…they are
our kind that have flown far and wide…yet living with the prayer
remembering their birth land…
…can you see the white ball in the north west sky
…there is nothing in it
…yet i know of its coming
…it is there
…for the cast of this stage…
…it is there for all those who lived
in the island of the ten headed warrior
…it is here now… for each to fill the white ball
…in the way we dream ‘life’
…in the way we wish life…