I needed an answer to one question. Despite being used to meeting people and talking about difficult issues, it was not easy to ask this question. I had to make myself emotionally numb in order to be able to question those who have been heartbroken for decades and are living with memories of their children, husbands, wives, brothers or sisters. I knew they would certainly break down and cry when they are asked about those missing loved ones. So, I spent quite a long time to talking to each person, and only asking this question at the end of the conversation. As I’d expected, all twenty people I spoke to just collapsed when they heard it, or fell silent and wept.
Among the twenty people I met, 10 of them were relatives of people who disappeared during the war in the North. The rest of them were disappeared by the military during the second insurrection of the JVP that occurred during the period of 1987-1989.
The question I asked was, how would they feel if their missing loved ones were still with them? There was no difference between the stories of Kaalimuttu from Mullaitivu, whose daughter has been missing since February 2009, and Gunadasa from Baddegama, Galle awaiting the return of his 18 year old son since 1988.
This piece of writing is a record of their agony.