“My son’s name is Johnson Idaydaas, from Thazhayadi, Jaffna. My husband, son and I were one of the unfortunate few trapped in the middle during the last stages of the war. We escaped by boat. It was only when we alighted that we realised that our son wasn’t with us. First, we put a notice in Virakesari newspaper. We didn’t receive a reply. In 2011, we put a notice in the Uthayan newspaper, with my contact number. One night, at around 11 pm, he called me. First, I heard a voice speaking in Sinhala, then the line was cut. I redialled the number, and said, “Sir, sir” to the person on the other end. He replied, “Five minutes only, five minutes only,” and gave the phone to my son. I asked him where he was. He said, “Don’t search for me. I don’t know if they would allow you to see me even if you did search for me. In any case it will be difficult due to your age. I am alive.” He said he didn’t know where he was, but said he was with 53 others. “There is a shortage of food and clothes. If you can get in touch again, please bring some clothes,” he told me. I asked him, “Why do you sound different?” He said “They are giving me injections.” I wanted to check if it was him, so I asked if he could remember his younger sister. “Why, we lost her in the tsunami, why are you reminding me now,” he said and began crying. I started to cry as well, and the line was cut. From that day to this, I have not been able to contact him. I am surviving with the thought that he is still alive.
This government has to do something. Not just for my son, they should tell everyone whose family is missing whether they are alive or dead. I just want to know whether he is alive or dead, that is my only wish.
Recently my elder son wore Johnson’s blazer to go for a family wedding. Before that, when he was going to Colombo, I asked him to wear one of his younger brother’s shirts. I told him it would bring him good luck. We made this blazer for his elder brother’s wedding, in 2007. When we were displaced, this blazer and four sarees were all I had in a bag. This is all I have of his possessions.”