Two days before Christmas in 1987, at the age of 17, Niromi de Soyza found herself in an ambush as part of a small platoon of militant Tamil Tigers fighting government forces in the bloody civil war that was to engulf Sri Lanka for decades. With her was her lifelong friend Ajanthi, also 17.
Leaving behind their shocked middle-class families,the teenagers had become part of the Tamil Tigers’ first female contingent. Equipped with little more than a rifle and a cyanide capsule each, Niromi’s group managed to survive on their wits in the jungle, facing not only the perils of war but starvation, illness and growing internal tensions among the Tigers. But then events erupted in ways that she could no longer bear.
Today she lives in Sydney with her husband and children, but Niromi de Soyza is not your ordinary woman and this is her compelling story.
This biography of children soldiers captivated most of our Monday night group. Mary had attended an author’s talk on the book and was inspired by her tenacity and strength. She also felt de Soyza’s mother, who she also met, had an interesting story to tell.
A few of us felt that young freedom fighters are no doubt drawn to the romance of revolution and Vanessa saw many similarities to Che Guevara’s struggle in this book. She also felt it was important to remember that the Tamil Tigers were but children and their actions more often than not reflected this.
We found the historical and political background offered enlightening and the gained knowledge helped with understanding the circumstances of Sri Lanka at the time.
Jean found she was in the wrong frame of mind for this story and was not up to reading of more conflict in the world, as it seemed systematic to what is still happening throughout many places today.
Over all, the opinions were positive though and our group as a whole gave this bio a thumbs up. We agree that all conflicts have two sides and de Soyza has done a good job of recounting her years fighting as a Tamil Tigress.