Leaving the Tamil Tigers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2009 11:49 AM CDT
Tamil Tiger fighters take positions as they rehearse maneuvers at a training camp in an undisclosed location in Tiger controlled territory, north east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, July 13, 2007.   (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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(Newser) – Caught in an ambush in 1987, Niromi de Soyza almost bit her cyanide capsule. “As a Tamil Tiger guerrilla, there was no honor in being caught alive,” she writes in the Telegraph. Ultimately she escaped, but not before one of her best friends was shot and killed. Her other best friend, Akila, tried to console her, telling her to preserve the dream of Tamil Eelam—an autonomous homeland. “For me, the dream felt far from reach.”

Soyza had believed the propaganda, that the Tigers could forge a homeland in a few years. But on the run and infected with malaria in 1988, “I felt broken,” she writes. “It was now clear that an armed conflict would resolve nothing.” She resigned in shame, left Sri Lanka, and now lives a normal life. She recently Googled Akila and discovered that she had bitten the cyanide at 24, as Soyza might have done along with her, "if I had not walked away.”