The Grease Men of Jaffna
Writing for Guernica, Hannah Tennant-Moore tells of her search for a boogeyman haunting Tamil communities in the Jaffna Peninsula and offers a glimpse at post-war life for the Tamil’s of Sri Lanka.
I asked the engineer if he believed the government was using the Grease Man for its own ends. “Of course!” he said. “About a year ago, it was the white vans. Black windows, no identity plates. They abducted people. Sometimes hurt them and let them go. Sometimes gone. The authorities say it is a mystery. But to the people it is no mystery.” He glanced around and lowered his voice. “The people are missing the LTTE. They had their minus points, but at least we had some bargaining power. But we have much hope the Americans will save us. We love Hillary Clinton.” He hoped she would pressure the government to house internally displaced Tamils and abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which authorizes indefinite detention.
“Do you know that we have the same law in our country?” I explained that several laws passed since 9/11 empower the president to arrest and jail non-U.S. citizens without charging them with a crime. The engineer was shocked. He had never heard of Guantanamo.