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The Rise and and Fall of the Tamil Tigers – Why the book was written

July 15, 2019

The Rise and and Fall of the Tamil Tigers – Why the book was written.

The Rise and Fall of the Tamil Tigers

Why write a book about Sri Lanka and its ethnic civil war when others are doing the same thing?

After I wrote my original foreword for “The Rise and Fall of the Tamil Tigers” I deleted it. I do remember what I wrote, why I wrote it and also why I deleted it. Basically the orginal foreword was about why this book is not like the other being printed at that time. This is fine if the reader’s are familiar with the other books that had come out but no very helpful if they have no idea what you are referring to. From a marketing point of view this is finding a point of difference but from the readers point of view becomes a mish-mash of assumed reference points that they may not know about.

I started putting together the materials for this book soon after the war had concluded in May 2009. I had spent a good deal of time and energy reporting the the final stages of the war on a blog site that I previously ran. Back then, much of the material I publish was based upon the current news reports and direct information that I was receiving from my contacts in Sri Lanka. In fact many people were thanking me for objectively clarifying the details of conflict as it happened. The mainstream news was all over the place when it came to reporting the events of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Some were star struck by the Tamil Tiger claims of genocide, whilst others acted like PR agents for the terrorist organisation. Even worse, were a number of terrorist members who fronted the media with fictional accounts of the bloody conflict and why the LTTE terrorist organization deserved to win. None of this stopped after the war finished. Seperating fact from fiction it hard. Seperating partisan reporting from objective reporting is even harder. Perticularly if you do not know who the partisans are and what agenda they are trying to push. But letting destructive myths stand in place of what actually happen…? Who does that benefit?

Other writings purport to be the authoritative version of what happened in the war. There are some that have been written by Sri Lankan millitary officers, soldiers, diplomats, government agents, that can vary between being a personal story to self promotional boasting, to even down right partisan propaganda. Even the winning side of a conflict can be populated with people who have axes to grind. The losing side? Some people who should know better are still trying to win a war that is lost. Some people are still pumping out hardcore propaganda with the hope that they can do as much damage as possible. Others seem to think that they just have to raise enough money for weapons, recruit enough cadres, rage loudly and the war can be restarted. This is a recipe for death.

It may surprise the reader that in 2006 I was invited to participate in Sri Lankan Government sponsored peace meetings in Australia. This was due my knowledge and connections with both the Sri Lankan and Australian communities. The initial meeting included: a very well know academic at Deakin University; members of the various Sri Lankan communities; including representatives of the Tamil communities; retired UN officials and even LTTE representatives. Believe it not, I was the one who wrote the minutes for the meeting. Whether people wish to believe this is true or not is immaterial as I still have all the email correspondence stored for future reference. Saddly, future meetings were abandoned after someone (an attending journalist) decided to use the opportunity to attack the academic as being an LTTE mouthpiece.

A close friend, now deceased, had written about the treatment of IDPs (Internal Displaced Persons) ie: war refugees for those who find the term too vague. He was critical of the how the government was managing the situation and suggested solutions. For his efforts he was falsely accused of being a Tamil Tiger. Rightly, the Sri Lankan Government held him in such high esteem that he was invited to inspect the IDP camps. It is his testimony that I trust more than those of partisan media operatives. What I should also mention is that this man was a Tamil who grew up in Jaffna.

There are several people who have dominated the media narrative since the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War. One of these people is Gordon Weiss who strayed from his UN mission to become and active player in Sri Lankan politics. Why he did this is anyone’s guess. Yet his habit of making wild claims about the war situation was one of the most unhelpful things that ever did. So much so that the UN mission in Sri Lanka had to publish retraction on several occassions. When he left the UN his reputation was so damaged that they put out a press release to distance themselves from his statements. It was after this that he decided to write a book about the war and use the accusation that 40,000 civilians had been massacred by the Sri Lankan forces to promote the book. When his polemic called “The Cage” was printed the figure of 40,000 magically dropped to 10,000. Yet some people in the media still use this man and his discredited figures as an authority on the conflict.

There is no shortage of controversial editorials from people who want the LTTE to absolved of any wrong doing. The problem is that many whitewash over things like suicide bombers and child soldiers.

“The Rise and Fall of the Tamil Tigers” does not pull its punches in the examination of the Sri Lankan Civil War. It is not a polemic of how wonderful and glorious the Sri Lankan Government is. In fact it explains out a good many mistakes and cost decision that both sides made during in the war. There is more to this conflict than who wins the propaganda war.

For people who want to believe that the LTTE were some kind of downtrodden protector of the Tamil population this book will make hard reading. For those that think that the narrative should claim that the Sri Lankan Government were a bunch of saintly souls will also be disappoint. What really matters is what actually happened and how the war was ended. This is the intent of “The Rise and Fall of the Tamil Tigers”. To explain what happened in the war and how it came to pass.

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