APCSS Professor Shyam Tekwani reviews a new book and a British Channel 4 documentary about the civil war in Sri Lanka in “The long afterlife of war in teardrop isle” written for Tehelka Magazine (India).

“Atrocities are believed in or disbelieved in solely on which side of the river you are,” says Tekwani. Both the book and the documentary are critical of the government’s efforts to put an end to the civil war and tend to put weight on what he believes are exaggerated claims by the Tamil Tigers.

According to Tekwani, “The truth about atrocities is that they happen and will happen in irregular guerilla warfare, with inexperienced soldiers with much cause for fear in hostile territory, where the enemy wears no uniform, strikes from ambush, and where women and ten-year-olds are adept at killing.

I have some direct evidence as eyewitness of atrocities during the years I covered the war in Sri Lanka. I know that some were committed by all sides. There was never a year when atrocities were not committed by one side or the other, and there was barely a single occasion when a side believed in the same stories simultaneously.”

You can read his reviews online by following this link:


Shyam Tekwani is Associate Professor, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, U.S. Pacific Command, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.