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Customer Review

on November 14, 2012
This book is superb. Brilliantly crafted and constructed. A fitting, accurate and beautiful testament to the people - both Tamil and Sinhalese - who have suffered so much, unseen, for so long. I was in Sri Lanka working for an international aid agency 2007-09, and with a colleague, one of those expelled from the Wanni in September 2008, I am working on writing our own account of those days, and the immediate aftermath. This book is cathartic for me. It starts to relieve, in some small part, the terrible burden of guilt I feel at the inaction of the UN and international aid community of which I was a part. I wrote sitreps in the July of 2008, warning of a 'step change' in the conflict, and of a massive humanitarian catastrophe that was about to unfold. I was stymied by my agency for internal political reasons (they didn't want an influx of 'difficult' relief workers to upset the Sinhalese senior management team, at least one of whom was later revealed as a government spy), and the agency continued to screen out the all too awful reality that continued to unfold. Shameful for an agency committed, in theory at least, to 'humanitarian protection'. They all need to be named and shamed.

The worst part has been not being able to fully explain to people what it was like. And this book does it, brilliantly. Please read it. Please tell others to read. Its too late to help those who died and suffered during this dreadful period, but as the book makes clear, the suffering continues under what can only be described as an Apartheid state that no one, until now, seemed to care about.

Be warned, that as recognition of this book grows, so will the ill-informed and hateful comments, no doubt the reviews that feature with no stars. Ranting, irrational attacks on the author and those who like this book. But that, in its own way, is merely illustrating the central thesis of this book.
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4.6 out of 5 stars