Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Psychological Impact of the Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka

War Trauma YouTube Presentation  
(contains graphic images)   

War is a multi-layered, multi-factorial phenomenon, which is filled with gruesome acts of violence. In a war not only the combatants even, the civilians undergo a tremendous amount of combat related stresses. Stresses are unavoidable in a situation like war. Therefore, people who lived in war zones became heavily vulnerable. Their psychological makeups begin to change rapidly. 

War is a wholly human-made catastrophe, which is a gigantic process of social and self-destruction. As Plato once said “only dead have seen the end of the war. This means the psychological scars following combat can stay behind for many years. It can change the psychological markup of a person making him more dysfunctional. As the Salvadorian psychologist Martin-Baro(1990) wrote of his own country, what was left traumatized were not just Salvadorian individuals , but Salvadorian society. This expression is very much applicable to Sri Lanka. 

Many combatants, civilians as well as members of the rebel groups have become the victims of Palali Syndrome. Following the Sri Lankan conflict a large number of civilians, members of the Armed Forces and the LTTE carders had been killed. Total deaths estimate over 90,000 lives. Many had become permanently disabled. A large numbers carry psychological scars of the war with them and suffer silently. Some have sublimated their anxiety and stress to the family members and to the society. Hence, war trauma has become a vicious cycle. 

The Country was in an armed conflict for thirty years and during that period, the society was severely traumatized. Even three years after the war the Sri Lankan society is still experiencing the repercussions of the Palali syndrome. Many distressing and heartbreaking stores reveal the magnitude of combat trauma in the country. If necessary psychosocial rehabilitation is not provided adequately to the victims of war trauma it would harm the spirit of the Nation. During the past years, psychological needs of the combatants were not properly addressed. Much attention was paid to the physical injuries rather than psychological damages. Effective psycho social rehabilitation was not conducted and the repercussions of the mismanagement of combat trauma are visible even today.


  1. I'm glad; with exposure to such //gruesome acts of violence// for long enough period, I'm still 'Awake' :)


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