Dr. Sanjiva Wijesinha, launched his latest book “Not our War” at his ancestral home in Colombo ‘Lakmahal’ this week amongst a distinguished gathering of old school mates, relatives and family friends. Old Thomian Rakhita Jayawardena introduced the book at the launch together with Publisher Vijitha Yapa. Brigadier Bahar Morseth, President Sri Lanka Ex-Service and Police Association (Australia) has written the foreword to the book where he refers to Dr. Wijesinha’s services as an army doctor in both Sri Lanka and Australia. Dr. Wijesinha has dedicated the book to his friends and colleagues, soldiers as well as civilians who lost their lives during Sri Lanka’s war years between 1983 and 2009.
Associate Professor Sanjiva Wijesinha: MBBS (Ceylon), MSc (Oxford), FRCS,FRACGP, Department of General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University,
Stories such as ‘Doctor Uncle’ and ‘Sergeant Thabrew’s Story’ (which the author classifies as ‘Faction’ – somewhere between fact and fiction) contain some personal and touching events that relate to the time he was serving as a medical officer in the Army both at the battle front in the North and at the Military Hospital in Colombo. These are stories that are nostalgic and emotional, and reveal an aspect of war that those of us not actively involved in such conflicts would never have heard, seen or even believed.
There are other stories such as ‘Old Friends’, ‘Loyalty’ and ‘When Tiny got Lost’, that explore the human values of Friendship, Loyalty and Love – and tales from the Second World War and Britain’s Falklands War that remind us that Sri Lankans are not alone in suffering the human costs of military conflicts.
Like Barbara Tuchman, Dr Wijesinha provides his readers with a better understanding of what precedes and follows the men and women who are involved in war. His book will be of value not only to those who appreciate short stories but also to those who care to learn about how individual human beings are affected by war.
I highly recommend this book which is dedicated to the author’s friends and colleagues – soldiers as well as civilians – who lost their lives during our country’s recent years of conflict.
Not Our War – published by Vijitha Yapa Publications: Colombo 2013 (ISBN 978-955-665-207-9)
Available from amazon.com
Reprinted from the Sunday Island of 22 December 2013