Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on “Suicide Bombers” in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, presented as one of the Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics, December 2007 and available in full, with its ‘surfeit’ of pictorial illustrations, at

ISBN: 1617-5069
ISSN: 1617-5069

ABSTRACT: No study of the LTTE can afford to neglect Sri Lanka’s cultural, historical, and georgraphical backdrop. The lack fo existential awareness of religious cross-fertilisation, the either/or foundations of Western reasoning and absence of local knowledge bedevil the scholarship that incorporates Sri Lanka within their global surveys of suicide attacks. Pape’s “Dying to Win” is an example. Here, the LTTE’s multi-pronged capacities are poorly evaluated. Too much significance is attributed to the coercive success of SMs in bringing the government to the negotiating table at various moments. Religious persecution has not been the main reason for the Tamil struggle. Comparative references to SMs elsewhere are occasionally interspersed in this review of the Sri Lankan scene.Black Tiger homage Sampur Black Tigers pay homage to Black Tiger dead from their locality, Sampur, on Black Tiger day 5 July 2003

17-Lt. Col. Bork's Nadukal worshipped

LTTE’s Vavuniya Political head Mr.S.Elilan is seen garlanding Black Tiger Lt. Col. Bork’s “Nadukal” at the Eachchankulam Maveerar Thuyilum Illam.Lt. Col. Bork (Mapanapillai Arasaratnam of Arumuhathan Puthukulam Vavuniya) was killed on 23.11.1990 when he helped destroy the entrance to strategic Mankulam SLA camp. (


19b-LTTE man with cyanide capsuleTiger fighter with cyanide capsule relaxes in camp–

Photo by SHYAM TEKWANI, an Indian journalist embedded within LTTE during war against IPKF

photo6 Tuyilam Illam at Vadamaratchchi ready for Mavirar Nal, November 2004 —Pix By Roberts photo12 Kopay natukal   Tuyilam illam at Kopay, November 2004 — Pix By Robertsphoto13Epitaph for Kitttu–Pix By RobertsPix By Roberts

photo2Images of Tiger hero dead at commemoraation shed, Tirunelvely2004 –Pix By Roberts

ISBN: 1617-5069
ISSN: 1617-5069


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Filed under cultural transmission, Eelam, historical interpretation, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Saivism, security, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, world events & processes, zealotry

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