The Cage

The Cage : The fight for Sri Lanka & the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers

3.98 (371 ratings by Goodreads)
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* Once known for its exquisite tea, drowsy climate, and amiable people, Sri Lanka was the Indian Ocean jewel of the British Empire. After Independence, the island enjoyed a liberal parliamentary democracy with a lively independent press and a booming economy. It had a judiciary, an efficient economy, and a stability envied by emerging nations. The world expected a leader amongst nations.

* Instead, in pursuit of power and fundamentalist Buddhism, an oligarchy of Sinhalese political leaders and monks hi-jacked democracy. In response a brutal enemy was born: the Tamil Tigers. The result, one of modern history's longest civil conflicts, spawned a host of horrific innovations: suicide bombers, child soldiers, death squads, violent Buddhism and murdered journalists.

* But ethnic conflict is only part of the story.

* Twenty-seven years on, with Iran, Burma, Libya, and China as its closest allies, democracy has been reduced to a cabal of brothers who control the economy, the courts, and the media. Today they tout their bloody conquest of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas as an example for other nations with 'terrorist' problems.

* Gordon Weiss, a veteran journalist and UN official for two decades, was firmly entrenched in the conflict as spokesperson for the United Nations in Colombo. He was a close observer as, in just four months in 2009, tens of thousands of civilians perished, cornered, along with the last of the Tamil Tigers on a windy spit.

* This account unravels the compelling history that leads up to that horrific moment, peeling back the Sri Lankan government's cloak of silence to reveal the events of those weeks beat by beat.

* The Cage offers a rare glimpse into the reality behind the daily headlines: the inner workings of media manipulation, and the plight of international aid workers struggling to provide humanitarian assistance to those caught in the crossfire of a deadly civil conflict.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 27mm | 524g
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847921396
  • 9781847921390
  • 124,419

Review Text

Comprehensive, fair and well-written work
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Review quote

A fair and brilliantly written tour de force of this long forgotten war. A book that is long overdue. -- Roma Tearne, author of Brixton Beach Comprehensive, fair and well-written work -- Jason Burke * Literary Review * A striking account of the ruthless terror wreaked by both sides on the innocent civilians trapped in a pocket of land... [Weiss's] book is a powerful indictment of the leadership of President Rajapaksa -- Jon Swain * The Sunday Times * So what does the Sri Lankan government have to hide? That's the question Gordon Weiss sets out to answer in this painstakingly researched and referenced study, and his conclusions are nothing short of horrific... he lines up his targets carefully, then picks them off with surgical precision... he gives a brief but illuminating history of the origins of Sri Lanka's civil strife -- Margaret Neighbour * Scotsman * It is not easy to read this shattering, heart-breaking tale of savagery and suffering, of pathetic victims caught in a terrible embrace of savagery and despair, from early hopes for freedom and justice to the hideous denouement. But doing so not only lifts the veil that conceals one of the most awful tragedies of the current era, but also helps us understand what should be done, not just in this sad and beautiful land, long before horrors spiral out of control. -- Noam Chomsky
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About Gordon Weiss

Gordon Weiss was the United Nations Spokesman in Sri Lanka for two years during the recent civil war. For two decades, he worked as a journalist and for international organisations in numerous conflict and natural disaster zones. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney, Australia. Twitter @gordonkweiss /
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Rating details

371 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 30% (112)
4 44% (165)
3 21% (77)
2 2% (8)
1 2% (9)
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