Shell Shock to Palali Syndrome – Slide Show
Posted on November 8th, 2013

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

Palali is a well-known area in the Jaffna Peninsula in the Northern Sri Lanka. Palali has an important airport that serves as the main lifeline in the North. A large number of soldiers travel to the Northern Peninsula through the Palali Airbase. During the Eelam War, Palali Air Base played a key role (like the Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Vietnam conflict) providing essential food items, medicines and ammunition to the troops.

Throughout the Eelam War, many battle casualties were transported to Colombo via Palali. Therefore, Palali is a part of the combatants who fought in the Eelam War for nearly three decades. Palali is in their memories, sometimes in their intrusions. Palali has become a symbol and metaphor that recounts combat trauma in Sri Lanka.

Palali represents the symptom complex of battle stresses that has been experienced by the new generation of combatants.‚  It has developed in to a syndrome.‚  Palali syndrome describes various clinical and psychosocial ailments experienced by the Sri Lankan combatants and in the final scores how it affects the society at large.

Shell shock to Palali Syndrome was a long and agonizing path for the soldiers who fought numerous battles. These battles were fought in different countries under different circumstances. But in every battle the combatants experienced the gruesome realties of war. Combat trauma made dramatic transformations among the soldiers.

Some were healthy transformations and some transformations were extremely detrimental. Shell Shock and Palali Syndrome describe the destructive effects of combat trauma on soldiers, their family members and the society.

Shell Shock to Palali Syndrome: You Tube Presentation (contains graphic images)

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