It’s so hard to express how that mental duress
Played especially torturous role
Like the termites that fed on the boards in my bed,
It was gnawing away at my soul. . . .
Against horrors so chilling, the spirit was willing
But the flesh was too weak to withstand.
Was it really a sin for a man to give in?
Could I better resist each demand?
Edward Alan Brudno
American POW captured by the North Vietnamese in 1965
Former POWs of the Elam War undergo a range of mental health problems. The Elam War which lasted for about 20 years in Northern Sri Lanka has caused numerous physical and mental health ailments among the survivors. The LTTE or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has captured a considerable number of servicemen during the war and some of them were executed. The remaining POWs were handad over to the ICRC (International Red Cross) and now they are free. Many former prisonors have dreaded memories of their POW days. Most of them suffer from PTSD.
To become a POW is a traumatic experience although the Geneva Conventions protect POWs from maltreatment and assures them of certain basic needs. The words can hardly explain the physical and mental agony experienced by former POWs. They are like living dead. The psychological impact of being taken as a prisoner of war is devastating. POWs cope with utter difficulty. Although they are free they constantly live in fearful intrusions and spending their lives in dispar. (more…)