Sri Lanka, the UN and the Middle East

While I was working for the United Nations in New York for over 12 years, in the late seventies I served two years as a volunteer with the UN peacekeeping forces  in the Middle East. I was inspired to write the novel as a result of experiencing some of the events I have written about both in and outside Sri Lanka and meeting and talking to people who were affected by the conflicts.

From Sri Lanka to UNEF Sinai

Author and ex-UN Peacekeeper, Rod Grigson in the Sinai

Just before I left the Middle East in 1979 and got back to New York, I met a number of young Sri Lankan men training with the PLO in camps across south Lebanon. The civil war in Sri Lanka would not begin for a few more years and with no outward sign of unrest in the country I was intrigued by their presence in the camps. One youth in particular, a Sri Lankan Moor from Colombo, had an interesting story to tell about how he ended up with the PLO in Lebanon.

His story forms the basis of Sacred Tears and I have expanded it to cover his return to Sri Lanka. Having witnessed the horrors of the Lebanese civil war when I was with the UN, I have combined those experiences with this young man’s journey in Lebanon and what may have happened to him on his return to his own country.

Introduced to reading at a very young age by my Scottish grandfather, I have always wanted to write a book of my own but never found the time. When an opportunity arose in 2012 to give up my corporate habit and concentrate on writing full time, I grabbed it with both hands. I started writing the current version of the book in August 2012 and completed it in June 2013, almost eleven months later. Sacred Tears was published in late 2013.