Took a bunch of photos at the Deyata Kirula Exhibition. These are some of my favorites. Deyata Kirula is a government exhibition held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH). People come from all over Sri Lanka to see it, literally millions I think. It is paid for out of the public treasury but ends up being a tribute to the current party and President in power. Coming in you’re just overwhelmed by the amount of people, and underwhelmed by the exhibits. Most displays are honestly on par with a high school pride fair. This year the main exhibit was a captured LTTE submarine.
Last year In 2007 they were displaying live weaponry and some exploded, killing visitors. Nobody died this time. Still a good show.
The main draw of this tamasha for the government is that it’s a chance for controlled show-and-tell and to advance their agenda. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think people come because there isn’t much entertainment besides. Mass Sri Lankan entertainment largely consists of a bunch of people standing around something mediocre for an extended period of time, usually in the heat. Man it was hot, I thought I was going to pass out. It’s a bit cooler inside the BMICH, named after the father/mother of our decline and the parents of its failed redemption. SWRD Bandaranaike and Srimavo Bandaranaike. The former mainstreamed the nationalist/Sinhala politics that has divided our nation, and the later flirted with communism/socialism, bringing our economy to its knees. Their daughter Chandrika was once the hope of the peace process and then ended up willfully scuttling it.
The mother and father of our miseries
This show, however, is not about the hall. This is Mahinda’s show and he has special reason to be proud as the war seems to be drawing to a close. Of course – like the Media Zone at the exhibition – independent media has been kept far from the action, by guns and blows as needs be. The war effort is skillful packaged and doled out to the public in patriotic doses. Most are OK with that, and the LTTE is enough of a repugnant, nihilistic organization to perhaps justify it. It does all feel a bit Big Brother though. And not very free.
Bread and circuses.
The illusion of social mobility