How the government remembers the war, bullet with lotus coming out top. Also biased.
Started watching ‘The Killing Fields Of Sri Lanka’. So far I find it biased and framed completely wrong. I mean, who cares how you frame blood, of course, but the issue is that it makes the information completely undigestible in Sri Lanka. The upshot seems to be not that how the war was conducted was wrong (agreed) but that the war itself was wrong (disagreed). I say this not in the sense that I like war, but in the sense that the last push ended a war which had been blazing for 30 years. Which the status quo would have continued. Channel 4 frames that horrible status quo as something to be preserved and mourned, and the war ending as a horrible thing, but I think that’s just wrong. It was done horribly, but it wasn’t horrible. I haven’t finished the doc yet, but these are my initial thoughts.
The film begins with the LTTE establishing banks and TV stations, and saying that they ‘retained the support of much of the population’. They set it up like Eelam was a good thing (‘a functioning military state’), however, flawed, until the GoSL waged war and messed it up. ‘In 2008, it all began to change.’ Dum dum dum. Seriously, they cued ominous music.
For most Sri Lankans, however, north and south, that change had been much needed for 30 years. Channel 4 frames the UN having to leave Kili as the beginning of tragedy and then cuts to a shot of a girl at the gates. For reference the UN left Libya since the NATO airstrikes. They have also evacuated most staff from Iraq at various times, in the face of US airstrikes.
The issue is really framing. Psychologically, people seem able to accept civilian death as long as the fight is against terrorists. Hence western populations accept hundreds of thousands of deaths as long as they’re in the ‘service’ of overthrowing dictators. While most people put Prabhakaran up there with Hussein or Gaddafi in terms of terrorism and brutality, it isn’t presented that way. While Channel 4 mentions the ills of the LTTE, they don’t really frame it this way. Instead the fall of Kili and the LTTE is shown as a primarily civilian disaster with terrorist footnotes. But it wasn’t. It was a brutal and ruthless attack on the LTTE. They say ‘this was an unequal war’ as if that was a bad thing. But what was Channel 4 hoping? For an equal force of suicide bombers and terrorists to occupy half the island? Honestly, the answer seems to be yes.
This is sad, because there really were killing fields. People were herded and corralled into a narrow region and they did die. It was a horribly, bloody end to the war. I wish that Channel 4 had documented that without taking sides and saying that the war shouldn’t have ended at all. The idyll they show being disturbed (LTTE occupation and power) was actually a living hell. Thank God that ended. May God have mercy that it ended this way.
I have to go to work so will watch the rest of it later. Let me know if you’ve watched and what you think.