Nov 26, Colombo: Sri Lankan Students Association of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA organized an awareness event on Sri Lanka's conflict and on post-conflict developments on November 15, 2012.
During the event the student group screened "Freedom Speaks" an independent investigative documentary about Sri Lanka's conflict to an audience of university students, lecturers, Sri Lanka community members and media.
President of the Student Association Kasun Fernando said that the event was organized as a response to the malicious propaganda campaign carried out by the Amnesty International -USA (AI- USA) against Sri Lanka. He said the Sri Lankan students were shocked to learn how Amnesty's campaign has been designed to mislead unsuspecting audiences when they attended a movie screening organized by the INGO.
"Recently, Amnesty screened a movie titled ' The truth that wasn't there' at the university. We too attended the event as it was heavily advertised as a movie about Sri Lanka. We could not believe how that documentary distorted the truth that we knew very well about our country. We questioned the authenticity of the movie's content from the Amnesty representatives but they were clueless and unable to answer," Fernando said.
"Unfortunately, for an audience that barely knows where Sri Lanka is, this type of propaganda can be very effective. They form their opinion about our country watching these misleading documentaries and listening to the stories told to them by Amnesty reps. This is why we decided to screen 'Freedom Speaks' during this event," he added.
"Freedom Speaks - The Unspoken Ground Realities of Sri Lanka's Conflict" was produced by a team of young Sri Lankan film enthusiasts in 2011. The documentary was selected for the four best documentaries produced in Sri Lanka at the SIGNIS awards 2012.
The Sri Lankan Student organization has also released a press statement urging Sri Lankan student groups in U.S. and elsewhere to organize similar events on behalf of their motherland.
The following is the full text of the press release:
WE DID IT SO CAN YOU!
Amnesty international (AI-USA) in USA is seeking to mislead the public regarding events in Sri Lanka. One glaring example is the screening of a documentary entitled "The truth that wasn't there", in several universities in USA. When it was brought to Kentucky, some of us went to Floyd Theater of the University of the Louisville to see this film, as its theme was pertaining to Sri Lanka. We were shocked and appalled by what we saw. Camps for refugees were made to appear places fit only for animals to live in. The impression given is totally biased and prejudicial to the reputation of our country.
During the discussion which followed the screening of the film we protested and questioned the organizers regarding the veracity and authenticity of facts and figures, and the sources on which this documentary is based. The organizers were clueless and our questions went unanswered.
Then we made a request to university authorities and obtained permission to screen another film on the same theme in order to tell the real truth to the public on November 15, 2012. Floyd Theater was the venue to the screening of a documentary named "Freedom Speaks". Even though so many countries including the US itself have declared the LTTE as a terrorist organization the average American seems to be unaware of it. This became an evident at the discussion we had with some of them. Their impression is that LTTE is fighting for freedom of Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka. The strength of LTTE propaganda machine is the cause of this misconception.
We urge all Sri Lankans living or studying in the West to unite and rise up in defense of the mother country by protesting and questioning the basis of these documentaries sponsored by AI, whenever and wherever it is screened.
WE DID IT. SO CAN YOU.
Sri Lankan Students Association of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA