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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 05, 2003

Israel and Jews are not the only ones being targeted

The Tamil Tigers for a Tamil EElam (LTTE) claim the dubious honour af having "invented" the (murder bomb) suicide belt..
I have received the following message from a Sri Lankan colleague who has given me great support in my endeavours to get the Australian government to bring on a debate at the UN to have murder bombing declared a crime against humanity. It is a quote from a Sri Lankan newspaper newspaper.

----- Original Message -----
From: Senaka Weeraratna
Sent: Sunday, January 05, 2003 7:10 PM
Subject: [BNC] Sri Lanka to act against anti-Buddhist film

Sunday Times

January 5, 2003


Lanka to act against anti-Buddhist film

From Neville de Silva in London

Sri Lanka is to officially protest to the British Government this week against the intended public screening of a pro-LTTE film that denigrates
the Buddha and seriously offends the sensibilities of Buddhists.

Since the film titled "In the name of Buddha" is an undignified assault on Buddhism and is damaging to Buddhists worldwide, the Sri Lanka High
Commission in London is likely to brief the UK-based diplomatic missions of other Buddhist countries such as Thailand, Japan and Myanmar on the nature
of this film which falsifies the underlying causes of the Sri Lankan conflict and portrays it as a war launched by Buddhism against the Tamils
who are adherents of other religions.

The High Commission is also likely to apprise Indian diplomats here about the film which pointedly accuses and depicts the Sikh soldiers in the
Indian Peace Keeping Force as murderers, rapists and looters.

The film also offends the Jewish survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, comparing the atrocities they suffered with those of the Tamils who sought
refugee in the West.

High Commissioner Faiz Mustapha who returns to London tomorrow has sought meetings with Dr Kim Howell, the minister in charge of tourism, films and
broadcasting and K.Gibbias, head of the Department of Culture, Media and Sports. Sri Lankan diplomats here are also due to meet Robin Duval, the
director of the British Board of Classification which categorises films before public screening.

The written protests to the British Government and briefings to relevant diplomatic missions are understood to be broadly structured on the
observations made by this newspaper with regard to the thematic and visual content of the film.

In London the offending film was shown to a select audience on December 19. It was a preview for the media and members of BAFTA-the British film
industry. I was the only London-based journalist from Sri Lanka's mainstream media present at the poorly-attended preview at the Warner Village cinema at London's West End.

Following the preview, I raised the issue with the High Commission here and asked what steps it hoped to take to bring to official notice this travesty
of truth which was being touted by the producers' public relations people as a clarion call for non-violence based on the teachings of the Buddha and
Mahatma Gandhi.

Subsequently High Commissioner Faiz Mustapha who had left for Colombo a day earlier was briefed from London on the initiative taken by this
correspondent to seek an official government position on what it expected to do.

One problem with regard to films is that there is no relevant body like the Press Complaints Commission before which the public can seek redress.

However, there is a possibility that Sri Lanka might raise the issue with the Home Office. Under the British Anti-Terrorist Act 2000, it is an
offence to support, fund, be a member of or even display symbols of a proscribed organisation. The "freedom fighters" shown in the film are
readily identifiable as the LTTE.

At the preview I asked the public relations person present why an image of the Buddha was at the centre of a Tamil cemetery and why the film had the
title it did.

She claimed that the Sri Lankan soldiers were Buddhists, implying that they were engaged in war in the name of Buddhism.

I asked her whether if any British soldiers were to go to war against Iraq that would amount to a Christian crusade against Islamic Iraq. Or was it an
attack by the British state and the soldiers were fighting in the name of the state? I was met with silence.

Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala of the London Buddhist Vihare told The Sunday Times that such attempts to turn the public against Buddhists will not succeed.

"When we monks bless people and tie pirith nool, it is to protect them against harm and evil. When we do the same for soldiers it is to protect
them from the evil and violence sown by terrorism. That is not to encourage violence which is totally against the Buddha's teachings.

~All it takes for the Dhamma to disappear is for Buddhists to do nothing~