On 7th November the full length version of the documentary “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ will be premiered at the India International Center for the first time in India and discussed by eminent thinkers, journalists and activists. Callum Macrae, the Director of ‘No Fire Zone’, a film on the last days of the civil war in Sri Lanka has not received his visa to come to India and participate in the discussions despite applying over eight months ago!
Two years ago when Channel 4 in the UK first aired the documentary, it sent shockwaves through the international community. The Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in mid-2009 with the decimation of the LTTE by the Sri Lankan army was supposed to have been a ‘glorious’ chapter in the vanquishing of a ‘terrorist’ force.
What the documentary told, however, was the story of how this victory was achieved through the wanton killing of over 70,000 Tamil civilians or more (figures from an internal UN inquiry report) all herded into a ‘No Fire Zone’ designated by the government for non-combatants to take refuge.
The Sri Lankan civil war was supposed to have been without witnesses- the government had thrown out the UN, all international NGOs, the media and so on- but the No Fire Zone documentary put together compelling evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
Nothing was spared by the bombs of the Sri Lankan state- old people, women, children. Even makeshift hospitals catering to the displaced, injured and wounded were bombed to bits causing massive casualties.
The visual evidence of these war crimes came from videos shot by the last remaining UN officials, some LTTE cadre and most significantly from Sri Lankan soldiers who took ‘trophy videos’ of their own atrocities (including sexual violence) against both civilians and surrendered or captured Tamil militants.
‘No Fire Zone’ meticulously documents all this evidence and exposes efforts by the Sri Lankan state to hide the worst massacres to take place in South Asia since the Bangladesh war of liberation in 1971. While the war criminals in Bangladesh are today facing trial and being punished those in Colombo are still in power and even hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) summit in just over a week’s time.
Excerpts from the film can be seen at the following link:
An invitation to the Indian premiere of the documentary at the India International Center from 2-5 PM on 7th November is given below: