Protest against Flying Fish
Representatives of Ranaviru Sevana, politicians and members of the public gathered in front of the French Embassy in Colombo 7 yesterday morning, to protest against the screening of Igillena Malu or Flying Fish, a 2011 movie by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara.
The protest is a response to the screening of the controversial Sri Lankan film at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH).
About 200 people walked in protest from the Vihara Maha Devi Park to the French Embassy at Rosmead Place and stationed themselves in front of the gate around 11:30 a.m. A van with loudspeakers chanted slogans including, ‘Please Listen. Do not defame our mother country. Do not disgrace our war heroes.’ The response of the protesters was weak as only a few older women initially repeated slogans, while the rest stood idly by.
Several of the organizers went in for discussions and presented a petition to the Embassy officials. Within several minutes they returned, triumphant and apparently successful in completing whatever they wished to achieve.
Despite being present at the protest, hardly any of the protesters were aware of what they were protesting against, or why they were protesting in the first place.
Speaking to Ceylon Today, a young woman from Bandarawela stated that she came to the protest because she felt the security of Sri Lanka was under threat because of the film. However, she added that she had not seen the film. Unable to identify the connection between the film and the status of war heroes she said, “I don’t know what is wrong about the movie, but I am here to support our war heroes.”
Some protesters believed the bombings of Bodh Gaya in India were linked to the French Embassy’s decision to screen the movie here. One protester felt this was a worldwide conspiracy against Sri Lanka.
Numerous posters displayed during the protest also read, ‘This is Sri Lanka, not Mali.’ When asked about how the situation in Mali is connected to the film, prominent Western Provincial Councillor and Protest Organizer, Major Pradeep Udugoda said, “I am not confident to speak about what is happening in Mali as I don’t know enough about what the situation is over there.”
None of the key organizers had watched the film or were aware of the details of the film. A representative of the Ranaviru Sevana said the film had sexual content and traumatized the children of war heroes by portraying their fathers in a negative light.
“The whole film defaces war heroes and Buddhism. I know this although I have not watched the film,” she said. (Ceylon Today Online)
By Elizabeth Ponniah