Silenced Voices: Tales of Sri Lankan Journalists in Exile, was a presentation of Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) this year. The documentary features Sonali Samarasinghe and her experiences with the Sri Lankan government’s repression of the media. Samarasinghe is ICOA’s writer-in-residence and is Visiting Scholar in Residence for the Ithaca College Honors Program in the School of Humanities and Sciences.
The documentary by Beate Arnestad is about freedom of speech and messengers of truth and how much individuals are willing to risk to bring information to light. Samarasinghe is highlighted in the film as one of four exiled journalists from Sri Lanka who have been “silenced” and targeted for assassination because they exposed corruption, massacres of civilians, and other war crimes committed by the state.
“We shall have to repent in this generation,” says Arnestad, “not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
As part of FLEFF, Silenced Voices was shown on April 5 at Cinemapolis, 120 East Green Street, Ithaca, N.Y. The evening featured post-screening commentary by Samarasinghe with a discussion moderated by Ithaca College writing professor Barbara Adams.