Silly, the brouhaha that the ersatz arts lobby is trying to create over what they say is the State's encroachment into the territory of artistic free-expression. 'Conscientious objectors', as always self-appointed of course, are engaging in some sort of intellectual gymnastics ritual, trying to establish that the interests of free expression, particularly at a film festival put on by a foreign embassy, dictate that anything can be shown at such an event.

They say there is a 'sampradaya' that establishes this position, and what's the position -- any horse manure that is doled out at such a foreign embassy festival should be permitted by the host State.

In the first place this is not true, and the facts bear that out, but in the second place such 'conventions' if they do exist cannot be for the benefit of a few donor countries that make use of some sort of an artistic licence to subvert the integrity, and the lifestyles and cultures of a host nation.

First, take the facts about the charge by the smarmy army of intellectual cretins that advance this line that there is some sort of artistic licence that foreign embassies enjoy at 'film festivals.' This is utter nonsense; the Indians had to show all their movies to the Censor Board (PPB) before the Indian film festival got underway in Colombo, and there is no different criteria for the French. Besides, the French don't even claim such a licence; all they say is that they showed the movie 'Igilena Maluwo' because they already had a license (a document, as opposed to an attitude) given by the local Censor Board.

But the most important thing about this intellectually dishonest position that there is an artistic licence to show any kind of movie at a film festival, is that no country allows such an abomination. No country allows that kind of all encompassing artistic licence; try staging a 'Lankan film festival in Paris' that denies the holocaust, or a movie that depicts liberally paedophiliac debauchery, because after all it is ART?!

There is no need to argue this, really. These are not just intellectual cretins who try to tell us that there is an artistic licence for anything at a film festival. They are also plain subversives who are knowingly complicit in the fact that maligning the armed forces in a foreign sponsored movie is one step closer to some people's dream of getting our armed forces hierarchy to be answerable at war crimes tribunals.

They know that UN manoeuvres and civil society low tackles didn't work previously, so now they are coming via the alternate agency of 'art.' These people who have all the free expression to say whatever they want about a movie that maligns the war winning forces that saved the country, are also the same folks who complain about the lack of press freedom, incidentally!

Some say the movie under review won several awards! A movie that's made in the Philippines, say, maligning the Islamic religion in the interests of 'art and free expression', will surely not be shown in Bangladesh! (Or Saudi Arabia, or Indonesia or Malaysia for that matter!)

The film Natural Born Killers was denied distribution rights in the USA until it was later released after cuts; it was completely banned in Ireland. Vishwaroopam was banned in India for political reasons and then of course the producer agreed to mute five scenes.

'Igilena Malauwo's subversive intent is clear -- the movie seeks to ridicule the armed forces and ensure that the forces maligned in this way would lose their current position of high esteem in the mass mind. That would of course make it easier to bring the troops to war crimes tribunals.

That's why the usual conduits are used -- money is liberally spent by the usual donors, 'liberalism' is cited as an excuse for unfettered expression, and through sleight of hand, the movie is to be foisted on the public under cover of 'art' and an unfettered licence for all that's 'art.' Sri Lankans surely are not idiots to fall for these rather desperate stratagems?