25 June 2008

"Air India 182" - The CBC Docudrama

I was unable to watch this on Sunday night, as I had planned, but being prepared for that, I recorded it. This afternoon was my first opportunity to watch it uninterrupted.
So what do I think?
It was riveting, stunning, engrossing. And utterly convincing. I suffered with the families of the dead. I nearly cried, it was so sad. It was moving, deeply moving. In fact, it was the most beautifully put together propaganda piece I've seen since Gandhi, the Academy Award winner for "Best Picture" in, I believe 1982.

It is billed as a documentary, but this docudrama is much more drama than documentary. It presents one theory, that of the Canadian government and The Vancouver Sun very well. There was, however, no suggestion from beginning to end that this is one theory, unproven. If this were presented as a possibility, I would find it merely annoying. From beginning to end, however, it was presented as fact.

I think the most irritating moment to me came at the very end in words on the screen, seen but unspoken: 'Malik and Bagri were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.' How about just 'Malik and Bagri were acquitted.' How about just a hint that maybe, just maybe, a slight possibility, they were acquitted because they were not guilty? What an indictment of the Canadian justice system that these men portrayed as so obviously guilty got off scott-free.
I found the translation of our Fateh, 'Vaheguru ji ka khalsa! Vaheguru ji ki fateh' as 'God is forever victorious' to be not merely inaccurate, but bizarre. I had to listen to it three times to be sure that that is what they were 'translating.'
It was also painful seeing our strong, beautiful brothers portrayed as monsters, likable monsters, but monsters nonetheless. I was, of course, prepared for that, but it still hurts. I would like to see, just once, us Khalistanis portrayed as reasonable human beings instead of wild-eyed fanatics.

I love the note on the review of this movie on the Waheguroo Network's Khalsa TV Site:

Editor's Note: This documentary contains many innacuracies and misrepresentations. It is suggested that users take a more objective approach when viewing.

A note before I go. While I do not believe Sikh terrorists blew up that airplane, somebody clearly did. And I agree with what this movie has Inderjit Singh Reyat saying should be done to people who do such things, 'They should be shot.'

My deepest condolences to the families and friends of the dead. I know what it feels like to have our loved ones brutally and needlessly murdered. I pray that someday the true perpetrators of these crimes - in India and elsewhere - will be caught and punished - and the truth will then be told.

From the CBC Website: If you haven't seen this and would like to it will be repeated on Sunday June 29, 2008 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld. I was hoping they post put a video of the whole thing online, but evidentally, CBC wants you to buy it for $24.98. For a few brief clips, visit the link above.


I suppose I could go through this whole docuDRAMA point by point, but that would be tedious. Suffice to say, in substance it was pretty much what I expected, in style, well, it had style.

Pictures (from top):

Shaheed Talwinder Singh Parmar Babbar
Inderjit Singh Reyat
Ripudaman Singh Malik
Ajaib Singh Bagri