The Kashmir Files: Will New Zealand Stand With Truth
Mrs. Melissa Lee
Member, New Zealand Parliament.
Mr. David Shanks
Chief Censor, Office of Film and Literature Classification
Honorable MP Lee,
Thanks for supporting the release of the film The Kashmir Files. Thanks for being the voice of countless who were murdered, women who were raped and killed, and innocent children who were shot or those survivors who even now suffer traumatic experience of having seen their parents shot in front of them.
I worked in Kashmir for three years in the late seventies. Subsequently, as a senior staff at the World Bank, and the United Nations, I have worked in conflict zones in Southeast Europe (Balkans) and Southeast Asia. Suppressing the voice of victims of genocide is not only being complicit in the crime but also being the perpetrator of the future cruelties. Listening to the pain of the victims and acknowledging their suffering is catharsis for them and confessional unburdening for us who did not act in time to save them.
I am personally aware of some of the incidents shown in the film. The film makers have done a huge amount of primary research to ensure the factual accuracy of the story. It shows what happened. A lot worse happened, but the filmmakers have been extremely sensitive in portrayal of human tragedy and understated in presenting unspeakable cruelties. Nowhere does this film point accusing fingers to a religion. We need to have the courage to face the truth.
Censorship of the film is not an issue of Hindu or Muslim citizens of New Zealand. At stake are the values of New Zealand, its courage to stand by its moral foundation, its ability to uphold the truth, and its character to alleviate the pain and suffering of the victims of genocide anywhere in the World. Moments commit mistakes, Centuries pay its price.
I thank you for your courage and leadership in supporting the freedom of speech and being the voice of the voiceless victims who cannot rise from their funeral pyres to protest but are waiting to know they have been heard and can finally rest in peace.
I cannot thank you enough for upholding the victims right to justice.
former Chief Operating Officer, United Nations Sustainable Energy for All, and
former Advisor, World Bank.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia