by Joel Smart (Sports Editor)
On July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings in London rocked the post-9/11 world and sent a frenzy of panic and anger through much of the world. Unfortunately, some of that anger was misplaced. Muslims became victims of discrimination in an unprecedented way.
Shoot on Sight is based on the true story of the accidental killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by the London police that occurred two weeks after the bombings. However, the story is fictional; it deals with the way that discrimination harmed innocent Muslims, while simultaneously acknowledging that there are Muslim extremists that still pose a threat to the security of the public at large.
This was the film and topic of the first of four films that are to make up the sixth annual Ehsaas South Asian Film Festival, put on by the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies (CICS) at the University of the Fraser Valley. The film was played at 6:30 p.m. on October 13 to an audience in B101, the theatre near the cafeteria at the UFV Abbotsford campus. The theme of the festival this year is “related to the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City,” according to the CICS.
The 2007 film is about a Muslim police officer, Tariq Ali, who finds himself on both sides of the issue, as he is tasked to help hunt down terrorist threats, while also enduring criticism and discrimination due to his ethnicity and religious views. The way Ali is forced to see both the discrimination angle and the security angle gives the film a complexity and depth that makes it ideal for critical analysis. Though the film deals with some tough subjects, it also has a lot of action, which makes it captivating to watch. There were a few plot twists that were a little unbelievable, but it didn’t detract from the message of the film.
After it was over, a brief discussion took place among viewers in the theatre. The discussion, led by Sharanjit Sandhra, focused on the intensity of the film, and on how unfortunate it is that some children are still being raised into thinking they must become suicide-bombers and martyrs.
The film festival continues for three more Wednesdays, as Of Land, Labour and Love airs on Wednesday, October 20. This film deals with the exploitation of the tribal peasants of Dasmanthpur in Orissa, India.
Next week, on Wednesday, October 27, the 2009 film New York airs, which tells the story of three friends who are accused of causing the 9/11 attacks due to their Indian heritage. The friends are all students at the fictional New York State University. The film deals with the prejudice that occurred in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
Then two weeks after New York, the festival wraps up with A Dream for Kabul on Wednesday, November 10. The documentary follows the life of Haruhiro Shiratori, a man who lost his son in 9/11 and travels across three continents speaking about the hardships children in Afghanistan have faced, fundraising to build a cultural centre in Kabul for the kids.
Each of the films will take place at 6:30 p.m. on its respective Wednesday in room B101 on the Abbotsford campus. Admission is free, but the CICS says that donations are welcome. Students and non-students are encouraged to attend and to participate in the discussion after the film.