Friday, March 28, 2008

LTTE Propaganda: The Nitharsanam Unit

It is an apparent fact that the LTTE has greater focus on propaganda than the Sri Lanka government. Exactly how they maximize their propaganda is an interesting topic for discussion. The fact that the LTTE has thousands of internet sites, newspapers and other materials does not completely explain their propaganda machine.

Many of the web based sources, newspapers etc. require content. The content must be generated pro-actively. The most impacting source of LTTE propaganda comes from its audio visual content. The LTTE's audio-visual productions have never been matched by the state at any time despite having two highly capable television stations.

The LTTE has produced six films and over fifty documentaries about itself (i.e. "Amma Nalama?", Black Tiger film "Eerath thee (Wet conflagration). Foreign agencies have produced around 20 films and documentaries of the LTTE. The first attempt by a Sinhala filmmaker at making a film against the violence of the LTTE has run into enormous difficulties.

The Director of the film 'Prabhakaran' Mr. Thushara Peiris was attacked and knocked unconscious inside Gemini Labs, an Indian film lab in south India recently. Elements loyal to the LTTE have called for a ban on the film which was produced at a cost of $335,000. An Indian studio is currently in possession of the film's rushes (prints), which probably will never be shown in India or any of the Tamil theaters in Sri Lanka.

Many of the Sinhala medium films produced by famous local film makers have done less. They have failed to represent the LTTE in its real form, but have somehow won international awards for their productions.

How does the LTTE do it?

The LTTE has, both literally and metaphorically, taken the cinema to the battlefield. Traditionally it is the battlefield which comes to the cinema. Hidden among the LTTE's various units are the Tiger's Battlefield Camera Unit. The Nitharsanam Unit (meaning Reality in Truth) is the tip of the LTTE's propaganda machine. It recruits young Tigers and trains them to become battlefield cameramen/women.

The Nitharsanam Unit comes in with the first wave of an organized LTTE attack. A large number of them die in the process. It is one of the few units that receives Prabhakaran's personal attention and participates in all military operations. Each time they painstakingly document the LTTE's battle preparations. Each LTTE platoon is provided with two battlefield cameramen/women.

The men of the Nitharsanam Unit meet the Women of the same unit only in battle. This way neither teams are affectionate of the other. The lack of affection and hatred for the Sinhalese taught to them during training, conditions them to video fallen soldiers of the Army in battles like Mulaithivu, Kilinochchi and Elephant Pass.

The mission of the LTTE battlefield cameraman/woman is to recreate the truth based on the lines of LTTE ideology. To make this possible, they reframe the conflict over and over again. Their documentaries often start with various past crimes committed by the Sinhalese.

The footage indicating the fallen soldiers is accompanied by a politically correct expression of sympathy for the 'poor Sinhala youth who have had to die while fighting on the wrong side'. Like in Pongu Thamil, a message is usually given to 'our Sinhala brothers in the Army' to return home and leave the 'Tamil homeland'. These messages are not just for the 400,000 Tamils living in LTTE areas. They are intended primarily for the eyes and ears of the 500,000 Tamil Diaspora living abroad and their sympathizers.

Quite ironically, the 'Reality in Truth' camera unit never show the Tigers capturing injured soldiers alive. This is because the Tigers often kill injured soldiers in many of the biggest battles. They also fail to show females and child soldiers sent to their death in the Ceaseless Waves. In a sense, the Battlefield Camera Unit of the LTTE is also canon fodder. Large numbers, perhaps over 150 have either been killed or seriously injured so far.

But the Nitharsanam Unit achieves something the entire Sri Lanka government has failed to achieve; a well oiled propaganda machine capable of legitimizing itself (brainwashing its viewers) through an audio-visual experience unlike anything they have ever witnessed.

The audiovisual media makes the fight for Eelam a personal experience of the viewer (who is often detached from reality) by recreating reality and truth within the confines of LTTE ideology. The feat of the battlefield cameraman/women cannot be copied by a conventional military whose natural instinct is to protect the lives of its men.

For a section of the western audience sympathetic to the LTTE, the footage of a small rebel force routing an established military in some third world country may have its attractions. For an emotionally charged Tamil Diaspora that contributes between 60 to 100 million Dollars each year, LTTE propaganda is a huge incentive to empty out their pockets.

-dA & DW-


Prabhakaran the film-trailer

16 comments:

Rover said...

PRAHAKARAN - the film

Folks,

There is a trailer for this film at

http://www.prabhakaranfilm.com/

By the way, the director getting beaten up in India, and the director threatening with a hunger strike is all FREE publicity for the film!

londonistan said...

Sir, a very thought-provoking article. Another chapter from the LTTE's teaching manual for the next generation of global terrorists to learn from and build-on. I cannot help but suspect that India's RAW is behind some of these despicable so-called 'inovations' of the LTTE.

Rover said...

"They also fail to show females and child soldiers sent to their death in the Ceaseless Waves."

Yet, LTTE admits that this was there premier strategy in overrunning army camps in the 90s. So much for the "reality of truth".

CASC said...

DW,

Very interesting article.

The LTTE through its surrogates has tried to stop the film in India but this may not be the end of this story.

Rover said...

Casc,

I left you a note in Def.Net.

Here is part of it:

In today's world, any publicity is good publicity, and our director boy got just that. Remember most of the writers who wrote crap about Islam (the work was shoddy as well) were instantly popular in the west and there work got unprecedented exposure. I am waiting for this kind of exposure for our fellow as well.

MathaMathica said...

DW,

Very interesting analysis.

To add to your comments, it seems that the English editors of defence.lk, army.lk and nationalsecurity.lk are stubbornly refusing to improve their writing skills ....

(Nitharsanam is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word Nidharsanam or Singhala Nidharsana meaning Example.)

tangara said...

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/srilank/articles/20080324.aspx

CASC said...

Article about Israeli propaganda efforts using Youtube. There are daily incidents that involve LTTE terrorist activities that do not get any international coverage. GOSL needs to emulate the Israelis in highlighting these incidents in various forums, including Youtube.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/969094.html

CASC said...

Rover,

Thanks. I agree with your point that this incident in Chenai generates a lot of publicity that no doubt helps sell the film.

Moshe Dyan said...

good article; thanks DW.

But few things were lacking. Pro-SL propoganda is not govt. propoganda alone. they include SPUR, LANKAWEB, SINHALANET, etc., etc. and these are quoted by many other sites (anti-terrorism sites, etc.). And there are some SL expats who regularly write to VIPs abroad (politicians, officials, UN, etc.) explaining the truth about SL and LTTE.

In the case of two state TVs, they can only influence the local audiance (if at all). But most of the other TV and radio stations are owned by pro-UNP/LTTE elements. They team up with moderate LTTE supporters and due to their attractiveness, the numbers (no. of TV radio channels) they outperform the SLRC and ITN.

Same with the papers. sunday leader, sunday times, their sinhala papers and a few others are owned by politicians sympathetic to LTTE. they SUBTLY craft their news to put down the SLA and promote the LTTE.

Again since they are private and the large number they outperform the others. ISLAND newspapers are doing a good job but they are not the market leaders.

Actually propoganda to the local crowd is as important as propoganda to the IC as the locals can put pressure on the govt. (or change it).

There are some others who cunningly promote SURRENDER AS PEACE and shun war. It is fantastic there is DEFENCEWIRE, DEFECENET. These have offered discussions on WAR for the first time. The effect is much more than probably those at DW and DN thought. These have STAGERRING popularity growth proving my point.

But there are limits to propoganda. The western countries (including BBC, simon gardner, etc.) know FULLY FUCKING WELL the truth about SL and the LTTE. But they are driven by other agendas and support the LTTE.

Same with some US, EU, British, Indian govt. elements. They have banned the LTTE as a terrorist group KNOWING FULLY WELL WHAT IT IS. But ask SL to talk to them, have peace with them, love them, kiss them, lick them, give into them, etc. Why? They also have their own agendas.

Theie agencies are well capable of understanding what the LTTE is and they don't need SL ambassadors/high commissioners telling them about the LTTE. Thats why they have banned it.

but, as explained above....it is difficult to awake someone who is pretending to sleep!

interstingly LTTE is NOT BANNED IN SL!!!!

i think all patriots should be VERY grateful for DW and DN for adding a WHOLE NEW face to the understanding of the SL conflict. These two have reached many milestones along the way. These can be much more powerful than Nitharsanam NOT IN PROPOGATING SL/LTTE BUT IN TELLING THE TRUTH THAT CAN BEAT ALL PROPOGANDA.

tangara said...

Go to youtube and search for the words, truth tigers..

Rover said...

"To add to your comments, it seems that the English editors of defence.lk, army.lk and nationalsecurity.lk are stubbornly refusing to improve their writing skills ...."

I don't think they have editors, their English is that bad. You can't even quote anything from those sites without blushing.

I don't mean to denigrate those good folks that are trying to win this propaganda war for Sri Lanka, but when someone puts out something representative of SRI LANKA, we should have the best.

Def.wire and Def.net and even SF-3's (single man job) sites are awesome. Sites like these are what should be representative of Sri Lanka.

Rover said...

Tangara,

"truth tigers"

These don't go together.

They should be called:

Lobbyists for Total Tamil Extermination/Elimination

as this is exactly what they are doing now.

SL said...

this will be a great movie. If U.S. filmmakers gets the story about our conflict, they will make millions..it will be lot better then Blood Diamond. The movie will be a #1 hit. Hopefully producers will read about LTTE terrorism,suicide bombers,childsoldiers, and cynaide capsule carrying tamil terrorists and make a film about the conflict!! They WILL make millions! no doubt about it.

nishanthe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nishanthe said...

The clip starts with "A Osmand ..bla bla.." but I think it should be "An Osmand blabla.."..

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