The Sad, Uplifting Story of a Kindly, Sri Lankan High-Jumper

Dr. Ethirveerasingam won the first gold medal for Ceylon at the Asian Games in Tokyo in 1958. That was not why I made a movie about him. I made the movie because of what came next. The day after Ethir won his medal, riots broke out at home. Sinhalese mobs attacked Tamils across the country. A state of emergency was declared. It was the first of many ruptures that ultimately led to a decades-long war pitting the Sinhalese government against the separatist Tamil Tigers. Ethir believes that sport can be therapy for trauma, even national trauma, but he is skeptical of the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. Three years ago the civil war ended, but his hometown of Jaffna, in the north, remains an occupied city. Sixteen of the 19 divisions of the Sri Lankan army continue to be stationed in the province.

The Guardian recently posted a short version of BrokenA longer version of the movie has been nominated for Best Documentary Short at Film South Asia 2013, in Kathmandu, on October 3. [Editor's note: The author co-directed, with Ed Perkins, the Stateless Media shortreal The Brothers Shaikh, which is set in England and Sri Lanka.]



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