Tuesday, April 08, 2008


"Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind."
~ General William Westmoreland.

Heval Tolhildan (David Rouillet), Bahoz Erdal (HPG Headquarters Commander), Ursula Rouillet (Tolhildan's mother).

A while back I posted something on Heval Tolhildan (David Rouiller), who had left his home in Switzerland in 2001 to join HPG. Kurdish filmmaker, Mano Khalil, tracked down Heval Tolhildan in the mountains and made a videotape of his story. Later, Khalil helped Ursula Rouillet, Heval Tolhildan's mother, make the trip to the Kurdish mountains to visit her son and his comrades.

Heval Tolhildan's father, Claude Rouiller, a former president of the Federal Court in Lausanne, approved of Heval Tolhildan's choice to defend the Kurdish people by saying, "If my son has found meaning through this work he is doing, then I am the happiest person in the world. Even though some might not like this, I am proud of him."

Mano Khalil's documentary film on Heval Tolhildan's life was slated to be shown at the Singapore International Film Festival, but it has apparently been banned from the festival along with another documentary for "...sympathetic portrayal of organisations deemed terrorist organisations by many countries."

There's a little more, from Wise Kwai's Thai Film Journal:

David The Tolhildan -- Directed by Mano Khalil, the documentary follows the story of David Rouiller, son of a prominent Swiss judge, who joined the Kurdistan Workers Party, which is recognized as terrorist organization by the US and EU. According to the Board of Film Censors chairwoman Amy Chua, both Arabs and Terrorism and David the Tolhildan "portray terrorist organizations in a positive light by lending support and voice to justify their cause through violence", which are disallowed under the film classification guidelines.

[ . . . ]

The censorship comes as Singapore is trying to liberalize its image, bringing in casinos, a night-time Formula 1 race, staging massive arts and music festivals and promoting its nightlife. It has a motion-picture ratings system that seems to work. But paranoia and censorship still reign, particularly when it comes to political subjects.

Don't you just love democracy?

I think the excuse for banning both documentaries has more to do with the fact that their content would contradict the official propaganda that "civilized" societies have worked long and hard to promote as Absolute Truth. The "civilized" societies have spent a lot of money on their PR campaigns to brainwash their populations. In the case of David the Tolhildan, audiences might get the idea that the Kurdish cause is just; that those who take up arms against the grave injustice of Turkey and all its allies are human; and that perhaps there is much more to the Global War on Terror, Incorporated, than what the real terrorists would have the world believe.

Who was the nincompoop who first said, "They hate us for our freedoms"? What freedoms? Certainly not the freedom of expression which contradicts the myths of the status quo.


Renegade Eye said...

Good post.

I wonder if any country would show it?

Elisher said...

Several countries have already shown it.

madtom said...

"Don't you just love democracy?"

Works every time it's tried

"Politics in Singapore have been controlled by the People's Action Party (PAP) since self-government was attained.[21] In consequence, foreign political analysts and several opposition parties like the Workers' Party of Singapore, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) have argued that Singapore is essentially a one-party state. Many analysts consider Singapore to be an illiberal or procedural democracy than a true democracy. The Economist Intelligence Unit describes Singapore as a "hybrid regime" of democratic and authoritarian elements.[22] Freedom House ranks the country as "partly free".[23] Though general elections are free from irregularities and vote rigging, the PAP has been criticised for manipulating the political system through its use of censorship, gerrymandering, and civil libel suits against opposition politicians. Francis Seow, the exiled former Solicitor-General of Singapore, is a prominent critic. Seow and opposition politicians such as J.B. Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan claim that Singapore courts favour the PAP government, and there is no separation of powers.[24]"

Well I guess you use the term Democracy loosely. shit like this is why rejected the Iraqi Constitution.

Almost Democratic, is like being almost pregnant.

Then again no one, like no place is perfect, and in a place like Singapore it looks like the people have enough of a voice that they could fix any problems thru peaceful, and legal methods.

I bet it's legal to show in the US and the EU and Australia, Japan, maybe south Korea, oh and Canada for sure.

Anonymous said...

Let's get this movie on college campuses, I want to show it on my campus as a part of an international film series we have. Does anyone know if it is for sale, or how it is distributed? I want to watch it and see if it is worth watching, as I am quite certain it is. Let's keep on this, can you try to email the director or something?

Anonymous said...

For once, I agree with you madtom -- just kidding, just out of sheer statistical probability I'm sure we've agreed on numerous other occasions.

I almost think only a person who has never lived in an authoritarian, oppressive state can really call the freedoms we have in Western society a 'myth'. Then again, so many secret (or not so secret) authoritarian types also do that just to prove their point that democracy is useless.

That is not to say I love everything about a democracy -- I don't always agree with The People! -- but I love most things about it.

At the same time, the cracks in our freedoms must be exposed...The person who fears for the loss of his freedoms is probably the most likely person to struggle to maintain them.

Leonard Cohen says "There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."

And in the spirit of getting the light in, I hope that more and more countries show the documentary!


Anonymous said...

the film "david the tolhildan" was allready shoed in many international film festival. such Crakow and SAplit and Berli.
And was 2 times showen in Swiss TV.


madtom said...

" just out of sheer statistical probability"

Dammed statistics!

Mizgîn said...

Totalitarian regimes and freedoms . . . would that be like where the bill of rights is gutted and the habeas corpus right is wiped out by fascist legislation such as the "Patriot" Act, Military Commissions Act, and Homegrown "Terrorism" Act?

And with barely a bleat from the sheep. But they probably didn't know what habeas corpus was anyway.

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