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Dead America - Ed Watters EPISODE 8, 21st April 2021
Desh Amila

Desh Amila


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Desh Amila





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Desh Amila



documentaries, important, Sri Lanka, podcasts, civil war, understand, science,

conversations, film, ideas, country, movie, system, world, truth, Desh,

freedoms, lived, intellectual


Desh Amila, Ed


Ed Watters 



no better way to close out a season than with a great call to action. To make a

better world, it takes action. Our guest today is Desh Amila. And we talk about

his fantastic documentaries. Now, more than ever, we need courageous men and

women to stand up. We need people to talk; we need communication. Our world can

feel like it's falling apart around us. But all it takes is for people to

educate themselves. With the great documentaries that Desh and his team put

together, they illustrate how important it really is to remember history. And

more important, how to challenge yourself to understand what is truth. Let's

not waste any more time and get into this great episode to finish off this

fabulous season. And I can't wait for next season. Let's get into this.  To overcome, you must educate. Educate not

only yourself but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America. We

can all learn something. To learn. We must challenge what we already

understand. The way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have

conversations with others. However, some of the best conversations happen with

ourselves. Reach Out and challenge yourself. Let's dive in and learn something

right now. Today we have Desh Amila with us. He is a documentary filmmaker, and

he is a passionate advocate for change. Desh, could you please introduce

yourself and let people know just a little bit about who you are and how you

got to where you are today.

Desh Amila  03:47


you for having me. I am, as you mentioned, a documentary filmmaker. I'm also an

entrepreneur, and I migrated to Beston, Australia. I migrated to Australia just

over 20 years ago from a country called Sri Lanka. Some of your listeners may

know the country. My journey has largely shaped me during my time in Sri Lanka,

which was 1981. My birth year was the beginning of a civil war. So I've only

known my country as a country of Civil War, which lasted 28 years. So I've

moved to Australia in about 2000. And since then, I have been involved in the

various number of things. My education was in filmmaking. But around 2010, I

started getting involved with intellectual events. So I've been running events

for a very long time, and I had the luxury of working with Some of the greatest

minds in the world. And it's always been my dream eventually to start making

films. In 2019, early 2019, late 2018, I released my first film, Islam and the

future of tolerance, featuring Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz. And I have a new

movie called Better Left Unsaid, which is scheduled to come out in March this


Ed Watters 


 Well, both of those are very good

documentaries. And I highly recommend people getting over and watching those

because they explain a lot. History, people forget history a lot. And you bring

up a lot of this brutality that's happened over the history of our nation,

especially as the United States. In this recent documentary, you did you point

out America's roots, kind of were born out of this socialism nature due to

Jamestown. Now, we all know about the Mayflower Compact, but a lot of people

don't get into that aggregate of what really happened there. Could you let us

know a little bit more about why you went that far back to bring up what we are

going through today?

Desh Amila 


 Well, it's important to understand context,

whatever we are speaking about. And, you know, the purpose of the movie, too,

is to examine some of the now rather mainstream popular ideas from the fervors

of the political left. And they've really become so popular because

entertainers, politicians, are spouting these ideas, as these are new,

fantastic ideas. When it's presented without the historical context, they do

sound like amazing ideas. Now, this is coming from somebody who considers

politically on the center-left. So it was important for us to go as far back as

possible, both from a philosophical point of view in the sense of what

philosophical ideas underpin some of these political ideas. And we go all the

way back to the philosophers of modernism and postmodernism because, at the end

of the day, we are talking about the future of the Western civilization. And if

we do not really dig deep and try to understand the roots we are, we will make

the same mistakes. And that is the main reason we decided to go down the

direction we did for this movie.

Ed Watters 


Well, I commend

you on the direction you took it, you know, we need that truth. We need that

digging deep inside and finding out why things are the way they are. In today's

world. We are so polarized that nobody wants to talk anymore. People are afraid

to voice their opinion because they might get canceled in the new cancel

culture.  You really highlight a lot of

this. Going back into the Mao, the Stalin, you know, the Lenin, a lot of people

don't really understand history. And if we don't like you just said, we fall

into it. You also stated all groups hold four fundamental truths to be self-evident.

Could you go over those with us? And let us know why you believe these things.

Desh Amila 


I want

to be clear about one thing, and I think it could be quite important. We set up

another call with the writer of this documentary. I'm the producer, and I've

come in as an editor as well. So the writing of this and this is directed by a

gentleman called Curt Jaimungal. And he categorized those four truths that

you've mentioned; I would be doing an absolute injustice trying to break that

part down. So I'm going to withhold my commentary on that. But I will

definitely do. Make sure I introduce you to Curt. So he can really do justice

explaining those four categories.

Ed Watters 


 Yeah, I think that is vital to understand,

especially today, you know, just to clarify, for our listeners, those four

fundamental truths are, number one, Lens Claim, number two, Evidentiary Claim.

Number three, Separation Claim. And number four, Call to Action. I found that

to be very important for people to understand because people do get into this

mindset, kinda like we've all heard of the hive mind. And we don't really want

to do our own homework with what your crew and yourself have done; you've

really put together some homework that a lot of people should be doing for

themselves. How did you put it all together? And how did you even start with a

beginning to this?

Desh Amila 



with regards to how did this all come about? Thanks to my first film Islam and

the future of tolerance, I have managed to reach a certain audience. And in

that audience was a first-time filmmaker, Curt Jaimungal, who reached out to me

and said he has an idea for a new documentary. And he wanted some advice, as

I've done it. So I was giving free advice to edit, who then eventually

presented to me a version of the film that he thought we should, I should see.

And that was about a just over a year ago. And when I saw what I saw, I saw the

potential of what this movie could be; it was in a very different form. So I

decided to put my hand up and said, I will produce this, and I will edit this.

Let's do this together. Because I could clearly see what was happening around

the world. And I, again, going back to my first point, my origin story, coming

from a country that has been through Civil War. And seeing once freedom has

been curtailed, seeing hundreds of 1000s of people dying. Just some of those

freedoms in the West we take for granted, and I don't I know lots of people do

it. What people don't realize is how fragile those freedoms are. They don't get

taken away from you over overnight, but they get chipped away, slowly but

surely. So this is something I've been worrying for a little while. So when the

movie came to me, and I realized how important this could be, and I want to

make a claim, up front here, there are parts of the movie, I actually disagree.

Curt and I, we made the film together, we disagree on certain parts. And we

actually have fundamental ideological differences. But that's okay. This is me

living what I preach, which is that this problem, political extremism in

today's world, is such a global problem, we need to address it. And when we do

so, we are going to come short at some point, but we need to start the

conversation. So that's why I've made this documentary with Curt, where I agree

with 80% of the content, and I disagree with 20% of the content, but that's

okay. We need to have the conversation, and the movie will force you to think

and present you with ways of thinking that you may have not come across.

Ed Watters 


 Yeah, that's the reason for Dead America right

there. And that's why I started this. People are not talking. We don't have to

agree. But we really need to have conversations, because conversations Well, it

helps us understand the people and if we don't understand and we just assume

that's how those wars start and here in America, you know, I've been praying.

And I've been really worried about the aspect of a possible Civil War. And

people are like gung ho for this. I don't really understand that mindset where

they want to start a civil war over things that we have already gone through.

truth is very vital. A lot of people. They can't handle the truth, or they

don't know how to talk the truth. You talk a lot about the differences on

transgender and the differences between politics. I find that to be refreshing

that people are actually challenging what people think they already know. I

thank you for coming on Dead America and giving us the details about your

documentary and what you do. You have come from a country that went through

Civil War; like you stated, the brutality of that Civil War, a lot of people do

not recognize. Now, you said that you actually lived through portions of that

before you immigrated?

Desh Amila 



I definitely did. You know, again, when you're living through that, and if that

is the only known, you know, you don't find that to be abnormal, you, one has

to leave and look back at it from fresh set of eyes to realize what you live

through is horrendous. You know, I was born in a small town in Sri Lanka, where

I was born, was been the Civil War broke out, which is primarily in the north

of the country. But at the same time, on the south of the country, there was a

Maoist rebellion. So we were squeezed from both sides; my dad had to go into

hiding because of his political views. And it was absolutely normal for me to,

whenever we are going out of the school, to see soldiers with AK 47s walking

around checkpoints that will force us to get out of the bus and handle the

National ID card. So the the army could check that you're not a rebel or you're

not an  (LTTE) The Liberation Tigers of

Tamil Eelam. Terrorist. So that's what I grew up with. And I've seen, and my

parents did an amazing job of trying to give a normal childhood. But, you know,

I remember seeing middle of the road, these burnt tires, which is a common

sight, and what I now know, what was in the middle of those burnt tires was a

human being. And because that was a tactic, one of the Maoist rebels in Sri

Lanka used to curtail political dissent. So, you know, I've heard stories of

journalists being abducted, and we had a white van syndrome in Sri Lanka, where

you know, a white van will appear, and that's the last time somebody has seen

somebody, and then that that person's disappeared, you know, there's still I

believe, about 100,000 people who are missing in Sri Lanka. A this is growing

up then. And suicide bombs were at a regular occurrence. I know a story of a

number of students from the school I went to they died because they were in a

bus that blew up because of a suicide bomber. So that was normal. And, you

know, I remember when I was like, six or seven. In the playground, we would

talk about how many of ours died versus how many of theirs died; you know, it

was like a game for us. That shouldn't be ones childhood, but that's what

million and my experience is not unique in the sense of, you know, millions of

kids grew up in that time in my country. And again, it's also not unique to Sri

Lanka; there are many other countries that are still going through similar

experiences. See in there is something to be said about lived experiences. And

for me, the gratitude I have for the freedoms I have in the West. You know,

whenever I see people in the West try to head down a direction that may end up

in a civil war, I genuinely do not think they understand what they want. It is

a, there are systemic failures in, in many societies in the West, you know

there're things could be improved. But as a solution for that breaking down

those systems, and calling for revolution, calling for civil war, are

absolutely and utterly short-sighted. And if you put it like your podcast, the

documentaries I make are a reminder to people; there are better solutions than

breaking down the system. Because, you know, if you look at revolutions, and

whether it's the recent ones like the Arab Spring, I encourage you to look at

what happened after the revolution. How many revolutions don't have utopian,

perfect, or not even perfect, any semblance of normal reality to those people.

It doesn't work; we have a better system. We have a democracy; we have an

economic system, capitalism, that it has its own shortfalls. But it is a system

that we can mold and shape to continue to have the abundance we already have.

You know, it's extraordinary for me to even comprehend when people call for

things like Civil War, they do not know what they ask for. It's just; it is not

an answer to any other questions and issues you have.

Ed Watters 


Yeah, I

agree. 100%. It's brutal. You know, and a lot of people they say, well, that

can never happen here in America, but it already has. And it's because of the

indifferences. So communication and diplomacy is the way we see through these

things. The beauty of our system is it's a constitutional form of government,

and outlined inside the document itself, gives us the ways to ensure the safety

of the Union. And a lot of people go on social media nowadays, they get sound

bites, and then they become an expert on it. Instead of, like we said earlier,

digging into the aggregate of the issue and finding out what is really going

on. It's important, like you said, for these documentaries, podcasts, any form

of communication, to get reality back into our mindset. With with the onset of

the internet, I have noticed there's been a decline in people actually doing

their own studies, especially when it comes to political issues. How do we fix

that? Do you have any idea, Desh?

Desh Amila 



this is this is a very complex situation. And I urge anyone to run away from

anyone who's giving simple answers to that because it isn't simple. We're going

through an extraordinary time in human history, where we have this incredibly

powerful tool, social media. Not so long ago, this was a tool that was used to

spawn revolutions; it was considered like, again, I mentioned Arab Spring,

right? It was primarily organized and run, thanks to social media. Now the same

what people didn't realize the flip side of the same coin, you can use the same

tool to divide and utterly decimate society, and it is happening. So what the

solution needs to be is we need to really look into the power of this system

and understand the motivations of this system. We have come up with ways to

regulate almost every industry; you know, when the seatbelt was introduced to

cars, lots of people didn't like the idea, but now you would be hard-pressed to

find somebody who would think seat belts are somehow curtailing your freedom.

It's still you; you can still drive around. But you just have to put a seatbelt

because it is 100%. Safe. So I think we are going through that now. I think

regulate regulators are looking at ways to regulate the social media platforms.

Because at the end of the day, the artificial intelligence, that AI the

algorithms that are made to govern these social media platforms have one real

objective is people's attention, thus, selling advertising, they have a mode

that is built into the system that is there to you know, it is corruptible. So

how do we govern that? There is no simple way to do it. Many places in European

Union have come up with a number of guidelines. And I know here in my country

in Australia; now, they are looking at ways to put new guidelines in place,

both Facebook and also Google. And you know, Google recently threatened that

they will leave Australia, they will block Google to Australians, if these new

guidelines come into place. I mean, that's what they need to understand is, you

know, sure, they can go somebody will replace them. I saw an article yesterday;

Microsoft is already having conversations with the Australian government, how

to replace that void if they actually leave. So you know, we have a market-driven

economy. So you know, those threats shouldn't be taken as gospel. That's,

that's not the way I think it is important; we all start looking at ways to

figure out how these systems can continue to foster human progress, not compel

it, which means we will need to make some hard calls. And I know that we will,

is gonna take some time. But here's the other thing, though. If you look at the

success of the podcasts, like yours, and large podcasts, and platforms where

long, detailed conversations are gaining an audience. Because most people are

intelligent, they really see the there is something wrong right now; the

problem is, in what I one of the things I'm talking about in the film is a

vocal minority, with less politically extreme views, knows how to get

attention, whether it's the furthest of the left or the furthest of the right,

they know how to get attention. And they have a machine that will amplify their

attention-seeking antics, which is a social which social media and now more and

more mainstream media who amplify what is trending on social media. But there

is this large group of people who are in the center of this intellectual

center, right? They don't, we don't normally make too much noise, we just

consume, and we just get information. But the good news is, I think it is

already started. People already start seeing things. And, you know, people are

consuming more information. And I can, you know, consider me an optimist here.

But I do see things, more and more people as they get access to more

information, whether it's through documentaries through long-form podcasts, I

think people will start making better decisions. But what is crucial in these

times is we need to continue to have difficult but important conversations

grounded in some objective truths. And respecting people are challenging their

ideas if we disagree with them, now appealing to our common humanity. And I

with that, I think, overall, we will, we must make changes. So we can continue

to have a better world.

Ed Watters 


 Yeah, there is a war on science. You know, we

really have to base our claims on something. And science is that form that we

use more often than any, we've used music in other forms, film, podcasts, but

we really have to be able to base what we know on something tangible that

everybody can agree upon. And the best that we know is science. And when

politicians start calling scientists out, without even having the intellectual

foresight, you have to really begin to wonder. I know science is not always

perfect, but it's something that we have that we can start a basis on. I find

it very important. How can we actually help you with your projects? And how can

people find you, get involved with you?

Desh Amila 



regards to the comments on science, I 100% agree; I think I recognized this

almost a decade ago, science has a PR problem. Because what people don't, more

and more people attack science don't understand what they are really attacking

science. It is it cannot take a political stance, people use scientific data to

make political assertions, but science as a way of operating, you know, it is

quite simply a process. It cannot take a side it, you know, it doesn't need to

prove itself to anybody other than this, the the field of study itself, really.

And when you don't understand what do you mean by science, you tend to make bad

judgment calls, how climate change how vaccination, how, you know, simple

things like mask-wearing has become political issues, is because scientists

haven't done a good job of explaining that what they're studying and

ideological politicians, both on the left and the right, have taken certain

things based on science, and turned it into something that shouldn't have been.

And that then continues to people tend to look at certain scientific realities

through a lens of politics, which is a recipe for disaster. So I've made it my

life's mission to popularize rational thinking, intelligent thinking; my whole

thing is making being intelligent cool. I want to appeal to a generation. And I

want to do things. For what well over 10 years, I was tutoring intellectual

thinkers in Australia and New Zealand, and putting them in massive venues,

organizing those events, very much like a music concert. Because I wanted to popularize

intellectual thinking, I think we all have a responsibility when we talk about

science and scientists to make sure we normalize those conversations. And we

shouldn't be, we shouldn't let scientists or in academic or intellectual

thinking to be an elitist one thing, why only one group of people are allowed

to that sort of information, which we should be, there's some truth to that,

you know, my dealings with the universities have been painful for the longest

time when I was doing what I was doing because they feel as they have a right

to do what they do, and nobody else has that. Which is which is problematic.

And I think what you're doing with your podcast is giving people access to

objective truth based information, so they can make up their own mind. Now, how

to help me, you know, I think it is important. This may sound like a self-serving

statement, but I do think documentaries like mine, and you know, I produced a

number of podcasts, people should if it interests you, you should consume the

content, and then help this content get in front of other people. And so I'm

absolutely grateful you even take the time to talk to somebody like me, you

know, this is an independent show, because institutions would not take subjects

like this and that's generally been everything. I do.  Most of my events that I've organized, I

never had sponsors because large corporations government Institutes thought it

was too controversial. I thought it was too important not to talk about these

things. So the best thing you can do, please, when the movie's out Better Left

Unsaid. Go watch it, share it, tell people about it. You can find me on Twitter

is just @deshamila. I'm very easy to find. And the film is Better Left Unsaid

film.com. So yeah, that I think it's important if you find something important,

as you said, some research, but use the tools, we have social media, to tell

others about it. Now, with that statement, you know, this is a double-edged

sword, because, you know, this is how misinformation also spreads. But if we

make enough noise with what we are doing, I think we can counter some of the

narratives that's grounded in misinformation.

Ed Watters 


Yeah, I

agree. 100%, what you're doing is very important. We've got a lot of big-money

players, whether it be from Hollywood, corporations, politicians, they're

everywhere, and they want the pie for themselves. We need to have people like

you out there that can actually take the time. And they have the knowledge to

dig up the facts and the truth and present them in a logical fashion. Because

we don't have news stations anymore that we rely on. There's so many people

that just don't trust the media anymore. What you're doing is important; we

need that logic, we need that firm stance that hey, I'm not standing with the

left or the right. I want to be right here in the middle. I want to be right,

regardless of the political outcome or the financial outcome, truth, logic, and

being right. That's what matters in the world. If you go over to the Better

Left Unsaid website, you have an area where you can actually donate to this

film. I want my listeners to donate what they can and anybody listening to

this. Reach out to Desh, very logical, solid person. I want to thank you for

coming on to the podcast and sharing with us, Desh.

Desh Amila 


 I really appreciate you taking the time to

talk to me, and appreciate you help me helping me get the message out about

Better Left Unsaid. Thank you so much.

Ed Watters 


 Okay, you have a good day

Desh Amila 


You too,

mate, take care.

Ed Watters 


 All right. Thank you for joining us today. If

you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way.

Please Share, Like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for

another great episode of Dead America podcast. I'm Ed Watters, your host; enjoy

your afternoon wherever you may be.

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