The ‘#BreaktheSilence’ campaign continued as students from the University College London (UCL) held their exhibition detailing the history of human rights violations and war crimes in Sri Lanka on Monday.
Running an exposition in the busy North Cloisters section of UCL, they campaigned with the goal to raise awareness amongst the student body and to gather support for the growing demand for an independent international investigation into the country’s actions during the last months of the ethnic conflict.
Organised by the UCL Tamil Society, their Campaigns Officer, stressed the urgent necessity of these campaigns.
Speaking to Tamil Guardian, the Campaigns Officer (who has close family in the North-East and therefore wished to remain anonymous) said,
“the average student in university will be able to tell you at the very least that there are issues in Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. But those same students usually have no idea about the atrocities which occur in Sri Lanka on a daily basis. If no one knows, then no one cares – and if no one cares, then nothing will change.”
Organisers produced posters and display boards capturing the history of Sri Lankan discrimination against the Tamil people, and highlighing how the structural genocide conitnues and how the situation in the rural North-East remains dire.
Students were also asked to transfer their opinions onto outlines of their hands, each hand coming together to create a metaphorical wall of disgust, discontent, and dissatisfaction at how so little has changed.
Poignant and simple phrases such as ‘Why?’, ‘How could this happen’, ‘Murder is wrong’ were combined with more accusatory statements, including ‘The UN has allowed another Holocaust’, increasing the strength of the exposition as the wall grew.
Some passersby were simply left speechless, whilst others questioned the international community’s failure to act.
One student asked,
“If Sri Lanka has been allowed to get away with acts such as this, how much more has actually been hidden from us? If something of this magnitude was swept under the carpet, just imagine how much more has been hidden from us – organisations like the United Nations have a lot to answer for.”
If you wish to follow the Breaking the Silence exhibition series, you can do on Twitter by using the Hashtag '#BreaktheSilence'.
Stay tuned for the next piece in the Breaking The Silence Journal, as the exhibition travels to universities across the UK.
Breaking The Silence Journal: London School of Economics (17 Nov 2013)