'Breaking the Silence', a series of university exhibitions began early last week, with students at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) holding an exhibition raising awareness of genocide and detailing the ongoing human rights crisis in Sri Lanka.
Running a stall on Houghton Street, the main street within LSE, members of both the LSESU Tamil Society and LSESU Amnesty International Society campaigned to raise awareness amongst students, through a combination of posters, artwork, and informative conversation.
Students voiced their shock and disgust at the lack of retrospective action, while also condemning the decision to host the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, with one student describing it as,
"a spit in the face of the international community, and all the Commonwealth stands for".
The Vice-President of the Tamil Society, elaborated on why she felt the BTS series was crucial, stating,
"As a Tamil person, the emotional connection to this event is obvious. By raising awareness amongst the general student population, we wish to show people why we feel Sri Lanka is a genocidal state and why we fight so hard for justice. There would be no point in having a Tamil society if we forget about our homeland - we must ensure this type of campaigning continues through the year".
The LSESU Amnesty International Society were also equally as passionate in their conviction against Sri Lanka's human rights record, collecting over 600 signatures for a petition calling for an investigation into the government's actions during the ethnic conflict against innocent civilians. A representative voiced their discontent, saying how,
"the barbaric and atrocious crimes which happened in and are still happening in Sri Lanka needs recognition - I can not believe it is so underplayed in Western media".
Each student who came to the stall was also invited to write down one word onto a blank sheet of paper which they felt best described everything they had just been informed about.
The most common examples included 'War Crimes', 'Genocide', and 'Torture', while one student also poignantly used the phrase "Convenient Ignorance" - succinctly describing the entire situation.
After their exhibition, both societies again collaborated to host a screening of the recent documentary, 'No Fire Zone', holding a discussion afterwards which was covered extensively by the LSESU Tamil Society twitter page (@LSESUTamilSoc). The discussion was not only useful in describing the general student's disgust at the situation in Sri Lanka, but also constructively spoke about how a difference can be made through students themselves.
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.