Following on from LSE and UCL, the ‘Breaking the Silence’ genocide awaresness exhibition travelled to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) earlier this week.
Throughout the day a stall ran in the main building of SOAS’s Russell Square campus where students, lecturers and university staff visited the exhibition. The exhibition featured posters depicting the human rights abuses against Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka.
Most students were aware that there was a conflict recently in Sri Lanka but many were intrigued on learning how far back oppression against Tamil people dated and how, even after the conclusion of the war, the human rights abuses against Tamils continue to this day. Many likened the plight of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka to other groups around the world. One student commented on how she felt the history behind the conflict in Sri Lanka was very similar to that of the Rwandan genocide. Another related the struggle of Tamil people to that of the Kurds.
One student commented on the sadness of how the issues in Sri Lanka were being overshadowed by other world affairs and how the international community did not seem to take notice of it. Some of the images of suffering were so saddening, that another was visibly upset.
Following on from UCL, SOAS also had students transfer their opinions on outlines of their hands.
SOAS Tamil Society, who helped organise the event, received positive feedback from visitors of the exhibition and were encouraged to continue raising awareness of such issues in Sri Lanka, with many requesting for more information to be sent to them.
In the evening, SOAS Tamil Society held a film screening of Channel 4’s first documentary on the conflict “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, with a guest speaker from “Tamils Against Genocide” gave a short presentation at the end of the screening, followed by a Q&A session. Many who attended the screening were those who had also visited the ‘Breaking the Silence’ exhibition during the day.
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.
See previous entries here:
Breaking The Silence Journal: UCL (23 November 2013)
Breaking The Silence Journal: LSE (17 November 2013)