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Exhibition marks Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day in Los Angeles

Local Tamils, students and members of the University community attended an event at the Law Faculty of UCLA to commemorate Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day on May 18. The event titled ‘Reimagining Struggle, Collective Memories of the Tamil Genocide’ combined commemoration, education and discussion. 

The event hosted an exhibition of items from the Legacies of Conflict in South Asia archive, usually housed at Stanford University. These included poignant remnants collected from the Mullivaikal beach in the aftermath of May 18. There was a burnt out photo album, a kerosene lamp and cooking utensils used by the displaced during the last weeks of the war. There were also copies of past editions of the Tamil Times and the Tamil Guardian. Alongside these, the exhibition also contained photos, infographics and posters that told the story of the struggle and its critical stages. 

Organisers said they hoped attendees would learn from past sacrifices for the struggle to inform new strategies of resistance. In a practice that is becoming the norm for Tamils commemorating May 18th, they served Kanji at the entrance to mark the suffering and resilience of the final weeks of the war. 

Attendees watched a version of Callum Macrae’s, ‘No Fire Zone’. This was followed by a panel discussion on May 18th, political activism and the struggle. The four panellists - Ahilan Arunachalam, Madura Rasaratnam, Nimmi Gowrinathan and Mario Arulthas - discussed their own histories of activism, their experiences of the months leading to May 18 and their reflections on the aftermath. 

At the end of the day there was music from Ganavya and Bhi Bhiman. 

The event took place alongside dozens of others across the globe to mark Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, a date to commemorate the tens of thousands of Tamils killed by the Sri Lankan security forces in 2009.

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