US Tamils join "One Million Bones" genocide protest
Several Tamil activists attended the "One Million Bones," protest, a project conceived by a U.S. visual artist, Naomi Natale, to raise awareness of ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in places Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Sudan, Congo and other countries, held in the Mall in Washington D.C. Saturday. The event was attended by more than four thousand volunteers who laid several hundred thousand man-made bones in the rectangle covered by the 3rd, 4th Streets and Madison and Jefferson streets, and several thousand spectators including tourists. Tamil volunteers displayed prominent posters describing Sri Lanka’s troubled history, and the genocide of Tamils, and distributed leaflets describing the mass atrocities committed by Sri Lanka military during Mu’l'livaaykkaal killings.
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"Three years we have been collecting 1,000,000 handcrafted bones for a three-day installation event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., June 8-10, 2013. The installation will exist as a collaborative site of conscience to honor victims and survivors, and will also serve as a visual petition against ongoing conflicts and a resounding call for much need and long overdue action," the organizers said in their website.
Spokesperson for the collective Tamil organizations that attended the protest told TamilNet, "This is a key event that will help us to raise the level of awareness of Sri Lanka’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The event was a great success today, and the banner with the Auchwitz – Manik Farm comparison was a great hit with many Americans posing for photos with it. The organizers were absolutely terrific and will keep our materials available at a table on the mall.
"We made every effort to network with key organizing personnel of this grass-root movement who are well aware of the Sri Lanka genocide, and as we go forward there will be followup collaboration with the key personnel at the top," the Tamil activist said.
The Laying of the Bones was opened by Rabbi Bruce Lustig, who told the volunteers that he is heartened to see the number of volunteers, and that the event showed that Americans will remember the voiceless who were killed for their ethnicity and race by their own governments, and this awareness will implore them to agitate for international action to prevent future mass killings.
The event continues on Sunday with educational workshops, a candle light vigil, followed by a lobby day "Take a Bone to Congress" with advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill.