Teng Jin Wei / Reporter
A vigil for the victims of the Sri Lankan civil war was held at Speaker’s Corner on Saturday by World Without War (WWW). The civil society group, made up of nine Singaporeans and founded just three weeks ago, hopes to raise awareness about the ongoing civil war through the vigil. “This is a small step towards global integration and caring without distinction,” explained Chong Kai Xiong, 27, spokesperson for WWW.
Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a civil war for 25 years. Recently, the war escalated when the government not only went back on its word for a ceasefire, but also refused international aid and expelled personnel from international NGOs. The conflict has claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced more than 1.5 million people.
In an earlier press release, WWW said history has demonstrated that such wars can never be won. “The international community must take decisive steps to pressure the Government of Sri Lanka to abandon the path of militarism and opt for a negotiated political settlement,” it said. “Our prompt intervention will avert the loss of many more precious lives.”
The vigil at Hong Lim Park, which started at 5pm, saw the lighting of candles by participants. A message board was also available for the public to share their views on the war in Sri Lanka. Several members of the public were spotted leaving their particulars on the group’s mailing list, while others were seen holding flyers or sporting badges that were given out by the group.
Rachel Zeng, 25, one of the organisers for the event, said that they chose to kick-start their activities with the Sri Lanka conflict because the atrocities there are reaching a critical stage. “The atrocities of the civil war in Sri Lanka have reached their peak,” she said. "It saddens me to see picture evidence of the cruelty and violence from this war," she added, "especially when very young children have become victims."
Another organiser for the event, S Sivabalan, 53, said, “No other country understands the importance of racial harmony more than Singapore.” He gave a brief history of the civil war to those present. Expressing his anger, he accused the Sri Lankan government of using weapons on its own people. “This is the most unacceptable thing I have ever heard of,” he said.
Thevakumar, 23, a member of the public, found out about the event from The Online Citizen and was there to show support. He expressed his concerns avidly, saying, “We should do what we can.”
WWW hopes to bring more people to the cause to achieve their aim of an end to all wars in the world.
Their website can be accessed here.
TOC's video interview with World Without War:
The following video is by tlc2jon:
Pictures of the event by Sijia: