“When reading about that week-long mayhem, descriptions such as ‘heroism’, ‘selflessness’ and ‘sacrifice’ rarely surface amidst the terror. What is less known and to date not given due public acknowledgement – only talked about in private circles – are the stories of the families, both Sinhalese and Muslims, who risked their own lives during that terrible week to shelter and protect those they considered their fellow Sri Lankans.”
Kannan, via Pact.lk
There is a thread that runs through the people of Sri Lanka, connecting us to each other and to a bloody history. Through the smoke and blood of July 1983, this connection moved people to open their homes, stand guard and provide protection to their fellow citizens. Hundreds, perhaps thousands died that week, but thousands of others were saved.
Thirty long years since Black July, we are once again witnessing racial and religious intolerance spread through our communities. It is within this context that this audio- visual production attempts to document the unspoken acts of heroism that took place 30 years ago.
The two-part podcast explores both the idea of protection – giving and receiving, as well as community and relationships as they manifested during that week in July 1983. They highlight the gestures of friendship and courage that were extended to others and are still remembered today.
The photo-essay links these stories to the places in which they took place, locating it within Colombo and in homes and objects which signify this idea of sanctuary. It gives you a visual journey through that week, as it is seen now, and compels you to think of the violence that took place in these locations.
For details of the photographs and the audio interviews they are anchored to, click here.