SURF is planning to stage a Reading of the Testimonies at the Whitechapel Gallery on Sunday 12th July 2009 from midday to 4pm to mark the 15th anniversary of the end of the Rwandan Genocide.
We are hoping that supporters will join us to read a testimony of a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, in a unique event to raise awareness of the situation of survivors in Rwanda today and as a call to action to the United Nations General Assembly to honour its resolution to provide greater support to survivors.
The venue is particularly significant, as the event will take place with Pablo Picasso’s Guernica as the backdrop. Picasso’s tapestry has hung outside the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1985 to 2009. It was the failure of the Security Council to act in 1994 that allowed and exacerbated the genocide.
The Reading of the Testimonies 2009 follows SURF’s successful Reading of the Testimonies 2004 in Trafalgar Square. It too will be a public event in a public space, however this event differs with participants not reading stood on a stage, but instead sat at a roundtable. We are hoping as well that attendees to the gallery will interact and engage with the event by participating as well.
The event will be filmed and recorded, to convey to survivors in Rwanda that people in London remember the genocide, the survivors and the victims. It will mark the end of the 15th Anniversary commemoration, which began with a Reading of the Testimonies at the United Nations in New York.
If you would be willing to read a testimony, then please complete the application form. Examples of testimonies can be downloaded online, or can be viewed in a remarkable series of films. Further information will be forwarded to you by reply.
You can learn more about the Reading of the Testimonies website. Below is just one example of a testimony, read by Joanna Lumley at SURF’s 10th Anniversary event in 2007.