Roma Tearne, the award-winning writer and artist, is the newest member of our Council of Advisers.
Roma was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Britain when she was ten. Like most professional diaspora Sri Lankans, Roma is not active in ethnic or party politics but unlike most professional diaspora Sri Lankans, she has spoken about the crisis as it has been unfolding, giving a number of interviews, and writing articles in which she has highlighted the denial and embarrassment that she has experienced amongst her contacts, both Tamil and Sinhalese.
Her efforts align very well with the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice, as we too are working to promote constructive discussion about what is happening in Sri Lanka amongst constituencies that may not have been reached before. So, we were delighted when she accepted our invitation to join.
Roma is a prominent British Sri Lankan with both a mixed Sinhalese and Tamil background. She also belongs to a younger generation which can see events in Sri Lanka in the context of wider trends and who will need to pick up the consequences of decades of failure of political negotiation. Perhaps this is one reason why she has an unusually balanced view of the situation. Her support will be a tremendous asset for the Campaign. We welcome her to the Council of Advisers, and hope that more people of her age and her professional standing will feel motivated to stand up in public for what they too believe in the privacy of their homes. In many conflict situations, progress only happens when the middle ground chooses to make its voice heard.
As Roma herself has said when joining this Campaign: “It is many years since I have heard an organization describe so clearly what is desperately needed in Sri Lanka. As a Sri Lankan, anything I can do to support the process towards peace and unity is something I cannot ignore.”
For more information about Roma, please see her website here.
Her latest book, Brixton Beach (published by Harper Collins) deals in part with the history of the conflict in Sri Lanka.
And for more details about her views on the conflict and what needs to happen, read this.