Friday, 11 July 2014

Remembering Srebrenica

Today is set aside to remember the genocide of the 8000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. I went to a special commemorative event at Lancaster House this week that our Government laid on to mark this day.  There is a wonderful charity established to ensure we never forget the atrocities that took place this day 19 years ago.

Not a comfortable event at all; with 3 of the mothers of those tortured and killed there and speaking of their experience and their loss. One mother told how she lost 44 male members of her family; from brothers, sons and husband to all her cousins and uncles.

The President of Bosnia also spoke about how we must never forget how such events can happen unless we are vigilant.
The President of Bosnia

Eric Pickles MP and Baroness Warsi gave good and indeed moving speeches. They both made the point that these were European citizens, living cheek by jowl with their Serbian neighbours; not dressing differently, going to the same schools, working together, but one day the neighbour became a torturer, the school teacher a jailer.

 Of course we believe we have a more tolerant attitude to our Muslim communities. But social cohesion can never be taken for granted. It requires work to foster that cohesion. Exactly what our third sector does; whether the great Muslim charities or the local community groups. A sobering occasion indeed. 

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