#remember8372

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Writing letters to Nedzad p5

Creating a memorial p22

A message from Lord Bourne p13

#remember8372 A newspaper to raise awareness of the genocide in Srebrenica. Written by young people.

Photos: RFE/RL ‘Faces of Srebrenica’

Welcome to our newspaper. We hope that it will help raise awareness of the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica when 8372 Bosnian Muslims were murdered because of their identity.

A group of ‘Young Leaders’ from Northern Ireland visit Srebrenica p19

It was the worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War. Inside you’ll read pieces written by students from different schools, interviews with survivors and reflections from others. What links all these people is the desire for

Please help us to remember one of the 8372 murdered in 1995 p11

Summer 2020

Pupils from Hampton School hold pictures of five of those murdered in Srebrenica

those who perished to be remembered and for ’never again’ to mean something this time. Thank you for reading—we hope that you will share the newspaper with people you know.

We interview our Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina p9


2 Alma’s story and traumatic journey to the free territory away from the Serb army. The bus they travelled on was stopped frequently by murderous Serb soldiers and they were repeatedly harassed, abused and witnessed executions. Their possessions er, if one is to begin to comprehend the were stolen, and they narrowly escaped horror of such an event, it is necessary to abduction on multiple occasions all the engage with the experiences of those while facing brutal psychological abuse impacted on an individual level. Thereand inhumane treatment. Further, havfore, we may understand that each vicing grown up in Srebrenica, Alma was tim is a person not merely a number. being deported away from her home and One person whose life was impacted forced to live elsewhere – a traumatic immeasurably by the events is Alma event in itself let alone when pursued Mustafic. and harassed by an army of genocidal soldiers. After being subjected to the horrors of the Bosnian War from 1992-95, Alma Alma was then forced to start a new and her family sought refuge at the UN life, in the Netherlands, where she knew HQ in Potocari where her father nobody and where there was no awareworked. While they felt fortunate and ness of the atrocities of Srebrenica or secure, they also feared for the unprothe Bosnian War. Facing financial hardtected mass of around 20,000 fellow ship and genocide denial, Alma had to Bosniak refugees who were outside the learn a new language and way of life. The base and therefore defenceless to the impact of the genocide were by no advancing Serb army. Despite their immeans escaped when she left Bosnia and pression of security, the Dutchbat solthe loss of large swathes of her family diers who were there on behalf of the still impact Alma today. Her own children UN suddenly told all those taking shelter are now deprived of a grandfather and in the base that they had to leave imme- Alma says she has ‘lost count’ of how diately. Aghast and terrified, Alma and many family members they have buried. her family knew that as they were esSince her arrival in the Netherlands corted to the exit, they would be at the Alma’s story has been one of success and mercy of the Serb army who had openly hope. However, the devastating experiadvocated and subsequently carried out ences did not end in July 1995. Even the murder of the Bosniak population. though nothing would make up for the Alma and her family knew of the inhuloss of her father Alma and her family mane atrocities carried out by Serb Genwanted to force the Dutch state to admit eral Mladic’s army and so, with every that mistakes had been made. Alma step she took closer to the exit, was states ’He was killed by the Serbs. The aware of their impending plight. It was Serbs are the real perpetrators...but the immediately outside the UN compound Dutch state made certain decisions that that Alma’s father was pulled aside by a have led to my father getting into Serb Serb soldier. Unable to say goodbye to hands.’ her father, she was forced to flee with The pain for Alma, and many fellow surthe rest of her family. Alma was not to vivors, continues to this day. She makes see her father again. it clear that as much as the genocidal Although she had escaped that immedi- plans were made by ultra-nationalist ate danger, Alma now faced a perilous (continued on page 3)

As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, it is easy to concern ourselves with dates, numbers and impersonal statistics. Howev-

EDITORIAL Thank you for reading our newspaper. Figures show that relatively few young people know much about the genocide in Srebrenica. By putting together this newspaper we hope to raise awareness. We’d like to thank everyone who helped in the creation of the newspaper. Thank you to the students from all the other schools who have given up their time whilst in lockdown to write a piece. Thank you too to all those individuals who have been so kind as to allow us to tell their stories, report their words and learn from their thoughts. We have learned so much from you all. Our final thought: The theme of the commemoration this year is ‘Every Action Matters’. Writing this newspaper is our action—in the hope that it will make a difference. We thank you for taking action in reading...and ask that you share #remember8372 as widely as you can. The Genocide80Twenty team The reporting team: Maxi, Louis, Ben S, Ben G, Paul, Ben MJ, Nayaaz, Will, Chris ...and Fergus and Chris who left our School last year but came back to write for us!


3 Alma’s story

‘My children at their grandfather's grave. This photo rePhoto: Alma Mustafic

(continued from page 2) Serbs years before the murders at Srebrenica so the denial of the genocide continues to this day. Alma comments ‘A genocide doesn't happen in a day. Just like the Holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers, so

flects the consequences we are still experiencing. We have to miss him every single day.’ Alma Mustafic

the genocide in Srebrenica didn’t just happen on 11 July 1995.’ The process that led to genocide took years...and ever since there has been denial. Alma concludes ‘We don't commemorate 25 years of genocide, we commemorate a genocide that still lasts. That is what still

hurts the victims the most.’ This lasting pain, combined with the sickening prevalence of genocide denial remaining today is proof that we must do all in our collective power to combat these most heinous of crimes. Only by combatting indifference and ignorance can we do this.


4 Timeline of Genocide The genocide in Srebrenica did not happen without warning. In the years leading up to July 1995 the world was able to see the signs that something terrible would happen. The simplified timeline below picks out the main points on the road to genocide. April 1992 – The US and EU formally recognised Bosnia, triggering attacks from Bosnian Serbs, supported by the Serb government under Slobodan Milosevic 16 May 1992 — The deputies of the Assembly of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted six Strategic Objectives of the Serbian people. These included the creation of a Serb state with no Muslims or others within it.

March 1993 – Thousands of Bosnians are evacuated from Srebrenica; it is now under siege and the remaining civilians begin to starve (aid was blocked by the Serbs)

8 March 1995 — Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadžić signs Directive No. 7, ordering his troops to 'create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica and Žepa.’

11 July 1995 – Srebrenica falls after NATO strikes on Serb positions are cancelled. 15,000 men gather in an attempt to escape the Serbs by marching in a column through the hills to safety at Tuzla. General Mladic, Serb commander, marches into Srebrenica vowing ‘revenge against the Turks’ 13 July 1995 – Serb forces launch attacks on fleeing men in the Column. Massacres of captured men begin en masse, 1,000 Bosnian men die on this day.

The cover up and denial of the genocide begins...

3 March 1992 – The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina declares independence from the crumbling Yugoslav state following an independence referendum

June 1992 – Serbian forces destroy 296 Muslim villages surrounding Srebrenica, resulting in hundreds of deaths

April 1993 – The UN designates Srebrenica a safe area, conflict in there is forbidden, and UN troops are sent there to protect it

January 1995 – The situation in Srebrenica begins to deteriorate as supplies run low. Only 400 poorly armed Dutch troops protect it

12 July 1995 – 20,000 Bosnian refugees from the town begin to gather in a disused factory, Potocari, guarded by the Dutch. Later Serbian forces begin to randomly select male refugees and murder them, while woman and children are transported away in buses to Bosniak territory.

14—16 July 1995 – Thousands of captured men and boys are taken to gravel pits, fields and other locations and executed


5 Letters to Nedzad Nedzad Avdic survived the genocide in 1995 and still lives in Srebrenica. He continues to fight for justice and against genocide denial. Pupils from Hampton School were privileged to meet Nedzad when he visited London in 2017 and have stayed in touch with him ever since. As the 25th anniversary approaches the pupils are writing letters to Nedzad to share what they have learned from his story and to stand with him in his fight against denial. Every letter is an action taken to remember, educate and advocate for justice. Every action matters. Please read Maxi’s letter to Nedzad below. Dear Nedzad, I am writing to you because I have recently found out about your story, in particular how you survived the genocide at Srebrenica. The contrast between the worst and best of humanity is strikingly shown by the soldiers’ ability to slaughter thousands of innocent men in cold blood and your ability to overcome unimaginable mental and physical pain to survive. The fact you moved back to Srebrenica years later is testament to your immense courage and only emphasises the contrast, especially when viewed in comparison with the refusal of Mladen Grujicic to even admit the genocide happened. The genocide in Srebrenica is an embarrassing example of the violence supposedly civilised countries still allow to happen. The fact it occurred in Europe, supposedly a haven of modern diplomacy and peace, is shocking and should serve as a reminder that even now in modern times atrocities can occur, despite the lessons the world should have learnt from the Holocaust. The inability of the UN Protection Force to protect the refugees of Srebrenica undermines the integrity of both the UN and European countries as a whole, who did not do nearly enough to save the lives of the vulnerable refugees, shockingly presumably because of financial or diplomatic reasons. Sadly, what the world can learn and what the world has learnt from the Srebrenica genocide do not seem to be identical at all. Events in Myanmar, Syria and China suggest governments and armies are still persecuting innocent people for no other reason than their ethnicity, while the paralysis of the international community in responding is a damning indication of the weakness of international laws and human rights in the face of selfish, national motivations. Nonetheless, your

survival and return to Srebrenica should serve as a reminder to everyone of the resilience and durability of people and the inability of criminality or evil to ever truly evade punishment or completely destroy morality or goodness. Yours sincerely, Maxi, Hampton School


6 Voices from Srebrenica Ahmed, his mother and sister stand together. Their shoes and clothes are all that they own. This was the moment when the family had been deported from Srebrenica on an UN lorry. Ahmed was seven years old at the time. That was in 1993. His father, Rifet, had stayed in Srebrenica with other relatives— Ahmed’s mother still has the hundred letters that his father wrote to them in the two years that they were separated. In 1995 Ahmed lost his father, Rifet,

along with both his grandfathers, uncles and many cousins—all murdered in the genocide in Srebrenica. Today, Ahmed is back in Srebrenica. He is an Imam at the Čaršija mosque in Srebrenica. Ahmed says that, now, “I have family, job, hobbies, friends, clean nature, healthy food. I teach kids and teenagers.” He also adds that being “close to my village and my father” makes him content. Photo: Ahmed Hrustanović

ple to move back to her old home, in defiance of the perpetrators and to show “they had not succeeded”. She Hatidža Mehmedović was a remarkable where many refugees of the Bosnian war founded the activist group called Mothwoman, and a Bosnian Muslim who sur- were gathering. This caused Morillon to ers of Srebrenica later that year and bevived the Bosnian genocide in 1995 and vow to “never abandon” Srebrenica, and gan campaigning that the killers be went on to campaign for the perpetralater that year Srebrenica was declared a brought to justice. tors of the atrocity to be brought to jus- UN “safe area”. Hatidža and Mothers of Srebrenica filed tice. The genocide took lawsuits in 2007 against the UN and the place two years later, Dutch government for negligence toin 1995, in the very wards the “safe area”, and for allowing town that the UN had the genocide to take place. While the UN designated as a “safe was ruled immune to prosecution, the area”. On the 11 July Dutch government was found liable for Bosnian Serb troops 300 of the over 8,000 deaths. attacked the town, led Hatidža also campaigned for a memorial by General Ratko site to remember the genocide, and it Mladić. Hatidža was was there that she buried her family, separated from her after 15 years of searching for their rehusband and two sons mains, although all she could find of her when they fled the eldest son, Azmir, was two small leg town, but she asbones. sumed she would see them again soon after- In 2018, Hatidža, struggling with cancer, travelled to witness General Mladić senwards. tenced to life imprisonment on charges She later found out of genocide, crimes against humanity Photo: Remembering Srebrenica that all three of them and war crimes. were dead, along with Sadly, she died of cancer not long after, her two brothers. The remains of the on the 22nd July 2018, aged 65. Despite Before the genocide, in 1993, Hatidža over 8,000 victims of the massacre were having witnessed first-hand one the tried to protect her people by leading scattered between several of the 100 worst atrocities in living memory, she many women and children in a protest mass graves, in order to stop relatives spent her life in pursuit of justice, and to stop UN aid forces accompanied by telling people the truth of what hapfrom finding their loved ones. UN Commander General Philippe Morilpened. In 2002, Hatidža was one of the first peolon from leaving Srebrenica, a town

Gone but not forgotten: Hatidža Mehmedović


7 Remembering through art We interviewed Robert McNeil, MBE, who was part of a forensics team identifying bodies of victims killed in the Bosnian genocide in 1995. In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnians were slaughtered in a genocide

used to prosecute the per- time. After his retirepetrators and hold them ment, Robert suffered to account. from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and expeThe work was difficult for rienced horrifying nightmany reasons. Firstly, Robmares related to what he ert and his team were had witnessed. often violently targeted by groups of Serbs who tried On the advice of his wife, to prevent them carrying Robert started painting scenes from his nightmares, and found that this helped him cope with the trauma. His nightmares stopped, and today some of Robert’s depictions of the genocide can be seen in museŠejla’s ’Bosnian Girl’ artwork (our edit of text). ums. Since 2014, Robert has worked with Remembering Srebrenica, travelling to schools and prisons to teach people about his work, the conflict, and the use of art as a therapy. Robert’s final reflections on his experiences were particularly moving:

The words were graffiti by an unknown Dutch UN soldier in their Potocari base.

Artist Šejla Kamerić’s ‘Bosnian Girl’ artwork shone a light on an often unspoken and uncomfortable aspect of the genocide in Srebrenica. Šejla’s piece depicts a in the town of Srebrenica. out their task. Also, in black and white photograph of herself This was one part of a wid- some cases the perpetraoverlaid with the words ‘No teeth…? A er ethnic cleansing camtors had ripped bodies mustache…? Smel like sh*t…? Bosnian paign against the group. apart using diggers, and girl!’ What might shock even more is the scattered the remains in Robert McNeil, who had a fact that these words were written in many different graves. The “The lesson that I learned background in forensic their Potocari base by Dutch UN soldiers over many years is that Bosnian Serb army practice and pathology, whilst some humans are who were supposed to be protecting Bosthought that this would capable of committing first travelled to Bosnia in nian women. make identification impos- the worst of crimes 1996, volunteering for a sible, but they were against humanity, others When a reporter first showed the graffiti charity called Physicians are capable of practising to Šejla she knew that she had to make wrong. To date over six for Human Rights. His such incredible compas- the world aware of them. In creating the thousand victim’s bodies team of international volsion, understanding and piece of art Šejla was shining a light on have been identified and selflessness. In my life, I unteers from a variety of the role of the UN and how it sent young given dignified burials . have encountered both, fields worked to exhume and I would recommend men, with their own prejudices to do a bodies from mass graves The heartbreaking and to young people; choose job that they were hopelessly illleft behind by the Bosnian gruesome scenes Robert the latter.” equipped to do. Šejla comments “When I Serb perpetrators, identify witnessed in Bosnia saw the graffiti and it applied to me dithem, clean up the bodies, (especially in the Luka, rectly as a Bosnian girl who survived the and return them to griev- Omarksa and Trnopolje war I knew that I had to take it and carry ing families. They also col- concentration and internit as a message.’ That the Mothers of lected forensic evidence ment camps), as well as Srebrenica took the poster as they profor the International Crimi- during later deployments tested at The Hague says everything for nal Tribunal for the former in Croatia and Kosovo the power, meaning and impact of Šejla’s Yugoslavia, which was stayed with him for a long work and message. Robert McNeil MBE in his studio with some of his art behind him.


8 The attempt to destroy an existence During the genocide in Bosnia, there was systematic and premeditated ‘cleansing’ of territories inhabited by the perceived “other”, in this case but

of a multicultural and multi-ethnic Bosnia. The built environment takes on a new meaning here and becomes an ideal tool to distinguish between self and “other”. This reconfiguration of Bosnia in space and time allowed for a new fictional narrative and history to be created. A history and narrative that in 1993, led to the Bosnian Serb mayor of the once Muslim majority town of Zvornik to confidently exclaim that, “There were never any mosques in Zvornik”. Such deliberate destruction of the built environment is known as Urbicide, a term which traces its roots back to Latin; ‘urbs’ meaning city and ‘cide’ meaning killing.

mosque, which was built in 1519. It overlooked the central town square and bazaar, acting as the beating heart of the town. An important part of its identity and collective memory. In 1993, this whole area was complete razed to the ground. The mosque was dynamited and even its foundations were dug up and dumped at a secret location to ensure that if anyone ever did try to return, there was nothing to return to. Smajo says ‘Whether consciously or not, we all have a favourite building, bridge, public square or street. If you think about your home town and maybe the main landmark there, how different would your town be without it? Imagine you wake up tomorrow and it is no longer there. There is a gap in the skyline, how would that make you feel?’

Smajo lives in Newcastle now with its In August 1993, Smajo’s home famous Tyne Bridge. It is hard to imagine Photo: Smajo Beso town of Stolac was ethnically it not being there, it is such a big part of cleansed of its remaining Mus- the city. These buildings and structures The rebuilt mosque at Stolac. It had been deliberlim inhabitants, predominantly act as anchors or reference points in the ately destroyed in an attempt to wipe out Muslim women and children by this lives of everyone in Newcastle, in the existence in the town. point, including his mother, same way that people do. He continues ‘When we lose a loved one, the grief and not exclusively, the Bosnian Muslim pop- sister, brother and Smajo himself. A month earlier, Smajo’s father and most loss can make us feel lost and disorienulation. This was achieved through strattated. Buildings and places can have the egies of expulsion, imprisonment in con- of his male relatives, some as young as 14, were taken into concentration same effect. What happened in Stolac centration camps, torture, rape and camps. was not unique, the same practices and murder. strategies of erasure were repeated However, erasing the evidence of their However, a critical dimension of this throughout Bosnia.’ existence did not stop there because it ‘cleansing’ was the targeting and destruction of the built environment. We was not enough to just cleanse Stolac of The ‘Carsija’ mosque in Stolac was rebuilt in 2003 by Bosnian Muslim returnwere lucky enough to learn from Smajo its Muslim inhabitants, it was critical to ees. It was a long and incredibly difficult Beso about this. Not only is Smajo from erase all traces of their existence. The historic core of Stolac was completely process. There was still a lot of hostility Bosnia but is he is also an expert on destroyed, including monuments, from local Bosnian-Croats which made architecture and teaches at Newcastle mosques, museums, archives and dwell- work even more difficult. The people in University. ings. Stolac was often described as Bos- Stolac opted to rebuild the mosque to its Thousands of mosques, hundreds of nia’s ‘muzej na otvorenom’ (museum in pre-war state however, this has been Catholic and Orthodox churches were the open) due to its unique historic and problematic in some reconstruction castargeted for their obvious symbolic valcultural value with one of the greatest es as all records such as photographs ue, however, structures such as libraries, concentrations of built cultural heritage and drawings were destroyed as well. museum, bridges and other ordinary in the region. For people in Stolac it was important to dwellings were targeted because they rebuild in order to regain their place in represented and enabled the existence The town grew around the ‘Carsija’ the public sphere.


9 An interview with Ambassador Matt Field Ahead of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide in July, Genocide80Twenty spoke to Matt Field, who was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 2018, about his experiences with the genocide and its survivors.

survivors about the atrocities that took place, and he told us of how Britain had planned to commemorate the anniversary. “I had hoped to be in Srebrenica with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who would have laid a wreath and paid his respects, a powerful expression of how seriously the UK takes this year’s commemoration. I would have

lifetimes, has deniers. Matt told us about his experiences dealing with Mladen Grujičić. Mr. Grujičić, the current mayor of Srebrenica, is one of its most prominent deniers. “Unfortunately, there are a number of people who deny the events of July 1995, despite the detailed evidence, and verdicts of two international courts. When I meet such people, I am Each time that Genocide80Twenty convery clear that the UK stands by and respects those court decisions. I meet many elected representatives, and expect them to fulfil the promises made during their election, that they will properly represent the interests of all those in The synagogue in Herne, still smouldertheir area, not only ing after being set alight by Nazis in those who voted for 1938 Photo: Ralf Piorr them. Mayor Grujičić has that same responsibility, especially so given his position on the Srebrenica genocide.” UK Ambassador Matt Field pays his Finally, we asked respects in Srebrenica Photo: Matt Field Matt for his thoughts on educating young expected a senior UK Government repre- people in the UK about Srebrenica. He ducts a survey, we are surprised how sentative on 11 July in Srebrenica itself. I told us “I think it is important for young little gets through in the news about personally am in regular touch with Re- people all over the world to understand tragedies in foreign countries. Even Matt membering Srebrenica, and expected to the events of July 1995, including the Field, now Ambassador to BiH, while a be in London for the 6 July commemora- genocide. There are lessons for all of us teenager at the time, had little tion, and others across the UK that today about the consequences of hate, knowledge of the terrible tragedy that week.” Unfortunately, due to the curand the dangerous path that can begin was inflicted on Bosnian Muslims. “I am rent COVID-19 pandemic, many of these with defining an ‘other’ in opposition to sorry to say I was largely unaware of ceremonies will not take place, but Matt ourselves. There are many other terrible everything that had been happening stressed the importance of finding new events from this period in the former here in Bosnia and Herzegovina throughways to pay our respects and remember. Yugoslavia, and losses on all sides, but out the war. It may have been on the recognising them does not require the news sometimes, but I didn’t make the Genocide denial is a serious problem, denial of someone else’s experience. I connection – so I particularly welcome despite all the evidence that these brutal am pleased to see such interest amongst the interest being shown by you and killings took place. Holocaust denial has young people in the UK, and I hope you other young people across the UK”. existed for decades and is on the rise. will find this a rewarding learning jourEven Srebrenica, which took place 25 ney.” Later, however, Matt did learn from the years ago, within the majority of adults’


10 Join us in remembering...

Photo: Louis Fell


11 ...those who perished at Srebrenica Two years ago the Genocide80Twenty group at Hampton School wrote the names of all 8372 victims of the genocide in Srebrenica on cards. We then laid them out in our sports hall. It shocked us to see how much space was filled up by the cards and how long it took to lay them all out. Most importantly, as we laid each card down we focussed on the name that was before us. Each one represented a human being with hope and fears for the future. The twenty five individuals named on the right were all our age when they were murdered.

Adil Memić

Halid Ejubović

Sadet Pitarević

Adil Porobić

Hedin Dautović

Samedin Smajlović

Azmir Pitarević

Kasim Begović

Sanel Omerović

Bahrudin Ademović

Mersadin Muminović Senad Musić

Džemal Begić

Mirsad Ahmić

Suad Klempić

Edin Hajdarević

Muamer Ademović

Sulejman Ramić

Elvis Osmanović

Munib Salkić

Zijad Ahmetović

Elvis Salkić This year we invite you to write a name on a card yourself and share it with us to remember that individual who Fahrudin Alibašić sadly perished.

Nermin Ordagić Sabahudin Hasanović

How you can join us in remembering: 1) Print out, take a screen shot or photograph of the card below 2) Write in (or use a text box to type in) the name of one of the 8372 men and boys murdered in July 1995. You may like to remember one of the young men above or you can consult the full list on the Remembering Srebrenica website. https://www.srebrenica.org.uk/what-happened/list-victims/ 3) Post the image on Twitter with the hashtags #remember8372 and #everyactioncounts or email the image to Mr Lawrence a.lawrence@hamptonschool.org.uk


12 Meeting Hasan Survivor Hasan Hasanović recently shared his experiences with the students of Braes High School in Falkirk. Arianne and Sophie, Rights Respecting Schools Senior Ambassadors from Braes High School, report. Growing up in a country where the greatest conflict we’ve faced is between sports teams, uncertainty as to what to expect engulfed our school hall as we assembled the chairs in anticipation of the testimony we were due to witness. Just before the pupils flooded into the space, we were greeted by a man dressed in a blazer and a smile, and voices whispered, “Is that him?” As we made our introductions, you would never have imagined the pain endured by this man who looked just like us. Hasan Hasanović is a survivor of the Bosnian genocide. He struggled through unimaginable hardships at the hands of other human beings, and in February 2020, he travelled to Braes High School to share his experience so this may never happen again.

mented the callous and ruthless nature How could someone who suffered such of genocide into our minds and empha- injustice at a young age ever come to sised the extent of damage of which forgive? He says he had to. He revealed mankind is capable. One day Hasanović, that in order to find closure, he visited his friends, and many others gathered to the site of the genocide in 2009 which watch a game of football for entertainnow stands a Memorial Centre, and he’s ment: until the explosion. 74 killed. 100 never looked back. Now forty-four, he wounded. Hasanović fainted and upon works as a curator and sharing his story awakening was surrounded by the bod- to people across the world is his tribute ies of people of whom he had just been enjoying watching football Hasan speaking at Braes High School with. People, who were no threat to anyone, had their lives stolen from them that day at the hands of other humans.

Although the UN has said that Srebrenica was a ‘safe haven’ it was attacked in July 1995. The town was taken over by the Bosnian Serb army and people had to escape in hopes of keeping their lives. Hasan was one of thousands who formed ‘the Column’. He spoke of his exhaustion: not only as a result of the six days and six nights he travelled 100km in order His testimony was difficult to listen to, to escape violence inflicted by the and yet every person in the room hung Serbs, but just as much, the menonto Hasan’s every word from the mo- tal collapse he faced as a witness ment he emerged onto the stage; step- of the massacre of his companions ping forward towards the mic, we rewho fell beside him at his feet, and Photo: Braes High School member thinking how brave he was as whose bodies he had to jump in he shared with us his relationship with order to come out the other end of the to his family and his people, and his his twin brother, someone he never saw genocide still breathing. And he did. He promise to be part of ensuring no-one again. It was the kind of introduction was reunited with his mother, younger should ever have to experience what he that, without dramatic music or a visual brother, grandmother and grandfather, did. As he stood at the front of the hall, presentation, every listener realised the but found after months of searching; his we could hardly imagine, we didn’t want harrowing seriousness of an event which father, uncle and twin brother were lost to imagine, all that he had gone through even in Holocaust Memorial Week, had to the bloodshed. and yet he still found the courage to felt so far away, but was now stood in share his experience to remind people our hall, on our stage, and he was speak- Hasan made clear to us the terror he all humans are equal and deserve to be ing, breathing and living. felt, “I was just imagining what they treated as such and in his words, “the would do to me before they’d kill me.” crime of genocide is the crime against And it is a miracle that he is alive. AltHasan explained that the genocide was- humanity.” That’s why Hasanović, dehough his survival could be put down to n’t about getting rid of the Bosniaks, but spite the pain he’s experienced, accepts sheer luck, his fight for his life was any- punishing them, not for some evil act his chance to continue life as an opporthing but fortunate. The recorded time they did, but for existing. Even when the tunity to educate. for the Srebrenica genocide is from the genocide was over, the hatred was still 11th to 22nd July 1995 and though this is very much present, for as Hasanović was His bravery earned an applause which, true, the suffering of Bosnian Muslims walking to his father’s burial, local Serbs echoing around a hall of teenage stuextends beyond this period. Aged 19 shouted obscenities and spat at him. dents, confirmed that his courage to tell Hasanović and his family were forced to Hasanović highlights the cruel nature of a story and his determination to inform leave behind their hometown to walk to this injustice as he stated, “some of others would be the thing that opened Srebrenica. They stayed from April 1992 them were war criminals who might the next generation’s eyes and inspired a to April 1993 and while there, shelling have killed my family,” and yet they change on the horizon. “Learning from and shootings becoming a daily occurwere still free to discriminate against the the books is one thing; learning from rence. Schools, shops and factories were innocent. Many felt no remorse and still reality, from someone’s own experience all closed; and it was not long before continued to live with prejudiced beliefs; is totally different. It’s a lesson for counsevere starvation was rife. Amongst all no decency to allow a respectful burial. tries everywhere.” – Hasan Hasanović this suffering, there was a story that ce-


13 A message from Lord Bourne During the 20th century the world suffered dreadful Genocides and this continued into the 21st century.

Photo: Lord Bourne / Twitter

On our own continent tragically we experienced Genocide in Bosnia a country where previously different ethnic groups and religions had lived together in peace and harmony. We were told that this was not the sort of country where something like Genocide was considered as a possibility. We should guard against such atrocities happening ever again - we must not let this ever happen again and we must beware of the mantra that it could never happen here.

I have had the great privilege of visiting Bosnia and Srebrenica with Remembering Srebrenica. It was the most profoundly moving event of my political life. I encountered some people of massive courage, humility and dignity. A doctor who had freshly qualified and who in Srebrenica dedicated himself to helping the wounded and the dying, a team piecing together human bones, scattered and dispersed as they were helping to identify the dead to help survivors have some closure , a brother who lost his twin brother on the march to freedom from the killing and the wonderful mothers of Srebrenica who refuse to be embittered or cowed by what happened . Who could not be moved by this and carry these lasting impressions with them? We are fortunate that in the United Kingdom we have the excellent institution, ‘ Remembering Srebrenica’, under the inspirational leadership of Dr Waqar Azmi. Remembering Srebrenica organises commemoration events and other activities in the regions and nations of the United Kingdom as well as educational visits for students and other people in Bosnia itself.

To me and to many in Britain we have an obligation, a duty to learn and to make sure that future generations grasp the knowledge and pass the message to other countries and other peoples. It is a matter of great pride to me that the fiery light of justice and truth burns bright in the United Kingdom today. The Holocaust and Genocides that have happened in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia and what is happening in Myanmar now shame all of humankind and it is incumbent on all of us to highlight these injustices and act to prevent such atrocities happening ever again. Hampton School has provided a superb example of what schools can do by discussion and participation and project work. Thank you to them and to their dedicated teacher, Andy Lawrence.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth is President of Remembering Srebrenica

Survey reveals that more genocide education is needed A recent survey of young people and teachers undertaken by Gencide80Twenty shows that more education on the Bosnian Genocide is needed. Most young people have heard of the word ‘genocide’ with ninety-two out of the one hundred respondents reporting some familiarity with it. Nevertheless,

98%

Not a single person mentioned the very few could precisely define what the word ‘Srebrenica’ in their responses. concept actually means with any accuraIn our recent survey of 35 teachers just cy and none were able to tell us who under 25% report teaching about atrocihad originally coined the term. ties in Bosnia. The majority who don’t Whilst one hundred percent of students teach about the genocide told us that a told us that they had heard of the Holo- lack of time is the biggest obstacle that caust only two of the respondents said prevents them from addressing the topthat they knew about the genocide in ic in their classrooms. Bosnia.

Only 2% of young people have heard of the Bosnian genocide

No 77%

Yes 23% 2%

Do you teach about the genocide in Bosnia?


14 Why is it important for young people... We asked people from across communities to tell us why they think it is important to remember the Srebrenica genocide. Here is what they told us: In light of rising far-right politics in Europe and beyond, it’s important for the electorate of tomorrow to understand the consequences of such ideologies so they learn and understand the lessons of the past and make better decisions for tomorrow. Dania Hanif

Our young people can learn valuable lessons from Srebrenica, particularly that we must always be vigilant against hatred and intolerance in our communities. By learning lessons from what happened in Srebrenica we learn how to challenge hatred and violence today. Today’s young people have a key part in promoting the lessons of the past and celebrating diversity and differences. Johann Lamont MSP

I’m not going to say, “So we will never let it happen again” As we will, As they did in Srebrenica. I’m not going to say, “For the lessons learnt, may it never repeat”? We’ve been telling kids that lie, Since, World War One. I’m not going to say “It’s something we need know that bad people do” As we are all capable if you believe that or not, Every-one of us you and me. What I will say to you today, Is that each and every one of those 8000 + souls Deserves a place in the heart and mind Of every thinking person of conscience For we are all capable of behaving in ways You cannot consider or understand When war takes on life of it’s own The kindest heart can turn to stone There is always going to be a choice to make Will you comply with crime against Humanity? Will you lay down your own life? Will you choose the right side of history?

Simple

Jimmi James UN peacekeepers failed the people of Srebrenica. It is important that the youth learn about these painful mistakes in order to understand how UN peace operations could be better at preventing atrocities today and in the future. Ryan D’Souza

After the Holocaust, the world vowed ‘Never Again’, yet the sad reality is that genocide has taken place yet again in different continents across different decades, including Srebrenica, where just 25 years ago, over 8,000 victims were killed in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. Srebrenica reminds us that genocide is not a thing of the past, but of the present. It shows us that no society is invulnerable to the forces of evil, hatred and prejudice that can fuel people to commit such awful atrocities. It reminds us of our duty to ensure that the genocide committed at Srebrenica is never forgotten, and an important part of that process is for young people to learn about what happened. The lessons of Srebrenica enable us to look forward with greater resolve and determination. It provides us with a powerful call to action to do our utmost to learn from the genocide and reaffirm our commitment to do everything that we can in our power to prevent one of the darkest and most tragic chapters in human history from being repeated ever again. Amil Khan

I visited Srebrenica several years ago. I met families who lost loved ones in the genocide. Their lives will never be the same. I saw a country that still has ongoing discrimination against Muslims. That’s unjust. There have been too many genocides in the past 100 years. Young people need to learn about them to understand why they must be vigilant to prevent them ever happening again Kate Green MP


15 ...to learn about Srebrenica It’s important for younger generations to know what happened so they can carry on the education of it. This year marked the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust, many survivors are dying of old age so it’s up to us to continue telling their stories. It is the same thing with Srebrenica and the Bosnian Genocide, we have to ensure the history and the truth is known so that when survivors like me are gone people are still being educated on it. Most importantly because in order for genocide to happen, there are various stages prior to it and amongst the earliest ones is dehumanisation of a people. These days we see a rise in racism, ethnonationalism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and other forms of hatred and with Srebrenica we know exactly where that leads. So, in order to prevent this we must first learn about it and recognize to the full extent what hatred can lead to. Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura

I never learned about it when I was younger and I think it’s important to learn about it because it’s still quite recent ." I think it is important for young people all over the world to understand the events of July 1995, including the genocide. There are lessons for all of us today about the consequences of hate, and the dangerous path that can begin with defining an ‘other’ in opposition to ourselves. There are many other terrible events from this period in the former Yugoslavia, and losses on all sides, but recognising them does not require the denial of someone else’s experience. I am pleased to see such interest amongst young people in the UK, and I hope you will find this a reward-

In order to realise that it is not a problem from the distant past. Atrocities such as this can and have happened within a lot of our life times. This is not a problem of our past, and if we do not learn from horrific events such as this they may become a problem of our future. It's hugely important that we educate young people about genocide. So many genocides took place before they were born and that can make it difficult to appreciate and understand the scale of what happened. But here's the thing, genocide isn't something that only happened in the past. We continue to see people persecuted for their race, religion and other characteristics. By educating young people we equip them to call these things out, and work towards a more peaceful society. Young people are hugely powerful and have so much to offer, and we should be ensuring that we help them to do so.

Lucy Adams

ing learning journey. Matt Field

People need to know that this isn't just a problem from the past and that it still happens. If people aren't educated about it, history will repeat itself. Equality is such a big thing now but certain communities are still being targeted .

I think learning about Srebrenica is really needed for young people. Most will be taught about the Holocaust so it's easy to think that after WWII ended events like that stopped happening. I think young people need to know that events like that still occur even now to stop the same thing from happening again. To show how quickly and easily hate crime can turn into violence and genocide given the right conditions. It can happen to anyone , anywhere Andy Flynn

It’s so important to remember the Srebrenica Genocide. We should seek to remember the lives of thousands of men, women, boys and girls, who they were and what humanity has lost as a consequence. Many survivors from the genocide will have to live with the most painful memories and loss forever. It’s unbelievable this happened in our parents' lifetimes. By learning and remembering, we commit as future generations to not repeat the past. We should never be bystanders and we should never let hate, division and prejudice win. Nicola Richards MP


16 Remembering atrocities in Višegrad...

Photo: Eric Murangwa Eugene

Chris and Fergus spoke at the Remembering Srebrenica event in The Guildhall in 2018

It is important to remember that the genocide at Srebrenica was not the only atrocity perpetrated in Bosnia between 1992-95. On the next two pages we remember those crimes against humanity that took place in Višegrad, Prijedor, Foča and Zvornik. When you search for ‘Visegrad’ on Google, the first results returned refer to ‘Visegrád: a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary’. A region known historically to be of some diplomatic importance, the town’s name has been adopted by the ‘Visegrád Four, a cultural and political alliance of four central European Countries.’ When the search is refined to look for ‘Višegrad’, or the more likely ‘Visegrad Bosnia’, the first results returned are different. They refer to the ‘Višegrad Massacres’: ‘acts of mass murder committed against the Bosniak civilian population of the town of Višegrad during the ethnic cleansing of eastern Bosnia by Serb police and military forces during the spring and summer of 1992.’ I intend no disrespect to the ‘V4’ or the picturesque Hungarian town. Nonetheless, it is unfortunate that they have been deemed more relevant and click-

worthy than Višegrad, Bosnia - the site of thousands of murders, countless instances of rape, and immeasurable suffering brought about as part of a wider genocide perpetrated just 28 short years ago.

that are even particularly easy to find in a search engine. Why not?

If ‘Never Again’ is truly to become a reality, then we have to educate about past genocides. We, young and old, have to be more informed so that we can recogMy brother turned 30 on May 26th; inci- nize the warning signs. We have to know dentally, on the same day that Ratko that the worst crimes committed on Mladic, war criminal, was finally arrested European soil since the Second World in 2011. This was 19 long years after War began only 28 years ago. We have Mladic’s forces carried out an unthinka- to reaffirm that they did indeed occur, in bly violent campaign of terror in the face of their denial. Višegrad and the surrounding area. We also have to understand that the Families were burned alive in their effects of hateful acts and ideologies are homes. Serb soldiers drank and watched still very much being felt today. Brenton on. Some of the victims’ bodies were Tarrant, who murdered 51 people in dumped in the Drina river. Many are yet mosques in New Zealand in March 2019, to even be found. Some of the perpetra- played a hateful anti-Muslim Serbian tors are yet to face justice. song from 1995 as he livestreamed his attack. Difficult as they are to hear The Višegrad massacres were perpetratabout, we, especially young people, ed three years before the avoidable genhave to be aware of these past and preocide of Srebrenica. Three years is too sent crimes. Awareness is the first and long to be shocked by what was to most fundamental step towards the precome. Too long to have not noticed the vention of genocide. If we are not signs of racism, misogyny and hate. Too aware, then we have no chance of prelong for the international community to venting such tragedy occurring again in be absolved of any responsibility. the future. These were not topics covered in school. These are not topics often covered in the media. These are not topics


17 ...Prijedor, Foča and Zvornik Prijedor is infamous for the events that took place there in the early 1990s. On April 30th 1992, Bosnian Serbs took control of the area and began their campaign to remove all non-Serbs. This was euphemistically called ‘ethnic cleansing’ but was actually a brutal, murderous campaign of violence. The world would soon see things that it thought it never would again: concentration camps.

Trnopolje camps it is estimated that nocent Bosnian Muslims. Women were 3,176 civilians were murdered, of which kept in detention centres where they 102 were children and 258 were women. would be raped by perpetrators. The existence of these camps revealed when British journalists from ITN and The Guardian produced a news report which would be shown around the world. Omarska now opens once a year on the anniversary of the camp's closure on 6th August 1992, as a memorial to those who died there and in Prijedor.

To further their work the Bosnian Serb authorities ordered all non-Serbs in Prijedor to wear white armbands or to hang The Bosnian Muslims people of the town white sheets out their windows. This of Foča would also suffer terribly at the would make it clear to the Serbs who hands of Serb military, police and parawere to be targeted. militaries. st Now the 31 May is known as White From April 1992 non-Serb civilians were Ribbon Day, with many in Prijedor and around Bosnia commemorating the lives attacked and rounded up. Men and women were separated, beaten and lost during this massacre. often killed. Their houses were looted Thousands of people from Prijedor and and burnt. the surrounding area were sent to the The use of sexual violence was also a camps set up by the Bosnian Serbs. In part of the campaign waged against inthe infamous Omarska, Keraterm and

On 8TH April 1992, Serb forces launched an armed attack on the region of Zvornik.

ed over the course of 1992. Yet, the town’s new Serb mayor claimed that ‘there were never any Mosques in Zvornik’. This was one of the first denials of Over the three years that followed, 3936 the atrocities committed in Zvornik, but people were killed or went missing. The some still refuse to acknowledge these large majority of these were Bosnian crimes today. Muslims, who were the targets of the Immediately after the occupation, a campaign of systematic rape, murder and torture perpetrated by Serbian para- night curfew was imposed which remained in force until the Serb forces had military groups. These events occurred more than 3 years before the Srebrenica carried out the expulsion and exterminamassacre. Tragically, the world stood by tion of Zvornik’s Bosniak population. and watched in the intervening period as Throughout the occupation, Bosniaks were prevented from working and ternot enough was done to prevent the rorized on a daily basis by Serbian paraSerb forces from committing further crimes against humanity. The atrocities military troops. committed in Bosnia, including those in The International Criminal Tribunal for Zvornik, were subsequently judged to the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found that have been acts of genocide by the Inter- at least 491 people were killed in Zvornik national Court of Justice in 2007. in 1992. Buildings designed to educate Zvornik was a municipality with a Bosni- the town’s children were used as killing houses. That year, 85 people were killed ak-majority population. Prior to the at the Drinjača school. Bosniaks in Zvorattack on Zvornik town, the minoritySerb population had left. The town was nik were told to report to the district overwhelmed within a day and the Ser- centre in Klisa so they could be traded bian flag was hoisted on top of the main for Serbs in Bosniak-held areas. Instead, town mosque. Zvornik, which has a rich they were herded into a large room at Muslim heritage dating back to the 16th the technical school in Karakaj where Century, had all of its mosques dynamit- they were systematically tortured and

“Karaman’s House” was one of the most notorious rape centres, where it is claimed that women as young as fifteen would be sold and raped, between Serbian soldiers. Dragoljub Kunarac, who was Photo: Eric Murangwa Eugene born in Foča, was head of a Bosnian Serb military unit. He would later be convicted for rape of several Muslim women and of encouraging his soldiers to rape as well. The International Court Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted numerous other Serb officers and soldiers for crimes committed against civilians in Foča. Over 2,000 people are said to have gone missing from the town.

then executed. 20 people were confirmed to have been killed at the school. In addition, Bosniaks were forced into concentration camps where they were tortured, mutilated and murdered. Fedhija Hasanovic is one of a few known survivors of a death camp run by Serbs in a village called Karakaj in northeastern Bosnia near the town of Zvornik. He managed to crawl over the corpses of his neighbours who had just been shot by the Serbian guards. The Karakaj guards were Serbs from the same villages as the Bosniaks, Fedhija recalled that ‘the Bosniaks were chosen for execution by Serbs who knew them.’ His story can remind us of some powerful lessons. Firstly, it shows us that behind each death is an individual with a family. Additionally, it demonstrates that even neighbours can turn on each other and commit crimes against humanity if the forces of hatred are allowed to grow in our communities. However, it also shows us that the testimony of survivors should be mobilised as perhaps the most powerful weapon in the struggle to prevent genocide from ever occurring again.


18 How hate speech destroyed a community Safet Vukalic BEM is a survivor of something was changing. The divisive the Bosnian genocide, and an advo- language of ‘us’ and ‘them’ began to cate for educating young people on the horrors that were suffered there as a result of ethnic and religious hatred and persecution. Having grown up in a peaceful, contented household, he

friends living in Surrey were able to find him a college place, and helped him to learn English, occasionally sitting in on pervade the political landscape, with lessons to help translate and study. Even calls for calm being overridden by politithen he felt some discrimination, from cians looking to become a new Tito and classmates who quietly passed comtake power. He knew that Bosnia was ment, to companies refusing to grant him work experience because of his headed for dangerous times, having seen the wars in Serbia and Croatia after country of origin, though the support of his teachers and friends helped him Yugoslavia’s split, and realising through a period while the war continthat the more diverse and uni- ued. fied Bosnia would not be held Today Safet raises awareness about the in high regard by those genocide, and helps young people to wanting superiority for one understand why it’s so important that group over another. we remember it. While it is near impos-

Hate speech, such as calling Muslims ‘Turks’, began to strengthen, with politician Radovan Karadzic, later conPhotographs of a happy childhood. Safet with his victed of Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, friends. pledging to make Muslims disappear if Bosnia gained independence. The terrible events which unfolded as a result destroyed the peaceful way of life. Even today Safet does not know what happened to many of his school friends – if they died or if they Photographs: Safet Vukalic survived . watched as the political landscape and language of the country changed and the divisions that led to the breakup of Yugoslavia began impacting him and everyone around him. While not born into a rich family, Safet’s early life was relaxed and enjoyable; his parents worked hard to make sure they had a stable income and were well fed, and he and his 3 siblings were content. Despite living in a diverse neighbourhood, religion and race were never a factor when it came to picking football teams at school or working together on various projects. Despite this innocent and carefree playfulness, it was clear that by the late ‘80s,

Safet and his family came to Britain. He was incredibly fortunate that, while being told he was too old and unversed in English to be admitted for formal education by refugees’ organisations, family

sible for us to truly understand the feeling of seeing your family on TV being held in a concentration camp, or seeing perpetrators proudly talk about their crimes, it is still worth listening and remembering the survivors’ stories. By looking at the suffering caused by the wars, and noting the missed opportunities and failings of national and international organisations to intervene correctly, the leaders and voters of tomorrow will act better to defend the safety and rights of everyone across the globe, and ensuring that we act humanely to assist refugees and bring communities back together more effectively, not just because there is something in it for us. Safet was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours for his services to genocide education

Safet today, holding his childhood photograph. Photo Safet Vukalic, HMD


19 Visiting Srebrenica: My experience Eimhear McKee, currently studying a Masters in Human Rights Law at Queen’s University Belfast, reports on a powerful visit to Bosnia as part of a delegation of young leaders from Mid East Antrim in Northern Ireland. Before I joined the Remembering Srebrenica programme, I knew very little about the Bosnian genocide; this seemed to be the consensus amongst my fellow participants. Coming from Northern Ireland, it was easy to relate to a conflict caused by religious divides and draw connections between the Bosnian war and the Northern Ireland troubles. During our time in Bosnia we had the incredible opportunity of learning about the Bosnian conflict, genocide, and the peace process from a number of individuals; these included both genocide survivors and politicians.

The Remembering Srebrenica young leaders from Mid East Antrim meeting MP Lana Prlic. The visit was funded by the PEACE IV programme and Mid East Antrim Borough Council. Eimhear stands in the back row, third from left.

Upon arriving in Srebrenica, where the genocide took place, we visited the memorial museum where we saw some shocking footage of the genocide. The It was shocking to learn that the atroci- footage highlighted how genocide victies that occurred in Bosnia and Herze- tims had become completely dehumanised by the Bosnian Serbs, a stage which govina have not been fully acknowledged by everyone in the region, which is typical of genocides, and is evident in makes it very difficult for genocide survi- Stanton’s ‘Ten Stages of Genocide’ modvors to come to terms with these events, el. and gain closure on a personal level. Similarly, due to lack of acknowledgment After we had viewed this footage, we of the genocides, many school children met the Mothers of Srebrenica who lost are not educated on the atrocities that occurred between 1992-1995 in Bosnia. their husbands, sons and other male relatives during the genocide; this was This lack of discussion and education one of the most moving experiences of surrounding the Bosnian Genocide the trip. We met the mothers at the Sremakes reconciliation and peace work brenica Genocide Memorial. This experiextremely difficult, but not impossible. ence was particularly poignant as the On our way to Srebrenica we visited the mothers shared their stories and the International Commission of Missing work they continue to do, with the aim Persons, where we saw the remains of of not only achieving justice for their genocide victims who had not yet been families and the victims, but also to enidentified. We learned about the sciensure history does not repeat itself. It was tific techniques used to identify victims clear from meeting the Mothers that and unite families with their missing they are courageous and compassionate relatives. women, but what was most inspiring

was their continuous activism in the search for justice and acknowledgement of the genocide both nationally & internationally. One of the most powerful messages from the Remembering Srebrenica programme is that there is a clear necessity for ending discrimination and internalised hatred towards others internationally, by educating people on the past and sharing the stories of genocide survivors.

I believe that through education and holding ourselves accountable for learning from past atrocities, we can recognise the traits associated with hatred and discrimination and prevent these from flourishing.

I will always be thankful for the opportunity Remembering Srebrenica provided me; not only through learning from the past, but also the importance of taking action to prevent the occurrence of further crimes against humanity..


20 Visiting Srebrenica: My experience Inspector John Sacker is Merseyside Police’s lead for Community Engagement across Merseyside. As a part of this position he has a leadership role in Hate Crime and the force response to support victims and bring offenders to justice. John works with people in his community towards a common goal – communities being cohesive, working together for the common good. To love and respect each other; to drive out crime and anti-social behaviour and make our region and its people safe and strong.

In 2018 John was given the chance to visit Bosnia with Remembering Srebrenica. The trip was a true eye-opening experience, even for an experienced police officer. Inspector Sacker knew little about Sarajevo besides a recollection of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Upon arriving John was

struck by “the sunlight, the beauty of the land around us”. Yet what impacted most was the countless buildings along the corridor of travel that were peppered with bullet holes and damage from heavy shelling from bombs and mortars. These sights contrasted with the bustle of people and the evidence of a multicultural history — a Mosque, a Synagogue, a Catholic Church and an Orthodox Church.

More sobering was the visit to the `International Commission on Missing Persons`. Here John entered a large warehouse type building which was air conditioned – he saw approximately 800 bags which contained skeleton parts of the bodies relating to people who had been murdered during what were acts of Genocide. The remains of the bodies, still covered in soil, were wrapped in materials to preserve them for forensic examination.

Poignantly, given his job with Merseyside Police, were the thoughts that John took back with him to Britain. He comments “I learnt that the communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina are to this day fractured with a lack of cohesion – with no known strategy to bring them together. The buildings and surroundings are a constant reminder of the conflict and hatred that resulted in division, death and acts of Genocide – how can they ever move on. My colleague asked Resad, our guide on the trip, “How do you report Hate Crime here?” Resad laughed and replied “Do you think they will do anything about it when they deny the murder and genocide which took place” Finally, John issues a challenge to us all : “This year the `Remembering Srebrenica` 2020 theme is `Every Action Matters`. What are you going to do to make a difference?”

Curating artefacts to paint a picture of trauma...and hope Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura, Amra Muthe Dzezva that came to her from her jkanovic and their colleagues at Regreat great grandmother and survived membering Srebrenica are working on a two world wars and the genocide. project that aims to curate as many stories relating to the genocide and the war in Bosnia as well as its aftermath. The project actually initially started with the items that Amra’s family had held onto as they survived the genocide and settled in Scotland. Objects can be so deeply intimate and they all hold these particular stories that we often don’t think about. Arnesa comments “From being a survivor myself I know that many of us lost everything in that war and genocide so the few things that we were able to hang onto meant a lot. I think with that, we have an opportunity to tell these stories that aren’t necessarily well known.” To powerfully illustrate the point Arnesa references

Arnesa says “The story of that Dzezva is amazing and just means the world to me. When I finally decided to settle in London, my mother passed it on to me. It’s special particularly because so many generations of my family and loved ones drank coffee out of it, and it was the dzezva I first drank coffee out of as well.“ Furthermore, Arnesa sees the project as an opportunity “to paint a picture, not just of the trauma and aftermath of it but also of love and hope. These days, people need hope.“ The project that Arnesa, Amra and their colleagues at Remembering Srebrenica are working on called for submissions in May 2020.


21 A letter from Emily Thornberry MP We were privileged to receive a letter from Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP which details her personal connection with the genocide in Bosnia and her hope that the lessons from Srebrenica are never forgotten. Please read the powerful words that she wrote to us. Dear Students, Thank you for writing to me about your project regarding the genocide at Srebrenica.

needed to properly defend the six designated safe areas in Bosnia, including Srebrenica. But no-one listened, or if they listened, they did not act. In June 1993, after the Serbs bombed a football match in one of those so-called ‘safe areas’ in Sarajevo, killing eleven people, including four children, my father warned his bosses again, saying: “We are terribly thin on the ground”, and he made clear that governments around the world were simply not providing the numbers of troops required.

It is very good to hear that you are researching such an important moment in “In peacekeeping”, my father said, modern history, and I am very pleased to “without credibility -- you are dead.” contribute to your work. He left Bosnia a year later, deeply angry Whenever I speak to schoolchildren and frustrated about how poorlyabout the lessons of history, I always talk to them about their family, their school, defended the ‘safe areas’ were, and afraid of what would happen when the and their community: all the things they Serbs attacked those ‘safe areas’, not feel part of; all the things about which from a distance with shells and snipers, they use words like ‘we’, ‘our’, and ‘us’. but through an armed assault. Then I talk about the evil-minded leaders And as we know, despite all the pleadthroughout history, who have instigated ings of my father and his colleagues – conflict and plotted acts of genocide, by thriving on something else, which is clas- not to mention the Bosnian Muslim community themselves – there were just a sifying a certain group of people as ‘the few hundred Dutch soldiers in place in other’, identifying all of the things that Srebrenica on the day the butchers supposedly make that group of people came, who saw they were massively different from ‘us’, and ultimately teachoutnumbered, and turned away while ing ‘us’ to hate ‘them’. the genocide began. That is exactly what happened in Bosnia And when people say there should be 25 years ago, when neighbour was shame on those Dutch soldiers, I underturned against neighbour, and whole stand that feeling, but I also believe that communities – or even families – were the real shame lies with those governsplit into ‘them’ and ‘us’. ments and leaders around the world I remember the Srebrenica Genocide who thought a few hundred soldiers very well through the eyes of my father, were enough. Cedric Thornberry, who worked tirelessly on the UN Mission in the former Yugo- It lies with all those who heard the warnings from people like my father for slavia from early 1992 to early 1994 as years, who saw the forces encircling SreAssistant-Secretary-General of the UN. brenica for weeks, but who still -- after And if there is one thing I remember all that -- failed to act. vividly, whether from my own conversaIn 1948, the predecessors of those leadtions with him or seeing his name in the ers and their governments gathered at newspapers, it was the fact that my fathe UN in New York, in the wake of the ther – this great confident man, who I Holocaust, and signed the Convention on always thought could do anything – Genocide. seemed so powerless when it came to Bosnia. It was the very first Convention that the He was so fearful, so worried, and some- members of the United Nations had agreed on Humanitarian Issues. And in times so downright angry, as he asked the very first Article of that very first those in the chain above him and those UN Member States with decision-making Convention, they made a promise, saying: “We confirm that genocide, whether powers to listen to his warnings and his in peace or war, is a crime under internapleas. tional law which we undertake to preIn October 1992, he and his colleagues vent and to punish.” told their bosses in New York that a minAnd when we consider the incidents of imum force of 60,000 troops would be

genocide that took place before that Convention, and those which have taken place since, including Srebrenica, we can shake our heads and ask ourselves: ‘How could one group of people do this to another group of people?’ But from my point of view, for politicians all around the world, I believe the question that really matters is not: ‘How could they do it?’ but ‘Why did we let them?’ Why did we fail in the solemn commitment that all our countries made seven decades ago that any future genocide would be prevented? And how can we make sure that we never fail in that promise again, the next time hundreds, thousands or even millions of lives are at risk. I hope your project will contribute to that promise, by ensuring the lessons of Srebrenica are never forgotten. And I hope as well that you will contribute to that promise in your own daily lives, by refusing ever to see a fellow human being as ‘the other’, and rejecting anyone who tries to divide our communities into ‘them’ and ‘us’. Best wishes to all of you with your studies, and thank you again for getting in touch. Yours sincerely, Emily Thornberry


22 Creating a Srebrenica genocide memorial As Luke, a Year 9 student at Turing House School, learned more about the genocide in Srebrenica he realised that there was no memorial to the event in Britain. So, he decided to create his own memorial as an act of remembrance and education for others to see.

Luke’s design is, he hopes, simple but effective. It uses stones to form parts of the memorial...and these stones come together to form a Srebrenica flower. Each of the larger stones, that form the eleven petals of the flower represent a place where atrocities occurred in the genocide such as the killings at However, Luke decided that the process Orahovac and Petkovci. Together, the of creating his own small token of reeleven stone petals symbolise the 11th membrance should also be meaningful July when the killing in Srebrenica took in itself. It was important for Luke to place. In selecting these places Luke learn about the people who perished learned about what happened in each. and the events that took place as he put together his memorial. The inside of the memorial consists of

twenty five smaller stones that Luke painted green. Not only does each of these stones mark a year since the genocide but they also help us remember twenty five of those men and boys who were murdered in July 1995. Luke hopes that you think his memorial Photo: Eric Murangwa Eugene is impactful and a fitting way to pay our respects, learn about what happened and to vow to prevent such atrocities from occur again. Remembering Srebrenica’s 2020 theme is ‘Every Action Matters’. We think that Luke’s action is a lesson to us all!

Luke created his memorial during the Covid-19 lockdown