BOSNIANS living in Scotland are being urged to step forward and play a full part in this year’s 20th anniversary commemorations of the Srebrenica genocide.
They are being asked: Gdje si ti? (where are you?)
Members of Remembering Srebrenica’s new Scotland Board are calling on Bosnians to contact them as they prepare to mark 20 years since the atrocity with a high-profile service in St Giles’ Cathedral on July 10 attended by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The Board is urging Bosnians across Scotland to contact them as soon as possible so that they can get involved with the commemorations – whether by attending the St Giles’ service, volunteering to help at the cathedral or even organising their own memorial events.
Established this year, the new board is chaired by former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland The Very Rev. Dr Lorna Hood. It includes a range of high-profile figures from Scottish life, including Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
Dr Hood said: “We’re calling on Bosnians now living in Scotland to get in touch and join us in marking the 20th anniversary of the worst atrocity to take place on European soil since the Second World War.
“We’d love them to join us in honouring the victims and survivors of the genocide, whilst inspiring people across Scotland to learn the lessons from Srebrenica. This will help us to tackle hatred and intolerance, build stronger, more cohesive communities and ensure Srebrenica is never forgotten.”
Board member David Hamilton drove relief lorries to Sarajevo during the siege of the city by Bosnian Serb forces, which lasted for some four years.
He said: “I am proud to be working with fellow Board members and our dedicated volunteers to mark the 20th anniversary of this terrible atrocity. What would make the commemorations even more special would be to involve as many Bosnian people in Scotland as we possibly can.
“We are calling on Scottish Bosnians to help us keep victims’ and survivors’ stories alive. There are many ways in which we can work together to achieve this – whether they join us at St Giles’ as guests, volunteer to help run planned events or even organise new memorial events.”
Remembering Srebrenica raises awareness of the genocide in the UK. It organises the UK Srebrenica Memorial Week, which leads up to the EU-wide day of remembrance for the victims of the genocide, Srebrenica Memorial Day, on July 11.
It also runs the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ educational visit programme to learn from the genocide and people’s lives. On return to the UK, delegates pledge to organise projects in their communities to strengthen community cohesion and create a better society.
Remembering Srebrenica Chairman Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said: “This year is the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica – a brutal reminder of man's inhumanity to man. It is more important than ever that we learn the lessons it offers us to strengthen our own society in these turbulent times.
“Our Scotland Board has only been in existence for a few months, but I am indebted to our volunteers for their hard work in achieving so much in such a short time. The participation of Bosnian people living in Scotland will help to enhance our efforts to keep alive the story of Srebrenica.”
Any Bosnian people living in Scotland who wish to get involved in the commemorations – or simply find out more about what is happening – should contact Scotland@srebrenica.org.uk or call 0131 516 2232.
- Remembering Srebrenica is part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- It is committed to sending 750 individuals on its Lessons from Srebrenica over a two-year period. Each delegate pledges to carry out an activity on their return to the UK. These are designed to raise awareness of the risks of hatred, racism and intolerance, using Srebrenica as an example of an integrated society that disintegrated.
- A full programme of events is in development for the 20th anniversary of the genocide in July 2015, which will both honour the victims of this tragedy as well as foster stronger community relations in Britain.