Remembering Srebrenica: 28 Years On
The small town of Srebrenica, located in the hills of Bosnia and Herzegovina, holds a sombre place in history. It serves as a haunting reminder of one of the darkest chapters in Europe’s past. Just 50 years after the world said, ‘never again,’ mass genocide took place yet again.
In July 1995, the Serb army’s plan to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Bosnia’s land of its Muslim population resulted in the systematic massacre of over 8,000 men and boys. Selected for death simply because of their identity, the victims were buried in mass graves after fleeing to a UN declared ‘safe area’. This was all part of a war for expansion and power. Resulting in close to 100,000 deaths, 2 million displaced civilians and between 20,000 and 50,000 women and girl victims of sexual violence, the war and genocide in Bosnia is described as the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
Over 3,000 mass graves have since been identified, uncovering the remains of thousands. 8,382 people were killed at Srebrenica, with the search for over 1000 remaining bodies still underway today. Complex DNA techniques are being used to identify the victims.
Why is it important to remember?
The events that took place between 1992 and 1995 are estimated to have taken 258,000 lives - Inna Lillahi wa inna illahi rajioon. Entire towns and communities were destroyed and the two days of horrendous massacre in Srebrenica leave a mark in history and an ache in the hearts of Muslims worldwide.
Although the painful memories of the brutal murders are hard-hitting, it is important that we remember what happened. Remembering allows us to pay tribute to the individuals who suffered, acknowledge their humanity, preserve their memory, and ensure their story is never forgotten.
Remembering serves as a crucial tool for learning from history’s mistakes. Understanding the causes, events and consequences of such past atrocities gives us insight into factors that can lead to such levels of violence. Knowledge helps us recognise warning signs and work towards preventing similar tragedies in the future.
This year’s theme for remembering Srebrenica is ‘Together We Are One’. Together we must stand up against all forms of hatred and prejudice which targets groups based on factors such as religion, ethnicity, or gender.
Remembering Srebrenica is a solemn duty that goes beyond simply recalling this tragic event. It is about honouring the memory of the victims, pursuing justice, and working together towards a future which is free from hatred and violence. By embracing compassion and unity, we can build a world where the horrors of Srebrenica are never repeated.
TUESDAY 11 JUL 2023