Why it's important we remember Srebrenica

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, on why it is important to remember those who lost their lives in the genocide in Srebrenica in 1995.

This year marks the 24th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica.  Over just 11 short days from 11 July 1995, thousands of men and boys were systematically murdered in this Bosnian town, simply because they were Muslim.

At 6pm today (8 July) people from across the city will join the congregation at Birmingham Cathedral in commemorating the thousands of lives lost to that appalling violence, fuelled by hatred and intolerance.

Birmingham City Council is proud to work with Remembering Srebrenica. We should never forget those terrible events and in doing so, we must continue to take an unrelenting stance against hatred and discrimination that targets anyone because of their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any other characteristic.

The theme - Bridging The Divide: Confronting Hate - seeks to empower people to challenge those who seek to divide communities, celebrate those who build bridges across divisions, and encourage us all to build bridges of our own.

We can all draw strength and inspiration from those who, during the genocide and ethnic cleansing, were bold enough to resist an ideology of division, protect their neighbours, and speak out for truth and justice. The baton of courage has now been passed on and it is up to us all to learn and heed the lessons from Srebrenica.

It is now more important than ever for us to come together as people in the UK, no matter what our background, to celebrate diversity and to stand together in solidarity against hatred and discrimination.

I am away from Birmingham today and sadly won’t be back in time to join the commemorations at the Cathedral tonight.  But whether you are able to make it to the Cathedral this evening or not, I hope you will join with me in taking time today to remember those lives lost at Srebrenica and to reflect on how we as individuals, groups and communities can come together to build a better future - one without hatred.

This post was published on 8 July 2019

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