Remembering Srebrenica

On 18th of February a delegation from the foundation “Remembering Srebrenica” from the UK visited the Gallery 07/11/95. The gallery is dedicated to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

In addition to the President of the Foundation, Waqar Azmija, the delegation consisted of Angus Robertson, member of the British Parliament and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Scotland in opposition, David Hamilton, a senior official of the Association of Scottish Police who during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the aid convoy organized by the Edinburgh Direct Aid, The Right Reverend Lorna Hood, from the Church of England and honorary chaplain to the Queen, Seonag MacKinnon, a specialist in the field of communication, Ann McKechin, a member of the Scottish Parliament, and David Pratt, an award-winning writer and photographer.

Remembering Srebrenica Foundation was established with the aim of raising awareness about the suffering in Srebrenica and its first step on this path was the organization of Genocide Remembrance Day.

The visit garnered some media attention in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Scotland. This article first appeared on Bosnian news site Novo Vrijeme 19-02-2014

Scottish delegation during the visit to The Srebrenica Gallery  18th Feb 2014   Photo:  Galerija 11/07/95
Scottish delegation during the visit to The Srebrenica Gallery 18th Feb 2014 Photo: Galerija 11/07/95

See more images from The Srebrenica Gallery and the visit on it´s Facebook Page.

Even though it ended 18 years ago the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a topic in numorus countries throughout Europe and the world. Some know a great deal about the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina during the early nineties , some know a bit, others know very little or nothing, however most know about Srebrenica and what happened in that Bosnian town in July 1995.

That´s also the case with the delegation that at the behest of the Foundation: Remembering Srebrenica came to Sarajevo. A team from Anadolu Agency (AA) was there to meet the visitors from Scotland in The Srebrenica Gallery 11/07/95 ( Galerija Srebrenica 11/07/95.) For Angus Robertson, a member of the Scottish parliament this was however not the first time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he had as a journalist reported from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the conflict in the early nineties.

“Before I went into politics I was a journalist, I reported about the war in former Yugoslavia druing the early nineties, this is not my first visit to this part of the world. It is however the first time in the recent past that I have had the time to come here and see what has changed since the war.” According to Robertson, he viewed the conflict in BiH as an outsider, as somebody who was not from around here.

Even still, what he saw in Bosnia and Herzegovina was surely different from other conflicts.

According to Robertson: “Intimacy makes everything more difficult, people knew each other they were neighbors, friends, people that lived in the same villages, the same towns. And now, decades after the war very often the people that were involved in all that, including the genocide in Srebrenica are still there. That makes everything even more difficult. War is hell, no matter where it happens. We must not forget that in modern Europe Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only place where genocide took place. We have a responsibility to remember just what happened here, to learn from it and make sure that it never happens again.”

Robertson also stated that the exhibition like the one they had the chance to see in The Srebrenica Gallery was very moving and powerful, and he recommends everyone to go and see it.

“I recommend everyone to go and see the exhibition; it shows in detail the horrors experienced by the people of Srebrenica. Ethnic cleansing is horrific, and that is what took place in this country. Sadly the attention of the international community is very short. That is why we have to make sure people do not forget what happened in Srebrenica. That is the message we take back with us to Scotland and Great Britain”

Adding that the rest of Europe should be encouraged not to forget what happened in Srebrenica.

“We have to make sure that the commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide takes place on the same day throughout Europe. That is already the case in Great Britain. We have to encourage people across Europe to take part in the commemoration, because if history has though us anything it is that people have a short memory, they forget. And with that increases the chance that bad people do bad things to others. That means that we have not learned the lesson. That is why we need to make an effort not to forget.”

For the The Moderator of the Church of Scotland and honorary chaplain to Her Majesty, Lorna Hood, this was the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The story of Srebrenica, which she has been aware of for a long time, upset her, and pictures from the gallery have managed to invoke up the pain.

For the Priestess of the Church of Scotland and honorary chaplain to Her Majesty, Lorna Hood, this was the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The story of Srebrenica, which she has been aware of for a long time, upset her, and pictures from the gallery have managed to invoke up the pain.

“As soon as I entered the gallery, I was confronted with the images from the walls. I thought that could have been my husband and son. That kind of evil can happen anywhere and anytime. Seeing the images in the gallery from different point of views, and they are difficult to watch, still they have to be seen, people need to see what really happened. There are still those who deny that is all happened.”

According to Hood; “A lot of people know about Srebrenica, they know something horrible took place there but a lot of them do not know the full measure of what happened. People know some of what happened, but it´s only when you are on the ground that you can see the proof, this gallery, talking to the mothers of Srebrenica that you can experience in part they pain they feel. It´s only then that you feel that you have touched evil, there are not many situations where you can say that, but in this place you really feel that you have touched evil”

During her visit to Sarajevo, Hood also met with the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Husein ef. Kavazovic.

“It´s wonderful that we as religious leaders could talk about that which troubles all of humanity. Until people fully understand that we are all god´s children, no matter where you are from, and that we are all the same. Only then will things like this stop happening. Talking about this we can stop Srebrenica from happening again. We need to look at each other and respect that people are different.”

That is the message Hood takes back with her. “All those that cannot be protected, we need to protect and care for those who are in danger. I think that is the lessons of Srebrenica, these people were in danger, and the international community did not do anything. Still in the years after Srebrenica we must learn to live together, to cross ethnic boundaries, to offer the hand of friendship. And to learn to respect and understand that we are all different and what it´s like to walk in someone else´s shoes.”

The HeraldScotland reported on the visit Sunday 23 February 2014 with a piece titled Ghosts of Srebrenica by David Pratt, with more images from the visit, including a visit to one of ICMP´s facilities.

You can also receive updates from Remembering Srebrenica UK via Twitter at @SrebrenicaUK and it´s Facebook Page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s