Shropshire Council remembers Srebrenica twenty-five years on
Shropshire Council is joining with Shrewsbury Inter Faith Forum and South Shropshire Inter Faith Forum to mark Remembering Srebrenica Week from 5 July to 12 July 2020.
The Srebrenica genocide took place during July 1995, where more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered because of their faith.
The Council along with both interfaith forums are marking the week with a virtual lighting of a Holocaust candle with three wicks, denoting the world faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The Holocaust candle is used for interfaith ceremonies within Shropshire schools to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. The aim is to ensure the Holocaust and other genocides are never forgotten, to help children learn about the history of persecution towards groupings, and aid their understanding of the importance of fostering good relationships between people of different faiths.
Councillor Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:
Here in Shropshire, we will continue to teach our primary school children about the Holocaust and other genocides including Srebrenica, ensuring that these atrocities are never forgotten. This year, with it being the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the interfaith forums made particular reference to this in the ceremonies we held with schools in January. We also included material about the genocide in our week-long display in the foyer at Shirehall to coincide with the ceremonies.
Although we cannot commemorate in the usual ways with gatherings in churches and other community buildings, we will take this moment to remember all those who died in Bosnia, through the virtual lighting of the Holocaust candle that will appear on our website.
The Council’s commemoration links with ongoing efforts to work with communities and schools to commemorate annual Holocaust Memorial Day, through planting a cherry tree every year and in so doing growing a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across the county. For 2020, trees were planted at Onny and Lydbury North primary schools.
Mark Michaels, for the South Shropshire Interfaith Forum, said:
I have been to Bosnia myself as a member of one of the UK delegations organised by Remembering Srebrenica. I share what I have learned from this experience, in our ceremonies with local children, so that the focus is upon remembering not only those who died during the Holocaust, but also those who died in subsequent genocides, and how people of different faiths worked together then and work together now.
Notes to Editors
The Srebrenica Flower is a symbol of remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide. Its eleven petals represent the day the genocide began, while their white colour represents the innocence of its victims. The flower’s green centre represents hope for justice and recognition of the genocide.
Remembering Srebrenica is a charitable organisation funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and supported by the Foreign Office. Its aim is to raise awareness of the genocide in Bosnia and bring people together to tackle hatred and help build safer, stronger communities in the UK. Since its creation in 2013, Remembering Srebrenica has educated 100,000 young people on the lessons from Srebrenica, organised close to 7,500 memorial events and activities right across the country and created 1,450 Community Champions who pledge to stand up to hatred and intolerance in their communities.
Each year, the organisation seeks to raise awareness during Srebrenica Memorial Week by collaborating with councils, schools, faith groups and other organisations with over 1,100 acts of commemoration taking place in 2019. This year’s Srebrenica Memorial Week will be taking place from 5 July to 12 July where communities across the UK will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the genocide, where over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered, simply because of their faith.
The organisation has made the following commentary:
“As an organisation we believe that we must ensure that we never forget about the genocide and reaffirm our commitment to standing up against all forms of hatred and prejudice that targets groups based on their religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any type of difference.
“The theme “Every Action Matters” seeks to encourage every person to reflect upon their own behaviour and choices that they make, and demonstrate that however insignificant it may seem, every action matters, whether positive or negative. It aims to show that those who stand up and unite against hatred can make a difference. It sets out to dispel the notion that one person cannot make a difference and show that the action of one individual does matter and that they can achieve a great deal, however small their action may appear initially.”
The local background here is that Shropshire Council is continuing efforts to grow a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across Shropshire, working with primary and secondary schools and inter faith forums and local Shropshire Councillors. We identify a primary school each year, and are seeking to spread the orchard across the county and to cover all points of the compass in so doing. The schools for 2020 represent the south and west of the county. There are now twelve such trees in Shropshire.
For more information, please see resources on the following websites
Remembering Srebrenica website: www.srebrenica.org.uk
HMD Trust website: www.hmd.org.uk