An academic who has won national praise for her work tackling hatred and intolerance is helping organise a series of events marking 24 years since the Srebrenica genocide.
Kim Sadique, Associate Professor at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), is chair of the East Midlands Regional Board of Remembering Srebrenica, a charity that works to ensure a positive legacy for the thousands killed in Bosnia in the 1990s.
The theme for this year is Bridging the Divide: Confronting Hate. It aims to inspire people to challenge those who seek to divide communities, while celebrating those who bring communities together.
Srebrenica Memorial Week began yesterday (Sunday, July 7) with events taking place around the country.
Tomorrow (Tuesday July 9), children from Lutterworth High School will come to DMU, where they will take part in workshops helping them to challenge bullying and intolerant behaviour in a safe way. They will hear an excerpt from Zlata’s Diary, a book written by a girl who lived through the atrocity, and record videos pledging to call out hatred and intolerance. The regional team hope to record 8,372 seconds of footage – one for every man and boy killed in the massacre.
“People feel helpless when you talk about genocide, but we can all do something to call out the things we see every day,” said Ms Sadique. “We talk about ending hatred and bullying. People often say they do not have the skills, or do not know what to do or say when they hear someone saying something that is racist or offensive in another way. We show them how to be an upstander, not a bystander.”
The main event for the East Midlands is at Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, July 11 which will be attended by communities from Leicestershire, Rutland, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire .
The service will include a moving testimony from someone who lived through the atrocity who will talk about what they experienced.
Sub-Dean of Leicester, Revd Canon Alison Adams, said: “We are pleased to be able to welcome people of all faiths and none to Leicester Cathedral to come together and reflect on how we can each be more united and work together to tackle division and discrimination.”
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Revd Dr Tom Wilson, Director of the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester and who sits on the Remembering Srebrenica regional board with Ms Sadique, said: “I am delighted that Leicester Cathedral is hosting this service to mark 24 years since the Srebrenica Genocide.
“Sadly in society today people experience hatred on the basis of their religious faith, sexuality, gender identity, physical ability, race or ethnicity or for other reasons. The lessons of the Srebrenica Genocide are that if such hatred goes unchallenged and is allowed to grow, then it can have horrific consequences.
“In our society today, we are all responsible for confronting hatred and prejudice wherever we find that. The simple act of attending this service is one way people can signal their willingness to stand up against hatred and build a society in which we are all learning to live well together.”
The Remembering Srebrenica charity funds trips to Bosnia to learn more about what happened and meet people who lived through those times. In return, people must pledge to take action to combat injustice.
“Even one act of courage moves us forward,” said Ms Sadique, who was named a Community Champion by the charity following her own visit to Bosnia last year. She has been invited to light a candle of remembrance at a special memorial service held at London’s Guildhall, something she describes as “a huge honour”.
Other events happening in the city include: a minute's silence at DMU; a commemoration, film screening and exhibition will be held at The City Retreat; prayers will be said at UKIM Leicester Mosque and at the City Retreat, Leicester, on Friday July 12 and a minute’s silence will be observed by Charnwood Borough Council on July 11. You can find out more here.
The East Midlands Remembering Srebrenica Board (pictured above) are: John Coster, James Tangen, the Rev Tom Wilson, DMU student Laura Paton, and Martyn Ball of Leicestershire Police.
Posted on Monday 8th July 2019