Students and staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are joining a week of events to mark the 25th
anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
More than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were massacred by Serb forces in the town in July 1995. The United Nations called it the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
To commemorate Srebrenica Memorial Day, a live radio show will be broadcast on Facebook on 10 July via the Conflict Reportage Archive page, with contributions from students and staff. It will be co-hosted by John Coster from Leicester’s Documentary Media Centre and Associate Professor Kim Sadique.
Kim is chair of the East Midlands Regional Board of Remembering Srebrenica, a charity that works to ensure a positive legacy for the thousands killed during the Bosnian war in the 1990s.
She said: “Hearing from survivors of the Srebrenica genocide and the mass atrocities that took place across Bosnia, the central message is ‘learn the lessons so that hatred doesn’t do to your country, what it did to ours’. At a time when discrimination and polarisation of communities is so visible, we need to listen, learn and take action to prevent the spread of hatred”.
“As an Activist Criminologist and anti-hate campaigner I want my students, my institution and the communities in Leicester to say no to hate, to work to build stronger communities and most importantly to understand that #EveryActionMatters – even the smallest of actions can make a real difference”.
Criminology student Laura Paton, 21, interviewed survivors of the conflict who witnessed and experienced the atrocities being carried out during the genocide and had come to the UK as refugees. She found that often, there was little support for them or even recognition of what they had been through.
She said: “One of the biggest things I found was that even now, 25 years on they still experience genocide denial – other people genuinely do not realise that these atrocities took place. It shows how we need to educate people about the Bosnian genocide. It’s not taught as part of the school curriculum.
“These people, they experienced and saw so much on a day to day basis that we would never comprehend. We don’t think of something like that happening within our lifetime, but it was just 25 years ago. As I was interviewing people I could see in their eyes how raw the pain was.
“For me as a student it was quite hard emotionally to listen to. Kim sat and debriefed me after every interview and she was always checking in so I knew I had that support.”
Laura is now hoping to go on to do a PhD which will help devise a way to collect testimony specifically from Bosnian genocide survivors and will be talking about her moving research on the programme.
Fellow third years Marcus Baxter and Elisa Gray will talk about what they learned during a visit to Bosnia organised earlier this year, as part of their studies into human rights abuses.
Among the guests for the programme will be Robert McNeil, a former Forensic Technician for the UN in Bosnia and UNESCO RILA Affiliate Artist and Almasa Salihovic, survivor of the Srebrenica genocide.
To listen to the live stream ‘Remembering Srebrenica Newsroom’ on Friday 10 July 2-6pm go to the Facebook page, Conflict Reportage Archive. You can also follow on Twitter: @ConflictReportr
Posted on Monday 6th July 2020