CRAICNI attended the solemn occasion to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
We thank Dr Ahmed Helmy, Chair of the Remembering Srebrenica NI Board, and Robin Newton MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the invitation to attend the memorial reception at the Parliament Buildings, Belfast, on the evening of Thursday 14th July 2016.
It was a poignant reminder of the ideology of how humans can hate each other for differences of a name or faith, yet be neighbours. Dr Waqar Azmi, OBE, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica UK gave a powerful speech outlining the destructive root of hatred and the need to unite for peace, more than ever in today’s society and we needed to do so in our time for our future generations to help generations and generations.
The Srebrenica genocide is the single greatest atrocity in Europe since the Second World War and a brutal reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. Twenty-one represents a coming of age – a passage into adulthood. Hundreds of Bosnian young people never had the chance to live their dreams and live their lives. We watched this video; the room was left silent.
Lumturi Podrimaj from Kosovo, who lives in Northern Ireland, an unexpected addition to the programme, kindly shared her experiences and gave an incredible insight into the realities of war and the impacts on her family, friends, the countries and to herself. Lumituri stepped in to present her story, and we thank her for sharing her life journey to being a strong, admirable woman working always to support others that have left a long- lasting impression on the world through the eyes of one who witnessed and lived through those difficult times. ‘We saw the stars,’ said Lumi, as she shared with us when nothing was left of their family home, and the roof had gone. ‘We were left with nothing, nothing… No pictures, nothing … We saw the stars.’
Peter Osborne, Chair of Community Relations Council, talked about the lessons learnt to advance peace and reconciliation.
The service came to a close with interfaith prayers from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Baha’i faiths. Afterwards, all attendees joined in a photo to send a strong message across that we united in Northern Ireland to remember Srebrenica and take forward the lessons learnt.
People left with hope, smiles, talked to each other, thoughts to work together and unity.
CRAICNI will endeavour to pledge to remember and honour the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide, learn from the lessons and take action.
In light of the recent attack in Nice and across the world, the strong message of last week’s memorial service to ‘unite against hatred for our future generations’ is moreover powerful and lingering in our hearts and minds.
Executive Director/ Co-Founder
Cultivate, Respect, Appreciate, Inclusion in Communities in Northern Ireland