Commemorating Srebrenica

This is a post with a difference. Rather, it’s one in which YOU can make a difference! How? Simply add your voice to this appeal for Ireland to commemorate the genocide in Srebrenica. Almost twenty years ago, over 8000 men and boys were murdered in this now infamous Bosnian town during several days of slaughter that began on 11 July 1995. The atrocity unfolded under the gaze of the global media. It was perpetrated in a designated UN ‘safe haven’ – a place where people expected they would be protected. Instead, they became victims of the worst act of terror in Europe since the Second World War.

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The failure of the international community in Srebrenica shames us all. We who share a continent with the families bereaved by this crime against humanity bear a duty to remember. In a resolution passed in 2009, the European Parliament called on EU states and countries of the Western Balkans to mark the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. We urge Ireland to follow the example of Britain and other nations in this regard. An annual commemoration would be an appropriate gesture of solidarity with the survivors of the war in Bosnia. It would also be a reminder that the lessons of Srebrenica still need to be learned. That the human faces of conflict aren’t mere images to ignore… That refugees fleeing persecution can’t be abandoned. That, in the wake of horror, the pursuit of justice is the only route towards reconciliation.

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So let’s take action! Here are a few ideas based on what we’ve already done… As an ‘odd couple’ of regular correspondents to the Oireachtas (Irish parliament), we’ve previously received positive responses from politicians in relation to Srebrenica. These have indicated cross-party support for a memorial event in Ireland. This year, we’ve started our campaign a little earlier so that such an event can be organised by 11 July. Last week, we sent a postcard to all our parliamentary representatives, reminding them about the twentieth anniversary of Srebrenica and asking them to ensure that it’s officially commemorated. We’ve also written emails to the members of both the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs, with further details of our proposal. It’s not a huge demand – a small ceremony, attended by figures from the across the political spectrum and Bosnians who live in Ireland, would suffice.

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Now we need your help! All you have to do is to write to Irish politicians – a short letter, email, or a message on social media – requesting that they do their utmost to persuade the government to agree to an official commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide. The postcard above can serve as a template. I’ve also provided the text in a reproducible format which you may like to copy and/or adapt. Plus you can use the photos included in this post, which we took at the Srebrenica memorial centre and cemetery in Potočari, for the purpose of this appeal.

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The Oireachtas website, with contact information for members of the Dáil and Seanad, can be accessed via the link below – please write to representatives from your own constituency and beyond. In addition, there are links to the relevant committees and ministers. You don’t have to be Irish or resident in this country to get involved. The more correspondence, the stronger the call! Your words can offer support to the survivors of Srebrenica and show awareness of the suffering caused by ongoing conflicts today. As together we say that Ireland must never again turn away.

Postcard text:

Dear Deputy/Senator …,

This July marks the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The European Parliament passed a resolution in 2009 calling on EU states to commemorate this atrocity in which over 8000 Bosnian men and boys were killed. We ask that Ireland join other countries in organising an official memorial event. As a small but symbolic annual gesture, this would show Irish support for those who lost loved ones in the Bosnian war (1992-1995) and for all who are affected by present conflicts. Please use your power, as a member of the Oireachtas, to ensure that Ireland commemorates Srebrenica from this year onwards.

Kind regards,

Your name
For further information, please contact: your email address

Web-links:

Oireachtas website – email addresses of all T.D.s and Senators: 

http://www.oireachtas.ie/members/

Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade – list of members: 

http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/foreign-affairs-trade/members/

Joint Committee on European Affairs – list of members:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/eu-affairs/members/

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade – Charles Flanagan, T.D.: charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie

https://www.dfa.ie/about-us/contact-us/contact-minister-flanagan/

Minister of State for European Affairs – Dara Murphy, T.D.: dara.murphy@oireachtas.ie

https://www.dfa.ie/about-us/contact-us/contact-minister-murphy/

See also – Remembering Srebrenica (UK): 

http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/

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One thought on “Commemorating Srebrenica

  1. Pingback: Srebrenica 2015 – events in Ireland | Bosnian-Irish coffee

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