Reflecting on my visit to Srebrenica in Bosnia & Herzegovina 4 years ago… A deeply moving and troubling experience.
Together with recent increases in tensions between communities and both Islamist and Far Right activism, the tragedy that unfolded in Bosnia reminds us we must never be complacent about community cohesion, and the generally peaceful society in which we live in the UK, under the Rule of Law.
Before the Bosnian War, Bosnia and Herzegovina was a multi-faith society, with ancient communities of Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Muslims living in harmony with each other, even intermarrying.
Ethnically and culturally, there really isn’t much difference between Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks, all are Slavic people who speak more or less the same language, and share much the same culture.
Faith is the main distinguishing factor, yet this was enough to be exploited by those with divisive agendas, and used to “justify” the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims from Bosnia.
To this day, victims of the genocide in Bosnia are still being identified, with many people not even knowing if their relatives are among the dead. I can’t imagine what it must be like to not have closure 23 years after the war ended, to not be able to pay ones last respects, and say a final goodbye to loved ones.
I pray we learn from these tragic events, and others like them, and find ways to build more cohesive societies, and finally put an end to hatred, prejudice, and discrimination. 💐