In July 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army carried out the killing of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men in and around the town of Srebrenica, in what is now known as the Srebrenica Genocide. The UN had previously declared the area of Srebrenica a safe area, under UN protection. However, they were unable to demilitarise the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and the lightly armed UN forces then failed to prevent the capture of the town and the eventual massacre.
27 years on, communities across the UK will commemorate the anniversary of the Genocide. The charitable organisation Remembering Srebrenica have reached out to us to raise awareness of the commemoration and to reflect, ourselves on the events that unfolded 27 years ago.
Since its creation in 2013, Remembering Srebrenica has educated nearly 200,000 young people on the lessons from Srebrenica and each year enables over 1,500 community memorial actions in schools, places of worship and community centres across the UK. Their aim is to raise awareness of the Bosnian genocide and to bring people together to tackle hatred and help build safer, stronger communities here in the UK.
This important lesson of community, to combat hatred and intolerance is still relevant today, as it was 27 years ago. In our school environment, this sense of community allows every boy and member of staff to thrive alongside each other. A genuine feeling of acceptance within one’s community is extremely powerful and allows the individual to become more tolerant of others themselves.
As a student at the RGS, this means standing up to any hatred or intolerance and accepting the views of your peers. In doing so, we can help strengthen the sense of community within the school, providing strong foundations for development and progress. Then, when we find ourselves in periods of desperation or struggle, we can rely on this strong sense of community we have built to regain our confidence and continue to develop alongside our peers.
So, when reflecting on the Srebrenica Genocide next week, consider the importance of community and togetherness within our school, but also outside of it.
Lower Sixth Form student