Date(s) - 11/07/2020
The theme of Remembering Srebrenica for the 25th anniversary on 11 July 2020 is ‘Every Action Matters’.
Srebrenica has become a world symbol of the horrific consequences that can result from inaction. The collective failure of the international community to intervene and prevent the genocide has been acknowledged by the late Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations who later acknowledged this fact and said that: “the cardinal lesson of Srebrenica is that a deliberate and systematic attempt to terrorise, expel or murder an entire people must be met decisively with all necessary means”.
This is echoed by the late Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust who said: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the centre of the universe”.
The theme will seek to encourage every person to reflect upon their own behaviour and choices that they take, and demonstrate that however insignificant it may seem, every action matters, whether positive or negative. It will aim to show that those who stand up and unite against hatred can make a difference. It will set out to dispel the notion that one person cannot make a difference and show that the action of one individual does matter, and that they can achieve a great deal, however small their action may appear initially.
Our theme is also designed to get individuals to critically engage with and change their own behaviour, particularly when it comes to the rhetoric that is being used by those in positions of power as every word they speak, and every action they take matters. Our society is becoming increasingly fragmented as a result of the divisive and inflammatory language being used by public figures. They must recognise that far from uniting communities, the words they use are exacerbating such divisions, and in some instances fuelling the toxic environment that has led to an unprecedented increase in hate crime in the UK. Their words matter, but so do their actions, and it is imperative that they act to address the growing levels of intolerance in our country and contribute to the creation of a safer, stronger and more cohesive community.
Resources for Schools
A mini-documentary suitable for schools that explains the Srebrenica genocide in 7 minutes
The Personal Challenge – 11 Actions of Remembrance for Srebrenica