Javed Bashir works for Diversity & Cohesion as a Supplementary Education Officer working with over 100 supplementary schools in the district attended by more than 10,000 children in the evening and at weekends.
The purpose of this group was to learn about the genocide in Srebrenica which happened 22 years ago when General Ratko Mladic and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica and systematically murdered 8,372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
The delegation met with the educational specialists, the British Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Mothers of Srebrenica and other survivors of the genocide.
Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina began in 1992, as Bosnian Serb forces carried out a brutal campaign of violence against the civilian population designed to create a “Greater Serbia”. This covered an area ranging from northern Bosnia and including
eastern and western Bosnia adjoining the Serb Krajina area in Croatia. In 11 July 1995 General Ratko Mladic and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica and systematically murdered 8372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
At least thirty four concentration camps were set up in which predominately men were held and tortured, before being murdered in many cases.
‘The trip was both deeply moving and educational in equal measures. We visited the Bosnian capital Sarajevo where Resad Trbonja talked about his experiences when the city was under siege for four years and showed us the site that he had fought from on the
front line during the siege of the city as well as tunnel which was used to bring in essential medical supplies. We also visited the Children of the War Museum, The Holocaust Museum, The Crime Against Humanity Museum and the Tunnel which used to bring in
essential medical supplies during four year siege’ said Javed Bashir.
The Memorial Centre, just outside of Srebrenica is where the remains of many of those, whose identities have been discovered, are buried. Often loved ones only have a few small bones to bury but many are still waiting to know for sure what happened.
‘What happened there continues to affect many people and we should not forget these awful events. The trip will have a lasting impression on me and will continue to fuel the ideas that surround my working with supplementary schools and importance of developing
peace, love and compassion in their curriculum to build community cohesion’ said Javed Bashir.
‘As we consider what is happening all over the world, let us draw on the lessons of Srebrenica. That hate motivation crosses all boundaries, backgrounds and faiths. That the consequences can be life-changing for individuals and families, but also devastating
for whole communities and countries’ said Javed Bashir.
‘The only real solution to countering hate is to build relationships and develop understanding of the other’ said Javed Bashir.