Seventeen years ago this month, thousands of Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered in Europe. Some were killed opportunistically, but most were killed in a full-scale military operation: hands tied and blindfolded, they were lined up before freshly dug mass graves and shot in the back. In other cases, rather than bussing them to mass grave locations, their captors chose to murder them were they were detained – slaughtering them by the hundreds at a warehouse and theatre, by volleys of gunfire and rocket propelled grenades.
Later, earth-moving equipment would be used to remove the dead – and perhaps some living – and deposit them into other mass graves. It is estimated that over 8,000 Muslims were executed after the July 11, 1995, fall of Srebrenica, Bosnia, to the Bosnian Serbs. Like many of recent history’s slaughters, the international community was already present. A battalion of Dutch U.N. peacekeepers was responsible for protecting the first U.N.-declared “safe area” in Srebrenica. As the Bosnian Serb Army advanced on the city, U.N. offi cials declined to allow NATO warplanes to intervene until it was too late. The Serbs took Srebrenica without a fight and thousands of Bosnian Muslims fled to what they thought was the protection of the U.N. base in Potocari. Rather than offering a safe haven, the United Nations expelled fearful Muslims from their base and watched as another European genocide unfolded. In a scene evocative of Schindler’s List–a case of life imitating art, imitating life- -families were torn apart under the watchful eyes of the international community. Men and boys were separated from women and small children, never to be seen again.
Every year, international diplomats pause to remember the world’s most recent genocides. On 11th July, the world will mark the seventeenth anniversary of Srebrenica genocide. Join us to remember those who perished and the survivors. Meet British Muslims who visited Bosnia in the past, and a delegation visiting this July.
Date & Time – Tuesday 3rd July 2012 – 7pm
Venue: London Muslim Centre, Seminar Room, 4th Floor, 46 Whitechapel Road, London E1
Organised by London Muslim Centre, Islamic Forum of Europe, The Cordoba Foundation and Bosnia-Herzegovina Islamic Centre – London.