Shropshire Council

Remembering Srebrenica 2022

08 July 2022 Last updated at 11:10

Remembering Srebrenica bannerShropshire Council joins with other organisations to remember the events of 27 years ago in Bosnia, where over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered because of their faith. Remembering Srebrenica Day is on Monday 11 July 2022.

Officers have arranged a commemoration of Srebrenica Day on Monday, with a short ceremony at the memorial cherry tree planted outside Shirehall in Shrewsbury last year. The ceremony will be at 10am and will last for approximately half an hour.

We'll dress the tree with the help of Mereside Primary School, representatives of the two inter-faith forums in Shropshire, and our local councillors for the area.

For this year, our focus is on inter-faith relations, using the 2022 theme, ‘Combatting Denial, Confronting Hatred’.

We'll use leaf shapes, on one side of which we'll write “Combatting Denial” and on the other “Confronting Hatred”, so that we're very much making the 2022 theme central to what we're doing.

Mrs Lois Dale, the officer lead, will be giving the history of the tree in an opening welcome to everyone on the day. The tree formally commemorates the role of the armed forces in humanitarian efforts around genocides, such as that which befell the Muslim community in Srebrenica.

During the ceremony, the council will use three Srebrenica prayers: a Christian one, to be read by our local councillors Rosemary Dartnall and Tony Parsons; a Jewish one, to be read by Mark Michaels, representing the South Shropshire Interfaith Forum; and a Muslim one, to be read by Mr Peter Vousden, representing the Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum.

The symbol of the organisation is the Srebrenica Flower, which we'll again display on our website. This is a symbol of remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide. Its eleven petals represent the day the genocide began, while their white colour represents the innocence of its victims. The flower’s green centre represents hope for justice and recognition of the genocide.

Mark Michaels, for the South Shropshire Interfaith Forum, said:

"I have been to Bosnia myself as a member of one of the UK delegations organised by Remembering Srebrenica. I share what I have learned from this experience, in our ceremonies with local children, so that the focus is upon remembering not only those who died during the Holocaust, but also those who died in subsequent genocides, and how people of different faiths worked together then and work together now.”

By way of further background, Mereside was the first school to plant a tree with us for HMD itself, and we return to the school every year to see how their own tree is growing in their care. We choose a primary school each year with which to plant a further cherry tree. In so doing, we're gradually growing a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across the county.

The Srebrenica tree is therefore a very special tree within our orchard.

Remembering Srebrenica is a charitable organisation funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and supported by the Foreign Office. Its aim is to raise awareness of the genocide in Bosnia and bring people together to tackle hatred and help build safer, stronger communities in the UK.

For more information, please see resources on the following websites: