January 27th is the World Holocaust Memorial Day, a day on which we are asked to take the time to reflect on what can happen if racism, prejudice and exclusionary behaviour are left unchecked and unchallenged. Whilst the Holocaust is a specific event tied to Nazi persecution during World War 2, the organisers also ask that we take a moment to remember the victims of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia as well as the ongoing atrocities in Darfur.
The events in Srebrenica will never fail to shock, particularly if a human face is put to the suffering. I came across this video by the Bosnian HipHop artist, Genocide, on the Srebrenica Genocide Blog. As a young boy Jusuf had to leave his home town of Zvornik, some 45 minutes from Srebrenica, having watched the previously multi-ethnic city filled with mosques and churches be cleansed of the entire Bosnian Muslim population. He became a refugee and today lives in New Zealand. He has given permission for his song to be downloaded for free in order that he can help keep the message about this genocide current in the worlds memory. It is an excellent song in its own right and well worth a listen. Please do so, and in that time spare a thought for those killed and those who remain, so affected, so destroyed.
(further testimonies from Srebrenica survivors and those who were involved in the events of July 1995 were collected and published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and can be viewed on the Srebrenica Genocide Blog here)