The Srebrenica massacre took place in 1995 during the Bosnian war. More than 8000 unarmed Bosnian Muslims sheltering in a UN ‘safe area’ were slaughtered: the biggest civilian atrocity in Europe since WWII.
This week at Birkenhead Central Library, there is a display of 8372 handmade white flowers to represent each person who lost their life because of their identity in the atrocity.
Director of Education at Wirral Deen Centre and Vice-Chair for Remembering Srebrenica NW, Neil Sledge, said, “[Making the flowers] was a great effort from many schools, voluntary, faith and community organisations and the Wirral Deen Centre. Thanks to everyone involved, staff at the library … for all their support. That’s one flower for every Muslim and boy killed this week in 1995 in Srebrenica because of their identity/faith.
“Please come and see, leave a message, remember, learn, and pledge. Counting, glueing, and cutting that many really makes you realise how big that number was.”
Pauline Cocker MBE said, “Every flower made represents a life taken because of learned hatred. We must never forget and we must pledge to help everyone to live in peace and harmony.”
The exhibition is at Birkenhead Central Library and runs until Friday 29 July. It is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm.
What was the Srebrenica massacre?
The town of Srebrenica came to international prominence as a result of events during the Bosnian War, which took place between 1992 and 1995.
The objectives of the Bosnian Serbs included the creation of a border separating the Serb people from Bosnia’s other ethnic communities and the abolition of the border separating Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs’ Republika Srpska.
The Bosnian Muslim/Bosniak majority population of the area posed a major obstacle to the achievement of these objectives.
In the early days of the campaign of ethnic cleansing that followed the outbreak of war in April 1992 the town of Srebrenica was occupied by Serb/Serbian forces. It was subsequently retaken by Bosniak resistance groups.
The town and its surrounding area was surrounded and besieged by Serb forces. On 16 April 1993, the United Nations declared the Bosnian Muslim/Bosniak enclave a UN safe area, to be “free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.”
In July 1995, despite the town’s UN-protected status, it was attacked and captured by the Army of Republika Srpska.
Following the town’s capture, all men of fighting age who fell into Bosnian Serb hands were massacred in a systematically organised series of summary executions.
The Srebrenica massacre is considered the worst genocide in post-Second World War European history to this day, with over 8000 Bosnian Muslims killed.
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