We Are One football tournament to remember Srebrenica and kick hatred into touch

More than 300 young people from across the Bradford District will take part in the ‘We Are One’ football tournament at University Academy Keighley on Friday 13 July from 5.30pm until 9.30pm.

‘We Are One’ brings young people from all communities together to honour those killed in the Srebrenica Genocide, which took place 23 years ago this week. 

The tournament will begin with a talk and period of reflection on the events that took place in Srebrenica, followed by a one minute silence to remember the young boys and men who were killed in the genocide.

The Genocide of Srebrenica was the single greatest atrocity to take place in Europe since the Second World War and saw the systematic massacre of more than 10,000 Bosnian men and young boys in less than one week at Srebrenica, a UN protected area and safe haven.

The ‘We Are One’ tournament, is one of a number of on-going initiatives Bradford Council has organised to mark Srebrenica Memorial Week, which runs from Sunday 8 July to Sunday 15 July 2018.

On Monday 9 July, a commemoration event took place in City Hall and was attended by more than 100 delegates from different faith groups from across the district. Delegates listened to the emotional and moving story of Bosnian Survivor Riad Terzic who, as a teenager, lived through the war in Bosnia facing ethnic cleansing, executions, concentration and refugee camps before moving to and settling in the UK.

The commemoration event also saw Bradford Reform Synagogue’s Rudi Lever sing a peace song whilst Rev Jenny Ramsden led a Christian prayer for peace. Manoj Joshi from Bradford’s Hindu community shared his experience of visiting Bosnia and Srebrenica. Two young people from Bradford’s Lead Programme shared their vision to bring about a change in the district. The audience also listened to a Muslim prayer for the deceased and peace and harmony in the world. 

An exhibition about the genocide, which was on display at the commemoration event, is available for schools to download.

Riad Terzic, a Bosnian survivor who now works for Bradford Council and who spoke at the commemoration event, said: “It’s never easy to speak about the horrors of what we went through, but 23 years after the events, I felt an immense feeling of fulfilment being able to convey to a great audience at Bradford City Hall, the stories of my friends and community members who needlessly paid the ultimate price. I hope and pray that commemoration events like this will continue in the years to come, not only to honour and remember the innocent victims of Srebrenica, but to bring our communities closer together and keep reminding ourselves of the hard lessons learned so that we never allow anything like that to happen to anyone ever again!”

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, and Bradford Remembering Srebrenica Ambassador, said: “The lessons of Srebrenica need to be remembered and shared in each of our communities, to show people what happens when hatred and intolerance is allowed to flourish unchecked. This tournament, and the other events of this week, help us do this and also brings people together. They are an important way of not only remembering those who lost their lives, but give all of us the opportunity to reflect on how we can make our community a better and more inclusive place for everybody.”

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