The Remembering Srebrenica event was a powerful reminder of what hate, marginalisation, divisive rhetoric and fear can create on Europe’s door step. The genocide of 8,732 mostly Bosnian men and boys has left a permanent scar on Europe’s psyche.
Harrowing words from survivor and bestselling author Mirsad Solakovic left all of us speechless, and many in tears. Humbling prayers were received from the Inter Faith Forum – from members of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish faiths, and those of no faith. Together they showed us that we have the power to stop this from happening again. But our compassion and care must extend to all, and must not be limited to only those that we know or have an affiliation to, or those that are most visible in the media.
Compassion, to be truly realised, must by its very nature extend to all those who are suffering, those in war or those that are tortured at the hands of a tyrant – or those facing constant oppression, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We are all members of the same human family.
Values of tolerance, patience and acceptance are synonymous with the British public and the city of Worcester. The beauty of living here is that we pull together in times of adversity and we celebrate as one in times of achievement.
Those that seek to divide will never fulfil that ambition, so long as there is a spirit of unity, care and compassion – which exists in abundance in this faithful City. I was humbled by the overwhelming support that the Bishop and Dean of Worcester, as well as many others, showed me when I invited them to the Guildhall for tea earlier this week. It was a beautiful meeting filled with goodness and positive intent. It showed what we are good at: building bridges, not walls; making friends, not enemies; spreading love not hate. Stay happy, positive, smile, and make someone’s day.