A sombre study visit to Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina brought home to me the realities of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide. During the trip, organised by the charity Remembering Srebrenica, I heard how communities seemingly at peace with each other turned in 1995 to commit the most heinous of crimes whilst the world watched. At Srebrenica, over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were brutally murdered in the biggest genocide in Europe since the Holocaust. The hate-fuelled messages and anger peddled before the genocide, is a stark reminder of what continuous exposure to a divisive narrative can lead to.
On my return I attended an awards celebration at the Worcester Arena for the fabulous contribution University students had made to the city through volunteering. I thanked the students for making Worcester such a wonderful place to live in and left them with a reminder that the law of giving is as true as the law of gravity – the more you give, the more you will get back!
It was a pleasure attended the launch of A Mile In My Shoes, a unique arts project in Cathedral Square. It’s basically a giant shoebox in which you literally try on other people’s shoes on and listen to their life story. It gives us the opportunity to learn, understand and appreciate someone else’s point of view. The shoe box is there for until Sunday and it’s free, so please go to see it and broaden your horizons.
That leads me nicely onto my core message of the week, making sure we take the time to understand each other, to accept our differences, to celebrate other people’s successes as much as our own, and to learn to Love not Hate in order to create a flourishing, beautiful and peaceful city.