Friendship blossoms between Dewsbury and Bosnia during Srebrenica memorial

A woman from Dewsbury has taken part in a Remembering Srebrenica memorial project to mark the anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 7:00 am
Community groups, schools and leaders from Kirklees, Bradford, Leeds and Calderdale will be taking part in memorial events today (Monday) for Remembering Srebrenica

Jasmina Forić participated in the project called Small Contentments, initiated by 6 million+ Charitable Trust in partnership with Creative Scene, which saw more than 70 people across Kirklees and Leeds given copies of 25 photographs of men and boys who died in the genocide.

Jasmina was given a copy of a faded photograph of one of the young men who died in Srebrenica. His name was Bajazit and she was asked to draw him, think about him and write about him in preparation for a film of remembrance.

His image was chosen randomly from the thousands of men and boys featured on the Remembering Srebrenica website. Jasmina knew little about him except his name and his age when he died. He was 23 years old.

Zumra has formed a friendship with Jasmina Forić, of Dewsbury, after taking part in the project

Incredibly, a few months ago, Jasmina was watching a Bosnian TV programme on her phone and listening to a mother, Zumra, talk about the loss of her family in Srebrenica.

She spotted a collage of photographs in a single frame on the table behind Zumra and there was Bajazit, the young man she had thought about and held close last year. Zumra was his mother, still grief stricken, having lost all of her sons and her husband in 1995.

Jasmina got in touch with Bosnian TV company, Tatabrada, who made the film and, with their help, contacted Zumra.

She was able to have a conversation with Zumra and tell her that people in West Yorkshire are thinking about her and sending her their love. The conversation was filmed by Tatabrada for another short programme.

Jasmina's drawing of Zumra's son, Bajazit, who was killed in the genocide in 1995

Zumra said: “My sons are like my flowers. I talk to their pictures every day. I visit their resting places every month.

"Thank you for what you are doing in the UK. I no longer blame anyone. I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

The conversation has been the inspiration for a poem which Jasmina will read out at two outdoor Remembering Srebrenica events in Bradford and Huddersfield today (Monday), coordinated by 6 million+ in partnership with Kirklees, Bradford, Calderdale and Leeds councils, community groups and schools.

A small group of school children from Kirklees and Bradford will sing “I am not Alone” in Bosnian and English. There will also be poems from the Batley Poets.

Because of Covid restrictions, numbers are restricted. The events are participatory and attendance is by invitation only.

However, the events will be filmed and a reflective film of remembrance will be featured on YouTube not long after the events.