Speeches at 24th Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague, 11 July 2019
Just like last year ICHI participated as a co-organiser of the yearly Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague, the Netherlands (www.srebrenica-herdenking.nl) on the 11th of July, since the disbandment of its sister organisation the Political Committee Stari Most (PCSM) in the Summer of 2017 (see www.starimost.nl). Unfortunately, to this day the yearly commemoration programme book is solely in Bosnian and Dutch. Fortunately, this time some of the speeches have been translated into English for members of the public not versatile in either Bosnian or Dutch. Therefore, I produce these speeches here below.
© photo Fred Rohde
Caspar ten Dam, chair ICHI
Leiden, August 2019
New role for ICHI in the yearly Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague
Over the years, the International Committee for Humanitarian Intervention (ICHI) has participated, out of solidarity, empathy and interest in the tragedy concerned, in the yearly Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague, the Netherlands, on the 11th of July, organised amongst others by our ‘sister organisation’ the Political Committee Stari Most (PCSM).
Since PCSM’s disbandment in the Summer of 2017, ICHI has decided to take over some of PCSM’s tasks at the yearly Srebrenica commemoration (see www.starimost.nl; www.srebrenica-herdenking.nl).
Rise of Geert wilders’ PVV party in the Netherlands reminds us of the rise of extremism in Bosnia
In the current election cycle in the Netherlands the response is fairly lukewarm to the expected election victory of Geert Wilders’ rightwing-populist Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) – recent polls indicate 30 to 35 seats in the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament after the elections on March 15th, 2017. This is despite the fact that Wilders’ program does not offer any policies on and solutions for socio-economic problems, and groups in society are being incited against each other. That reminds us of the extreme-nationalist leaders in the former Yugoslavia on the eve of the war in Bosnia in 1992: they too had no solutions for the economy, and simply put the blame on other ethnic groups. The Netherlands is not Bosnia, and Wilders is no Karadzic, but any implementation of Wilders’ programme will gravely disrupt Dutch society.
Extreme nationalism devastated Bosnia
Comparisons always relative, but one can also learn from history. We see similarities between the rise of the PVV in the Netherlands and the rise of extreme nationalist parties in Bosnia during the early 1990s. As in the Netherlands different communities lived in Bosnia pretty well together for years (indeed decades), but nationalist leaders incited them against each other.