Army chief on mis­sion for geno­cide vic­tims

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE ROPER

AN army of­fi­cer has vowed to keep alive the mem­ory of 8,000 in­no­cent Bos­ni­ans who were killed in the Sre­brenica mas­sacre 20 years ago.

In July 1995, 8,372 Mus­lim men and boys were killed by Bos­nian Serb troops in the town of Sre­brenica, Bos­nia.

Lieu­tenant Colonel Do­minique Cairns, from Mac­cles­field, was in­vited to go to Bos­nia as part of the 20th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tions of the tragedy.

Dur­ing the four day visit, or­gan­ised by the char­ity Remembering Sre­brenica, Do­minique vis­ited the Sre­brenica-Po­to­cari Me­mo­rial Com­plex where around 6,200 geno­cide vic­tims are buried and vis­ited the In­ter­na­tional Com­mis­sion for Miss­ing Per­sons which has helped unite fam­i­lies with loved ones’ re­mains.

She also met with sur­vivors and some ‘Moth­ers of Sre­brenica’, who rep­re­sent 6,000 women who lost fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing the geno­cide.

Fol­low­ing her visit, which she de­scribes as one of the ‘most pro­found’ ex­pe­ri­ences of her life, Do­minique will share her ex­pe­ri­ences with her col­leagues.

It is hoped these pre­sen­ta­tions will also raise aware­ness of ha­tred, racism and in­tol­er­ance.

She will also re­flect on the Siege of Sara­jevo, when thou­sands of civil­ians were killed and wounded dur­ing the fight over the Bos­nian cap­i­tal.

Mum of two Do­minique, who is based at 11th Sig­nal and West Mid­lands Brigade in Don­ning­ton, said: “Vis­it­ing Sre­brenica was one of the most pro­found ex­pe­ri­ences ever.

“I’ve been to Iraq, where I could make a dif­fer­ence do­ing a job, but we can’t change the past.

“I’m a strong char­ac­ter but you ab­so­lutely feel the an­guish of these women.

“The coun­try­side there is beau­ti­ful and see­ing all the names on grave­stones is so poignant, you just can’t be­lieve these things hap­pen in mod­ern times.

“Whole fam­i­lies were wiped out so no-one could even say who was miss­ing. It makes your own prob­lems seem min­i­mal.”

Do­minique is among 750 par­tic­i­pants from across the Min­istry of De­fence to go to Bos­nia and or­gan­ise projects in the UK to strengthen com­mu­nity co­he­sion.

She added: “It’s about telling a story.

“By ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple we hope this kind of thing will never hap­pen again.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the com­mem­o­ra­tions and history of the civil war go to sre­brenica. org.uk for more in­for­ma­tion.

●● The Remembering Sre­brenica del­e­gates dur­ing their visit to Bos­nia, pic­tured out­side the en­trance to a tun­nel that was an es­cape to the out­side world dur­ing the Siege of Sara­jevo

●● Army Re­serve medic He­len Porter

●● Lieu­tenant Colonel Do­minique Cairns

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