Treblinka and Srebrenica

I had a lovely time at my author event at the central library on Thursday. The library people were so helpful and the audience so attentive. I met an ancient auntie, a cousin I didn’t know I had, lots of lovely strangers, and we even sold some books 🙂

One odd thing happened. In the middle of the discussions about refugees one lady asked me my opinion on the fact that so many people didn’t know about the killings at ‘Treblinka’, the Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland during WW2. I wasn’t sure what she meant but tried to answer her as best I could. However, I now think she actually said ‘Srebrenica’ and not ‘Treblinka’. In 1995, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8000 Bosniak men and boys were massacred and  25,000 to 30,000 Bosniak women and children were forcibly transferred. If she ever reads this, I hope she will forgive my confusion. I don’t know what her point was in asking the question, but I wonder if it wasn’t something to do with the fact that while we are comfortable to acknowledge terrible events which happened in the further past, we are far less comfortable acknowledging more recent atrocities, especially those occurring so close to home – after all, maybe we could be in some way held to account for allowing them to happen. Or worse still, is it possible we are so used to hearing about (and seeing pictures of) people doing terrible things to other people, that atrocities of unimagined horror have to compete to grab the headlines – and if a story of a massacre isn’t ‘breaking news’, it’s of no interest to us?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN9wSmK1k9M&feature=related

http://www.flickr.com/photos/talesofonecity/5638088396/in/set-72157626414942927

Kind thanks to Edinburgh  Central Library for giving us permission to use the photos from this event on this site.

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