Different cultures, same message
Pakistani Youth Forum lead on Holocaust Memorial Day
Young members from Huddersfield’s Pakistani community led a touching tribute to victims of world genocides last month as they urged residents in Kirklees to ‘pull together’ and challenge all prejudices.
The Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance youth leadership group, were invited to lead a touching presentation for the annual Halocaust Memorial Day at Dewsbury Town Hall on Wednesday 28th January.
The event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Ken Smith, alongside a mixed audience including Holocaust survivors and survivors of genocide in Bosnia, Burundi and Kurdish Iraq.
Sofia Buncy, HPCA’s Youth Development Officer, said it was a ‘privilege’ for the young people to be invited to lead the event at a time where multi-faith relationships are struggling.
“These are difficult times for everyone, no matter where you are,” she said. “We all fear for our safety and wellbeing. Therefore, it was especially important for our young to remind all of us of our responsibility”
The event began with a powerful presentation about the steps to genocide, written and performed by members of the Pakistani Youth Forum.
Connecting the past to the present, and highlighting contemporary issues, members stepped into the shoes of individuals experiencing genocides and persecution to highlight real-life issues faced by victims.
Palwasha Afzal, was a member of the presentation team, and explained what the group had been learning in advance to the event.
“We have learnt a lot through involvement in this project about world injustice and genocide,” she said.
“It was particularly heartening to discover that in the most trying of times human spirit excelled, Muslims and Jews took refuge in each other, putting their religious and racial differences aside.”
Kim Strickson, organiser of the Holocaust Memorial Day event in Kirklees said: “The mixed audience was visibly moved by this honest and heartfelt start to the evening and congratulated and thanked the young people afterwards.
“Those of us who have worked with members of PYF over many years, appreciated the time and care they put in to creating a presentation that would be sensitive to the content and spirit of this commemorative event and yet highlight contemporary acts of persecution and our joint responsibility to bring them to an end.
“They did this with honesty, integrity and understanding. We are so proud of them.”