Friday, 10 July 2009

14 years ago

Bosnia in July is a lovely place to be. It's pretty warm, the ice cream is good, there are lakes to swim in and barbecues to be had. The Bosnians love the summer. Everyone is out, walking, laughing, drinking coffee and/or beer and having fun.

But July is a poignant time here, particularly in this part of Bosnia. It was on some July days 14 years ago, not dissimilar to the day today, that 8,000 men and boys from the town of Srebrenica were killed, despite being in a UN protected enclave. Srebrenica is not far from Tuzla, maybe 2 hours by car, and it was to Tuzla that those men trying to escape were trying to reach. Many people from Srebrenica still live in Tuzla, not wishing to return to their old homes. Every month, the women of Srebrenica walk through Tuzla to highlight their plight.

The anniversary of the events at Srebrenica falls tomorrow. Some 530 bodies, exumed from mass graves and identified through their DNA will be buried in the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari. An estimated 2,500 are walking to Srebrenica on a Peace March, their arrival timed to coincide with the burials. Thousands more will go to Srebrenica for the memorial service itself, returning from all over the world.

I'm no expert on Srebrenica. There is nothing in my experiences that can remotely compare to what those of Srebrenica have endured. I can't write anything that adds to what has been written or doesn't just state the bloody obvious of how on earth did this happen? But I can't write a blog about being in Bosnia and not acknowledge this anniversary.

7 comments:

Michelloui said...

I used to say I had no frame of reference to truly understand what Eastend Londoners dealt with, night after night waiting for bombs to drop on their houses, or sending their children on trains to strangers' houses in the countryside... but that is nothing compared to this. And as the Bosnian tragedy is so much more recent you are witnessing very recent pain. I find it hard to imagine what it must be like for you--very interesting post.

Metropolitan Mum said...

It's already 14 years? It doesn't feel like that. My former roommate is Bosnian, she fled in the middle of the war to the UK. She is a lovely girl with a haunted expression in her eyes, if you know what I mean. It's so sad what this war did to so many innocent people.
We have to be grateful for the peace we have here. Thanks for highliting this anniversary.

SandyCalico said...

It's important to remember these events, thank you for the insight.

A Modern Mother said...

Thoughtful post. I agree with Met Mum, it seems like just yesterday that was news.

gaelikaa said...

That is so tragic. You are right, you could not live in Bosnia and not acknowledge that.....how could anyone?

owen said...

You've shown an awful lot more sensitivity about the event than Javier Solana.

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