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.