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Today in Srebrenica. Commemoration the anniversary of the massacre

Olja Andrynowska

July 11, 2012 | 5:07 am

Podrinje, known in English as the Drina Valley, is a region of Bosnia and Herzegovina which looks like it could be taken from a postcard. But the most famous, or rather infamous, images from the region are “Postcards from the Grave” (a Srebrenica survivor’s story written by Emir Suljagić).

On the 10th of July, a day before the anniversary of the massacre, people begin to flock to Potočari and Srebrenica. Those who survived the attack 17 years ago go back to the town to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre. Thousands of people from Bosnia and abroad participate in the March of Peace. They walk back to Srebrenica in the opposite direction of those boys and men who, in 1995, tried to escape when the enclave of Srebrenica was taken over by the army of Republika Srpska (very few of them survived this “March of Death”). Another 520 victims of the massacre were buried this year, but after 17 years many families are still waiting for the bodies of their beloved with fading hope. Even though mass graves are hidden in the soil of the dusky valley, to investigate is very expensive.

After the 11th of July Srebrenica grows deserted, but before it goes back to drowsy, fractured everyday life, Bosnian Serbs commemorating their victims will pass through the town. The arrest of Ratko Mladić is being called a success, thus closing a dark chapter. However the Bosnian Serb authorities again and again go too far and they deny the genocide committed by Bosnian Serb forces supported by Serbian paramilitary troops. July 12th is a day when lots of radicals and the deniers may come to the forefront.Thousands of Bosniak civilians were exterminated (during the) seizure of the enclave by Bosnian Serb forces; to add to this suffering Bosnian Serbs have chosen the 12th of July as the date for their gathering. The celebrations in honour of Bosnian Serb soldiers which takes place just a day after the anniversary of Srebrenica massacre is a successful stab in the back for the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims). Using images of war criminals should be banned, denying the genocide should be punished, but as long as they gather on the 12th of July, it is an attempt to manipulate public opinion and whitewash the traces of blood of 8,100 (facts based on DNA blood samples) Bosniak civilians or prisoners of war, slaughtered during July 1995.

The centuries-old Muslim communities of the Drina Valley were destroyed and the percentage of returnees is too small to bring a revival of multiculturalism to this region. There is a chance of improvement for the town with the return of some pre-war traditions - mainly, the reconstruction of the old mineral springs above the town called Guber SPA which used to be major tourist attraction in Bosnia, but Srebrenica remains but a shadow of its former self.


The list of the 520 victims is available here:
http://www.potocarimc.ba/_ba/index.php?kategorija=i.ba.online

 

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Jews visiting Central & Eastern Europe frequently come with stereotypes and prejudices about the region.  In particular, group heritage and education tours for young Jews...

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