On July 11th, 1995, the massacre, or apparent genocide, in Srebrenica began, lasting for 11 days. the targets were Bosniaks (Muslim Bosnians) and over 8,000 were murdered. the killings were based simply on identity, and the Serbs had planned to kill approximately 40,000 Bosnians. every man and boy were taken, and if you were taller than a rifle, you were executed.
as the Wiki article states: “The mass executions followed a well-established pattern. The men were first taken to empty schools or warehouses. After being detained there for some hours, they were loaded onto buses or trucks and taken to another site for execution. Usually, the execution fields were in isolated locations. The prisoners were unarmed and, in many cases, steps had been taken to minimize resistance, such as blindfolding them, binding their wrists behind their backs with ligatures or removing their shoes. Once at the killing fields, the men were taken off the trucks in small groups, lined up and shot. Those who survived the initial round of gunfire were individually shot with an extra round, though sometimes only after they had been left to suffer for a time”
Serbia officially apologized in March 2010.
growing up, I don’t remember learning a thing about Bosnia. I recall learning about Yugoslavia, but the mention of a war, or a massacre that was the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II? no.
I don’t know many Bosnians outside of the women I work with (and one coworkers father was murdered in the massacre), however, every Bosnian I do know went to Srebrenica for the memorial. There are billboards and posters all over Sarajevo that are edgy and dark, “reminding” Bosnians of the anniversary (I doubt that anyone truly forgets when it is). There was a request by a member of BiH Parliament that there be a moment of silence at the World Cup final for Srebrenica, but FIFA officials evidently stated that it coincided with the anniversary of the Rivonia raid when Walter Sisulu and other ANC leaders were arrested in South Africa. regardless, the commemoration didn’t happen.
its strange being in a country during an anniversary or holiday of importance that I don’t understand. I hadn’t learned anything about Srebrenica until I came to Denver and learned I might be working in Sarajevo. so why am I posting this? to educate, commemorate, and reflect.