Srebrenica genocide: “A failure of civilization” – Pope St. John Paul II
I clearly remember the events in Srebrenica in 1995. Throughout my travels so far, there are 3 places I’ve visited that have shook me up and will forever stay with me ~ Auschwitz in Poland, S-21 in Cambodia and Srebrenica.
July 11 is Srebrenica Memorial Day and remembers over 8,372 Muslim men and boys who were murdered and buried in mass graves in the Srebrenica Genocide.
During the wars, part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) mandate was to protect safe areas ~ Srebrenica had been designated a safe area and was protected by Canadian forces and then Dutch forces. On 12 July 1995, UNPROFOR could not provide reinforcements for the Dutch forces and could not stop the Bosnian Serb attack on Srebrenica. The Dutch evacuated women and children, but the men and boys were massacred.
While in Sarajevo, I did a day trip to Srebrenica. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and presented the events of his country’s history. I found it painful to listen to our tour guide stating Canada and the Dutch didn’t do enough. I’ve worked for the Canadian military and I’m also an ex-military wife and know that the men and women deployed on these missions have nothing but the best intentions and want to help others.
Visiting Srebrenica was a lesson for me in seeing the world through eyes not mine.
Srebrenica Genocide Memorial
The memorial’s full name is the Srebrenica–Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide.
The Srebrenica Prayer, displayed in Bosnian, English and Arabic.
Within this memorial cemetery, victim names are engraved on a marble wall.
New graves are always present as more remains are exhumed from mass graves and laid to rest each year on July 11.
When I visited, there was one Catholic gravestone alongside the Muslim gravestones.
Memorial Center Srebrenica
These are pictures of some of the drawings in the UN building.
This little one … looks like my own son at that age.
Ramo and Nermin
One of the videos I saw in Srebrenica was of Ramo Osmanović calling his son Nermin and I’ve included a link below. Ramo was forced to call out to his son and the other men hiding in the hills that the Serbian soldiers wouldn’t hurt them. It hurt my heart to listen to him. Both Ramo and Nermin were found in a mass grave in 2008.
I saw this statue in a park in Sarajevo.
There is a wealth of information available online if you want to read more.
As I see the daily news headlines and yet another war is imminent in our world, I have to ask why haven’t we learned from the past?
Read more on my adventures in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Jackie is “Mom” to one amazing son, an IT professional and an obsessed traveller. She spends her time reading, golfing at Ladies League and implementing software projects. Jackie has travelled to all 7 continents and 93 countries and is always planning the next destination and adventure!