Written by Anisa Hrustic.
July 11, 2017 will commemorate 22 years since the Srebrenica Genocide, the largest ethnic cleansing that took place in Europe since the Holocaust. As of this year, about 70 bodies (or partial remains) have been identified and will be buried in Srebrenica, seven of these victims were children under the age of 18. May Allah grant them all Jannah.
I am writing this article because it’s important to educate people about the overlooked history of the Srebrenica Genocide and the important lessons it was “supposed to” teach the world.
Serb forces began their ethnic cleansing campaign in 1992 throughout Bosnia, murdering all Bosnian-Muslims and essentially anyone else who didn’t identify as a Serb. In 1993, the UN declared Srebrenica a “safe-zone.” Naturally, many refugees fled to Srebrenica in hopes of seeking protection from the Serbian army.
In the following years, Serb forces used starvation tactics stopping the supply trucks full of food and medicine from entering. The picture above shows a plaque that is in the center of the Srebrenica Memorial Site which translates to: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful Please God Almighty, May sorrow become hope! Let the revenge be justice! Let the mothers’ tears be a prayer: For Srebrenica to never happen again to anyone! Please, Never Forget… July 7, 2017 Srebrenica.”
The people in Srebrenica were malnourished and starving to death. Serb forces wanted to make sure the people in Srebrenica were as weak as possible before they invaded.
July 6, 1995-July 11, 1995 is when Srebrenica collapsed. Serb forces began closing in on the city from all angles and with no escape — 8,372 Bosnian Muslims were killed in less than one week, in one city, for no reason other than their religious beliefs.
Families were destroyed. Men and young boys started running through the woods to get away from the Serb forces while the women grabbed their young children and ran towards UN bases. Many women were raped in front of family members. Many men were slaughtered in front of their sons. Babies were killed for crying and young girls were taken advantage of. And if somehow you managed to survive any of those instances, you were fighting starvation and malnourishment. In just six days, Srebrenica was unrecognizable.
The aftermath of the Srebrenica genocide is still lingering. It’s not like we were able to mourn the death of our loved ones and move on — we mourn each year when more and more remains of family members are discovered and identified. My father had to return to Bosnia twice to bury each of his brothers. My mother still has not been able to talk about that time period without breaking down into tears.
After Srebrenica collapsed, the world promised they wouldn’t turn their backs again, the world promised they wouldn’t let Srebrenica happen again. I hope the World understands that there is room for all of us here. The world could be a beautiful place if we all could share it.
Feature image: The picture above shows a plaque that is in the center of the Srebrenica Memorial Site which translates to: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful Please God Almighty, May sorrow become hope! Let the revenge be justice! Let the mother’s tears be a prayer: For Srebrenica to never happen again to anyone!