July 11 2018 marked the twenty-third anniversary of the Bosnian massacre of Muslims. It was 23 years ago that about 8000 men and boys of Sebrenica, a Muslim populated town, were massacred by Serb troops.
The Serbs wanted territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic separated men from women and small children and executed about 8,000 men and boys within a few days. At least 30,000 people were violently displaced. Subsequent to this ethnic cleansing, Sebrenica was declared a ‘UN-safe area’ in order to protect it from any such similar hostile attack.
However, the Srebrenica genocide does not figure as a massacre of history in other places and countries of the world. Since the Serbs never accepted this crime that they committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, which is considered to be Europe’s worst massacre since the Second World War, even in 2018, bodies of many who were killed were being excavated from concealed mass graves spread across Bosnia. The damage of this deliberate erasure is such that DNA analysis was required to piece together bodies of people scattered across the country, similar to the history of Kashmiris in the hands of the Indian State.
Thousands of Bosnian Muslims gathered in Srebrenica town on Wednesday to attend the funeral for 35 recently identified victims. The graveyard where 6,575 victims have already been buried saw new pits being dug to hold the green cloth covered coffins. ‘Never Forget’, a slogan borne out of the Srebrenica genocide, was seen displayed everywhere.
Daily Sabah reported Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights who attended the commemoration as saying, “these steles, those names engraved in the cold marble, this beautiful landscape that so starkly contrasts with the evil that happened here, stand as testimony of the cruelty that human beings are capable of when they are imbued with propaganda and prejudices, fear and hate.”
A UN war crimes tribunal sentenced former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko MladicRatko Mladic for planning and executing the war crimes. He is currently appealing the verdict at the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.