20 years ago, on the 11th of July 1995, more than 8000 men and boys from the city of Srebrnica and villages around were massacred by Serbian military forces of Bosnia. Their remains were put in mass graves and some bodies were spread around in order not to be found again. On the same day, women divided from men were brought to concentration camps and systematically raped by Serbian soldiers.
Each year since 2004, a peace march is organized to support victims of the Srerbrnica genocide and to collectively remember horrible hate crimes committed in Europe not long ago. The Feminist Caravan attended the 20 years commemoration and joined this international peace gathering.
What happened in Srebrnica was the result of deep failure of UN international forces for « peace », who failed in fulfilling their mission, which was to protect people of Srebrnica, amongst others. Our great rich states and their armies sacrificed the people of Srebrnica, supposedly to find a peace with the Serbian state. But we wonder what kind of peace was made, when a substantial number of those responsible of these massacres, as well as others that occurred during this war, remained and are still in high positions in the Serbian government. This is still the case of the prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, who came to attend the commemoration. When these crimes against Muslim people of Bosnia were committed, this man publically made statements encouraging these crimes, for example: « for every Serbian killed we will massacre 100 Muslims ».
What is happening around this commemoration of 20 year is frightening. The Serbian state has been supported by Russia not to allow a resolution commemorating the genocide to pass in the Security Council of the United Nations. All protests organized these last days in Belgrade to commemorate were banned, and some activists holding candles were attacked by nationalists. The coming of Vucic to this commemoration was an evident provocation. We stand with our sisters who shouted at him using slogans like « Responsability ! » or « Recognize the genocide ! ».
We do not know who threw a projectile on him and we condamn it, but we know this act was definitely disrupting the strong message for peace that participants wanted to show. We believe all this disruption during the commemoration is the result of an aggressive politics towards survivors of the genocide, as well as people of the Muslim region.
We believe that those responsible for hate crimes are not only the ones that physically attack, but also all the « intellectuals », humorists or politically responsible who call for hate constantly. We are aware that Europe is in a moment of rising of racist and anti-semitic hate, and where responsibility is shared between extremists groups and hate speech mediating personalities.
We have visited Srebrnica. We spoke with women here, we have seen the conditions in which people are living, here in Europe, 20 years after the last genocide. We are shocked. The main road joining Srebrnica to the rest of the country is half destroyed. Because the cities around are belonging to Republika Srpska (of Bosnia), there is no information sign of the road going to Srebrnica. The genocide was only 20 years ago, and people in Srebrnica seem to be forgotten in isolation. The calls for « forgiving » in this context look like lack of respect for human dignity.
Today, 20 years after, we are here to remember and we will not forget all the atrocities committed in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war. We are calling for an end to politics of nationalism and racism which are fostering wars all over the world. We will carry with us this memory because we believe that this is the only way to prevent nationalistic aspirations to beborn again in all countries of Europe.
The rising of fascism in the Balkans is deeply connected with the rising of fascism that, all over Europe, has been taking many forms, so we must be aware that the rising of fascist governments is not something distant from the western European realities. Avoiding fascist politics and wars from happen is an everyday struggle.
Remember the Srebrnica genocide to not allow history to be repeated!
Feminist Caravan – Sarajevo – 14th of July 2015