Srebrenica Genocide: 20 Years of Tears
Her bones looked like tiny needles. Killed the day she was born, Fatima was buried on what was supposed to be her 18th birthday. There are too many mass graves around Srebrenica, so it took her mother 18 years to find Fatima’s remains. Fatima was buried close to her father, grandfather and two uncles – all of them killed during the genocide.
This is not the past. Today is the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, but it marks the beginning of the victims’ suffering – not the end. Without justice, without respect and without their loved ones, the mothers of Srebrenica deal with harassment and shameless genocide denial every day.
The genocide in Srebrenica is the worst war crime in Europe since World War II and was a part of the Bosnian genocide. More than 8000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) were killed and thousands more are still missing. Most of the victims were men and boys – women were separated and thousands were raped and tortured, hundreds of women were also killed.
During the war, tens of thousands of refugees fled to the small town of Srebrenica, because the UN declared it a “safe zone”. Starved, tired and traumatized by ethnic cleansing and genocide in their home cities, the refugees hoped the UN peacekeepers would protect them. But the Dutch peacekeepers stood by while the Serb soldiers were committing crimes that are too horrible and disgusting to describe in this article.
The victims were buried in mass graves, then their corpses were dug out and buried in different mass graves, to hide the crimes. The remains of many victims were spread out in four or more mass graves, making it extremely hard for their families to find them. Many mothers decided to bury only the few bones they found, after losing hope to find the rest of the remains some day.
So here are photographs documenting the present – not a single photograph of the genocide itself, but a lot of evidence of the families’ present pain.