This month sees the 25 th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. More than eight thousand men and boys were murdered by forces under the command of General Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, in July 1995 simply because they belonged to the ‘wrong’ group of people.
Early in 2020 our group conducted a survey amongst our peers to see what they knew about the genocide. The result of the survey was clear: no one had heard of the genocide in Srebrenica. So, as our act of remembrance we decided to create a newspaper to educate others.
The newspaper was months in the preparation. The aim of the group was to publish something that both informed those who knew nothing about the genocide in Srebrenica but was also meaningful to those who were intimately acquainted with the events of July 1995. We expected that we might struggle to find people who were willing to contribute to the newspaper but could not have been more wrong. We were blown away with the generosity of those who contribute their time, thoughts and precious memories to the pieces that they wrote for us or the interviews that they gave us. It was a privilege of the group to have so many different voices appear in the pages of our digital newspaper.
It was very important to us to have the voice of survivors heard. We were so lucky that remarkable people such as Alma Mustafic, Nedzad Avdic, Ahmed Hrustanovic and Hasan Hasanovic and others who escaped from Srebrenica in 1995 gave us their thoughts alongside Safet Vukalic who grew up in Prijedor. Furthermore, we benefited from the wisdom of Smajo Beso who spoke to us about the deliberate destruction of Muslim culture in the form of the built environment and were also very fortunate to interview the UK Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina alongside the President of Remembering Srebrenica, Lord Bourne.
To further educate our peers about the genocide we also asked them to write letters to Nedzad Avdic after they had learned about his story. We also asked others to fill in the name of one of those who had perished on a card (shown below) so that we could post it online to spread the message further. We featured both strands of our #Srebrenica25 project in the newspaper.
We wanted the last image that people would see in the newspaper to be a memorial to those who perished. That is exactly what Luke, from Turing House School, produced for us with stones that he found in his garden. His memorial consisted of eleven white stones and twenty five green ones – together they formed the Srebrenica flower.
We hope that a few people might take a look at our newspaper and that, importantly, the survivors of the terrible genocide will see it as a fitting way to mark the genocide that they lived through just twenty five years ago.
The newspaper article can be found here