Friday, July 11, 2014

Before 9/11 There Was 7/11:
The Srebrenica Massacre

Flashback Friday is our new/old feature for running the best of my older articles.

I first posted this article on 7/11/2010. I will repost this every year on this anniversary.

The Srebrenica morgue in Tuzla:
The stench of this place haunts me to this day.

Nineteen years ago today there began a orgy of industrially-planned genocide at a little town in western Bosnia known as Srebrenica. At the end of a weeklong period, some 5500 "military" aged Bosnian male prisoners of war from ages 15 to 85 were deliberately massacred in an act of stone cold state-sponsored genocide. Some 2500 others died unarmed on a battlefield in an act that was technically an act of war (think the Iraqi "Highway of Death" of 1991) but which compounded the slaughter of the prisoners. Together that made about 8000 or so dead, or some 1% of the Bosnian Muslim population of the entire country (2% of its males), the equivalent of 3,000,000 American men and boys.

On 7/11/2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say about the Srebrenica Massacre:
Today we remember the tragic events in Srebrenica 15 years ago. I join President Obama and the people of the United States in offering our deepest condolences on this most solemn occasion. We honor the memories of the victims and mourn with their families.

The United States stands with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all countries in the region who wish to foster peace and reconciliation. We remain committed to ensuring that those responsible for these crimes face justice. We recognize that there can be no lasting peace without justice. It is only by bringing all responsible parties to account for their crimes that we will truly honor Srebrenica’s victims.

We are duty-bound – to the victims, to their surviving family members, and to future generations – to prevent such atrocities from happening again. Our common faith in the value of freedom and peace unifies us and drives us to act. That is why we are committed to working with all the communities that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward and build a pluralistic, democratic state that can take its rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic community. A prosperous, free, and unified Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most worthy monument to those who lost their lives at Srebrenica and the best guarantee against such a tragedy ever repeating itself.
This marks the first time I can say I am in full agreement with Hillary about anything.

If you have five or ten minutes, please take the time to read Wikipedia's article about the Srebrenica massacre. You may not be glad that you did, but it's the right thing to do.

Srebrenica was where the World, after saying "never again" in 1945, shrugged its collective shoulders and said, "Well, never say never." Christ forgive us.

ADDENDUM: A poem forwarded me by my Bosnian friend Jasmina H, now a happily married American citizen in Texas. The English text is a freely modified Google machine translation.

Srebrenica, moja majka

O Allahu Milostivi Samilosni
spusti kišu srebrenu,
umij lice moje majke
i šamiju bijelu njenu.

O Allahu Milostivi Samilosni
rijeka suza nek potopi
sve katile i dželate,
da se zlo ne ponovi.

O Allahu Milostivi Samilosni
spusti kišu srebrenu
umij lice Srebrenice

Srebrenica, my mother 

O Allah the Beneficent the Merciful 
[Let fall] silver rain drops, 
Wash clean my mother’s face
Leave her clear of tears

O Allah the Beneficent the Merciful 
Let rivers of tears drown 
The guilty and all the executioners, 
so that evil does not happen again. 

O Allah the Beneficent the Merciful 
rain down silver 
let it wash your face 
O Srebrenica

*The name Srebrenica means “Silverton.”

For more from MSB about the Srebrenica Genocide:

Bosnia: After A Decade It Still Haunts

A Srebrenica Christmas: History is What Happens To You

A Srebrenica New Years: On Memory, Denial and Forgetfulness

And if you are particularly courageous.... (WARNING NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH!)

Srebrenica: A Cry From The Grave

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Keep it clean for gene.