Although I thought I was mentally prepared for the events of last week, sitting down this morning to write, I feel as though I am still processing everything I saw, heard, and felt at Potocari. The experience of attending the commemoration service for this year’s newly identified victims of the Srebrenica genocide has had a profound impact on me – one that I feel I am hardly capable of adequately describing in several hundred words.
The remains of 534 individuals were buried this Saturday at the memorial center in Potocari, a village near Srebrenica in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). As coffin after coffin went by in what seemed like a never-ending procession, I struggled to think about what this meant to the families of victims who had come to Potocari that day to bury their loved ones. The individuals buried included boys as young as 14; children whose lives were cut short in the worst possible of ways. Others were old men who left behind entire families. How are their wives, sisters, and daughters expected to cope with this kind of loss?
Beba Hadzic, BOSFAM’s Director, introduced me to a 14-year-old girl who was at Potocari to bury a father she had never known. She was only six months old when the genocide occurred. I cannot personally grasp what she must have been feeling on Saturday. The only real memory of her father she will have for entire life will be the day that she watched the remnants of his body go into a hole in the ground.
While there may be comfort in searching for explanations, there is no logical reason why human beings would do such a thing to one another. It simply does not make sense. I am overwhelmed by the pain the survivors must deal with everyday, and hope that those who recently buried their friends and relatives are able to find closure. My wish, like that of the organization I have the privilege to currently work with, is that there will never be another Srebrenica anywhere, ever again.
Posted By Alison Sluiter
Posted Jul 13th, 2009