My boss, her husband and I went to Potocari on Thursday to visit the memorial site of the Srebrenica massacre. I had seen pictures of it on television so I was familiar with the set up. When one first walks in there is a large covered area, where the services are held. Around the covered dome there are the names etched of all the victims. This is a new aspect of the memorial and not completed, though they are slated to finish it soon. I looked at the names, thousands of them. What strikes you is the fact that there are entire families and generations all together, as many as twenty people, all with the same last name, grandfathers, sons, brothers and uncles all there written in stone. They also have their date of birth next to the name and I am struck by how many of the victims were simply young boys, all of whom perished in the massacre. Then there are the graves too, the grave diggers were preparing the 500 or so new places for the ceremony on July 11th. 11 years later and there are only 2,000 or so victims buried here. The reason for this is that the organization responsible for identifying the bodies waits until they find the entire remains to bury the victim. It is a sad fact, that can’t be helped but from talking to Beba she says it doesn’t help the survivors as they are at a loss to find some sort of peace in their loved ones laying to rest.
Beba points across the road to what looks like an old factory. She says that was the UN base during the war. The UN declared Srebrenica a safe zone before the massacre. The factory is now being turned into a museum.
I’ll be back here on July 11th for the memorial with the throngs of mourners, journalists and dignitaries but for now I’m being shuffled away as Beba says she doesn’t like to stay here long. Having known so many of the names in marble, I can certainly understand this.
Posted By Yvette Barnes (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Posted Jun 29th, 2006