victims of Srebenica
2nd Lt. Oliver Rolofs
First published in
SFOR Informer#166, October, 2003
On 20 Sep 2003, more than 20,000 people commemorated the
victims of the Serb mass killings within the Muslim population
in 1995. In the inauguration ceremony for the memorial the
former US President Bill Clinton appealed for the audience
to show forgiveness. Members of the Bosnian State Presidium,
representatives of the International Community, Republika
Srpska and of Serbia-Montenegro attended the ceremony in the
town of Potocari, near Srebrenica.
Ex-president Clinton inaugurated the memorial, adjacent to
a cemetery for the victims exhumed from mass graves. 107 victims
of the massacre were interred during the ceremony.
Srebenica - The beautiful late-summer day could not obscure
the fact, that this is a place associated with one of the
most brutal acts of genocide in Europe. Emotions reached its
peak at the moment when the song "Srebrenica Inferno"
sounded across the mournful site with its impressive memorial
for the mass killing of Muslim citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina
(BiH). A touching moment that demonstrated the inner turmoil,
sorrow and pain suffered by these mourners, recalling what
they had experienced during a chaotic wartime in BiH. The
obvious despair of the women, men and children, triggered
by this touching song, was reflected in the faces of all those
In July 1995, Serb troops had seized the UN protection zone
Srebrenica. Within the seized ring around the city, 40,000
people were living in cramped conditions, believing they were
safe. Once they realized their situation they tried to escape
but to no avail. More than 7,000 male Muslims were killed
"Mankind was killed", described the spokeswoman
of the victims of Srebrenica, Mrs. Advija Ibrahimovic, the
powerlessness people faced with this atrocity: to extinguish
the life of human beings whose religion and entity did not
comply with the ideology of others.
Bill Clinton, had appealed to the International Community
to take action against these atrocities, and was the one who
authorised NATO's bombing of the Serb Army, in order to prevent
further genocide. In his speech to the mourners he referred
to those involved in the past as being "the bad people
that killed the good ones", adding.
The former US president also demanded the authorities not
to be negligent in tracking down the war criminals. "Those
responsible for these crimes, those leaders, are still at
large, and we should not stop pursuing these culprits until
they are apprehended".
"The massacre of Srebrenica should be a reminder to all
people in this world and be considered a memorial to humanity."
Love ones neighbour
He encoureged the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to raise
their children without hatred but rather with the virtues
of trust and tolerance. In addition, he asked the relatives
of the victims to forgive and not remain a prisoner of hatred.
Clinton concluded his speech by saying both the Bible and
the Koran, told people to love one's neighbour and to tolerate
him. To quote the words of a prayer used at the ceremony,
"A nation is raising out of the ashes of Srebrenica,
determined to prevent such atrocities from happening again".
This is a message to all the people of the world not to permit
such a crime to happen a second time.
Related link: Historic