blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff
After 5 hours journey, we finally arrived in Srebrenica. Miki took us to the heart of the city, upright near an Orthodox church, where he explained us about the facts of the genocide, the involvement of the United Nations, the run of the events…
Then we went to a school / homestay. After leaving our stuff, we visited the site of the memorial where we witnessed on one hand the arrival of the runners, who performed a “Peace March” from 3 to 15 days in bicycles, motorcycles or by walking in memory of the genocide, and on the other hand the arrival of 175 numbered green coffins, which were drop off in columns.
After having gathered with families, we ate a real homemade Bosnian meal with garden vegetables and goat cheese. Then, we watched a report about the genocide, referring to testimonies from victims and images filmed by the Serbian army, a shocking movie especially after what we saw that day.
Before going to sleep, some of us went to attend the evening prayer with the Bosnian families in the middle of a thunderstorm.
The next day with one of my roommate, we got up around 7:30 am. Despite the fact that some access to the memorial were not allowed, notably because of the preparation of the ceremony, we visited the premises of the United Nations, abandoned and dilapidated, to better visualize the circumstances of the facts. It became clearer to us when we met two Bosnian who showed us exactly where the events, linked to the Genocide, were held: killings, rapes, displacements … We understood how the army was organized, how did they communicate fear and were mistreating Bosniaks.
We then joined the group for breakfast before we went to the ceremony celebrating the 19th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide. 20,000 people came to pay tribute to and honour the victims and families of victims. The commemoration in Potocari cemetery took place after the Friday’s prayer.
Afterwards, families carried the 175 coffins wrapped in green cloth and placed them in their graves to rest in peace alongside 6,006 previously discovered victims.
To bring to a close that emotional day, we went to an exhibit held in a kind of an abandoned factory, where we had the opportunity to see the work pictured by the photographer Tarik Samarah while the Genocide and after. All his pictures reflect a sentence said by the Serbian army to some Bosniaks during that time: « Do you want to stay or to survive? ».