Jasmina Tesanovic: A Burial in Srebenica

Burial Ceremony in Srebrenica, 11 July 2006
Jasmina Tesanovic
photos by Biljana Rakocevic

Eleven years after the biggest European genocide
since World War Two, little has changed in the
Balkans. Eight thousand Muslim civilians were
executed in Srebrenica by Serbian soldiers in a couple
of days. Some fraction of the bodies have been
excavated from mass graves in the passing years, then
re-buried on the site with due honors.

I know a woman who lost seven male members of her
family in 1995. She told me: during the first years
after the pogrom, we were looking for our men. Now we
hope to find a bone to bury.

She is smiling, her face has a compulsive yet
sincere peace to it. She continues: there is nothing
we can do now but wait and hope for peace and justice
to reach us all. We don't want revenge, says her older
friend, who lost a 17 year old son in the massacre. I
don't hate Serbian people. I am not afraid of coming
to Belgrade even, to follow the trial of those who did
it. I was not afraid back then to go to the Serbian
authorities in Bosnia and ask for my son. Why should
I be afraid now when some of the killers are finally
[continued after the jump]

The last session in the special court for war
crimes in Belgrade is an upheaval, from the six
indicted Scorpions behind the bars and their
nationalist defense-lawyers. Only ten days ago the
Muslim leader Naser Orlic, who was presumed
responsible for war crimes against the Serbs in
Srebrenica, was set free by the Hague tribunal: NOT
GUILTY. The Serbian paramilitary considered their
own depredations to be vengeance against the likes of
Orlic. So these Serbian nationalists, who never felt
guilty at all, even though they committed the
executions and documented it, now hunger for revenge
against the acquitted Orlic.

Ratko Mladic, the
general responsible for the Srebrenica genocide, has
been in hiding for years. The international forces
who looked the other way during the killings have not
been held to account either. The international
troops were not purged, and their own case will be
re-opened soon. A new book published by a survivor
witness, called From the Grave is demanding that all
responsible parties should speak out.

Milosevic died in prison, but was never proved
guilty. The American ambassador in Belgrade is asking
the Serbian authorities for official indictments for
American citizens killed during the '99 Milosevic raid
against Albanians — these emigres were members of the
Albanian militia OVK in Kosovo. The Srebrenica mothers
are refusing to speak to Carla Del Ponte because of
her failure to arrest the Bosnian war criminals. On
July 11, Srebrenica was commemorated once again, and
the Women in Black, who had a public standing in
Belgrade, were insulted as always but had more police
protection than usual. The chief inheritors of the
Balkan wars are the international network of war
criminals, and their busy traffic in sex, weapons and
drugs is strengthening in the region: the
Globalization of Balkanization…

George Bush took note that paramilitary and
terrorists around the world ignore the Geneva war
convention, so he unilaterally decided that his
national superpower would behave in just the same way.

As citizens of this balkanized globe, what are we
waiting for? Do we expect a saviour on a white horse
with a nuclear missile on his head? In Auschwitz,
the German Catholic Pope asked for the presence of
God. I believe that this world's common people could
restore its common sense of justice. Srebrenica may be
the right place:
the valley has the captive beauty of a place of a
crime, there where men have wronged the nature rebels.

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Jasmina Tesanovic is an author, filmmaker, and wandering thinker who shares her thoughts with BoingBoing from time to time. Email: politicalidiot at yahoo dot com. Her blog is here.

Previous essays by Jasmina Tesanovic on BoingBoing:

Report from a concert by a Serbian war criminal
To Hague, to Hague

Preachers and Fascists, Out of My Panties

Floods and Bombs

Scorpions Trial, April 13
The Muslim Women 
– Belgrade: New Normality
Serbia: An Underworld Journey
Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
The Long Goodbye
Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
Slobodan Milosevic Died
Milosevic Funeral