By Ahmed J Versi
409 Muslim men, including a newborn baby, were buried during the 18th anniversary of massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica by Serbian Christian soldiers as UN protection army looked on. Among those re-buried in Srebrenica were 43 teenage boys and a baby born during the massacre. Another 2,306 still remain officially missing.
The commemoration on July 11 at Potočari Memorial Center near Srebrenica included the symbolic burial of the remains of 409 victims of the July 1995 genocide.
The baby girl died shortly after birth in July 1995 at the UN base in Potocari. The baby’s mother, Hava Muhic, was there to bury her. The tiny grave was near her Hava’s husband’s grave. A simple wooden marker above the little green coffin says: Newborn Muhic (father Hajrudin) 11.07.1995 – the single date marking both birth and death.
President of the Commemorative Board, Camil Durakovic, urged those attending, to “work to make Srebrenica a place of peace and tolerance” to send a message that “this will never happen again.”
President of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, Munira Subasić, said, “Each marking of the anniversary of the crime is more difficult, and every year an apology and repentance is expected of those who are directly responsible.”
The town was a designated “safe area” guarded by UN peacekeeping troops, but they abandoned their posts in the face of advancing Bosnian Serb forces and did not defend the 8,000 Muslims who were being murdered by Serbian forces.
“Innocent and helpless victims were faced with the cold and merciless hatred of criminals akin to those in the Nazi camps of Hitler’s Germany,” said Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency.
“We have been asking ourselves through these 18 years – what could they have been guilty of, and to whom, in those hellish days?” said Izetbegovic, the son of Bosnia’s wartime President, Alija Izetbegovic. He added that the genocide would always be “a dark stain on the palm of the international community.”
Former Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Dr Mustafa Ceric, said that the “message of the Bosniak Muslim victims of the Srebrenica genocide to the Muslim Ummah of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Tunisia, Libya, Mali” is that they should “be conscious of Allah and follow the path of the Messenger of Allah who has taught us the lesson of Hudaybiyya so that we know that the way out of bloodshed is peace and tolerance” and he said that the reason why the Bosnian Muslim “innocent men and boys were killed because of their being Muslims.”
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said, “It is important that we don’t forget these events. Srebrenica was a stark demonstration of what can happen when hatred, discrimination and evil are allowed to go unchecked.”
In the war by Serbia, which invaded Bosnia and Hercegovina, 100,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed, two million were made refugees, 30,000 to 50,000 Muslim women were raped.