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What’s the Weather Like in Srebrenica? PDF Print E-mail

If you ask me, on the 11th of July this year, it was very sunny, and very sad. These kinds of statements are hardly imaginable in every day life, but there are so many things which, like the crime at Srebrenica, are hard to imagine; things about which we have never started a dialogue resulting in reasonable conclusions.

This year, on that same 11th of July, 308 newly-identified remains of Srebrenica victims were buried. As graves were dug in the ground under the hot sun of Srebrenica, the families – mostly mothers, sisters, relatives, wives and daughters of the murdered – waited beside the graves for the arrival of the tabut (coffin) with the bones of their loved one. Although this was not my first time in Srebrenica, it was still my first time seeing the burial ceremonies. At funerals, I always stand aside at the moment when the man is lowered into the grave. It is a moment for which I am still not ready. I sat apart from the burial ceremony, across from the open grave, around which approximately ten women were standing. The tabuts arrive in procession and are buried in order. There were two more tabuts, and after them, the one these women were waiting for arrived. And then, these women who were until then standing and sitting very calmly, packed up their things, and began to walk around the grave, as if in the theater; very coordinated and without crossing each other’s path. There was a strange sense of panic, because this was the moment they had been waiting for for years. Thirteen years, to be more precise. The arrival of the ones who you love can be so different. That panic was very moving. When the tabut was brought, these women were very calm; they were crying but not sobbing, one could hear only soft gasps now and then – again, this unimaginable situation. Before the tabut was lowered into the ground, an older woman, the mother I suppose, asked the young boys holding the tabut if she could dust it off first. She dusted it with her hands; it took only a few movements, the tabut was so small. Within a few minutes, it was covered with the earth.

These are moments when I truly don’t know how to react. All those women looked at me in the eyes more than once, maybe asking themselves why I was sitting there...I do not know...the man who was buried was a year younger than I am. Maybe they thought I knew him, I could interpret it in so many ways.
Then I think how would it be to approach them and say that I’m sorry. And then they would ask me where I was from, and then I would say I’m from Belgrade – I don’t know how they would take that.

This year so many things have changed. When we arrived, everyone greeted us. We held a banner on which was written Solidarity. We shook hands with mothers of Srebrenica victims, the mayor of Sarajevo, and many other delgations. To „Good Day“ I reply „Good Day’; to „Thank you for coming,“ I have no reply.

On our way back to Belgrade I was called in to a live program on a television station in Tuzla. They called to ask how it was in Srebrenica, how many people were there from Serbia, how we were welcomed...at th end, the moderator asks me about the new Serbian government. I become confused – what was I talking about up until that moment? About Srebrenica, about victims, about the regime who was an accomplice to that crime, about remembering and rememberance, about the desire for it never to happen again, about the regime of Slobodan Milsevic and his Socialist Party which is again on our doorstep!?

Is that normal? Even if I wanted to, I cannot install this little patriotic program in myself and say that „this country and its government are doing something good.“ President Boris Tadic has taken it upon himself to make a coalition with the recidivist fascist regime of Sloblodan Milosevic. I don’t know whether there is any other state with a government that makes idiots of its own citizens in a more visible way than this one. Do they expect that on my way back from Srebrenica, I will present my Serbian passport at the border crossing at Ljubovija, and as soon as I cross into my homeland, forget about those mothers from the beginning of this story, forget about those fresh graves, and forget about those 308 tabuts buried this year? And then should I be glad because here, even with all our efforts, we are still only forming some quasi-democratic government, which consists of the same people involved in the politics which caused the genocide in Srebrenica? And people here who know all that and are still silent – they act as if it weren’t rude to talk about this internal Serbian reconciliation on the 11th of July. Isn’t reconciliation an act that is meant to affirm dignity, and not humiliation? We are humiliated, all of us who ever used to support the DS Party and Tadic, who are now expressing that syndrom of the instant coffee „Two in One“ – you vote for DS and you get DS with SPS and Krkobabic besides, as sweetener.

It is really shameful that only a couple of days before the anniversary of the genocide, Ivica Dacic was appointed the new minister of the police. I keep imagining asking him whether the next public action organized by Women in Black for the 14th anniversary of the massacre will have adequate security, and he asks me what I am afraid of, and I say „Well – I’m afraid of your guys – those who have been in production from 1989 up until the moment when you took the minister’s chair.“ Humiliating.

The only thing that remains to us, simple citizens, is to rebel. To quote the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, „You must learn to offer resistance and to fight – fight and rebel every day!“ Together with Women in Black we were standing on the Republic Square on the 10th of July holding banners saying „Responsibility“ and „Solidarity,“ screening the film „Women of Srebrenica Speak,“ a film by Milica Tomic, to the citizens of Belgrade. It was strange – the darkened square, women from Srebrenica talking to Serbia, Belgrade remaining silent; with only now and then a person coming up to spit at us. Fewer than previous years, however.

I don’t know, I can only suppose that the citizens started to feel let down, and they started to wonder why the felt that way. It’s hard to take responsibility for what we did, for the ballots that we cast, for the hunger that we felt, for the poverty that we approved, for the victims who were killed in our name.

I want to believe that, if that shameful agreement is signed, the people will take to the streets, saying „This is enough!“ I am sure that I will be among them – because they are doing it for themselves, and because of the deep human desire that the 11th of July, 1995 never, and in no place happens again – and never in my name!


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