Authorities in Srebrenica unveiled on Monday the ‘Monument of Peace’, which was erected on an initiative by the office of the international administrator in Bosnia, but no Bosniak representatives were present at the event.
“This was an idea that was supported by all politicians in Srebrenica and was met with great praise and support from all embassies and ambassadors who visited Srebrenica, as they believed that this message is coming from here. The proposal was adopted in the Srebrenica municipal assembly,” said mayor Mladen Grujicic.
He mentioned that Bosniaks were against the monument.
“Whenever something nice emerges in Srebrenica, there are those who are trying to spoil it, to decrease its beauty, but there are also those who want to send a message of peace, love, coexistence and development of Srebrenica from here and we will continue doing that. Peace has no alternative and anyone who has any sense will see salvation and prosperity in it,” he said.
Grujicic said that it was “unfortunate that someone always boycotts” such events, even among those who initially support them, but noted that Bosniaks are now under a lot of pressure due to the election campaign.
Local elections are to take place on November 15.
Grujicic said that whenever sensitive topics emerge, “Sarajevo enters Srebrenica more than usually” and instead of helping Bosniaks it always spoils whatever good was done in the city.
“So I can’t blame the people who live here for anything, because later they would face a lot of pressure, they would be called traitors, so they did not show up although they wanted to,” he said.
But Bosniaks representatives see it differently.
“Peace doesn’t have an alternative and Bosniaks have proven this by returning here after the genocide,” said deputy mayor Hamdija Fejzic, arguing that the narrative about the monument “went into the wrong direction” and that it was done due to the election year.
“In the end, that monument lost its meaning, and we now see that those who initiated the construction of it, which is the Office of the High Representative (OHR), have also given up on it,” he said, referring to Bosnia’s international administrator tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement.
Former Srebrenica mayor, Camil Durakovic, told N1 previously that he will not attend the event because represents "an attempt to appease the international community" while the mayor, Grujicic, keeps openly denying that a genocide took place in Srebrenica.