6,610 genocide victims lie in the Potocari Memorial

6,610 genocide victims lie in the Potocari Memorial Izvor: N1/Ilustracija

The burial ceremony for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide has ended, and international officials, political representatives and those who walked the Peace March have mostly left. The families of those who were laid to rest remain at the site, as they have been waiting for this moment for the past 23 years.

Among those who remained in the memorial is Elma Smajic-Bajramovic whose father’s bones were found more than a year ago, somewhere in the forest.

“It is difficult… difficult. I last saw him in 1992. We escaped to Tuzla but my brother and he remained in Srebrenica. I still haven’t found my brother. It’s important that we preserve the memory of them, that we come here in great numbers, that more and more people come here, so that we and those who committed this crime are constantly reminded of this, and that we continue to live in spite of everything,” Elma said.

Among the white tombstones is the married couple of Remzija and Nijazija Dudic. Mediha Dudic is waiting for their remains. Years before, Mediha buried her father and brother, and she is still waiting for another brother whom she will bury on July 11.

“I took my pills. An ambulance was at my address almost daily. It is sad and difficult to be here. God willing that we find their bones, that they find their peace, that we know where to come and say a prayer for them. This way we don’t know where they are,” Mediha said.

Next to the grave, Hasena Smajic is waiting for the casket containing the remains of her father-in-law Hamed Smajic. Hamed's wife could not come. Hasena says, she would not be able to stand it.  

“My husband was killed. We know nothing of him, so we waited that they find anything from him so we could bury them together, however, my mother-in-law is so weak that we decided to bury at least one of them while she’s still alive, so one of them could find their peace. Every July 11 is the same for me. Ever since it starts on July 1, I'm barely alive,” Hasena said.

Kadefa Rizvanovic is one of those who survived what happened in Srebrenica, but lost 20 members of her family.

“It is sorrow and pain that cannot be described. I teach my children not to hate, not to divide people by their religious or national affiliation or by the colour of their skin. (I teach them) to have friends on all sides. (I teach them) not to hate – but not to forget,” she told N1. "There are still those who deny the genocide in Srebrenica ever happened. “What kind of mind could deny the genocide after seeing these tombstones?" she asked.

On July 11, 1995, 8,372 Bosniaks, mostly men and boys were separated and killed by Bosnian Serb forces. So far, 6,610 victims were buried and more than 1,000 persons are still missing.

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