The former mayor of the eastern town of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic, told N1 that he will not attend the opening of a monument dedicated to peace in the town on Monday and expressed doubt that any other Bosniaks will show up because the event is only "an attempt to appease the international community" while the mayor keeps openly denying that a genocide took place.
Durakovic said that local authorities should rather focus on building up an atmosphere of peace in the town than building the monument.
“Unfortunately, I heard that some people in the international community expressed support for this and that the initiative passed under pressure in the Srebrenica municipal assembly,” the former Srebrenica mayor said, adding that he would never have built a monument without all citizens agreeing to it.
Durakovic said he was invited but that he will not attend the event and expressed doubt that any other Bosniaks will either. He argued that “a message of peace has turned into a fiasco.”
“There is a monument to the Chetnik duke Kosta Todorovic not far from this monument, just across the street in the park. I thought that if a monument of peace is being built, it should not be located only a few metres away from another one that represents the ideology that committed the genocide in Srebrenica,” he stressed.
“The construction of this monument is an attempt to please the international community and to show that someone here is a peacebuilder while doing everything possible to deny the genocide and the fact that Bosniaks are being discriminated against here almost daily,” Durakovic told N1.
He said that the current mayor of Srebrenica, Mladen Grujicic, “is not a person who can build an atmosphere of peace nor a monument of peace” since he openly denies that a genocide took place in Srebrenica.
“How can we speak about peace with Bosniaks who are victims of the genocide unless you accept facts from the past. Maybe if Mladen Gruijicic would accept those facts then we could speak about some monument for peace or similar things. But talking about peace in Srebrenica now is hypocritical,” Durakovic said.
He also stressed that it became more difficult for Bosniaks living in Srebrenica since Grujicic became mayor four years ago.
“Tensions can be felt in the air,” he said, arguing that Chetnik gatherings, insults and threats targeting Bosniaks can often be seen in the town now.