Marcus Tanner: Bosnian Muslims will not forget their suffering

Share
Related Topics

No one who ever got into besieged Srebrenica will forget it. Crammed with Muslim refugees from all over eastern Bosnia, the price of its resistance to the surrounding Bosnian Serbian army was unbelievable suffering.

On 28 November 1992, I got into Srebrenica, eight months into the siege, with the first UN aid convoy. We drove past a gauntlet of Serbian women, screaming abuse, spitting and shouting "No food for Muslims!" The relief felt in the town was enormous. People ran out of their houses, crying. They thought the world had woken up to their plight. They were famously wrong.

The UN started to feed the town, in a niggardly fashion. It also disarmed the locals because the Serbs told them to, and stood by when the Bosnian Serb warlord General Ratko Mladic marched in and killed every boy and man he could lay his hands on in July 1995.

This was no instant, frenzied slaughter. It took days, for thousands of people had fled into the forest and had to be lured out and tricked into handing themselves over. Just 3,749 bodies have since been recovered from mass graves and reburied. Thousands of others remain in the pits into which they were flung.

Serbia is ruled today by different people from the men who perpetrated this atrocity. The youthful President, Boris Tadic, has his eyes fixed on the EU. He wants to draw a line between his kind of Serbia – modern, European, a good neighbour – and the paranoid, mafia-ridden militarised state of Slobodan Milosevic.

And Mr Tadic has gone ahead of public opinion in Serbia in his efforts to bring closure to the Srebrenica issue, attending the 10th anniversary commemorations of the slaughter in 2005, for example.

What impact these gestures will have on Bosnian Muslim opinion is another matter. The failure to mention the word "genocide" in the Serbian resolution will anger Bosnian Muslims. But perhaps what matters to them most is that Mladic remains a free man. To that extent, they will say nothing has changed.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Children of a bygone era  

Kids these days aren't what they used to be — they're a lot better. So why the fuss?

Archie Bland
A suited man eyes up the moral calibre of a burlesque troupe  

Be they burlesque dancers or arms dealers, a bank has no business judging the morality of its clients

John Walsh
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star