AP NEWS

Local Bosnians to remember victims of Srebrenica genocide

July 14, 2018

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — After fleeing war and genocide in Bosnia that claimed the lives of several family members, Sabina Husic remembers having to box that pain and grief away to start a new life with her family in Bowling Green.

“When we came here to the United States, it was a very big burden to carry,” said Husic, who came to the U.S. when she was 8 years old, not knowing whether she would see her family again.

This month, Bosnian community members will bring that grief out into the open with a walk to remember the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, a massacre during which 8,372 men and boys were hunted and killed by Serbian forces that overran a United Nations safe zone.

Beginning at 4 p.m. at Circus Square Park, local Bosnians will gather to honor the lives lost in Srebrenica, and those killed across Bosnia and Herzegovina and in genocides around the world.

July 11 marks the 23rd anniversary of Europe’s worst massacre since World War II, but for Husic and many other Bosnians, that pain is still raw.

Husic lost three uncles, a cousin and her grandfather in violence that first broke out in 1992 with the start of the Bosnian civil war.

The ethnically-rooted war broke out in a former republic of Yugoslavia with a multiethnic population of Bosniaks (Muslim Bosnians), Serbs and Croats. It didn’t end until a cease-fire agreement was negotiated in 1995.

At first, Husic and her family held out hope of reuniting with lost family members one day, but that hope faded as the years went by.

“You cannot have peace and you cannot have closure where you have no idea where that person is,” said Husic, one of the walk’s organizers.

Victims’ remains are still being identified and recovered from mass graves.

Recently, hundreds of people gathered in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo to pay respects to 35 victims of the Srebrenica massacre as a truck carried their coffins to a final resting place, The Associated Press reported.

Many of the remains were torn apart. Experts have needed to use DNA analysis to put a body together with bones found in locations miles apart as the perpetrators attempted to hide the war crime, the AP reported. An international court has labeled the killings as genocide.

Those interested in learning more about the history of the genocide can attend a symposium being held at the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University.

Amer Salihovic, a local Bosnian helping organize the walk, also lost several family members to the genocide.

For him, the walk is a chance for the Bosnian community to move forward and give back to a community that has become a new home.

Organizers are asking walk participants to bring backpacks that will be donated to local schoolchildren, and they are also selling commemorative T-shirts to raise money for school supplies for kids in Srebrenica.

The walk is also a chance to speak out against genocide around the world, he said.

“People are being butchered and killed because they are different, and that is not right,” he said. “As a country, we need to stand up.”

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com

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