Kapoor Year 14A: The Balkans travel blog

There Are Three Main Museums In Sarajevo That Focus On The Civil...

We Decided To Visit The One About The Genocide That Took Place...

We Were Adults With Young Children When This War Was Raging, We...

The Walls Of The Initial Foyer Were Covered On All Sides With...

I Was Rather Worried About Seeing Photos And Videos That Would Haunt...

But The Museum Was Not A 'House Of Horrors', It Was Unforgettable...

I Chose Not To Take Too Many Photos, And None Of The...


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BACKGROUND

Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Eastern Europe chapter Bosnia has to say about the Srebrenica Exhibition at the Galerija 11-07-95:

“This new gallery uses stirring visual imagery and video footage to create a powerful memorial to more than 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre, one of the most infamous events of the Bosnian civil war. You’ll need well over an hour to make the most of a visit.”

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

We chose to visit the Srebrenica Exhibition as the first of the museums that focused on the Civil War. We decided we would learn more about the events that occurred in Sarajevo itself later in the week that we planned to be in the city. I had long held the horrific number of 8,000 men and boys killed in a matter of days in what was supposed to be a safe zone for Muslim families.

Despite knowing that, it was still shocking to walk into the first room and learn that exactly 8,372 individuals had been confirmed by DNA analysis. A massacre of 372 innocent people would have been shocking enough, but these were just the ‘extras’ that had been added to what the world had previously learned to be the extent of the ‘genocide’.

We both took some time to view the individual photos of those lost to their womenfolk and youngsters, and it was shocking to see how many of the boys were barely in their teens. I was a little bit reluctant to move on to the rest of the museum, because I didn’t know what other kind of imagery awaited us.

I have to say both the many large photographs and the video presentation were about as easy on the heart as could possibly be done under such circumstances. We learned more about the events leading up to the mass executions and only some of the reasons why they weren’t prevented by the international peacekeepers.

We also learned that the museum used the terms ‘aggressors’ and ‘survivors’ and ‘people killed’ rather than identify the various religious groups that were involved in the civil war, to try avoid inflaming still seething emotional tensions. It’s also true that atrocities were committed by all parties during the civil war, Srebrenica stands out because of the huge numbers in such a short period of time.

The questions I asked myself at the time, and that remain unanswered is, ‘how do the hundreds of surviving women carry on after losing their husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, and grandfathers all at once? How does such a large religious community reestablish itself after being so harshly treated?’

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