By way of popular request and for those of you who were unable to visit the exhibition in London during the summer, here is an online version for you to view.
The long Road
In July 1995, just months before the Dayton Agreement ended the Bosnian War, the safe haven enclave of Srebrenica fell to Ratko Mladic and his forces. In the ensuing terror and confusion between 12,000 and 13,000 men and boys tried to escape over of mountainous terrain to free territory near Tuzla. Those unable to walk the 120KM to safety followed their families to the battery factory at Potocari, seeking refuge at the garrison headquarters of the Dutch Battalion assigned by the UN to protect the enclave. As Srebrenica fell, Muslim men and boys as young as 12 were rounded up and held at various locations before being executed. The women and younger children were deported by bus to the UN Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) campsites at Tuzla Airport. Over a period of a few days, around 8,000 Muslim males (and some women) were slaughtered in the largest genocide since WWII and Srebrenica lost its biggest ethnic group of inhabitants.
Rebuilding since the war is a slow process. Some Muslim families have returned, many choose to stay away. Ethnic tensions in the community are close to the surface and there is an uneasy truce between Serb and Bosniak (Muslim) residents. The economic and political landscape is uncertain. Educating the young children in the municipality is a difficult task. The municipality is large and many of the rural communities are too remote for children to bus into the main primary school at Srebrenica. As a result, there is one large campus in the town and 15 smaller satellite schools in outlying areas. These rely heavily on international donations to fund equipment and other resources needed for education.
The vicious fight for land during the war has become a protracted struggle for justice, for remembrance, and for the future of the next generation growing up and entering work in Srebrenica. It is a long road to travel.
Working on a collaborative project with writer and researcher Clare Cook, Kristian Skeie captures images that help to portray the mosaic of life after genocide. This exhibition features some of Kristian’s photographic works that highlight; the struggle for justice and the efforts being made to locate, identify and bury the remains of those executed, the annual peace walk, a symbolic act of remembrance and dedication, and the new generation, born after the war, embarking on their own journey, which begins in an un-reconciled community in which peace and prosperity seem a long way off.
|View of the mosque minarets and Orthodox
church in Srebrenica. |
Both mosques were obliterated during the war and rebuilt afterwards.
|Dogs scavenge for food through household
waste bins in Srebrenica. |
Domestic animals have adapted to the wild.
There is a thriving community of stray, owner-less animals.
|A former sleeping container used by the
Dutch contingent during their deployment|
lies abandoned on the outskirts of Srebrenica.
Containers like this can be found dispersed throughout the town.
|Headmaster Marinko Backovic in
the newly refurbished science suite |
of the main school in Srebrenica.
Improvements were made possible through donations
by Swiss and German organizations.
In contrast, the satellite schools all remain under-resourced.
|Outside financial help has
boosted I.T. and science learning on the main
|A large painting hanging in a corridor of the
main school campus |
depicts Srebrenica in the 1980’s.
Although painted by a local Muslim artist before hostilities began in 1992,
the town’s mosques are omitted from the scene.
|A Swiss student, on a return trip after raising
money for the main school campus, |
surveys another area of need in the building.
|The 73 Muslim children at the Potocari satellite
campus learn in impoverished conditions. |
With such scarce resources to be shared between so many locations
new equipment is rare in the smaller schools.
|The playground of Potocari school. |
Adjacent buildings still retain the pockmarks of gunfire.
|Hajra Catic, one of the leaders of the Women|
of Srebrenica organization, at her daily work in the organization’s HQ.
The office walls are covered with photographs
of the men that went missing from Srebrenica in July 1995.
|Noura Begic, a leader of the Women of
Srebrenica Association, |
campaigns tirelessly for justice on behalf of the mothers, wives and children
who lost loved ones in the genocide.
Remembrances of Genocide
The Annual Peace March
|En route to Mars Mira. The national army help with logistics and setting up camps.|
|A local Red Cross official makes final
for the beginning of the walk.
The photographs on display remind participants
of the conditions in which people fled Srebrenica in 1995.
|The evening before the walk begins.|
Officials estimate that 7,000 walkers have gathered in the village of Nezuk.
Local teenagers turn out to view the spectacle.
|Packing up before a day of walking. |
|The walkers route takes in many remote
villages along the way. |
|Local women prepare tea for walkers as they
pass through their villages. |
|Water stops are crucial in the summer heat.|
|A new generation of young men join Mars Mira.|
|“It’s a sign of my support, it’s the least I can do.” |
Muhamed Smailhozic, a Bosnian forester
joins Mars Mira each year.
|War injuries make kneeling difficult.|
|Each night water tanks are brought to the remote campsites.|
|The evenings of Mars Mira are filled with
stories and eyewitness accounts of the genocide.
|Some participants prefer to use the military tents|
provided for overnight shelter.
Other walkers bring their own.
|The end of a day of walking. |
44km of mountainous, rough terrain has been covered.
Living with genocide.
|The mortuary at the Podrine Identification
Centre, Tuzla. |
Trays hold sacks of earth-sodden skeletal remains
recovered by forensic pathologists from excavated burial sites.
Paper bags of personal possessions and remains of clothing
are stored above.
|A forensic pathologist at the Podrigne Identification
explains the long process of DNA identification.
So far the remains of about 6,000 individuals have been identified.
|The remains of the dead to be buried at Potocari |
are brought by UN truck to the Memorial Center.
They are blessed by Imam Damir Pestalic and other clerics
the evening before burial.
|520 caskets ready for morning burial. |
|The burial ceremony at Potocari is held each year on 11th July.|
|Family members carry the caskets of the dead to their final resting place in Potocari.|
|Advija Krdzic: “The day they called to say they
had identified his remains was the day I felt he
Read Advija's story Click here