This week is the 23rd anniversary of the joint pain of Muslims and the whole of humanity, the Srebrenica Massacre.
In 1995, the massacre committed at Srebrenica was the worst genocide seen on European soil since the Second World War. Despite 23 years passing since the tragic events at Srebrenica, the pain and suffering experienced remains fresh in minds.
In Bosnia, mourning and sorrow marks the date of 11 July, the anniversary of a dark page in European history. The pain is still fresh for the widows who remember their husbands and sons that were slaughtered or disappeared. Many families have not been able to say their final goodbye to their loved ones as despite twenty-three years passing, there are still hundreds of corpses of martyrs that have not been recovered from the mass graves prepared by their murderers.
The Srebrenica atrocity has gone down in history as one of the greatest crimes against humanity. Srebrenica was once known for its curative waters, minerals and precious metals; however, it has now come to be known as the dreariest town on the face of the earth.
Signs of oppression and killing mark this deserted town which nowadays only becomes populated on the 11th of July each year.
On this day, people from Bosnia and around the World participate in remembrance of the Martyrs killed at Srebrenica. In fact, thousands participate in the Annual Marsh Mira, ‘The March of Peace’, which is a 70km walk along the “death road” to remember the tragedy.
During the Bosnian War, the World witnessed prison camps, a blockade of Sarajevo which spanned years, systematic rape and murder, ethnic cleaning and genocide. The “Safe Zones” determined by the United Nations became “Death Zones”. Unfortunately, after the Bosnian War the pain experienced in Muslim geographies has continued to increase.
Despite this attempt at genocide against our brethren in Bosnia they were not defeated. Rather they lived a victory because they did not violate the moral and ethical rules of war. The wise and brave Bosnian leader Aliya Izetbegovic says to this tragic end “we would prefer to be the dignified defeated, then the undignified victor.” In saying so he become an example of the Islamic model for dealing with those who are oppressing you. He gave preference to being the oppressed rather than being the oppressor. In this respect he is like a living tafsir of the ayah in Ali-Imran:
those to whom people said, “The people have gathered against you; so, fear them.” It increased them in Faith and they said, “Allah is fully sufficient for us, and the best One in whom to trust.” [3:173]
Today we have explained the barbarism faced by our beloved brothers slaughtered in Srebrenica. Laid out before their eyes was a case of psychotic racism and the most extreme form of hatred. As brothers in humanity we are to reflect deeply over this massacre. In fact, this massacre is filled with great lessons for all of humanity. For this reason, let us never forget – rather let us not even give ourselves permission to forget and let us continue to pass down the accounts of this tragedy from generation to generation. Like the famous saying of Aliya Izetbegovic “A genocide that can be forgotten will be repeated.”
For these kinds of attempts at genocide and violations of human rights to never again be repeated, every individual has a conscious need to jointly condemn and take action with whatever is within their power. May Allah have mercy on all of our martyrs. Amin.