Statement on the occasion of opening the monument to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, Windsor
Ladies, and gentlemen, dear genocide victims, dear friends, I have been honored and it is my pleasure to address you, as a witness to the events in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the 20th century, a scholar and a genocide victim, on this occasion of opening the monument to the victims – today in Windsor, and to present my opinion, my views, and a message.
It has been a generally accepted fact that at the end of the 20th century in the heart of Europe, Serbia and Montenegro and their authorities – pseudo-state creation Republika Srpska committed in a small Balkan state – the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the crime of genocide against Bosniacs, members of a national, ethnic, and religious group as such. This crime of genocide, by its extent, intensity, intentions, modus operandi, objectives, and consequences, was particularly noticeable in Srebrenica, the UN Safe Area in July 1995, when the Serbian aggressor (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – Serbia and Montenegro) along with their (Serb) collaborators and fifth-column from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the accomplices from the dominant part of the international community, in and around UN Safe Area Srebrenica, during only one week in July 1995, captured, killed and buried in mass graves thousands of Bosniacs; buried alive hundreds of them; mutilated and slaughtered men, women, and boys; killed children before their mothers; forced a grandfather to eat the liver of his grandson; raped women and girls; expelled around 30,000 people, mainly women and children, presented the scenes from the Dante’s Hell. There are ample pieces of evidence attesting to these “scenes of unimaginable savagery”, including mass graves – primary, secondary, and tertiary. According to the ICTY, these are “indeed the scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human civilization”.
Scientific findings acquired in course of research of genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law, serving the function of development of the science of genocide and appropriate education at all levels of education, from the primary schools, then secondary schools, including the university level education, on the basis of which this specific social phenomenon has to be studied and scientifically researched, both for the scientific and social reasons. Education in the process of teaching is an essential component of socialization, in which certain knowledge, values, norms, customs, and cultures are acquired, all serving the function of memory and permanent remembrance. This is a permanent obligation of the present generations towards all the victims of the Holocaust and genocide, including the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.
It is the obligation of all of us to detect and identify the human, social, and scientific truth about genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law, being an important condition for achieving the justice and rights, without which it is not possible to get the reconciliation and build the common future in Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, being the prototype model of the development of contemporary civilization and culture in Europe and the rest of the world.
The Government of Canada has continuously and in a specific manner displayed its sensibility and piety towards the genocide victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly Srebrenica victims. The proof is also this monument to the Srebrenica genocide victims here in Windsor, which will permanently remind all of us surviving genocide victims, witnesses, and successors, including the free democratic society in Canada with its developed individual and societal consciousness about the worst evil committed against the innocent, barehanded, and helpless human beings, just because of their national, ethnic, racial, and religious background.
I am taking this privileged possibility to express, primarily as a human being, then a scholar and genocide victim, on my own behalf and on behalf of all the genocide victims in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the sincerest and deepest human gratitude to Canada for: recognizing Bosnian language as a World heritage language; using Bosniac ethnic in all the statistical and other Canadian data; adopting two Resolutions on genocide in Srebrenica and in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Canadian Parliament; the towns of Hamilton and Windsor that paid tribute to the genocide victims in Srebrenica; celebrating the 31st May in Canada as the World Day of White Ribbons; the request of the Canadian Government to implement the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court decision on non‑constitutionality of 9 January; having the permanent exhibition on the genocide in Srebrenica and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights; recognizing the relevance of the Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Statehood Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as opening of the monument in Windsor.
I would like to thank all the activists of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Club Windsor for their continuous support in lobbying for the truth and justice. I would like to express my particular gratitude to the organizers of building this monument to the Srebrenica genocide victims.
Studying scientifically genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law does not include and does not require only the knowledge of the science of genocide, methods of genocide research, but it is rather the matter of bravery, principle attitude, human dignity, and consistency in disclosing the human, social, and scientific, truth and its presentation to the scientific and general public, by which we influence the individual and social awareness related to the development of the positive system of social values, and label evil, and at the same time create conditions for its social, legal, and moral sanctioning. In this process of registration of experience (indirect and direct) through the remembrance, comparison, and valuing, it is important, among other things, to affirm and develop positive and good in fighting this worst social evil, as genocide is.
Chairman of the Institute for Research of Genocide, Canmada