Organizing Chaos

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April 1992- start of Bosnian Herzegovina Civil War and the beginning of the siege of Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serb army

*Little to no access to the outside world resulted in shortages of food, clean water, and medical supplies. There was also no electricity unless people were smart enough (and had the supplies) to set up their own source via stream or crank est. The U.N would drop food and supplies on the surrounding hills periodically (this was very dangerous, a few individuals were crushed by the falling supplies) these deliveries and the communities willingness to take care of one another is the reason the people of Srebrenica did not starve in the early part of the siege.

March 1993- An influx of people pour into Srebrenica from surrounding towns as the Bosnian Serb army closes its ranks and the U.N started making moves to make Srebrenica an official “safe zone”

*At this time all of the residential houses were full so people started living in public buildings like schools and gyms, and eventually out in the streets.

April 1993 – Playground shelling by the Bosnian Serb army next to the Srebrenica public school killing 74 children and teenagers and Srebrenica was declared an official “safe zone” of the U.N (the playground has been built up again and today it looks normal, the schools beside it believe that the genocide never happened and it is likely the children in those schools do not know that anything bad ever happened in that playground)

*The U.N started building structures for everyone living in the public buildings and on the street, they also collected all of the weapons the people of Srebrenica were using to hold back the Bosnian Serb army.

September 1994 – A new school was built by a Swedish Humanitarian Organization so the children of Srebrenica could go to school again

*There hadn’t been a functioning school in Srebrenica since before the siege so this new school opening was a big deal, it was barricaded with sandbags to protect students and teachers from potential shelling. Also, because of the U.N’s presence and the higher flow of food from them, people were relaxing some and setting up little dance clubs (where you paid to get in with cigarettes) and chess tournaments, sports teams, and make-shift movie theaters.

Summer of 1994 – the World Cup. The people of Srebrenica set up a T.V on top of one of the hills surrounding the town to get a signal and the Bosnian Serb army was doing the same on the opposite hill.

Spring 1995- the Bosnian Serb army started to intercept humanitarian aid deliveries so Srebrenica fell into major food shortages again. the Bosnian Serb army also started shelling more and more often and the U.N never made a move to deter these actions.

June 1995- The Bosnian Serb army attacked a U.N checkpoint 6 kilometers south of town and the U.N peace keepers stationed there fled from it and offered no resistance.

July 6th 1995- Srebrenica started to be shelled daily by the Bosnian Serb army and U.N check points were falling one by one to them with, again, no resistance from the U.N

July 9th 1995- thirty U.N peace keepers are taken hostage by the Bosnian Serb army

July 10th 1995- the Bosnian Serb army broke into the main part of Srebrenica causing great panic and driving everyone to the outskirts of town and toward the U.N base. Many were trampled as thousands fled the town and stayed the night between Srebrenica and the U.N base in Potocari deciding what to do the next day. The U.N’s Colonel Karremans files his third request for air support

July 11th 1995- Srebrenica officially fell to the Bosnian Serb army. 20,000 refugees flee to Potocari in hopes that the U.N would protect them from the advancing Bosnian Serb army. 15,000 people, mostly men and teenage boys, attempt to run the 90 kilometers through Bosnian Serb territory to Tuzla (which is free territory). Colonel Karremans’ request for air support is met (after a delay over paperwork) but canceled almost immediately when the Bosnian Serb army threatens to kill the U.N hostages and to shell civilians if they carry out any airstrikes. General Ratko Mladic gives his famous speech to a camera crew in the middle of Srebrenica stating that the Serbs are now finally taking vengeance on the Turks and that they will go on to Potocari. Mladic gives an ultimatum to the U.N stating that all Muslims must hand over their weapons to guarantee their lives.

July 12th 1995- the Bosnian Serb army started separating people at the U.N base. Women, young children and the very old were put on buses to Tuzla while males who looked between 12 and 77 were pulled aside to be questioned as potential “war criminals”. There were too few U.N peacekeepers to control this. Meanwhile the 15,000 that left Srebrenica on foot the previous day were running through landmines and being hunted down by the Bosnian Serb army.

*the people on the buses saw loved ones and people they knew on the side of the streets dead or nearly so on their way to Tuzla, a countless amount of women and girls were raped on this trip as well by the Bosnian Serbs driving them. Many of the men and boys separated at the U.N base in Potocari were executed in what is known as the “white house” just down the street from the base (this house is residential today, I saw the man who lives there now, he was lounging in the front yard).

July 13th-16th 1995- the original 15,000 that first fled Srebrenica through the mountains start to reach the Tuzla area around 6 days after departing Srebrenica. Around 8,000 died from dehydration, exhaustion, getting shot, shelling, landmines or getting captured and executed.

* Those who did the”death march” had little to no food, water or the proper clothing for such a journey. (when I traveled the path these individuals took to try and save their lives I saw countless mass graves marked were bodies were dumped after executions)

December 1995- the war ends with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement

*Srebrenica is still Serb territory and even though Muslims are allowed to live there again, the local mentality is that the massacre never happened and any Muslim deaths that may have occurred were out of self defense. (there are Serbian national flags everywhere in Srebrenica).

 

 

 

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One thought on “Organizing Chaos

  1. Reblogged this on fitdaddancing and commented:
    It’s frightening that the Republika Srpska continues to deny the genocide perpetrated by Bosnian Serbs. Well, they carved out the Republic that they wanted, annihilated the cosmopolitan Muslims who lived there, and now carry on as if nothing ever happened. The need for transitional justice in Bosnia is great.

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