For many reasons, the last thing I want to write about is Srebrenica. I’m still metabolizing what I’ve seen and heard. I don’t know how to write about the horrors of the genocide which occurred there, the senselessness of hatred, or the violence and unimaginable evil.
Nor can I convey my gratitude and admiration to the survivors we met for sharing their stories with us; for their courage, dignity and resilience. For choosing not to perpetuate the kind of hatred which robbed them of their loved ones. You light up the dark. I’m honored to have met you. I want the whole world to know what happened here. I just feel nothing I can say will do any of it justice and it deserves justice…the best I can do is promise you that I will never forget.
One of the images indelibly imprinted on my mind is the footage of the systematic execution of six men, shown during the documentary about the fall of Srebrenica. I remember seeing their hands, tied behind their backs. They stood one by one in a line, awaiting their turn to die. One by one they stepped up to the body of the man who had been gunned down just moments before. One by one they were summarily shot. Sometimes once, sometimes more. The final two men were spared but only long enough to move the bodies of those whose execution they had just witnessed. I threw up after seeing it. It sickens my heart again now. I can scarcely imagine the enduring trauma experienced by the genocide survivors as they remember these and other atrocities, “like it was yesterday…”
Through the film, I witnessed the graphic execution of six men. 8,732 individuals were exterminated in a similar or, dare I say, more shocking fashion. And that number only tells us how many people died. It says nothing about the lives that were lost as a result…each one is worth remembering.