Srebrenica

Srebrenica is probably exclusively known outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the site of the¬†massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniacs – Bosnian muslims – by the Bosnian Serb Army in July 1995. More than 23 years after these horrific events, Srebrenica is as vivid in Bosnia’s collective memory as it ever was. A poster in Sarajevo’s old town points to an exhibition of war photographs taken by celebrated conflict photographer Ron Haviv, as well as several films put together by filmmakers who tried to show the world the atrocities committed in Srebrenica.

The photograph was taken in November 2018. Most pedestrians pass by the poster without looking at it. A group of young women in the background have a lighthearted conversation, interspersed with loud laughter. Every now and then, someone walks past looking down at his smartphone. The exhibition has clearly lost its novelty value.

NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Wesley Clark walking down a street in Srebrenica in 1997, accompanied by a large military and civilian delegation.

Spring 1998. Wesley Clark, pictured here in uniform on the left of the woman in the grey suit, is NATO SACEUR at the time. SACEUR stands for Supreme Allied Commander Europe, one of NATO’s two strategic commanders. I photographed Clark walking down a street in Srebrenica, two years after the massacre. He attended an official ceremony there to support the implementation of municipal election results. In Srebrenica, the municipal elections, only held a few months earlier, did not bring any balance between Bosniacs and Bosnian Serbs to the municipal government. As a result, the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to suspend the elected body and install instead an “Interim Executive Board,” composed of two Bosniaks and two Serbs but headed by an international member. The ceremony was attended by more people in uniform than by civilians.