YIHR in Serbia reminding authorities on Srebrenica genocide
Around 2 AM last Thursday, Serbian police apprehended 9 activists from Youth Initiative for Human Rights, who in the night between March 31st and April 1st in front of the Serbian Parliament, wrote the message in red spray paint: “That hard, foreign word - genocide”.
Monday, 05 April 2010, by HRH Sarajevo / Lejla Mazlic
Some 30 activists intended this message for Serbian Parliament deputies, apropos the Declaration condemning the crime in Srebrenica, which the Parliament passed on March 30, 2010.
“That hard, foreign word - genocide”
The Declaration passed by the Serbian Parliament stops short of mentioning that ''the crime in Srebrenica'' was actually a genocide over more than 8 000 Bosniaks. Even though the very act of passing the resolution represents a step forward compared to the atmosphere that permeated the Serbian society five years ago, by omitting the word genocide, a chance was missed for this step to be more courageous and more responsible.
''Deputies of Serbian Parliament have relativized this crime, thus showing that they find short term political goals to be more important than the future of Serbia and the Western Balkans. We remind that hate speech and relativization of crimes committed in the name of Serbia dominated whole time during the parliamentary debate of Serbian MP'', it is stated in the YIHR press release on Srebrenica case.
Political calculations on Srebrenica case
With this act YIHR activists wanted to remind the public that the issue of facing the past is among the essential ones in the process of transition and building a democratic society. Symbolic gestures of apology or acknowledgement must not be done as acts of concession to the European Union or used in order to obtain somewhat financial aid for Serbia. They cannot be a subject to political trade-off and calculations based on public opinion polls. Owning up to crimes, not coupled by relativization or mitigation, needs to be Serbia’s official policy, primarily for the sake of the victims, as well as values society should be built upon.
“By writing the message on the pavement in front of the Serbian Parliament, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights’ activists has sent a clear message that there exist new generations who empathize with victims and advocate better future for this Balkan region. The message thereby sent is far more important compared to the pavement being defaced or potential penalties imposed. By defacing the pavement every day, we were washing Serbia’s cheek”, said the Youth Initiative for Human Rights’ director Maja Stojanovic, upon her release from custody.
According to Serbian media, the exact reason of the apprehension of 9 YIHR activists is still not given by the officials in Serbian police. However, the activists did spend several hours in custody, regardless of the undetermined violation of law.
Sanitation workers removed the message from the pavement just one hour after it was written on the pavement in front of Serbian MP.
HRH Sarajevo / Lejla Mazlic
Based on news on YIHR official webpage and Serbian electronic media