Bosnia Genocide Essay Example
Bosnia Genocide Essay Example

Bosnia Genocide Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (1927 words)
  • Published: July 6, 2018
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Both the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide are recognized as major historical tragedies. The Holocaust entailed the organized extermination of millions of Jews and other minority groups during World War II, while the Rwandan Genocide involved the mass killing of 800,000 civilians in Rwanda.

Media and events employ various approaches to raise awareness about global genocides, including writing books, making films, arranging memorial services, and campaigning for their acknowledgment. Regrettably, these endeavors frequently concentrate on a limited number of genocides while disregarding numerous others that receive minimal recognition. One such overlooked tragedy is the Bosnian genocide that transpired from 1992 to 1995 during my early childhood. The Bosnian genocide emerged as a consequence of the conflict between Bosnia and the Serbians (alongside some Croatians).

In 1946, Yugoslavia was divided into six federated republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Ma


cedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. A referendum for independence took place in Bosnia which gained support from Muslims and Croats but was rejected by Serb representatives. Consequently, the Serb population established their own republic named Republika Srpska.

After Bosnia declared its independence, Bosnian Serb forces (backed by the Serbian government) along with the Yugoslav People's Army waged war on Bosnia to seize control of its territory. Despite initially supporting Bosnian independence, President Franjo Tudman of Croatia decided to participate in the war to acquire land for his republic.

This decision resulted in an "ethnic cleansing" campaign that targeted the Muslim population in Bosnia—constituting nearly half of the total population. This genocidal act caused the deaths of 66 individuals.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, around 2 percent of the country's population are Bosniaks, also referred to as Bosnian Muslims. O

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October 13, 1991, just prior to the outbreak of war, Radovan Karadzic made a chilling declaration regarding the fate of Bosnia and its Muslim inhabitants. He predicted that Sarajevo would be destroyed and half a million people would perish within days. He also mentioned the complete eradication of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina within one month. Unfortunately, there were no Bosnian forces capable of resisting these threats, leading to the collapse of the country itself. Consequently, numerous Bosnian Muslims and non-Serbs were forcibly displaced from their residences. Women and children had to endure unsanitary detention centers or what became infamously known as rape camps. Zehra Smajlovic, who survived this ordeal and testified at the International Court of Justice, revealed that nearly twenty women disappeared when Bosnian Serbs arrived at her detention center. Another survivor named Alija Lujinovic recounted witnessing a woman being raped in front of her own children and parents as well as other individuals present at that site.

According to the Red Cross, more than two million people were displaced from their homes due to the Bosnian War. Tragically, 200,000 individuals lost their lives, including 12,000 innocent children. Additionally, an astonishing fifty thousand women suffered unimaginable horrors such as rape, torture, sale, or murder. Men faced a similar fate as they were imprisoned in concentration camps. Osman Talic is an exceptional survivor who miraculously endured not one but four of these camps. His incredible story provides crucial testimony for the International Court and sheds light on the torture he experienced. Having the opportunity to converse with Osman Talic and hear his firsthand account was truly a privilege for me.

His English is not perfect, and

he searches for words. He smiles after each sentence and asks, "Do you comprehend?" He told me that he lived in Sanski Mos, a small town in Bosnia. He went on to say that after Yugoslavia fell apart, there was strife and hostility between the Croats, Serbs, and Muslims. He mentioned that he was one of the leaders in his town, along with a few others representing the Bosnian Muslims in the SDA organization. According to him, Bosnia had its first election in 1991.

Due to the significant Muslim population, a majority of the elected officials were Muslims, which greatly upset the Bosnian Serbs who became a minority. Consequently, the Serbians opted for declaring war to eliminate the Muslims and received support from Croatia, along with their sufficient capabilities to cause devastation. Unfortunately, the Bosnians lacked both weaponry and external assistance.

On May 26, 1992, Serbian soldiers forcibly displaced me and other men from our homes during the Bosnian conflict. As a result, I was separated from my daughters, who were then 15 years old. Additionally, my son had already joined the Bosnian army and was not with us at that time. It is important to note that these events took place after I had already lost my wife.

My sister took my daughters to Slovenia for their safety, while I was transported to a concentration camp called Betonirka. I resided there for a duration of two months as Bosnian men continued to arrive from various locations. The specific date marking my final day in that camp was July 25, 1992.

On that day, I was among the men selected from a group of businessmen and leaders, following which

we were instructed to board buses. While on the journey, the other bus suddenly halted. The men inside alighted, only to be confronted by Serbian guards wielding menacing knives, who proceeded to mercilessly slit their throats. Tragically, one after another, the men succumbed to their fate, collapsing by the roadside.

They appeared indifferent to the act of taking a life, as if there was no justification for it. I arrived at the jail on my bus later that day, where I witnessed the prevalent occurrence of randomly slaughtering innocent men during the genocide.

The soldiers would place the bodies on sewage drains in an effort to eliminate the blood, essentially erasing any evidence of their cruel actions. Additionally, during my time at the jail, the guards would question me every day, forcefully seeking information about the quantity of weapons I had and my political connections in Sanski Most. Refusing to answer would result in beatings. Moreover, they took away my clothes, documents, and all personal possessions.

In a small, windowless room resembling a garage, I and 70 other detainees suffered together. The absence of sunlight made distinguishing between day and night impossible. Regrettably, we endured frequent beatings and received meager rations. Every day, the guards supplied one loaf of bread for us 24 individuals to share. Additionally, two people had to make do with only a small glass of water. Before the war, my weight stood at 220 pounds.

After a few months, my weight reached 130. Every morning, I would consider the chance that today might be my last day. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I would wake up with a gun pressed against my temple.

Oddly enough, once I regained consciousness, the soldier decided not to kill me. The guards compelled me to place my hands on a hot stove and hold a knife to my throat.

Based on the provided information, if I were to raise my hands, it may result in the guards slitting my throat. The burns inflicted on my hands were so severe that I continue to experience numbness in my fingers. For a duration of two years, I had to rest upon a solid concrete block and endured seven months without the luxury of bathing. Throughout this time frame, contact with the outside world was non-existent. Nevertheless, on August 28, 1992, I was relocated to another concentration camp called Manjaca.

This event had a remarkable number of attendees, ranging from 7,000 to 8,000 people. The significant turnout helped ease my worries about potential harm from the soldiers and gave me a sense of security. Our daily responsibilities primarily involved physical labor. One specific memory that remains vivid is when I unintentionally dropped a hammer on the head of a Serbian guard.

Although I believed that they would end my life, I managed to survive the punishment and preserve my existence. Nevertheless, the scarcity of food remained a substantial concern. To assist those who were ill or younger, I unselfishly distributed my own nourishment.

While we were out working, our diet consisted of grass, dirt, and occasionally a fortunate find of frogs or bugs. The Red Cross provided us with food, clothing, and other necessities, but it was perplexing that there were no efforts made to ensure our liberation. Finally, in December 1992, everyone was released and given the chance

to escape to Croatia and Slovenia.

Instead of seeing my family, I and 221 other men were taken to Batkovici, the fourth concentration camp. I spent a year there. Due to my position in the SDA, I was not killed as the Serbs wanted information from me. Unfortunately, the men who were not as fortunate were instructed to dig trenches, unaware that these trenches would also become their graves.

When they finished, the guards would kill them by slitting their throats. "On October 9, 1993, I was exchanged for Serbian soldiers who were being held hostage and sent to Tuzla, a free city in northeastern Bosnia. I brought my daughters back from Slovenia, and my entire family relocated to Vodice. After a few years, we immigrated to the United States."

Osman is filled with anger and frustration as he reflects on the horrific experiences he endured. His hands are tightly clenched, a physical expression of his emotional turmoil. Recounting the atrocities inflicted upon him, he becomes agitated and vividly imagines the beatings and torture he endured. Nightmares continue to haunt him, a chilling reminder of the senseless violence he witnessed. The betrayal runs deep, as it was his own neighbor, whom he shared meals with and welcomed into his home, who ultimately aimed a gun at him. Osman grapples with the incomprehensible trauma and suffering inflicted upon innocent Bosnians by these individuals.

There is a tragic story that my cousin went through, witnessing the loss of 13 family members, including his eight-month-old daughter and two-year-old son. The sight of a house engulfed in flames, trapping 30 people inside, will always be with me. It fills me with deep sorrow

to think about the death of innocent children and women. These memories are etched in my mind forever and cannot be erased. As we sit together, there is silence as he tries to gather his emotions.

It is disheartening and frustrating that there is a lack of conversation about the unacknowledged genocide. Despite its challenging and distressing nature, we should not overlook it but rather remember it. I hope more people gain knowledge about the genocide and the unimaginable hardships endured by Bosnian Muslims. Although his account is horrifying, my response is accompanied by a smile.

"Do I speak English well?" he jokingly asks. As a sheltered teenager living in Utah, it's difficult for me to comprehend how someone can continue on with life after surviving four concentration camps. I have one final question: "What message would you like people to have?" He responds, "My story represents the experiences of many Bosnians. This tragedy occurred, and it was horrifying and still deeply affects me. However, it's crucial for people to be aware of the atrocities committed against us by the Bosnian Serbs. We received no assistance for five years. This was not just the Bosnian war, it was the Bosnian genocide."

Although the past cannot be erased, it is important not to forget our stories. Osman has returned to Bosnia after facing many challenges. Despite his return, he believes that his country still faces numerous issues and will never achieve complete unity and peace. Personally, I find him to be one of the most resilient individuals I have ever encountered. http://www.

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