Injustice and denial of committed crime against humanity

Harvard Business School Online - Harvard University

Article: Aldina Topcagic

 

In honor and memory of my people, I want to share with you the story about the injustice that happened to the Bosnian Muslims during Europe´s most devastating conflict since world war II.

 

I was born in Bosnia and Hercegovina. It was one of the six equal republics of the Communist Republic of Yugoslavia until it gained its independence in March 1992. After being recognized as an independent country, Bosnia was militarily attacked due to the intention of the Serbian leader to create "Great Serbia" by initiating a policy of systematic ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims.

 

It was spring. I was four when I lost my home and my carefree childhood. Instead of playing with toys, I was hiding with my family in basements from bombs.

 

In the upcoming years, I was forced to live in five different cities. I was unrooted. I was one of around two million people who were displaced.

 

According to the Bosnian Inner Ministry around 50.000 were raped. Around 200.000 were tortured at concentration camps. Those who survived are nowadays trying to live a normal life. They are trying to enjoy the smell of the Bosnian morning coffee, while hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children were taken the chance to ever smell it again.

 

Many of those who caused it, are alive and free.

 

On the 11th of July 1995 the worst massacre in Europe since the Nazi era happened. It is known as the genocide of Srebrenica. Soldiers sent from the United Nations (UN) didn´t protect the Bosnian Muslims.

The world was watching. The world was silent.

 

I am talking here about the twentieth century in the southeast of Europe. I am talking here about the organization that is responsible to maintain international peace and security. That same organization, which is supposed to protect us - the people, didn´t care.

 

Shortly after the first-ever used force by NATO towards the Serbian army, the war ended and the Dayton Peace Agreement was created. 51% of the land was given to the Bosnian Federation and 49% to the Serb Republic.

The ethnic group whose forces committed genocide against Bosniaks and deny it till today gained nearly half of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aggressor was rewarded and thereby the genocide has been legitimized. My birth city Bosanski Novi is one of those cities which got captured in the war. My birth city, like those of a hundred thousand other citizens, has simply been taken away.

 

Me as a survivor, as a refugee, as a woman, as a man, as a child of love, as a child of violence, me as a friend, as an artist, as a soldier, as a Bosnian Muslim, as an emigrant, as an immigrant, but most of all - me as a concerned human being, I am questioning the systems we live in, because: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” - George Santayana

 

Those who do not acknowledge the failures they have done and who do not recognize the truth that has happened, do not learn out of history. Those who constantly deny the crime against human rights produce a new generation driven by hate. The consequences of hate we can find in our history, maybe in our family.

 

How can a nation, families, individuals who have experienced injustice continue towards the future, when they are still entangled in the past? When they are still waiting for justice and recognition. When in 2021 thousands of families are still waiting for more mass graves to be discovered, so they could identify the bones of their beloved ones, while the genocide is still being denied by too many Serb leaders.

 

Every single floating tear of a four-year-old girl, who was watching her grandfather being held at a concentration camp, carries an ocean of truth. This truth can not be denied.

 

Therefore, our stories must be shared. Our stories must be heard. My story is one of many, but it is one for many of us. Of those silenced flowers which are floating in the waters of river Una, and those flourishing ones which are on the way to be born.

 

If we witness injustice, we can choose – to be silent or to speak up. I made my choice.

 

 

 

Bosanski:

 

Nepravda i poricanje počinjenog zločina protiv čovječnosti

Harvard Business School Online - Harvard University

Članak: Aldina Topčagić

 

U čast i sjećanje na svoj narod, želim s vama podijeliti priču o nepravdi koja se dogodila bosanskim muslimanima tokom najrazornijeg evropskog sukoba od Drugog svjetskog rata.

 

Rođena sam u Bosni i Hercegovini. Bila je jedna od šest ravnopravnih republika Komunističke Republike Jugoslavije sve dok nije stekla nezavisnost u Martu 1992. Nakon što je priznata kao nezavisna zemlja, Bosna je vojno napadnuta zbog namjere srpskog lidera da stvori "Veliku Srbiju" s politikom sistematskog etničkog čišćenja bosanskih Muslimana.

 

Bilo je proljeće. Imala sam četiri godine kada sam izgubio dom i bezbrižno djetinjstvo. Umjesto da se igram igračkama, skrivala sam se sa porodicom u podrumima od bombi.

 

U narednim godinama bila sam prisiljena živjeti u pet različitih gradova. Bila sam iskorijenjena. Bila sam jedna od oko dva miliona ljudi koji su raseljeni.

 

Prema bosanskom Ministarstvu unutrašnjih poslova, oko 50.000 je silovano. Oko 200.000 mučeno je u koncentracionim logorima. Oni koji su preživjeli danas pokušavaju živjeti normalnim životom. Pokušavaju uživati u mirisu bosanske jutarnje kafe, dok su stotine hiljada žena, muškaraca i djece iskoristile priliku da je ikad više osjete.

 

Mnogi od onih koji su to ucinili živi su i slobodni.

 

11. jula 1995. dogodio se najgori masakr u Evropi od nacističke ere. Poznat je kao genocid u Srebrenici. Vojnici poslani iz Ujedinjenih nacija (UN) nisu zaštitili bosanske muslimane. Svijet je gledao. Svijet je šutio.

 

Ovdje govorim o dvadesetom vijku na jugoistoku Evrope. Ovdje govorim o organizaciji koja je odgovorna za održavanje međunarodnog mira i sigurnosti. Ista organizacija koja bi trebala štititi nas - ljude, nije marila.

Ubrzo nakon prve upotrebe sile NATO-a prema srpskoj vojsci, rat je završen i stvoren je Daytonski mirovni sporazum.

51% zemlje dato je Bosanskoj Federaciji, a 49% Srpskoj Republici.

Etnička grupa čije su snage počinile genocid nad Bošnjacima i negiraju ga do danas stekla je gotovo polovinu teritorije Bosne i Hercegovine. Agresor je nagrađen i time je legitimisan genocid. Moj rođeni grad Bosanski Novi jedan je od onih gradova koji su zarobljeni u ratu. Moj rođeni grad, poput grada stotina hiljada drugih građana, jednostavno je oduzet.

 

Ja kao preživjela, kao izbjeglica, kao žena, kao muškarac, kao dijete ljubavi, kao dijete nasilja, ja kao prijatelj, kao umjetnik, kao vojnik, kao bosanski musliman, kao emigrant , kao imigrant, ali najviše od svega - ja kao zabrinuto ljudsko biće, preispitujem sisteme u kojima živimo, jer: „Oni koji se ne sjećaju prošlosti osuđeni su da je ponove“ - George Santayana

 

Oni koji ne priznaju neuspjehe koje su učinili i koji ne prepoznaju istinu koja se dogodila, ne uče iz historije. Oni koji stalno poriču zločin protiv ljudskih prava stvaraju novu generaciju vođenu mržnjom. Posljedice mržnje možemo pronaći u svojoj povijesti, možda u svojoj porodici.

 

Kako jedna nacija, porodice, pojedinci koji su doživjeli nepravdu mogu nastaviti prema budućnosti, kad su još uvijek upleteni u prošlost? Kad još čekaju pravdu i priznanje. Kada 2021. godine hiljade porodica još čekaju da se otkriju još masovne grobnice, kako bi mogle identificirati kosti svojih voljenih, dok genocid još uvijek negira previše srpskih lidera.

 

Svaka tekuca suza četverogodišnjakinje, koja je posmatrala držanje svoga dida u logoru, nosi okean istine.

Ta istina se ne može poreći.

 

Stoga, naše se priče moraju dijeliti. Naše priče se moraju čuti. Moja priča je jedna od mnogih, ali je jedna za mnoge od nas.

Za one utišane cvjetove koji plutaju vodama rijeke Une i onih procvjetalih koji su na putu da se rode.

 

Ako ugledamo nepravdu, možemo odabrati - šutjeti ili progovoriti. Ja sam odlucila.

 

 

 

---

Dedication

I want to thank from my heart to my mother Jasna Ekic, Cruz Isael Mata, Kim Peeters, and Edina Topcagic for supporting me and inspiring me. 

 

Posveta

Zelim se zahvaliti od srca svojoj mami Jasni Ekic, Cruz Isael Mata, Kim Peeters i Edini Topcagic na podrsci i inspiraciji. 

---