July 11th 1995 - 2007
"The 12 year anniversary of the genocide of Srebrenica is a change in both tone and commemoration. For the first 5 years, Except for the still grieving mothers and family of the mostly yet unidentified victims, no one dared even observe the anniversary. We were lectured that it was not consistent with Dayton for Bosnians and Herzegovinians to scratch an old wound best left untouched. If someone should deal with it then it should be the ICTY.
The remembering by a broader base of human rights activists, friends and Bosnian & Herzegovinians starting to come from New York. An unusual coalition of states and NGOs demanded that the United Nations undertake an investigation of the betrayal of Srebrenica. Then Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey was informed and warned by officials from the big powers that he did not have instructions from Sarajevo to cosponsor a General Assembly Resolution for such an investigation. Mo did not, but it also did not stop him from "unofficially" lobbying for the resolution. In the end, the UN Report on Srebrenica was sanitized, but it was a beginning.
More importantly, though, in 2000 we had the first broad grass roots commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide. In NY Central Park, a still modest group of observers showed up on July 11, 2000, including Nenad Bach and his music. This grass roots efforts is what prompted broader official recognition and sustains our memory and efforts to remedy the consequences of genocide as well as remember the victims."
Following is Ambassador Mo Sacirbey's statement on recognition well deserved by Congressman Chris Smith and Amor Masovic, from Mo's web book, "A Convenient Genocide, in a fishbowl," also being released at www.aconvenientgenocide.com
Well deserved Recognition & A lesson Learned
Recognize True Friends and Champions:
Congressman Chris Smith has been consistent in his efforts on behalf of justice and a genuine peace and multi ethnic society in Bosnia & Herzegovina. He is a most deserving honoree to be recognized by Srebrenica and all of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Well before supporting resolutions in the US Congress identifying Srebrenica as a victim of genocide and accepting to lead the new Congressional caucus in support of true partnership between BiH and the US, Congressman Smith was a clear voice and champion to confront the victimization before more victims were created. From 1992 and through the end of the war I and other representatives of Bosnia & Herzegovina and NGOs, were received by Chris and the Congressional committees in which he received. He worked with advocates beyond his own political affiliations, from libertarians, such as Bianca Jaegger to neocons, keeping also consistent his core message of respect for life. Most importantly, he truly listened and we heard him.
Too many others now have parachuted into Srebrenica to promote their own agenda or hide their own accountability behind fluffy speeches that pointed fingers always except at themselves. Congressman Smith has no need to point at himself. He tried to counter and cure the environment that facilitated genocide and the betrayal of the victims.He was also there for the victims when many who now show up in Srebrenica tried to obstruct initial efforts at investigation, including the UN report, and at countering the consequences of genocide. Those who urged to forget, now would use these very commemorations, that they initially undermined, to preach.
Hopefully, from the responsible action of the organizers of these commemorations, all Bosnia & Herzegovina will learn the legacy of its true friends, secure its own historical record and allow no more exploiters to come and usurp memories of victims for their own self self-serving purposes.Of course, they should be welcome in the future but to offer their apology to the victims and families first.
Amor Masovic is long deserving of this honor as well. Initially he worked so that we and the international community would remember those still alive but held prisoner or unaccounted for. He also had many naysayers within and outside. He was pressed to forget about our live and dead while others had already shown themselves not entirely capable or willing of securing full releases or accounting. I was witness to and sometimes assistant to his efforts.
Amor's work is now much sadder and longer. For years to come, he will search for the victims no longer with us who deserve the respect and recognition from the global community and whose families deserve closure. It is also indicative of a maturing state identity that we honor our own.
Muhamed Sacirbey, www.aconvenientgenocide.com
Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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