Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Once, in Zepa
"...when Srebrenica fell, that automatically meant that Zepa would fall,” Palic said.
Death of a community, the fall of Zepa
The Serb army had just finished up their most recent killing spree in Srebrenica, as thousands - men, women, children, families and elders were fleeing for their lives from one village to another hoping to spare themselves the same fate. In a small village outside of the UN protected 'safe haven' of Srebrenica, some villagers took the road that led into the town of Žepa. There they were quickly repelled by the oncoming column of Serb soldiers entering the village from the other side. At the entrance to Žepa, in obvious danger the refugees fled to the hills, into the forest, to save themselves.
Caught a short time after, the women and children were put on buses and dropped off at the front lines. The survivors found their way to refugee camps in Bosnian held territory at Zenica.
The men and older boys were taken prisoner and brought to concentration camps in Serbia. July 25th, 1995.
Some survived and were liberated from those camps by the Red Cross, who then gave them safe passage as refugees to host countries around the world. In Denver, eight months after Dayton was signed, I was visiting one of the refugee ghetto's on Beeler Street and bore witness to stories of horror and pain. The stories, whispered in long sentences between terse puffs of cigarettes in broken English and halting Bosnian affected me deeply and I would never forget them.
In remembrance of friends and family now gone, and with respect to the Ramic family along with thousands of other people, like my parents and also my dearest grandparents who repatriated to countries, not their own and lived to bear witness. Lived to eventually reemerge victorious, if broken-hearted and create a new life for themselves and their families.
Conquerors over death and destruction. Refugees. Survivors.
"As in Srebrenica, Serb nationalist leaders offered to expel Muslim women and children from Zepa, but detain the men as "prisoners."Serb forces have blocked all attempts for aid workers to visit the Srebrenica men supposedly taken prisoner.
Serbs overran Zepa a few days after an emergency international conference called after Srebrenica was seized. The conference issued a warning to Serb nationalists that they faced serious consequences if they attacked the third "protected zone" of Gorazde. However, no mention was made of Zepa; the international community decided to write off the town -- and its 16,000 inhabitants -- as lost,despite a UN Security Council vote pledging to protect it. Gorazde is the sole remaining Bosnian enclave between the Serbian border and Sarajevo."
originally posted on SilvanaMondo 7/26/12