Serbs in eastern Bosnia remember their victims

A day after the commemoration in Potocari held for the Bosniak victims, Serbs were on Sunday remembering their victims in nearby Bratunac.

Source: B92
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69 Serb civilians and soldiers were killed by Muslim forces led by Naser Oric on July 12, 1992. The murders coincided with the Feast of St. Peter and Paul (Serbian: Petrovdan) a major holiday celebrated by Orthodox Serbs.

Saturday's incident when Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic was attacked in Potocari raised the question of whether the two peoples can put their conflict behind two decades later.

Danilo Stevic, a local Serb who lost his son, says that reconciliation is "the only way out for Serbs and Bosniaks," adding:

"It will be difficult, but there's no survival without it. Those who don't know how to forgive and forget are in for a hard time. Therefore, it must be done, that's life."

According to him, individuals, and not whole peoples are to blame for the suffering of Bosniaks and Serbs.

More than 3,500 Serbs were killed during the war in Bosnia In the wider area of the Drina Valley - 1,200 in the Bratunac municipality alone. Dozens of families gathered at the local cemetery on Sunday, although the memorial service was served several days earlier.

Bratunac Municipality President Nedeljko Mladjenovic said that "ordinary citizens contribute to reconciliation more," and added:

"I live in the country, in a multi-ethnic village where there are Serbs and Bosniaks, there had been many victims in many families. Even those families are overcoming it more quickly. However, the mid-Drina Valley is being used for high politics."

23 years later, the list of Serb victims in not final as many are still listed as missing. The Memorial Room in Bratunac display images of 804 victims, among them whole families.

"The youngest victim was five years old... the case of an old man, Petrovic, is particular - he and his five grandchildren were all killed," Neboja Lukic, head of the local veterans' association, explained.

The memorial center in Potocari, where the Muslim victims are buried, is located only five kilometers from here. Even two decades later, the distance between the two peoples who for a long time lived together is much greater.

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