On the 11th of July, in remembrance of the 11 000 honourable Bosnian lives massacred, Islamic Relief will be hosting a global challenge whereby participants can choose an activity of their choice – You can run, hike, bike, or walk and carry it out over 11km.
The important part is that this challenge aims to honour those lives lost in SREBRENICA in 1995 and all proceeds will go towards our projects in Bosnia. Register here.We must not forget the thousands of lives lost in the 1995 massacre. No doubt this horrendous event is seared in our memories as arguably the darkest day of the Balkan wars.
The survivors can bear witness to the continuous pain and trauma this event brought. A fate which they suffer daily.
They cannot escape the brutal history of Srebrenica.
Wounds from the genocide may never heal
Nedzad was just 17-years old when he was selected for death in July 1995. The Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), under the command of Ratko Mladić, detained him with thousands of others, picked out because of their identity.
Around midnight, the army bound the boy’s arms and marched him to a field.Then they opened fire.
Nedzad was left for dead after being shot three times: in the stomach, arm, and foot. But unlike the many others declared killed in the Srebrenica genocide, the bullets fired at him did not end his life.
Instead he would be one of the few survivors of the massacre, and would go on to bear powerful witness to the events of that July. His is a story of extraordinary personal resilience and bravery, despite the horrors he lived through and the loss he still lives with.
“I had to choose between my mother and three sisters and my father, not knowing if I would see the other again,” he said, describing his agonising decision to join his father and other men and boys fleeing from the approaching forces – rather than staying with his mother and sisters who sought the protection of the UN forces.
Nedzad was one of the witnesses to bravely give evidence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
He and others helped secure the sentencing of 90 individuals, including former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžić.
Islamic Relief provides vital support for recovering communities
Facing up to the sheer scale and tragedy of their loss, after the war people in Srebrenica and across the country began the enormous task of repairing shattered lives and communities.Islamic Relief, one of the first international aid agencies to respond when war broke out in 1992, helped throughout the fighting.
When the conflict ended we began restoring homes, schools and health centres and helped families to earn a living once more.
To this day, Islamic Relief supports people who were forced from their homes and communities. Thanks to our generous and committed donors, we are also giving over 1,300 orphaned children life-changing financial support.
We must learn from survivors and end hate
We keep them in our hearts as we remember that this genocide happened only decades after the world said ‘never again’ to the horrors of the Holocaust. It is therefore critical that we learn the lessons that survivors have to teach us.
“I thought that people would take it more seriously and not allow these horrible crimes to happen again, but unfortunately this is not the case and we still see mass persecutions and killings all over the world.” -Nezdad
This is a stark reminder that we must do all we can to end hatred, racism, and intolerance – not just in Bosnia and Herzegovina but across the world.
You can make a difference by participating in our Global challenge.