Seit 27 Jahre erinnern wir an den Völkermord an muslimischen BosnierInnen, mit dem die Existenz muslimischer Menschen auf dem Balkan ausgelöscht werden sollte. Ich weiß nicht, wem welche Gedanken im Augenblick des Erinnerns gegenwärtig sind. Ich weiß nicht, welche Bilder vor Augen treten, welche Laute in den Ohren klingen, wenn wir uns an Srebrenica erinnern.
Ich weiß aber, dass viele Menschen in diesen 27 Jahren seit Srebrenica sich nicht nur nicht erinnern, sondern stetig vergessen, ja geradezu vergessen wollen.
Unsere Erinnerungskultur in Deutschland tritt sehr häufig als das Trauern an Gräbern in Erscheinung. Wir gedenken der Toten. Denn egal wie zahlreich sie sind, sie schweigen. Sie sind angenehm still und stören uns nicht im Augenblick des Erinnerns.
Viel zu selten hören wir denen zu, die das Leid und die Entmenschlichung selbst erleben mussten. Das Erinnern wird unangenehm, wenn es konkret wird. Vielleicht, weil wir ahnen, wie dünn und verletzlich jene Zivilisation ist, von der wir meinen, sie sei unsere höchste Errungenschaft. Wie zerbrechlich ist diese Schicht der Vernunft, die uns davor bewahrt, zu Opfern zu werden? Und wie dünn und brüchig ist diese Grenze, die uns davor zurückhält, zu Tätern zu werden?
Woran wir uns erinnern müssen, wenn wir an Srebrenica erinnern, sind auch die Bedingungen unseres gegenwärtigen Zusammenlebens, in denen wir uns voneinander abgrenzen, indem wir uns für höherwertiger erachten als andere. Und sehr schnell bereit sind, andere als minderwertig wahrzunehmen. Es ist weniger die Stabilität unseres kulturellen Selbstverständnisses, die uns daran hindert, zu Tätern zu werden – sondern vielmehr die Gewissheit, dass unsere Taten nicht straflos blieben. Srebrenica sollte uns deshalb auch daran erinnern, wozu jede und jeder von uns fähig ist, sobald wir merken, dass unsere Taten folgenlos bleiben oder gar befürwortet und unterstützt werden. Dann sind auch wir zu allem fähig.
Deshalb soll nach dieser Einleitung Mirsada Malagić zu Wort kommen. Sie hat zuvor schon gesprochen – und mit ihr viele Opfer und ZeugInnen des Völkermordes von Srebrenica aber auch anderer Kriegsverbrechen im ehemaligen Jugoslawien. So auch „Witness O“, “Witness 50”, Minka Čehajić, Dr. Idriz Merdžanić, Mehmed Alić aber auch Ivo Atlija, Emil Čakalić oder Grozdana Ćećez. Wer das Beschriebene erträgt, kann ihre Schilderungen auf der Seite des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs für das ehemalige Jugoslawien (ICTY) nachlesen: http://www.icty.org/sections/Outreach/VoiceoftheVictims
Es sind Dokumentationen jener Abgründe, in die der Mensch – gleich welcher Herkunft, gleich welchen Glaubens – stürzen kann, wenn er sich erst der Vorstellung eigener Überlegenheit und fremder Minderwertigkeit hingibt. Das dürfen wir nicht vergessen, wenn wir jedes Jahr an Srebrenica erinnern:
“Mirsada Malagić was a 36 year-old wife and mother of three sons, and was pregnant with a daughter, when on 11 July 1995 Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN safe area of Srebrenica, located in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mrs. Malagić, her 11 year-old son, Adnan, and her 70 year-old father-in-law Omer Malagić fled with the women, children and elderly towards the UN compound at Potočari, located to the north of Srebrenica. The other men in her family—her husband Salko, her 12 year-old son Elvir, 16 year-old son Admir, and her brother Sadik Salihović—fled towards the woods.
As they left Srebrenica, not far from the first UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) base, a shell had fallen among a group of people and shrapnel hit Mirsada Malagić in her right collarbone. Mrs. Malagić related how chaos ensued and the mass of people she was with forced their way into the base. Her son Adnan was terrified of the shells and of the fact that she had been wounded. It was an unnaturally hot day, and many people who were sick or frail fainted. After several hours in that compound, UNPROFOR soldiers told them that they had to head for their main base at Potočari. As they walked the four kilometers to the base, shells were falling on both sides of the road all along the way.
When they reached the zinc plating factory just before the UN compound at Potočari, UNPROFOR soldiers told them they could not enter because there were already enough people there. Mrs. Malagić knew the factories in the area because she used to work there before the war, and found shelter inside. For all of that afternoon, Serb soldiers continued shelling the area around Potočari where the demarcation line was for the Srebrenica safe area. That night was rather quiet, but Mirsada Malagić could not sleep.
The next day, 12 July 1995, 15 to 20 Serb soldiers came down from the surrounding hills where Mrs. Malagić could see buildings and haystacks on fire. They mingled with the refugees in the compound, asking after their men and their troops, and verbally abusing them. Some gave sweets or chewing gum to the children, who were eager to have them after years of deprivation in Srebrenica. The Serb soldiers took men away one by one to question them. They returned frightened and upset.
That afternoon, at around 2:00 or 3:00, Mirsada Malagić went to look for some water. On the road in front of a house nearby, Mrs. Malagić saw an UNPROFOR soldier tied to a vehicle. “And that scene caused me to panic,” said Mrs. Malagić. “I realised then that nothing good was in store for us in Potočari, that those soldiers could not protect us, that perhaps they were quite powerless, in view of all that was happening.”
That evening, two to three Serb soldiers, some of them dressed in UNPROFOR uniforms, started taking groups of eight to ten men to a house beyond the zinc factory compound. Every time they took a man away, Mrs. Malagić heard women scream. From the direction of the house where the Serb soldiers took them, she heard screams which sounded like, “something from a horror movie.” Mrs. Malagić said that “because of the screams and moans, we were terrified, we couldn’t sleep. Nobody knew what to do.”
Mrs. Malagić saw her neighbour Ahmo Salihović in one group. The son of a woman who Mrs. Malagić used to work with, Rijad Fejzić, who was 16 or 17 years old, was also taken away. They have not been seen since. When the women asked the Serb soldiers about a particular person who had been taken away, they said they did not know. They told them not to be afraid, that it was nothing really. Women who went to search for their children, returned with stories of people who saw men who were beheaded. Some time past midnight, they found a man who had committed suicide by hanging himself in the zinc factory’s central hall. “That is how that night arrived, perhaps the worst, hardest night in my life.”
The morning of 13 July 1995, the women and children in the compound were completely confused. Everybody wanted to leave the area as soon as possible, to go to the UN compound in Potočari where they thought they would be safe, and from where they hoped to be evacuated. Because of the panic, a number of people fainted, but did not have enough room to fall down since the area where they had gathered was narrow.
Serb soldiers began to mingle in the crowd again. From a truck they threw some bread into the mass of hungry people. The children ran for the loaves while the soldiers simply stood and watched.
Among the soldiers, Mrs. Malagić saw a couple of men whom she knew, including one who she had believed was a good friend. He was a traffic policeman who used to patrol the area where Mrs. Malagić lived before the war, and went very often to her house for a drink or a cup of coffee. His wife used to work with Mrs. Malagić in the lead and zinc mine. He saw her, but did not speak to her, and she did not speak to him either. Mrs. Malagić said that it was as if they did not know each other.
Mrs. Malagić told the court how ICTY accused Ratko Mladić addressed the crowd now gathered at the entrance to the UNPROFOR base near Srebrenica. He told them not to panic, that everyone would be evacuated before nightfall, and that there was no reason to be afraid. The crowd of mostly women, children and elderly applauded him.
Mrs. Malagić saw a very long column of buses from companies in Serbia (Strela, Raketa, and Lasta). Mrs. Malagić testified that the buses came from Serbia just for the purpose of taking them away, since during the war, apart from UNPROFOR vehicles, not a single bus or other vehicle appeared in Srebrenica. As the people began boarding, the Serb soldiers separated all the men, including Mrs. Malagić’s father-in-law Omer, her brother-in-law Ramiz Čakar, and a number of her neighbours. They took them to a nearby power substation, outside of which Mrs. Malagić could see a pile of backpacks and bags.
As Mrs. Malagić was about to board the bus, she saw a neighbour of hers, Salih Rizanović, standing by the door holding a baby in his arms. A Serb soldier told a young woman related to Mrs. Malagić to take the baby to the city of Kladanj, in Bosnian Muslim held territory. Mr. Rizanović was crying and he asked the woman not to abandon the baby, but to take it to any of his relatives that she could find. Later when she reached Kladanj, she found Mr. Rizanović’s family and gave them the baby. Salih Rizanović was separated with the other men, and never seen again.
Mrs. Malagić boarded the bus, which was filled to capacity, with her youngest son. As they passed through Bratunac some people showed them the three-fingered Serbian salute, while some threw stones. When they passed Kravica, located to the west of Bratunac, three Serb soldiers wearing black bandanas, with bloodshot eyes looking drunk or drugged, came on the bus. They asked for foreign currency, took out their knives and threatened to slit all their throats. Some women had jewelry, but they would not accept that. They threatened to search everyone and that if they found any foreign currency on them, they would slit their throats, and their children would watch, and then they would kill them too. A few women turned something over to them and they got off the bus. The third time Serb soldiers boarded for the same purpose, the driver told them to get off because the women did not have anything else to give since they were not the first to ask.
Somewhere along the way near Sandići, on the road between Bratunac and Konjević Polje, located to the west and north, Mrs. Malagić saw a long column of men with their hands tied behind their necks, among whom she recognised several of her neighbours and relatives. “They all looked exhausted, powerless,” she said.
A little further on, Mrs. Malagić saw a large group of men sitting in a meadow. Heaped by the road was another pile of backpacks and bags. She realised that they were all men from Srebrenica because many of them were wearing white T-shirts. Mrs. Malagić said that those white T-shirts were the only clothes that they received in Srebrenica through humanitarian relief.
When the buses arrived at Tisća, the driver told them to get off and proceed on foot. They walked in a column to the demarcation line where they were first met by UNPROFOR soldiers. Other buses arrived and took them to Dubrava, where Mrs. Malagić was met by her husband’s sister.
The moment when Mrs. Malagić parted from her husband, her two sons, and her brother on the road from Srebrenica to Potočari was the last time she was with them. She later got word that they were last seen on the road at Konjević Polje, where Serb soldiers had captured them. Not far from Potočari, Mrs. Malagić got one last glimpse of her son Elvir, who waved to her as he passed by in an UNPROFOR truck.
Mrs. Malagić told the court that when Serb soldiers took Srebrenica, they wiped from the face of the earth three generations of men, and listed those killed from her husband’s side of the family: her father-in-law, Omer Malagić, born in 1926; his three sons, Salko Malagić, born in 1948, who was Mrs. Malagić’s husband, Osman Malagić, born in 1953, and Dzafer Malagić born in 1957; his three grandsons, Elvir Malagić born in 1973 and Admir Malagić born in 1979, who were her sons, and Samir Malagić, born in 1975, who was her nephew.
When Judge Almiro Rodrigues asked if she had anything else to add, Mrs. Malagić said: “Yesterday afternoon… I went to walk around your city. [W]hat caught my eye … was a monument to women… awaiting sailors who never come back. And the monument to those wives touched my profoundly. I should like to find this statue and take it to Bosnia with me. Perhaps it could be likened to mothers and wives of Srebrenica who have been waiting and hoping for all those years… We could turn to our empty forests. We saw our sons and our husbands off to those woods and never found out anything about them again, whether they are alive or dead, where are their bones lying. Many mothers have died hoping against hope, and it is quite possible that all the other mothers would end up like that because their numbers are dwindling every day.”
Mirsada Malagić testified on 3 and 4 April 2000 in the cases against Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) officer Radislav Krstić. The Tribunal convicted Radislav Krstić and sentenced him to 35 years imprisonment for his role in the crimes Mirsada Malagić suffered and the murders of her family members, among other crimes.”