Friday, June 25, 2010

Bosnia and Herzegovina

I leave for Bosnia on Friday, July 2. This year is the 15th anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica, the deaths of more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys at the hands of Serb militias and ordinary individuals.

We know that the world said ‘never again’ after the Holocaust. Yet 50 years after that genocide, Europe was once again the place of unimaginable brutality, of neighbor against neighbor, of indescribable acts of violence.

Randi Markusen, Chair of the Board of World Without Genocide, was in the former Yugoslavia in 1995 during this tragedy. She has organized our trip for this important memorial year.

Randi and I will speak at a two-day conference on genocide that highlights these events. The conference is coordinated by the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Other conference participants include: Janine di Giovanni (journalist and writer), Dr. Edina Becirevic (co-founder of CJR and Faculty of Criminal Justice professor at the University of Sarajevo), Hasan Nuhanovic (Srebrenica survivor, activist and author), and Sonia Biserko (Chairwoman, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Serbia).

The proceedings will be opened by the U. S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Charles English, and will be closed by Dr. Haris Silajdzic, current member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency.

We will travel throughout the region for two weeks, learning about the challenges people face 15 years later - of rebuilding families, communities, and lives.

I'll try to post often during my trip.

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