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I met Hatidža 4 years in the past once I visited the Srebrenica Memorial, the place the victims of the genocide — the worst bloodbath on European soil for the reason that Holocaust — are buried. I bear in mind it vividly. Sitting in a circle of different bereaved and widowed moms of Srebrenica, quietly and with the utmost dignity, she informed her story.

She painted an image of life earlier than the conflict, together with her husband Abdullah and their two sons Azmir and Almir, who have been 21 and 18 years outdated. She described the horrible days in July 1995, once they have been forcibly separated from her and despatched to their deaths, together with not less than 8,000 different harmless males and boys. In addition to her husband and sons, Hatidža misplaced her father, her two brothers, and scores of her prolonged relations.

The Red Tea Detox

Those that carried out the genocide went to appreciable lengths to hide or destroy the our bodies of the victims. For 15 years, Hatidža looked for the stays of her household. She was one of many first survivors to return to Srebrenica. She lived bereaved and alone, dealing with threats and intimidation, in a local weather of persistent makes an attempt to disclaim the genocide.

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She informed me that once they lastly discovered the stays of her husband and two sons, all she acquired to bury of Almir, her youngest, have been two small leg bones. As an alternative of dwelling on the heartrending ache of that second, she merely informed me that she was lucky. Many moms, she mentioned, nonetheless lacked even that small comfort.

In some ways, Hatidža Mehmedović jogged my memory of the opposite Bosnian ladies I’ve met who survived the conflict, for the way in which she mixed deep energy and resilience with tolerance and humility and a refusal to succumb to hate.

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However Hatidža was additionally distinctive. For 23 years she was a tireless seeker of fact and justice. She by no means claimed any particular standing, however spoke on behalf of all of the Moms of Srebrenica. She didn’t distinguish between the victims, however regarded them as all equally worthy of dignity and recognition. Whilst her well being failed, she labored to arrange assist convoys to take meals and medication to refugees in Syria. She died earlier than her time, at simply 65 years outdated, her dying little doubt sadly hastened by all she had endured.

It’s testimony to the depth of Bosnia’s wounds that Hatidža didn’t reside to see the tip of the struggle for justice and safety for the survivors of Srebrenica. Others should take ahead the burden she carried for therefore a few years. However her instance will reside on, within the reminiscences of all who knew her, and within the tales that we should always all inform, wherever we reside, in order that the reminiscence of Srebrenica by no means fades.

Hatidza Mehmedovic at the Potocari memorial center near Srebrenica.

Whereas her dying fills me with unhappiness and remorse for all of the victims of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, I’m positive that I’m not alone in remembering Hatidža with gratitude and awe.

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There are occasions to dwell on the various classes of the Srebrenica genocide, and the place violent hatred towards any group or individuals can lead. However as Hatidža is laid to relaxation and mourned by her nation, it appears like a second to replicate on the facility of a single particular person life.

Hatidža Mehmedović lived an sincere life. She by no means allowed anybody to frighten her or to deprave her sense of fact and equity. We too might by no means see justice in our lifetimes, however we can not go unsuitable if we observe her instance.

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