It has been 22 years since mothers lost their children, wives lost their husbands and sisters lost their brothers. It has been 22 years of sadness, anger, emptiness, waiting, uncertainty and grieving.
This July it is 22 years since the Srebrenica massacre was carried out, where more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men were brutally killed by Bosnian Serbs.
It has also been 22 years since I was born. I was brought to this world just after many were murdered. I was born in Croatia when the war in the Balkans ended. I find myself very fortunate to have had a peaceful childhood, being able to play in the park without my parents fearing for my safety. I could fall asleep without the sound of sirens waking me up and was able to allow my father to go shopping without the worry of whether he would ever come back home alive. I was lucky enough to have a safe childhood, while others had their happy childhoods taken away from them by war and can never get it back.
22 years later, Bosnian Muslims are still grieving. They are grieving because their loved ones were taken away from them and killed, their houses were destroyed, their belongings were stolen, their childhoods were ruined and their memories traumatised. They are grieving because their lives are forever marked by war, but some of those guilty are still free.
I wish I could say that now, 22 years later, that justice has been served and those who humiliated and disrespected human life on so many levels were eventually punished. I wish I could say the world has not seen any form of war since. However, the reality is different. Some Bosnian mothers, wives, sisters and girlfriends never managed to bury their loved ones as their body parts were never found. Some still live in the hope their loved ones might come back. And even though there is no war in Europe, people are dying every day in the Middle East.
While we might not be able to change the world, we should aspire to change the corner we live in, starting with simply not judging people by their religion, the colour of their skin or their nationality. We shouldn’t be persuaded into doing something that is not right and we should never even think that our right to life is more worthy than somebody else’s. If everyone would think this way, the world would be a better place to live in.
A guest blog by Ida Hamer (Journalism Graduate from The University of Northampton)