After 19 years, Hajrija Selimovic finally has a place to mourn her family.
Selimovic buried her two sons next to her husband’s white tombstone in a cemetery for the victims of Srebrenica, Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.
The three were among the 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed when Serb forces overran the eastern Bosnian town on July 11, 1995. Samir was 23 and Nermin 19 when they were shot by an execution squad.
The remains of Srebrenica victims are still being found in mass graves to this day and are being identified using DNA technology. Every July 11, more are buried at a memorial center near the town.
"They were victims of monstrous nationalism," Camil Durakovic, Srebrenica’s mayor, said.
Selimovic’s two sons were among the 175 newly identified victims laid to rest this year, joining 6,066 others including their father Hasan, who was found in 2001 but buried only last year.
"I didn’t want to bury him because they found only his head and a few little bones," Selimovic said. "I waited, thinking the rest will be found and then everything can be buried at once … but there was nothing else and we buried what we had."
So thousands of traumatized mothers and widows are faced with a dilemma — whether to either bury just a fragment, or wait until more bones are found.
This year, the families of about 500 identified victims have decided not to accept just two or three bones. Those will remain stored in a mortuary in the northern city of Tuzla until more remains are found — or until the families get tired of waiting.
Selimovic, who made a hard decision last year regarding her husband, said this year’s decision was easier.
"Now I am burying two sons," she said. "They are complete. Just the younger one is missing a few fingers." (via AP)