Coveted in Tito’s Yugoslavia for its thermal springs and the quality of its air, Srebrenica has long prospered on its mines which gave the city its name: the city of silver. After the macabre episode of the war, silver started flowing again in the city. After the macabre episode of the war, the money started flowing in the city again, but the thermal springs never reopened, becoming the symbol of Serbian barbarity and of the inanity of the UN to stop a genocide in a so-called “protected” area, the city lived for 20 years under generous infusions of NGOs. International aid made it possible, among other things, to set up programmes to help people return home, reopen a few factories and build a brand new supermarket amidst the buildings disfigured by mortar fire. Living in Srebrenica means experiencing the indefinable post-war period. If everyone knows when this “after” begins, who can tell when it ends? Walking through this space where testimonies of times of horror and peace coexist, a question emerges: “Is there an end to the end of the war? ».
As we chat with the local youth, we can guess that the night of history never really dawned. If the trauma is still very present in the survivors, the scars are still visible on the facades. For the young people, it all makes sense. Who would continue to subsidize a city that’s been totally laid off? For the internationals to continue to be moved 20 years later, you have to keep some of the scenery in its juice. In a largely corrupt country, where finding a job often means getting a job, young people continue to wonder where the money is going… War is in the background, it is also in the raging and desperate temperament of the post-genocide generation. The war is the one you have to wage on a daily basis in this “after” that sticks to your feet.
When you’re 20 years old, how do you grow up in the vestiges, how do you get out of this endless night? Impossible according to them. Who comes to Srebrenica, does not come for its rakia or its wooded mountains (still mined). Whoever comes to Srebrenica comes best for the “duty to remember”, if not to feel the thrill of history in front of this sifted wall, in this abandoned factory, in front of the chiselled face of this man… Whoever comes to Srebrenica will arrive laden with good intentions on the understanding between peoples and the peace of religions… Hell. Hell is the other man’s gaze. The one who makes you a potential fascist or a victim to be pitied according to your origins. The youth here ask for nothing, thank you for it.
To be born in Srebrenica is an injustice for those who are 20 years old and just want to drink and make love. And all the aid programs won’t be able to do anything about it.
Ademir, Milica, Merka, Miroslav are the age of genocide.
In the night of history, the city belongs to them.