July 11 once again reminded us of the searing saga of Srebrenica. Some 30,000 Muslims from the various parts of the world arrived at this Bosnian town to mark the 17th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre in the mass burial of newly identified 520 victims of Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic, who had overrun the enclave in July 1995, separated men from women and executed 8,372 men and boys within days. Seventeen years have passed since this massacre shook the world, but the search is still going on in mass graves throughout eastern Bosnia. With this new lot of 520, the total number of Srebrenica massacre victims identified through DNA analysis and laid to rest has reached to 5,325.
Though the task has been made rather difficult by the fact that the perpetrators dug up mass graves and reburied remains in other mass graves to try to cover their tracks, the undaunted courage Bosnian Muslims have been showing in identifying the bodies of their loved ones and giving them decent burial carries some rays of hope that all other victims will be identified and laid to rest sometime in the future.
That this worst crime against humanity since World War II was perpetrated in a U.N.-protected Muslim town under the very nose of Dutch troops present there as U.N. peacekeepers undermines the credibility of the world body and mocks at its pledge and commitment to resolve conflict and establish peace in the world.
Tired of political speeches characterised by Machiavellian hypocrisy year after year, the families of the victims mustered their courage to allow only Holocaust survivor Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Park East Synagogue in New York to address them during the July 11 ceremony.
Schneier, addressing them as ‘brothers and sisters’, underlined the fact that Srebrenica genocide was not only a crime against humanity but also a crime allowed by the rest of humanity. ‘Here on this sacred day we say ‘Never again!’ And we mean ‘Never again!’ With tears rolling down their cheeks, the gathering greeted his words with ‘Allah-u-Akbar,’ or ‘God is great’ in Arabic.
Though no religion approves of killing of innocents, it is Islam and Islam alone that categorically prohibits the killing of a single human being when the Holy Qur’ān said that killing of even a single person is tantamount to the killing of entire human race. At a time when such massacres take place in our society from time to time, it becomes inevitable to bring the entire humanity under the benign mercy of Islam.